These rebooted Divergent book covers are cool.

These rebooted Divergent book covers are cool.

©Victo Ngai

It’s been 10 damn years since the first book of the Divergent trilogy came out in 2011, I can’t believe it.

While Hunger Games will always have my heart as the best YA dystopian series of all time, I still really liked Divergent.

And I especially love that it’s set in Chicago! I’ve lived in Chicago over ten years, and it’s fun to see my city used as the backdrop in such a popular series. NYC and LA get all the love, but Chicago deserves just as much.

©Victo Ngai

These new 10th anniversary paperback covers put the Chicago setting front and center, and I love that we get more of a zoomed-in visual of the city described in the books.

Chicago has beautiful architecture (among many wonderful things the city has to offer), and in the dystopian world of Divergent, we see that the architecture of Chicago is about the only part of the city we know today that’s lasted. It’s both lovely and melancholic to think that these grand structures will outlive us all.

©Victo Ngai

Chicago landmarks shown on the new covers:

  • THE EL TRAIN: Short for “elevated.” It’s been around since 1892 and goes all over the city and its neighborhoods, even to some suburbs.
  • O’HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Chicago’s main airport (Midway is the other one) located west of the city. All the road signs on the Allegiant cover are spot-on: O’Hare is one of the largest and most confusing airports in the US.
  • Not a landmark per se, but ILLINOIS FARMLANDS: Chicago is a big city in a sea of farmland and cornfields. It doesn’t take long to go from skyscrapers to cows. This is where the Amity live and work in Insurgent.
  • THE FERRIS WHEEL AT NAVY PIER: Navy Pier is a tourist spot with shops, food, and shows, and its iconic Ferris Wheel called the Centennial Wheel, which is nearly 200 ft high. One of the best parts of the first book is when Tris and Four climb it on a dare 🤘
©Navy Pier

Other Chicago landmarks referenced in the books that aren’t shown on these covers:

  • THE MERCHANDISE MART: This downtown building is so huge it used to have its own zip code. It serves as the court and judicial hall in Divergent with the Candor faction living there, though they darkly refer to it as the Merciless Mart.

Side note: I worked in this building for a couple years, it’s really cool. It has its own el stop, a food court and a bar, showrooms for luxury home fixtures & furniture on the first floor, lots of other shops, a gym, offices—I also get my hair done here! It has everything.

  • THE JOHN HANCOCK BUILDING: Technically the “John Hancock Center.” This is my favorite of the super-tall Chicago skyscrapers because of its unique steel beam design, though it’s actually only the fifth-tallest in the city. At one point in the series, Tris and the Dauntless go zip-lining off the ROOF OF THE JOHN HANCOCK JUST LOOK AT IT NO THANKS I’m an Amity.
©Chicago Architecture Center

BTW, these are what the original covers look like:

They have a subtle Chicago skyline (and I like that they show the marshy Lake Michigan on the first one), but the city is much more the focus of the new covers 💙


This podcast is really good.

Lolita Podcast is super interesting.

It’s about the 1955 novel by Vladimir Nabokov and all the adaptations and pop culture it spawned.

More importantly, it’s about the anti-abuse intention of the novel vs. the patriarchal canon framing it as “a great love story.” It’s about Dolores Haze, the fictional twelve-year-old victim in the novel, vs. the “seductress Lolita” we see in pop culture.

From high fashion campaigns, to countless pop and rock songs, to questionable film and stage adaptations, and so much more, Lolita gets glamorized in Western society without much reference to its horrifying source text. It’s romanticized as a forbidden love story—a sexually mature nymphette and a misunderstood older man against the world.

All this, when the actual novel is about a pedophile grooming, manipulating, kidnapping, and raping an underaged girl.

Hm. Wonder who benefits from making the culture at large view Humbert and Lolita as a love story. (Hint: It’s not young girls.)

Hosted by comedian Jamie Loftus, this podcast is extremely well-researched and sensitive to the topic. It’s only 10 episodes, so it’s pretty finish-able.

Listen wherever you listen to podcasts, or check it out at iHeart here.

My trip to the Hemingway House

My trip to the Hemingway House

Last month I visited the Hemingway Home and Museum in gorgeous Key West, Florida.

I started in Miami, drove through the Keys over two days, and spent my last two nights in Key West—the whole trip planned around winding up here. The house and property were amazing, and the journey there wasn’t bad either ☀️🌊

There are myriad cool stories and legends associated with this house, like:

Hemingway wrote some of his best received work while living here, including the 1935 non-fiction Green Hills of Africa, and the 1936 short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.

The swimming pool on the property cost $20,000 when built in 1938—an equivalent of $330,000 now—and was the first swimming pool in Key West.

The ~50 cats that live on the property! About half have thumbs and extra digits, but they all carry the polydactyl gene even if they have the normal amount of toes. Some are allegedly descended from Hemingway’s own polydactyl cat Snow White (or Snowball, some say) given to him by a ship’s captain. (Apparently thumb-cats were preferred as ship’s cats back in the day because they have better balance than regular cats and are better climbers 👍)

The fountain base that used to be a urinal, taken by Hemingway and friends from a nearby bar.

Hemingway allegedly chose the house because it’s across the street from the lighthouse (the tallest structure on the island) so he could more easily find his way home from the bars. I see a theme here.

Hemingway’s writer’s retreat with the actual typewriter he used.

Cool house, cooler history, highly recommend.

Visit the Hemingway Home & Museum site for more info 🐈


New library books! 💃📚✨

My local library branch has been closed for renovations for MONTHS, but it finally re-opened, and I went and snatched up my holds the first day it did.

Got a little bit of everything: horror, humor, and a story about a girl seduced by an older man.

Plus, I’m slowly making my way through War and Peace—these books are my break from that 😭😂

Let’s go, March reading!


Hunger Games hits different in 2021

I just finished re-reading this trilogy for the first time in like five years, for the first time post-Trump presidency, for the first time since Covid, for the first time in my thirties. And some of the themes hit harder now.

Like the struggle to choose between fighting to change the status quo or fleeing/hiding for your own safety and sanity.

Like how there’s so much gray area in the good vs. evil debate, when each side truly believes they’re fighting for something noble.

Like how it’s easy to stop seeing individuals and merely see a “side” you’re against.

Like how people on both sides of a war (and the tactics and justifications they use) are far more similar than they think.

This series holds up so, so well, especially compared to a lot of other dystopian YA books that came out around the same time. It might even pack more punch in 2021 than it did when it came out in 2008—which is kind of scary. Dystopia, like satire, is getting more and more indistinguishable from reality.

Happy Tuesday!


The Book Broad is on Instagram!

Follow @bookbroadblog for fun book stuff in your feed!

The main blog will still be here, but the IG page will have more bite-size book reviews (some exclusive to IG) and definitely more memes.

It’s still getting its sea legs but there will be plenty more content to come 📚🌟

2021 reading goals

2021 reading goals

Hope you all had a lovely and safe New Year!

Now that the Year-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named is over, I’m looking forward to making 2021 better—it shouldn’t be too hard. And part of that is more books.

While I’m not big on the pressure of New Year’s resolutions, joining the Goodreads Reading Challenge has been the one goal I like set for myself at the start of each year (or, at least since 2016 when I joined the site). It’s a great way to not only track what you’re reading but keep an archive of what you’ve read over time. It also helps you to push yourself to read a little more than you might do normally. Highly recommend joining!

My 2021 reading goals:

  • Read 60 books. In 2016, I set a goal of 20 books. Since then, the most I read in a year was 70. Last year I read 50. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to read more in lockdown; part of that was due to a demanding writing job that left me drained at the end of the day, to the point where I didn’t want more words in my face. So now I’m trying to get back to where I was. It’s surprising how easily you can get competitive with yourself every time you meet a reading goal. Even if you don’t use Goodreads, I recommend making a goal for yourself! No matter the number.
  • Finish A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin!!! I’ve been reading this off and on since 2019, and it’s past time I finish it. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long when I actually like it more than the previous book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (A Feast for Crows) that took me less time. It’s all the extra details, they’re a bit much. I just want to see what happens but instead I get descriptions of food and ships and food again. I’m kind of just in it for Dany and Tyrion at this point, but I like them enough to push through. And I’m still hoping for a new book from Martin, sometime.
  • Read more Flannery O’Connor. Besides a few of her short stories in college, I haven’t read much of O’Connor. A friend and mentor of mine says O’Connor is her favorite author, and since I super-trust her taste I’ve been meaning to give this classic American writer more attention.
  • Read more Stephen King. As big a King fan as I am, there is still SO. MUCH. of his work I haven’t read. Mainly, because he has SO. MUCH. work. If ten of the books I read this year are King’s, I’d be happy with that.
  • Start reading War and Peace. I say start on the chance I run into a Dance with Dragons situation with this brick of a book, but I’m going to try to stay on track and read a little every day. I mostly want to read it because the musical based on it piqued my interest. I’ve always been intimidated by Russian literature, but I think I’m underestimating myself. Here goes nothing.

The first new book I’ve started this year is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, her 2020 prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy that I bought immediately and then let sit on my shelf for six months. Looking forward to revisiting Panem!

Here’s to books and better days! Thanks for reading.

5 musicals based on books

5 musicals based on books

Books serve as the basis for so many films and TV shows that it’s easy to forget that book source material is frequently found within the medium that should suit it least: musical theatre.

Musicals are big, loud, in-your-face (and ears) live performance. You get dressed up, leave the house, and likely socialize a bit when you go see a musical. Reading, on the other hand, is a quiet, usually solo, more internal activity you can do anytime, anywhere, from a bridge to a cafe to your own couch.

But the reason these two very different mediums can work quite well together is simple: Music and stories both speak to the soul. Combine them and, with the right artists and creators doing the adapting, you often get something quite beautiful.

Here are some of my favorite musicals based on books (though this is nowhere near an exhaustive list—I might have to do a part two):

1. Les Misérables

She’s dramatic. She’s heart-wrenching. She’s almost three hours long. She’s the musical phenomenon that swept the world. You know her, you love her. She’s Les Misérables: the Musical! Who would’ve thought that the very long, very dramatic, and often very bleak novel by Victor Hugo—alternately titled in English The Miserable OnesThe WretchedThe Poor Ones, and, taking the cake, The Wretched Poor—would make for a smash a hit musical?

Well, composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil did, and they got it right. We like stories about hope, even (especially) in dire situations, and about the human spirit overcoming even the worst of odds. And when you set a story like that to sweeping violins, imposing drums, and powerful voices, you’ve got something worth more than the sum of its parts. Sure, the bulk of the characters in Les Mis only wind up overcoming their struggles in death, but their deaths are made significant by the music and words that frame them, giving pedestrian casualties of war and poverty poetic meaning—the ordinary made extraordinary (emphasis on the “extra.” Have you heard “One Day More”??)

The musical retains the bones of the story from the novel and smartly keeps it character-focused. The book is padded with tangents on philosophy and French history, which can be a lot to sift through when you just want to find out what the characters do next. That said, even translated from French into English, Hugo’s writing is beautiful. The sentiments captured are universal and lovely—and this is part of why the musical is so good, because it retains this beauty and does it well.

2. Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

The mouthful of a musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is an underrated gem. It’s unique, exciting, unpredictable, existential, and based on a short section (volume 2, section 5) of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace. And, like the other musical based on an epic novel just mentioned, it’s entirely sung and on the longer side. Which, really, is the best kind of musical, no? (Just me?) The music itself feels so new it borders on the avant-garde, while at the same time having the welcoming quality of being, to quote the lyrics, “scruffy and cozy like an old dressing gown.”

A soap opera-y little slice of War and Peace as a whole, Great Comet‘s story revolves around young, naive Natasha, who’s betrothed to one man but seduced by another. There are some hot guys, a promiscuous sister, a crazy old man, a distraught BFF, a wild troika driver—oh, and Pierre, who mostly just whines about how he’s not doing anything with his life (relatable)—all set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia. And there’s a comet, too.

One of the coolest things about Great Comet (and there are many) has to do with its use of Tolstoy’s text. A decent amount of the lyrics are taken verbatim from the (translated) text of War and Peace, interwoven with original lyrics by the composer Dave Malloy, and the characters regularly narrate/sing their own actions. Like, “I blush happily,” and, “I burst into sobs,” and, “A smile lurks at the corner of my mouth.”

This, combined with onstage and cabaret-style seating for audience members, breaks the fourth wall in a novel (pun intended) way: Whereas most musicals and plays are about watching a story unfold in front of you at arm’s length, Great Comet takes you by the hand, puts a glass of vodka in it, and says, Come, gather ’round, sit inside this story with us as we tell it to you. Ironically, something about drawing your attention to the fact that a story is being told gives the musical an intimacy that feels almost like a fireside tale—like a story being read to you.

3. Wicked

Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, among others, doesn’t get enough credit for jump-starting the “What if the fairy tale was told from the villain’s perspective?” trend. Probably because it was the musical adaptation of one of these novels that popularized this trend more than the novel itself.

Wicked the musical and Wicked the book are very different. One is dark, political, sometimes sexual, and pretty grim. The other is…well, compared to all that, a little cheesy. But it’s fine, because it works. Stephen Schwartz (composer of Godspell, Pippin, and lyricist of Pocahontas‘ iconic “Colors of the Wind”) made a musical that’s far more optimistic, cute, and PG-rated than its source material, but it makes sense that it’s a lighter fare.

Since the source material itself comes from source material—L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz—and because that source material was made into a 1939 film so well-loved that’s it’s still ubiquitous in pop culture today, I think Wicked the musical is required to reference that frequently, which has the affect of making it a little cheesy.

Like Les Mis, the bones of the story from the novel make up the musical’s plot (which, if you didn’t know, is The Wizard of Oz told from the point of view of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and guess what, she’s actually kind of a cool normie who’s not so wicked after all). But unlike Les Mis, instead of just leaving some stuff out, anything else taken from the book is changed or heavily watered down. Again, not complaining, because Wicked is fun, has its emotional moments, and despite the trendiness of musical that was originally aimed at a younger generation, the music holds up almost 20 years later.

4. Jesus Christ Superstar

Based on the best-selling book of all time, Jesus Christ Superstar is deservedly the more revered of the two Bible-based musicals by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (the other being Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is bright, circus-y, and aimed at kids). The rock opera started as a concept album in 1970 before making its way to Broadway a year later, and the album had been such a success that the show already had a fanbase when it opened.

JCS stays true to the events that take place in the New Testament’s four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—Jesus has disciples, including Mary Magdalene, he teaches, the Roman priests make a plot against him, Judas plans to betray him, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion—but the musical also humanizes the Biblical figures and colors in the motivations (Webber’s take, anyway) of Judas and Jesus that aren’t fully revealed in the gospels.

For one, the Bible makes Judas out to be a stock villain. Webber wanted to give more nuance to Judas, showing him as deeply conflicted over his predestined betrayal of Jesus. He’s a sympathetic character in the musical because he believes what he does is for Jesus’s own protection. The story is told more from Judas’s perspective than Jesus’s, and it’s more of a political tale than a religious one.

Another artistic liberty taken is in the romantic feelings Mary Magdalene expresses for Jesus in “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, and the musical initially got a Da Vinci Code-like backlash from some of the Christian community who didn’t agree with the implication, or of Jesus being shown as more human than divine.

But Webber’s version of the story—one that’s about religious freedom versus political oppression, that’s about the clashing of opinions between a follower and a leader—is well-suited to a rock soundtrack. You don’t need to be Christian or religious at all to appreciate Judas soulfully singing tormented soliloquies or Jesus belting out his feelings in 70’s rock falsetto.

5. The Phantom of the Opera

Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, or Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, has been adapted so many times in so many mediums that the adaptations alone have their own Wikipedia page. (To be fair, this is also true for Les Mis, but the Phantom page has a lengthy list of musical adaptations, whereas Les Mis only has the one.) But the most well-known without a doubt is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical that, in 2006, became the longest-running musical in Broadway history.

The Leroux novel was published in serialized portions between 1909 and 1910, so it reads a little choppy as a whole. And while the world and suspense created by Leroux are intriguing, the writing itself is average (IMO), which is why the fact that Webber’s Phantom was originally a book can fall by the wayside. Webber took what was a Gothic suspense story and made it a melodrama about a love triangle, passion, the tortured downside of being an artistic genius, and the mysterious inner workings of a grand Paris opera house. He blew it wayyy TF up and turned that shit up to 11. And if there’s any medium you can do that with, it’s musical theatre.

With the musical you have to suspend your disbelief, because if you apply too much of a realistic lens, it winds up being a story about a stalker and a traumatized chorus girl—which is basically what the novel is. Everything about the Phantom musical is over-the-top. That’s what makes it such an experience. This is one story that works better as an ostentatious, extravagant piece of theatre than as a quietly read novel.

*FYI the book of a musical is its own thing. Also called a libretto, the book of a musical is the dialogue and direction that connects the songs. In other words, the script.

“I think I’m in a tragedy.”

“I think I’m in a tragedy.”

©Columbia Pictures

Have you seen 2006’s Stranger Than Fiction lately? It’s really cute.

So here I am, giving it a shout-out.

(It’s on Netflix, if you’re interested.)

IRS agent Harold Crick starts hearing a voice in his head narrating his life and thinks he might be a character in someone’s book. He seeks the help of a literature professor who tells him he needs to figure out whether he’s in a comedy or tragedy.

Harold, who lives a very routine, boring, and lonely life, starts branching out of his comfort zone to put this question to the test and see what might happen, good or bad. He learns guitar, pursues an unlikely love interest, and slowly loosens his rigid way of life in favor of some chance and fun.

Once he hears the voice narrate about how he will die soon, along with learning that the author narrating his life has a penchant for killing off her protagonists, he’s saddened by his impending death, mourning the life he could have had now that he’s learned to truly live.

I won’t say how it ends.

The cast is great—Will Ferrell should do more subdued roles like this. His Harold is super sweet and you can’t help but like him a lot. He and love interest Maggie Gyllenhaal have a lovely chemistry; I actually said aww out loud a couple times. Add Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Emma Thompson as the glum, chain-smoking, death-obsessed author, and it’s a solid ensemble.

©Columbia Pictures

And it’s got lit. jokes.

When Harold tells the literature professor that the author narrated the line, “Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death,” about him, the professor is intrigued. The phrase “little did he know” tips him off that this is a third-person omniscient narrator—meaning one that knows more than the characters—and Harold might be telling the truth about the voice he hears. Because if the protagonist were just narrating what he knows of his own life, if Harold were making the voice up, he wouldn’t use an omniscient phrase like this.

“I’ve taught classes on little did he know,” Hoffman’s professor says, smiling knowingly. This seems like a jokey stab at how absurdly granular lit. theory can get, and I know from countless college lit. analysis classes that it’s hilariously accurate.

Another funny stab at the lit. world: the author has an assistant whose sole job is to GET THE WRITER TO WRITE THE DAMN BOOK. It’s a trope based in (some) truth that (some) authors drag their feet finishing a project after having accepted the advance; they feel trapped and locked in by the deadline, lose their creative mojo, and come down with the dreaded writer’s block.

Seeing Queen Latifah calmly but sternly hound Emma Thompson into actually writing something instead of brooding and pondering death made me LOL, and it made me want a similar assistant of my own to keep me on task.

©Columbia Pictures

While it might not dive super deep, and while you do have to suspend your disbelief a bit, Stranger Than Fiction is a charming film about our relationship with fictional characters.

Fiction is based in reality. Characters are often based on or inspired by real people. We want our fiction to have an element of realness, and sometimes we want our lives to have a spark of fiction. This movie blurs those lines, trying to answer the question from each side: “What if characters in books existed in real life?” and “What if I was a character in a story?”

It’s a love letter to writing, storytelling, and how fictional characters can seem so very real to us.

Harold Crick: You have to understand that this isn’t a philosophy or a literary theory or a story to me. It’s my life.

Professor Hilbert: Absolutely. So just go make it the one you’ve always wanted.

Stranger Than Fiction
Bangor, Maine: Where IT’s at

Bangor, Maine: Where IT’s at

Last month, I paid a visit to Stephen King’s house and some other King-related spots in Bangor, and I might as well have been stepping into Derry, Maine and the pages of It. Besides the house, here are all the other cool King things I saw in town.

First stop on the tour was the Paul Bunyan statue that inspired the scene in the novel where the statue comes alive and attacks Richie. (The statue’s also featured for a second in It: Chapter Two, though not this exact one since it was filmed in Canada). This was one of the scariest parts of the book for me—inanimate objects coming to life was always a big fear of mine as a kid—and it was kind of creepy to see in person.

Next up was the sewer grate at Jackson and Union that, according to King lore, served as inspiration for where little Georgie gets murdered by Pennywise. This was just down the street and around the corner from King’s house, and I could imagine him walking around the neighborhood when writing the novel, cooking up wonderfully demented ideas.

I saw two grates at this intersection: According to the internet, the round one is allegedly the One, but the square one looks more like the original cover. Who knows—a demented, supernatural clown luring you into either would be equally bad. In any case, I was the weirdo taking pictures of ordinary-looking sewer grates, though I’m sure that neighborhood is used to King fans being extra.

Speaking of stepping into the pages of It, the other side of the Jackson/Union intersection looked straight out of Derry. This could’ve been Bill and Georgie Denbrough’s quiet, tree-lined street, their white, clapboard-sided house uphill from the sewer grates.

The neighborhood was adorable. It’s the kind of place so quaint and sweet that it might make a horror author on a stroll wonder whether everything is as idyllic as it seems. I kept thinking, Ugh, I want to live in a cute sleepy town with sinister stuff lurking under the surface!

The next and maybe coolest stop on my tour was the Thomas Hill Standpipe. Just down the street from the sewer grates and only a few blocks from King’s house, the standpipe is an iron water tank with a wood frame jacket that controls Bangor’s water pressure and holds 1,750,000 gallons of water. In the novel, it’s where Stan first encounters It/Pennywise and sees horrible visions of the victims who drowned in the tank (there have been no IRL drownings, I checked. For reasons.)

As I rounded the corner in my rental and got past a cluster of trees, I was shocked by how this huge thing just came out of nowhere, located smack in the middle of a quaint little neighborhood. Part of it was the fact that, unlike most water towers, it’s not perched on legs—it’s squatting flush on the ground next to you, hunched at the top of a somewhat steep hill.

That was the other part: I should’ve known that the Thomas Hill Standpipe located on Thomas Hill Road would be situated on a hill, but I thought it was such a weird spot to put a gigantic water tower (if it were to break, I imagined the houses on the hill below it being washed away in half a second), and being sat at the top of a hill added even more to its hulking presence.

The viewing deck up top is only open to visitors a few times a year. While I’m sure the view from the top is spectacular, you pay with the journeys up and down the dark, narrow staircase, one of the places where Stan contends with some creepy shit. Just look at it.

Summit Park across the street slopes downhill from the Standpipe and is allegedly where King wrote a large chunk of It on a park bench. This was a a very small park, and there was only one bench, with FREAK spray-painted across it. This may or may not have been the same bench that King frequented in the eighties, but I could still imagine him sitting there writing, coming up with Stan’s ghosts. The Standpipe looms even larger from the park, since the park is downhill. And I’m not ashamed to admit that when the sun started setting, I thought, Yup, it’s Getting Out of Here o’clock.

In downtown Bangor, I noticed a canal running through the heart of downtown, and again I had a feeling of living in the locale of It, since It works insidiously through Derry’s water/sewer system (like through the sewer grate and the Standpipe) and a canal like this exists in Derry too.

It’s actually called the Kenduskeag Stream and it flows into a nearby river, but you could’ve fooled me. Stumbling across something in town that undoubtedly inspired Derry made me smile every time, and made me want to stay in town for a while and write a creepy novel of my own. (Really, this is not a bad writing exercise, to base a fictional town closely on a real one and just add a dash of spooky. Like Tyra says to make it fashion. Take Champaign, Illinois—but make it creepy.)

King obviously loves Bangor since he set one of his longest and most famous novels in its likeness. And it seems that Bangor loves King back, with tributes around the city like this bench featuring him and his dog—though not too much; someone gave our man a funny ‘stache.

Probably that jokester Richie.