In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness. And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.

The Books Of Bokonon, Verses 2-4

One of the great things about being ill was that I got to read some books. The best book I read was Neil Gaiman's Stardust - a beautiful tale of magic and humanity, that kind of came off like a grown-up, religion-free Narnia.

Unsurprisingly, I discover today they've made a movie of it, which is out in a month or something, and has Robert de Niro in it. And Claire Danes as The Star. And Michelle Pheiffer as The Witch. And Peter O Toole as the Kind of Stormhold! I hope it's good - the book was very visual in my brain, so it was. I don't want it ruined.

I also read Roald Dahl's Boy, which was interesting, and, given it's an autobiography, strikingly similar to many of his fictions, what with all the tales of violent headmasters, bosomy, child-hating matrons, scary old women and the leaving of dead mice in jars of gobstoppers. Roald Dah's father died of pneumonia in his early forties, so I should count myself lucky to have been born in the age of antibiotics, no matter how dreadful modern hospital food might be.

I also re-read Cat's Cradle, which I still think is one of the best books I have ever read. I suppose it is fictionalised philosophy, but then the best stuff always is. Also, I really couldn't ever see anyone making even a half-decent film of it. It's too good, and its ideas too cerebral. I might be wrong - but I really don't think we need to SEE Bokonon. He works perfectly in one's mind.