Add some new characters to the pantheon of comic-book heroes such as Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. The publisher Marvel Comics has introduced a new series, "The Call of Duty," whose stars are the firefighters, police, and emergency medical team members of New York. "It was about [Sept. 11]," a Marvel executive said, "that we began to ponder telling stories about real-life superheroes."


But even the new comic books might be too much for, say, Britons to wade through – assuming they were interested in the first place. That's according to the results of a new study. The research, commissioned by the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, surveyed 200 couples, who reported spending just 11 minutes a day, on average, reading for pleasure. This, in a land with perhaps the world's greatest literary legacy.

Fast and furious: ranking top 10 roller coasters in the US

Amusement and theme parks are big business. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, they drew 319 million visitors who spent $9.6 billion in 2001, the second straight year revenues hit that mark. Against that backdrop, the Discovery Channel has chosen its top 10 roller-coaster rides, the signature attractions at most parks. Its picks – five each of the steel and wooden varieties:

Incredible Hulk; Universal Studios, Orlando, Fla. (steel)
Millennium Force; Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio (steel)
Goliath; Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, Calif. (steel)
Nitro; Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J. (steel)
Magnum XL-200; Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio (steel)
The Beast; Paramount's King Island, Kings Island, Ohio (wood)
Son of Beast; Paramount's King Island, Kings Island, Ohio (wood)
Thunderbolt; Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa. (wood)
Ghostrider; Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, Calif. (wood)
Raven; Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind. (wood)

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