Continuing on my ambitious goal to read all of Stephen King’s novels in publication order, I picked up The Stand expecting it to be as gripping as the previous two King books I’d read.
The Stand would be my fourth King novel and since the story and writing seems to get better with each book I read, I expected The Stand to trump The Shining and possibly become another of my favorites. But that didn’t happen. I was quickly let down and gave up on the book a couple hundred pages shy of its end.
It’s the early 1990s or late 1980s (couldn’t tell). A machine malfunctions and a weaponized strain of influenza is unleashed on the world starting on America’s west coast. Patient zero (he’s not called that in the book) travels to a small town in Texas crashing into a gas station with his dead wife and kid in the car. The guys at the gas station try to save him, but he dies and infects them all while doing so. The government moves in and shuts down the town hoping to stopper the spread of the virus and find out why some people aren’t infected.
I forgot why I picked it up to read a couple months ago, but gosh, it was so good I was hooked the entire time. My plan is to read King’s books in publication order so since I’ve already read Carrie(sucks) and ‘Salem’s Lot(pretty good), this was next and I was blown away.
I did a stupid thing after reading this, though. I went to a hotel. WHY did I do that? It was for work, but I was so creeped out when walking down corridors and going into the bathroom. I should have waited until after the work trip to read this book.
As part of my Horror Reading Challenge for this year, I decided to read Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. I’m slowly working my way through all his books, in publication order, to see how far I’ll get before I’m too scared to continue. At first, I wasn’t very enthused to read this book because I anticipated it being scary and I didn’t much like Carrie, so I was surprised when I started to like it and even more when I was impressed.
‘Salem’s Lot is set in a small town in Maine called Jerusalem’s Lot. It’s told from various points-of-view but our protagonist is Ben Mears, a writer who returns to the Lot to confront his childhood fear — a creepy, old house called the Marsten House — and write about it. While in town, he meets a pretty young woman named Susan and a relationship blossoms between them.
About the same time that Ben appears in town, two men show up to take residence at the Marsten House and open an antique furniture store. One is the mysterious Richard Straker, who people see about town and at the store; but the other, Kurt Barlow, is never seen and is said to be a recluse. Though the men keep to themselves, there is something sinister about their dealings and especially about the Marsten House. When people start to go missing, Ben and a few friends begin to investigate what’s going on.
Since I tend to shy away from books that would terrify me, I don’t have such a book on my shelf. However, there is one book I’d like to read but am procrastinating on because I think it would be scary and it’s this —
I am excited to learn that Stephen King’s horror novel It will be adapted for film. The plan is to split the book into two movies. Cary Fukunaga, an American film director known for the True Detectiveseries, will direct the first movie. The producer for the film is Dan Lin.
It is a story of a group of kids who are terrorized by a wise-cracking, demon-possessed clown. I am glad that someone decided to take on this project. The 1990 miniseries based on It was scary when I was a kid but watching it now, I find it laughable. I know the planned project will be much better but I hope they do it justice. I have yet to read the novel but I’ll get to it before this film is ready for theaters.
So after reading On Writing, the memoir by Stephen King, I decided to read one of his books to experience his magnificence. I also wanted to finally confront my fear of reading a Stephen King novel and being forever scarred. Since his movies always scared me, I reasoned that his books would be even worse.
I decided to start at the beginning so I picked up a copy of Carrie. It took me a while to begin reading. Though I’ve watched the movies, original and remakes, many times, I was afraid that somehow the book would be more alarming. It turns out to be a good read.
I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Carrie. She has no friends and is bullied at school by the popular kids. Then she goes home to be further tormented by her religious-manic mother. The day of her first period was traumatizing. She knew nothing about periods. Believing the act of sex to be evil and that menstruation introduces that evil, her mother saw no reason in mentioning it to Carrie. When her period came, Carrie thought herself bleeding to death. Shocked by what’s happening to her, she starts to freak out only to be penalized for her oddity by the girls in the locker room who throw tampons at her, shouting plug it up. The girls gang up on Carrie and stone her with tampons as if to exile her from joining them in womanhood.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is the first Stephen King book I’ve ever read. I’ve watched many of his movies on SyFy since I was a little girl and they scared the shit out of me so I decided not to read his books. If the movies are scary, then the books would be worse. My imagination would haunt me, I feared. Because I want to be a writer, and since I’ve heard and read great reviews about this book, I decided to give it a try.
King said that he would keep this one short and to the point. He did. He opened with a short memoir of his life, touching on those events that contributed to his writing and his development as a writer. He then included a brief section on developing a “writer’s toolbox,” which led to another section that discusses writing – how to start, continue, and develop your writing.
King’s answer to these questions is to write, and keep writing, and to read.
Great advice. I find it a bit intimidating. I always go into my scheduled writing sessions intimidated and clam up. I sit and stare at a blank page or screen because I can think of nothing good to write. But the important thing to do is write. So now, after reading this book, I’ve decided to write until something good comes out. If I don’t think it’s good today, it’s possible that I might think it’s great tomorrow.