Sunday, September 18, 2016

Reading Rocks: Top 4 Stephen King Books to Read First

How did I not read Stephen King until I was 37 years old?!?!?  It's awesome when you discover a new author that you love - AND it's AWESOME-ER when said author has a crap-load of books published to binge-read.  Case-in-point:  Stephen King.

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If you want to start reading Stephen King - I suggest The Shining and Dr. Sleep.  Many people are of the opinion that King's masterpiece is either IT or The Stand.  I argue that his pièce de résistance is the 2-part story of Danny Torrance:  The Shining and Doctor Sleep.

The Shining was the first full Stephen King book I ever got through. I've tried to read his books published in the 90's but for some reason I couldn't get into any. The Shining was beautifully written, the imagery and descriptions memorable. I would have thought it much scarier if I hadn't seen the movie and mini-series, but none the less I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

It's considered a modern classic. I suppose I would agree, but I haven't read many other "modern classics" to compare or group it with. I love that large portions were told from the perspective of a 5 year old - made many of the scenes more creepy. There were parts that I couldn't read at night or in the house by myself - the ambiance created at The Overlook is so rich it's visceral.  I understand why Joey keeps it in the freezer.

Sequel to The Shining
Unfortunately for me, I couldn't stop visualizing the tv mini-series while reading. Although it was WAY better and much closer to the book then the Kubrick movie of the 1970's, I would have loved to have read the book without having seen either first.

(The Shining pt 2)  I flew through Doctor Sleep.  I read it in 2 sittings (during a week vacation) I even held it up to my face as I walked to the washroom.  SO enjoyable! Dan Torrance is a hugely relate-able character. The pace and story in this 500+ pg book never falters. It's smart, exciting, and unforgettable.

Although you technically don't need to read the Shining before this one, you will get a whole lot more out of it if you do.

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I give 22/11/63 4 out of 5 stars only because i believe that if I had physically read the book (as opposed to listening to the audiobook), I would have slowed or stopped in the middle. As it turned out, I ended up physically reading the last 50 pages or so because I couldn't wait for a time where I had a full hour to finish the audiobook - it was SO GOOD.

As a whole the story and the pace is perfect.  The characters were strong and memorable, and the ending was not a "sell-out crowd please-er", but I think it stayed true to its intention.  The Mini-series had enough of the same story and characters that it was not disappointing.  It did however change some aspects of the book's story.  I read later that SK did this intentionally with the screenplay in order to allow readers of the book a new experience in the show.

Overall it's a great concept and a cool, interesting approach to time travel.

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I enjoyed Revival as much as 11/22/63 and The Stand. The pace was perfect, given that it spans 50 years of one man's life. I found myself only once questioning if all of the details were relevant - by 3/4 of the way though I realized that yes, as always King ties them all in and includes nothing that won't eventually become relevant.

The description on the book cover is misleading - it is not about the preacher, but about his "white whale" told from the journal-ing perspective of someone who has been able to watch the man over the full span of his obsession.

Revival has elements of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, HP Lovecraft and most obviously, Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

Definitely a story that will stick with you and make you think. I really enjoyed it.

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