Long days and pleasant nights  

Posted by Jonathan E Johns in , ,

So I've been reading again lately. I say, 'again', because since the last Harry Potter book came out, (what, two years ago?) I really hadn't read anything more than a magazine article, or web page. But I started up again, mostly because I found a book in a box, and just had an urge.

So I read through all seven Dark Tower books, by Steven King. I hadn't read any of those since the last one came out, I think in '04. I had read the first of these books, The Gunslinger, possibly ten times over the last 20 years or so, the second of the books, The Drawing of the Three, I have probably read 5 or 6 times. These books have been out for years, and it took many many years in between each book. That was until the last three books of the series. After Sai King had his little incident on the side of the road, he decided that before he 'retires' he would finish the series of books that were to be his 'Lord of the Rings' that he had started way back when, in the 70's.

So I started rereading this series, and I recall not ever having read then all in order at one setting. It was quite an experience, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. King is not a Literary God by any stretch of the imagination, but he tells a good tale, I must say.

After the journey to the Dark Tower, I was interested in reading the books that 'supported' the series. If you don;t already know, the Dark Tower series of books include many characters and place-settings from other Steven King books. In a way, Roland Deschain (The main character in the Dark Tower Series of books) is journeying through Steven Kings worlds of books to get to the heart of 'it all', the Dark Tower, which presumably resides at the heart of Mr. Kings imagination. If any of you are Comic book fans, and recall DC comics Infinite Earths series, you may recall that lots of loose ends in many many stories can easily be tied up by having all the loose-end characters meet up in one place, and talk about the author.

So, in reading the Dark Tower series, I was interested to see these same characters in their own worlds, or in other worlds, and I decided to re-read the Stand.

I believe The Stand to be one of my favorite books of all time. Maybe not at the top of the heap, and maybe not even one of the greatest books of all time, but it is one of my favorite. Just like one of my favorite films of all time may be one of the worst made films of all time. Still, it is familiar, and timeless, and well-written, and fun to read. Just think, if you had a choice as to what you would have as your last meal, it might very well include one of your Mom's best cooked favorite, but might it not also include something silly like a Twinkie, or bag of Cool Ranch Doritos?

So I started The Stand, the 1153 page version, and as I got back into it (I have read The Stand probably 20 times, in one version or the other) there was so much that I had forgot. It is a very rich story, and typical Steven King, there is some kind of time pressure on the characters.

It reminded me of cheaply produced TV shows, where the characters are riding in a car, and the background is blurring by, and out of focus. King does this with his books, as he imposes some kind of time constraint or pressure on his characters, he no longer has to detail the 'background', but just give a hint of it. The characters are driving at night? So make the blurred moving background dark. Simple. It doesn't distract from the story at all, for if he didn't do this, we would be too caught up in the 'what would I do in that situation' thinking. Kudo's to you, Sai King, another week in a strange world you've given me.

I have three books going now, and all three together don't have as many pages as The Stand. I am reading David Sedaris' Engulfed in Flames, the sequal to 'Wicked', called Son of a Witch, and a collection of short stories by Mr. King, featuring a short story that takes place in the time of Roland Deschain.

That should keep me up until well after midnight for a week or so, and hopefully give me some more inspiration to write.

I think I'll tackle Harry Potter again after these, if I can round up the books. I tend to 'lend' books out too much, and I never see them again. I read the last Potter book when it came out (Finished it in two days) but I hadn't read the ones before it in years, so reading them all in a row might be fun.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 22, 2008 at 11:12 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


try to get your hands on a copy of "The Eyes of the Dragon" by King--you might be a wee bit surprised at who you'll find in there.....

September 25, 2008 at 1:14 PM

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