Tag Archives: Stephen King

Reading: IT, by Stephen King

It by stephen king

I was inspired to read Stephen King’s IT when Care recently posted her List of King, where she gave IT five slices of pie. Very high praise indeed, and since it was on my list of “Stephen King books to read”, I decided to put a hold on it at the library.

The only thing I knew about the book was that it was the one with the clowns. Or, as Care put it, The Clown.

I put a hold on both the ebook and the audiobook versions. The audiobook came first, and I started listening to it a few nights ago. I’m really enjoying it so far. I love the narrative structure, and how easily King handles the large cast of main characters. I like how he goes back and forth in time without losing me, the reader. I like how he builds the suspense in one scene and then spins some more, equally interesting non-related scenes, so you’re immersed in what he’s telling you and at the back of your mind you’re still wondering, what will happen with that other situation? Because you know he’ll show you, soon, and you can hardly wait.

And then he brings you back to that scene. And it’s all edge of the seat stuff, well worth the wait.

I’m at the point now where all the forces are converging on the town of Derry. It feels to me like I’m nearing the end of the book, but I just checked, and I’m only at just under the 60 percent mark!  To say this is edge of the seat stuff would be putting things mildly.

In fact, I’m not sure if I will be able to take listening to the rest of the book in audio, especially as it nears its resolution. I tend to be a “page skimmer” when I get to those gripping, suspenseful sections of novels, at least on a first read, and the thing with an audiobook is, you can’t skim – you can only flip ahead and then who knows what you might have missed.

So I’m probably going to have to stay on the edge of my seat for the rest of the book. It’s either that or wait until I can get my hands on the ebook. But it’s not the kind of book you can put down, so it’s highly unlikely I’ll wait …

And no, I haven’t seen the movie.

Have you read IT? If you did, what did you think of it?

Listening: ‘Mr. Mercedes’ and ‘The Supernaturals’

I’ve got a couple of new-to-me audiobooks on the go right now (I say “new-to-me” because when I’m working, I like to listen to an audiobook but usually have to listen to something I’ve read before – like an Agatha Christie or a Nero Wolfe – because I do end up missing huge chunks of scenes if something takes over all of my focus).

mr mercedes by stephen king

I’m in the last half of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King right now. It’s an interesting read, and very character-driven. Unlike what you might expect, it’s not a horror story. It’s actually a thriller, with some police procedural aspects thrown in. Lots of humour in the dialogue, too. I’ve really been enjoying it.

the supernaturals david golemon

I also just started The Supernaturals: A Ghost Story, by David L. Golemon. This one is, as its title implies, a horror novel. I’m only at the beginning, but the tone has already been set. (Actually, it was set in the author’s foreword.) It’s been good so far, and I have high expectations of it. Based on the reviews at Audible, it’s quite the spooky tale.

What about you? What good audiobooks have you been listening to lately?

Book Cravings: Salem’s Lot

Have you ever had a book craving? Where you find yourself really wanting to reread a book, usually one you haven’t read for quite a while?

I have book cravings occasionally, and the past couple of weeks, another one crept up on me.

salems lot

It’s been quite a while since I read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. I’m pretty sure I was still in my teens, during a period when I was reading a lot of horror novels. I’d been reading King’s Danse Macabre recently, and that might explain the craving.

So it’s loaded up on my iPod now. I’m on Chapter 5, and yes, it’s really as creepy as I remember it to be.

“…old horrors colliding with modern technology and investigative techniques.”

Stephen King on Dracula in the Introduction to Salem’s Lot

Do you ever have book cravings? What was the latest reread you absolutely craved?

Reading!

I’ve officially come out of my heavy deadline season – finished off the last big one early last week and have spent most of the time since recuperating, resting … and reading!

As soon as I could, I started on The Shining, for the #shineon readalong on Twitter this month. But it’s been a while since I’ve had a nice long stretch of reading time, so I found myself very distracted by all the other books that have been waiting for me to read them.

I put The Shining down at page 80 when Diana Wynne Jones’ Reflections on the Magic of Writing came through for me at the library. I devoured Reflections over the course of two days, and it truly inspired me. With huge thanks to Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, who recommended a little iPhone app called eHighlighter, I ended up saving lots and lots of quotes from the book – not quite the same as covering it with highlights, but still very satisfying.

Reflections

Reflections is on my to-buy list, the next time I go on a book-buying splurge. And in the meantime, I plan to devote a post to it sometime soon, helped along by all the quotes I saved while I was reading.

I moved straight from Reflections to Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, by Sam Weller. I enjoyed this book immensely, too. You get a very real taste of Ray Bradbury the person: quirky, opinionated, loving. What came through the most for me was Bradbury’s immense love and appreciation of LIFE, in capitals.

On the fiction side of things, I’m about a third of the way through The Demi-Monde, by Rod Rees; I’m part of the book tour for the sequel, The Shadow Wars, and I wanted to get up-to-speed with the Demi-Monde world by reading the first book in the series before I start on The Shadow Wars.

I also started The Red Box, by Rex Stout, one of the few Nero Wolfe mysteries I haven’t read yet. I adore Nero Wolfe and Archie, so it was a thrill to see this one at my library’s ebook lending site. I really enjoy the Nero Wolfe novels in audio, but unfortunately this one  hasn’t made it to Audible yet.

In audio, I’ve been listening to Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf, a really fun thriller of a revenge novel. I’m near the end, and had a tough time turning my iPod off last night, but it was sooooo late.

And I have lots more waiting for me, including:

Pursuing the Times, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I read a sample of this romcom before deciding to review it, and it was delightfully funny.

I am Half Sick of Shadows, the fourth book in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. I’m playing catch-up, because next up is the newly released book five, Speaking from Among the Bones!

The Memory of Blood, by Christopher Fowler. Bryant and May, of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, are one of the funniest duos in crime literature, and I’m really looking forward to this one.

In other readalong news, I’ll be reading A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle with Joanna of Create Your World. If you’d like to join us, let me know in the comments or zip me an email. I’m also eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Diana Wynne Jones book for the readalong Kristen of We Be Reading will be holding for her month-long event, DWJ March.

So that’s my reading news so far. And I’m finding myself wishing for even more time to read!

That Whole “Time Flies” Thing, Writing Mojo, and Stephen King

So now that I’m doing the big city living thing, I’ve been discovering something interesting: time flies when you’re doing nothing more than going through your day.

That sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? I mean, time flew for me back in the suburbs, too. But it’s a very different feeling in my new “city life”.

Back at our old place, time flew, yes – time always flies, except, of course, when you most want it to – but it flew very predictably. Every day saw the same old, same old and so time flew over very familiar terrain.

And before you start thinking, wow, Belle, you must be so busy running about now, doing stuff, LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST … Um, no, I’m not.

It’s that whole “potential” thing.

Photo 2012-04-06 10 07 09 PMMoon shining on Lake Ontario

(Disclaimer: This picture has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything in this post. I took it sometime last week or the week before that. The moon shining down on the lake was just so pretty. Unfortunately, my iPhone camera simply didn’t do it justice. But I’m sharing it with you all anyway!

Now back to my post …)

To be honest, I haven’t yet fully clicked into full-on city living. Not yet. And at the pace I’m going, by the time I’ve truly thrown myself into doing and living all the amazing events and experiences Toronto has to offer – BAM! – I’m going to be knee deep in deadlines again.

(Well, there you go. That’s motivation enough to start living more fully, isn’t it?)

But you see,  every day here there’s the potential of doing something different, something new. And up until our move, I’ve had such an isolated, hermit-like existence, even this potential is like a breath of fresh air.

And I’m realizing, I really must get a grip on things. Savour the potential, sure. But I really don’t want to let that put me off-track. Potential is fun. It’s enticing. But there’s more to life than just savouring the potential while time flies right by you.

(OMG, Belle, is this your long-winded, very strange way of explaining your recent blogging absences?

Why yes. Yes it is. Is it that obvious?

Yes.)

In other, more exciting (to me) news: I have my writing mojo back!

Yes, that bit of news deserves bolding …

And all it took was recognizing that my habits have changed. Where I once was that bright and sparkly night owl, ready to tackle huge manuscripts late into the night, I’m now that sleepy, tired is-it-time-for-bed-yet owl who wakes up (those who know me well won’t believe this, but it’s true) at the ungodly hour of 8:00 a.m. Yes, you read that right. Ever since our move, I’ve been waking up around 8:00 – without even trying!

This has had a major effect on my nightly activities. So in recognition of this, I changed things around. My writing time is now in the mornings (or close to it).

I have somehow managed to become a morning person. Well, okay, maybe “morning person” is a bit of an exaggeration.

How about mid-morning person? And some days, an early afternoon person.

Because it does take me that long (after my mandatory two cups of coffee) to get going some days.

And in the reading department … I finished Stephen King’s 11/22/63 the other day. I will probably post a review, but here’s my super-micro review:

1373830_twirl_2(Photo credit)

On Writing: Surprises

Today’s word count: 1214 words

NANTUCKET word count to date: 33,959

In keeping with my intention to make writing more of a priority, I sat down to write far earlier than I normally do. I finished before dinner, in fact. I started by deleting a couple of lines from the end of yesterday’s writing, and then plunging in from there.

A surprise showed up today, in the form of a new character. I’m not sure at all how he fits into the story, but he just showed up and he made sense where he showed up. As to how he might come into the story later, though, I’m not sure at all. I figured I might as well write him in and see where he takes me.

This is part of the reason why I like writing without a concrete outline. It’s kind of like reading a novel: I continue writing because I want to see what happens. With this book, because it’s a mystery, I kind of know what happens, in that I know who the murderer is, and I know why the murder was committed. But other than that, I don’t know what happens between here and there. I also don’t know how the paranormal comes into play in the story, which is kind of scary (for me as a writer, I mean) – since one of my main characters is all about the paranormal.

Actually, this whole not-knowing thing can be rather challenging. When I stopped working on this novel last November, at the end of NaNoWriMo, I had just written a scene that involved another murder. This second murder was a total surprise to me. I think this second murder is connected to the story. And if I was reading this novel rather than writing it, I’d assume it was the same murderer. The signs are all there. But the truth is, I don’t know. I don’t even know why it happened.

But I guess if it keeps me writing, just so I can find out for myself what happened, then I’m all for it.

For those of you who write, do you use an outline? A semi-outline? Or do you wing it, and go with the flow?  I’ve always liked Stephen King’s concept of story writing as simply digging out a fossil that’s already there – the idea that the story already exists, more or less fully formed, and the writer’s only job is to simply to use the tools at hand to dig it out of the ground.

Saturday Links: Stephen King, Charlaine Harris and Book Gifts for Twilighters

Every week I come across interesting links that aren’t reviews, but more along the lines of book talk and book news. They can run the gamut from new releases, fun book thoughts and sometimes things that are only marginally book-related. So I’ve decided to post them each Saturday, and since I’m not feeling particularly creative today, the only name I could think of was “Saturday Links”. So Saturday Links it is!

Here’s what I’ve shared this week (and for everyone who follows me on Twitter, I have – I hope! – set things up so that anytime I share a link, it will get Tweeted):

Stephen King: Best Books of ’08: Several books here that I want to read – Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Crows, Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News?, Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves and the novels of Robert Goddard.

Excerpt from Charlaine Harris’ upcoming Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead and Gone, found via Urban Fantasy Land: I’m tempted to start the Stackhouse series with Dead and Gone, instead of going back to the beginning.

Twelve Days of Giving: Books for Twilighters: I haven’t read the Twilight series yet (they’re in my TBR), but I liked this list of gift suggestions for fans of Twilight. I’ve read Meg Cabot’s Mediator series which I enjoyed very much. And I’m adding Demon in My View to my TBR.

Why I Like On Writing

On WritingI’m sitting here re-reading my copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. You could say I’m procrastinating, as I’m doing this instead of working on one of several editorial deadlines that are coming due next week and the week after, not to mention the condition of my TBR pile, each book of which I plan on reviewing here at Ms. Bookish.

But I love On Writing; for me, one of the pleasures of life is re-reading it every now and then. That got me wondering: what is it about this book that appeals to me so much?

And then I realized, it’s because of this:

But Amy [Tan] was right: nobody ever asks about the language. They ask the DeLillos and the Updikes and the Styrons, but they don’t ask popular novelists. Yet many of us proles also care about the language, in our humble way, and care passionately about the art and craft of telling stories on paper. What follows is an attempt to put down, briefly and simply, how I came to the craft, what I know about it now, and how it’s done. It’s about the day job; it’s about the language.

If you’ve read this blog for the short while it’s been around, you’ve probably noticed, I enjoy popular fiction very much, whether it’s for adults, teens or children. Yes, I do read “literary” fiction, although if given the choice, I’d prefer re-reading certain classics (Pride and Prejudice and A Good Soldier come to mind), and I have a special fondness for plays and screenplays (especially Beckett and Bergman).

But ask me to make a Deserted Island list, and it would be filled with popular fiction (right below Getting Off Deserted Islands for Dummies, complete with a compact inflatable raft as an insert, that is).

For me, the well-written popular novel is exactly that – it’s well-written. It combines a serious commitment to the craft of language with the excitement of plot and the charm of well-developed characters. I admit, too, that I don’t need both exquisite characterization and intricate plot together, either. The presence of one or the other can hook me just fine. But the language? It’s got to be there, or I can’t find my way through the work.