My Contest Submission

This was my submission for the contest at Lilja's Library for a copy of The Stand audio edition. We were supposed to explain why we NEEDED a physical copy.

The winner was Misha Gail, who wrote:
Dear Lilja
I work on a hospital for terminal ill people and we read books to each other every Friday. If possible I would like the copy of The Stand so that I can bring it to work and let the master read to us for a change. I know everyone would enjoy that a lot.

. . . . . . . . . .
Humm, how do you compete with that? Answer: You can't! That answer is awesome.

So, here is the silliness I sent:

Why I need a physical copy of The Stand audio edition:

Here’s the sort answer: Because if you don’t give it to me, it will altar the future.

Perhaps I should explain. . .

I visited a local diner recently and the owner, a guy named Lucas, shared a very big secret with me. I don’t particularly like Lucas, since he always has huge boasts that are baloney. He once claimed Star Wars was his idea and that George Lucas stole it from him.

I was about to pay my bill and go when Lucas said he wanted to talk to me. Believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was spend time talking to Lucas! But, he offered me a free sandwich, and so I sat down and we talked. He was upset that he couldn’t get a special edition Stephen King monopoly copyrighted. I was about to leave when he dropped the big bomb, "You know, I can travel in time."

"Lucas, give me the bill," I said.

"No, really!" I noticed that when he got mad and stomped his foot, his entire fat body jiggled. "There is a time portal in my pantry."

"Lucas, you need a doctor or a friend, I don’t know which, but I know I’m neither. There is no time portal in your pantry!"

"Sure there is!" He said, upset that someone would question his honesty. "It leaps you forward exactly 11 weeks 22 days and 63 minutes into the future. Of course, the future is always ahead of you, so every time you go through it’s a different 11 weeks ahead."

"You are messed up," I said to Lucas.

"Okay, then check it out."

Boy howdy, I did not want to go near Lucas’ pantry! For one thing, I was afraid he might lock me in. For another, I didn’t want to spend another moment with the creepy guy. Anyway, I finally said I’d check it out, and Lucas explained that I could only stay three hours and I was not to read any news or get stock updates. Basically, I was not to do anything that would change my behavior when I returned.

The time portal was real. Jumping ahead isn’t that great when you can’t change anything when you get back!

Of course, the main thing I did was go home to see if anything had changed. Not much. . . except that I noticed my Stephen King collection had a new item. A physical audio copy of The Stand.

"Hey, how did I get that copy of The Stand on audio?" I asked my wife.

She frowned. "What’s wrong with you? Don’t you remember? You won it in that contest Lilja did. You know, the one that’s your favorite website? The one that just got it’s 40 millionth hit."

"Forty million?" I said aloud. Just a few weeks earlier he had topped three million hits. "How did the Mighty Lilja get so many hits in just a few weeks?"

"You don’t remember that, either? You know. . ." she pointed at my shelf of books, and I spotted a new book by Stephen King. It was titled: Tickets Marv’s Museum. Of course, it was massive, and I had no chance of reading it in the hours allotted me.

"So what is Tickets To Marv’s Museum about?" I asked, sure she had already read it on Kindle. Then, with a glance at my cellphone to check the time, I said "But tell me the quick version."

"It’s about a kid, Bryant Blonde, who’s parents won’t allow him on the internet, so he goes to the library to use the computers there. At closing time, Bryant hides in an darkened office. At first the kid is scared out of his britches because the place is really spooky when they cut the lights off. But then, in a dusty corner, Bryant spots and old computer."

"Wait," I said. "I thought they cut the lights off. How can he see?"

"Do you want the short version, or the Stephen King Fancast version"?" she asked. "Anyway, the boy plugs the computer in, thinking the thing won’t even work. But, surprise surprise, not only does it work – it has Internet access! But, it’s really slow."

"This raises a lot of questions," I said.

She shrugged off my objections, "As soon as little Bryant gets that old computer online, he jets right over to Lilja’s Library to see what’s new in the world of Stephen King. The thing takes forever to load, because, you know – the computer is old and all. When the page finally downloads, Bryant notices how realistic the website is. He can actually feel, see, smell the world of Stephen King! It’s like he’s right stinkin’ there!"

"So, what gives? Is he actually in the website?"

"Yup. He begins moving through the website! It’s cool."

"Sure it is," I said, wide eyed. "Who wouldn’t want to actually step inside Lilja’s Library! But you know, everyone is going to say he got this from Tron."

"No! It’s so much better! Besides, Bryant doesn’t know it, but people who log in to the website can see his shadow moving around. Bryant thinks this is great at first, but then realizes The Dark Man continues to have an existence on the website. The story tells how he uses the things in Marv’s Museum to escape the internet and whoop on the Dark Man. Of course, it’s all tied up with riddles. He can’t figure out a riddle concerning a news paper headline: Rabid Saint Bernard Traps Woman And Child In Pinto."

"What’s the riddle?" I asked.

"Read the book, David," she chastised. "Why do I have to tell you everything. But you know, it’s kind of the same. A woman trapped in a car with a Saint Bernard, and a boy trapped in the internet with the Dark Man."

"So how does it end?"

She sighed, "Alright, since you have to know! Bev Vincent travels into Liljas Library and sees Bryant’s shadow and realizes he’s in trouble. Since Vincent knows all things King, he gives him the answer to the last riddle."

"And I won a copy of The Stand?" I asked abruptly. "Is that thanks to Bev Vincent, too?"

"No! I don’t think Bev Vincent had anything to do with you winning The Stand," she said. "That was just a Stephen King book – this is reality. You won that contest because of your essay. But King writing a book about Lilja’s library, caused the hits to go through the ceiling."

After all that talking, I had to rush big time back to the diner to make it back before my three hours were up.

Of course, as soon as I came back, goofy Lucas was jumping up and down. "I told you! I told you!" Then, in all seriousness, "You must not change anything!"

So that’s the deal! I must not change anything. And in the true future, I won this contest. Meaning I must win it again – or risk changing the flow of time itself.

I’m sure I originally wrote something like: "I drive a lot for work, and with a CD can listen while I drive. Listening to the end of the world while driving in Southern California seems appropriate." And that is true. But let’s face it: The world is at stake here! I must win this contest, or face altering time itself. To keep from changing the future, ending time as we know it, creating a Butterfly effect – the audio book should head toward California.

Early Review Of: The Wind Through The Keyhole


The Honk Mafah has already posted a review of The Wind Through The Keyhole. 

Already! Meaning: It has arrived at his house, he read the the whole thing already, and snapped out a nice long review. Seriously!

Don't rush out to your local book store (as if there were still book stores to rush out to), because he didn't read the trade edition. Of course, what this means is that Mr. Honk Mafah has been up reading his signed artist edition! What is he thinking? Those things aren't made to be read, they are made for the shelf.

Did he like it? Of course he did! Come on, it's a Stephen King Dark Tower book!

Bryant offers these assurances:
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole not only does absolutely NOTHING to tarnish the legacy of a great series of novels, it actually strengthens it. 
  • it feels 100% as though this story fits -- tonally, stylistically, and plotwise -- with the rest of the series. 
  • Any prospective Book IV-and-a-half can't do much in the way of altering the series' storyline. . . 
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole also serves to provide an even better transition from the Roland of the first three novels to the slightly more touchy-feely Roland of the final three novels. 
  • on its own (WTTK) stands as what I might consider to be King's strongest-ever tale of pure fantasy. 
  • (I really like this) -- this is the most satisfying of the tales, for the simple reason that it returns our ka-tet to the state in which many Tower fans enjoyed them the most: all together, on the road, with a far-flung destination in mind and no idea of how long it might take to get there. It's nice to have Jake and Eddie and Oy alive again; it's nice for Susannah to get flustered and for Detta Walker to pop out of her and start cussin' up a storm. 

Okay, I'll stop giving sound bites! (There is a nice Star Wars picture in his review.) I enjoyed the review. And, for those of you who hesitate -- there really are no spoilers! Trust me, okay.
The review is HERE.
Well done, Bryant!

King Will Narrate WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE

Bryant Burnette shared with me that Stephen King will be reading the new Dark Tower novel, Wind Through The Keyhole.

Lilja's Library posted several quotes from King's site (which are not currently appearing on stephenking.com).  This is directly formhttp://www.liljas-library.com:


“I’ve spent a lot of time with the character of Roland Deschain and the Dark Tower universe over
the years. Now that I am revisiting that world, it felt like a fine time to lend it my voice,” said King. 
The Wind Through the Keyhole audiobook will also offer an exclusive audio preview of King’s upcoming novel, Doctor Sleep, the eagerly-awaited sequel to his classic, The Shinin, to be published in 2013. Stephen King will also read the excerpt from Doctor Sleep. 
“We’re thrilled that Steve wanted to return to the studio for THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE. As his audio fans know, he is a terrific narrator,” says Chris Lynch, Executive Vice President & Publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio. “His choice to preview his follow up to THE SHINING exclusively on audio speaks volumes about his support for the format. We couldn’t be happier.”
I really enjoyed the earlier Dark Tower novels King read.  He gave his voice to The Gunslinger, which was the first audio book he did.  It was great, if not a bit awkward at first.  King quickly found a rhythm.  The Drawing of the Three (a favorite of mine) was wonderful.  I think King's best reading is of Needful Things.

In the audio edition of The Gunslinger, King offers a short introduction and explains why he thinks it is beneficial for an author to read their own work.

CARRIE Lives On




Watch out mama -- prom night will go on as Carrie gets a new burst of energy!

Broadwayworld.com has posted news that Carrie has extended its run and will play through April 22, 2012. They say this is because of "popular demand."

I would be interested if this is because they are having sold out performance, or just doing better than breaking even. The reviews have been very positive.

Transcript: King Reading Dr. Sleep

Whoo-Hooo!  Good stuff, here.  My favorite website, Lilja's Library posted a link to an article at savannahnow titled, "Stephen King reads first pages of 'The Shining' sequel 'Dr. Sleep' in Savannah [transcript]."  (HERE)

Jason Kendall introduces the King reading:

About 40 minutes into his address, King opened a file folder and produced the first few pages of his manuscript-in-progress "Dr. Sleep," a sequel to "The Shining." The new novel reimagines Danny Torrance as an 8-year-old boy living alone with his mother, three years after the events of "The Shining." 
Fair warning: Like all of King's material, the "Dr. Sleep" opening gets a little graphic, so if you're easily offended we suggest you stop reading here. The following is transcribed from the full video of King's presentation, made public by the Savannah Book Festival and watchable here. 
At the urging of the audience, King took a seat and narrated the first few pages of "Dr. Sleep."
"So this is how it starts," King said, and began to read. . . 

GoodReads Stephen King Group



Hey, I want to offer a shout out to a website I really like. It's called Good Reads. A lot of book talk over there, and a Stephen King book club as well.

Angie shared with me, 

There is a group on goodreads who talk about all things King. I am the moderator of the group (Angie) and would love to have King fans stop on by. 
We even read a monthly book together and discuss it. We change it up every three months. So one month we read a book by King, then a book we would recommend to King, and then a book King recommends. Next month we are reading Full Dark, No Stars. 
We discuss all kinds of topics… from what would you talk to King about if you were stuck on an elevator with him, graphic novels, what your King book shelve looks like, to what is you favorite movie/show that is a King adaptation. I started up the group and built it into a huge community where now we almost have 3000 members. We will be discussing the new Dark Tower book, Wind Through the Keyhole soon too!!!

Here is the link to the group : http://www.goodreads.com
Feel free to stop by and join our Constant Reader community!  --Angie

Thinner: Less Is Better




Well, after the super fantastic review of Thinner from Christina Durner (posted HERE), I decided to give it a second shot. Maybe I had forgotten something.

The Review:

Once again, here is the meat of Durner's review:
Thinner is by far the best gypsy curse movie that this reviewer has ever seen. The plot is incredibly original and captivating. The performances are dynamic and enthralling. The special effects are impeccable and flawless. This films is proof of why Stephen King truly is a master of the macabre and brings the genre of gypsy curses to a whole new level.
  • It is the best gypsy curse movie I have seen, too.
  • The plot is original and captivating. 
  • The performances are dynamic.
  • The special effects are very good.
  • The story, not film, is proof why King is the master of the macabre.
BUT. . . all that said. . . something still doesn't work in this movie.


Here's what the MST3K gang at my house said:

The monkey: Billy looked fatter than 300 pounds. Wayyy fatter. I would give it an A. When asked, "What made that a good movie?" Monkey responds, "I liked the concept of it. It was a good story."

The Diva: I thought that the ending was confusing. The kid ate the pie, and you don't know what happened to her. Grade: C

The Crazy Person: "She was DEAD! That kid was dead when she ate the pie! And that was gross when the guy poured blood out of his hand. And why was the man so fat? And why did that man eat the pie." Grade: It was a dumb movie. I will give it a G. G stands for BAD. (After a discussion about letter grades, the Crazy Person changed their grade to an F.)

Sadly, I'm afraid I'm left agreeing most with the Crazy Person.

So, what doesn't work?

1. Though the characters might be well performed, none of them are likable. You wouldn't want to take a road trip with any of them! There is no character that anchors the movie.

2. It is depressing. there is no sunshine here!

3. The plot is poorly executed. The scenes move in a logical, but not suspenseful manner.

A movie should make you want to read the book; to find what you're missing. But Thinner does not inspire me to go read the novel.

The less I watch Thinner, the better my life will be. In fact, i don't even own a copy. Went to get Thinner out of my Stephen King DVD collection, only to discover I had never bothered to buy it. What a wise man! My wife rented me a copy. I let the people in our house choose which movie to watch: Man in the Iron mask or Thinner. They chose Thinner. They now want their money back. . . except the Monkey, who thinks this is a good movie.

She Likes It !



Stunned amazement here.  

Christina Durner at examiner.com has a short review of Thinner.  After the typical summery, Durner then offers her take on the movie.  Okay, I'm ready . . . take your best shot, Durner.  Get in line with every other review and . . . why?  She liked it?

Here is Durner's take on Thinner:
Thinner is by far the best gypsy curse movie that this reviewer has ever seen. The plot is incredibly original and captivating. The performances are dynamic and enthralling. The special effects are impeccable and flawless. This films is proof of why Stephen King truly is a master of the macabre and brings the genre of gypsy curses to a whole new level.

The full review is HERE.

So I am now required to watch this movie again and see -- what in the world did I miss?  

Anyone else out there think this was a great film?  Beuller. . . Beuller. . .

Dr. Gash's Tribute To King

Doctor Gash at Dread Central has a great post titled, “Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel: A Tribute to Stephen King.”  Check it out HERE.

Dr. Gash offers this insight, “He has sold 350 million copies of his books. To put that in perspective, in 2012 it's estimated that the population of the United States is just over 313 million. That's more than one King book per person.”

King working with John Mellencamp

Sound Spike reports that Aerosmith is working on several new projects. The story also revealed that Stephen King is working with singer-song writer John Mellencamp.

Here's the quote from Sound Spike:

The band reportedly has been recording backing tracks, and frontman Steven Tyler plans to lay down vocal tracks after he finishes up his judging duties on "American Idol." (Tyler is also scheduled to appear on the Feb. 27 episode of ABC-TV's "Jimmy Kimmel Live.")

Tyler could be working with some unusual collaborators. Douglas told MusicRadar that Tyler took him up on his suggestion to collaborate with director Robert Rodriguez, who is also a musician. He added that he is waiting to hear back from director Tim Burton about a possible collaboration.

Douglas was hoping to get Tyler in a room with novelist Steven King as well.  "As it turned out, Stephen King said, 'I wish you had contacted me a month earlier -- I'm writing with John Mellencamp!' How funny is that? People thought I lost my mind, and there he is, working with Mellencamp," Douglas said.


Full article HERE

The First Autograph


photo credit: HERE



Tom Barton has a short piece on King's speech in Savannah. Barton says he imagined King introverted and withdrawn, maybe a little morbid. Then he declares, joyfully, "He's a hoot." Well we knew that! Makes me wonder what rock Barton has been under.

There are the usual Dr. Sleep summery's, nothing new there. Dr. Sleep sounds absolutely awesome! I was rooting for Dr. Sleep when King said he was either going to work on it or Wind Through The Keyhole. Alas, the Shining will return!

Barton also reports an interesting story King related about his first non-book-store environment.
King, who was in his mid-20s at the time, was in the Steel City on a book tour, promoting his first novel "Carrie." Part of his job, he said, was to appear on morning TV shows (AM Pittsburgh), along with jitterbugging grandmas, to plug his book to the locals.

That evening, King said, he had a command performance at a dinner that the local newspaper hosted at a fancy restaurant. Unfortunately, the author was suffering from homesickness and a far worse malady -- an intestinal disorder that forced him to make an emergency trip to the joint's opulently appointed restroom.

This was a place that had its own restroom attendant. King remembered him as an ancient man who appeared to be about 108 years old.

Unfortunately, there was one necessity that this restroom lacked: Doors to the stalls. So as King was sitting on the toilet, the attendant approached the young author, carrying pen and paper.

"He said, 'You're Stephen King, aren't you? I saw you on AM Pittsburgh. Can I get your autograph?' I gave my first autograph sitting on the crapper."

The full article is HERE

The Mick Garris Movies



I enjoy Mick Garris' movies/mini-series quite a bit.  I am referring to his King work, as I am not familiar with other movies he directed.  (Really, there's a movie called "Fuzz Bucket" !)

Here is a chronological listing of King movies Garris has directed:
1992, Sleepwalkers
1994, The Stand
1997, The Shining
2004, Riding The Bullet
2006, Desperation
2011, Bag Of Bones

Faithful: I think Garris' work is very true to King's writing.  He doesn't go rogue!  He at least attempts to capture the characters, tone and plot of the story as King did.  I actually think writing this stuff might be easier than trying to capture it on film.  Garris is not the first to struggle at points with adapting Stephen King.

Sometimes it's nice when a movie maker is inspired by King, and then goes their own direction.  Hence the Kubrick version of The Shining.  King is right, it's not "His" book on screen; but it is a version of his book.  It's the Shining as inspired by Stephen King.  Sometimes that works even better than the faithful adaptations.  But as a King reader, I enjoy the movies that hold tight to the books.

My favorite of the bunch is The Stand.  Garris has directed all of the recent King mini-series, and I think done well with the format.  The Stand was given the room it needed to breathe.  Of course, some characters got squashed together and subplots were lost -- but in general the story remained intact.  You wouldn't read the novel having read the book and think, "Wow, this is a totally different story."  You would know the flow of events and the characters remained true to their on page persona.

Now, dare we discuss Sleepwalkers?  It was terrible!  For one thing, the main idea of the movie is never explained.  Thus the viewer is left wondering, "What happened?"  It would be like making The Shining, and never letting you in on the fact that Danny has special powers.  You're left wondering: Is this an incest movie?  What's up with these characters?  Thus, from the get go, the viewer is left in the dark and grasping throughout.

I spotted the Bag Of Bones mini-series on Netflix last night, but resisted the urge to watch all four hours.  For some reason, though I was very excited about it when it first aired, I cannot muster the energy to watch it again.  Simply put, while the movie engaged me at the time, knowing the end take away some of the excitement.  It's not that knowing how a movie concludes messes up the "mystery" for me.  Not at all!  I enjoy watching a second time with the ending in mind.  But, I do not think the end of Bag of Bones was a strong, and thus I am not propelled through the four hours toward it.  Or, maybe, ya'all have been talking it down so much you (you know who you are) finally got me to see things in a new light.

I welcome your thoughts and insights.  Go ahead, list out your favorites and least favorites.

On Cooking



Stephen King has a short article in the 2011cookbook "Man With A Pan."  Well, it's sort of a cookbook.  It has recipes.  But it also has articles.  Kings three page article focuses on why he cooks and some things he considers no-no's in the kitchen.

The reason King does a lot of the cooking in his home is because his wife, Tabitha, has lost a lot of her sense of taste and smell.  The result is a lack of passion for food.  So, King's work in the kitchen is one of some necessity!  Does he love to cook?  He makes no such claim.  "I can respect the food even if I"m not especially crazy about cooking it," King says.  He closes the article with the statement, "You can cook stuff people love to eat (always assuming they have a sense of taste) without loving to cook."

The article is wonderful.  The cliff notes:
  • King likes the frying pan a lot!
  • Cooking requires patience.  "Engage in culinary foreplay," King urges as he discusses how frying gets a bad name because people go crazy.
  • The microwave can be your friend.  "I also love the microwave" King says, explaining it's all how you use the thing.  He then gives a quick explanation how to cook a "great fish dish that's beautiful in the microwave."
  • Be gentle.  That theme resonates throughout the article.  Food deserves some respect, so even if cooking is not your pride and joy, don't destroy every ting with fire.
About the book, editor John Donohue says,
It was very important for me to include a broad cross section of men who cook for their families in the book," Donohue says. "I wanted the well crafted essays by professional writers, but I also wanted to hear from other working fathers, ones who might have more demanding jobs than being a successful writer. It's one thing to make your own hours, it's another to have to be on the job as a fireman, a bond trader, a carpenter, an economist, and still get food on the table. I wanted the book to be an inspiration to men of all professional stripes."
Man with a Pan can be purchased HERE.  The book is also available on Kindle.

Notes On Garris' RIDING THE BULLET




I'm watching, and enjoying, Riding The Bullet.  The film was directed by Mick Garris.  This is not a review.

1. After working out tonight, I went with a friend to pick someone up. I elected then to walk home. I'm trying to lsoe weight. The walk home, at around 11pm, had me passing several small town bars and throught he "heart" of our small town. A small town is both beautiful and spooky at night. That walk got me to thinking about the creepy journey in Riding The Bullet.  The encounter with the dog in Riding the Bullet is what always scares me when walking in these parts.  Even in town Coyotes make their presence known! 

2. I really like hte scene where the grim reaper appears, and the images on the wall come to life.  Very nice, and spooky.

3. The characters are nicely done.  They feel real.  The acting is natural -- which means it's good acting! 

4. There is a morbid fixation on death here!  It is handled with a mixture of horror and comedy.  I hope humor was intended!

5. The movie is set in the 70's.  So far, the only really awkward thing is that it doesn't really feel like the 70's.  It feels like the 90's trying to be the 70's.  Because it's hard to really reporduce just how. . . icky . . . the 70's were.

6. I've been to a LOT of funerals,and I don't thinkt he movie -- or any movie -- ever captures the real tone of a funeral.  Though every funeral is unique, I have never seen one in a movie I felt was realistic. 

Garris said, "Death deepens you when it’s close to you. I mean, it’s not really meant to be an arthouse film or anything; it’s meant to be an entertainment that hopefully has a bit more of an emotional connection than most “horror” movies, and emo horror movies, if you will."

I agree.  So I don't understand why film makers find it so difficult to ever capture the sense of a funeral on film. 
7. There are so many dreams and visions and flashbacks it gets frustrating to try and track with "prime reality."  Vision of a guy grabbing Alan and asking if he needs a ride reminds me of Pet Sematary's ghost.  Here's another vision -- papa just showed up as a haunting apparition.  There are visions within the memory scenes. . . visions within visions.   A dog attack. . . but it was only a vision.  To be followed by a vision of mama.  What this movie needs is another vision.  Wait!  We just got another. . . ! 

8. Garris told Bookgasm, "Watching the movie for the very first time, when the print had just come from the lab the day before, with an audience of 700 people, with my mother and sister in the audience, was nerve-wracking and emotional, much more so than anything I’d made before or since."

9. I like the feeling of journey as Alan tracks cross country to be with his mother. 

10. Alan talking to himself . . . with himself represented as a second person. . . is effective.

11. I love roller coasters!  Love to ride them, learn about them, experience the top of a hill thrill.  Magic Mountain has some great coasters. The idea of a demon on a roller coaster is awesome!  I've thought of it often, before I was aware of this work.  A haunted rolelr coaster is cool because once you're on a coaster, you're strapped in and stuck -- perfect opportunity for unfriendly spirits to mess with you. 

12. In the book, Lilja's Library, we are treated to some interesting insights to the larger King universe.  Lilja writes,
"Garris has also put in some hints that this is based on a King story.  First, you an see a car that looks incredibly like Christine, which turns out to be Goerge Staub's car.  Chrstine was a 1958 Plymouth Fury and int he movie they use on from 1960, but who'll noitce?  Also, Garris himself plays a doctor at the end of the movie and his wife Cynthia (who has been in many of his films including the dead woman in the bath tub in The Shining) plays the nurse called Annie, a tribute to King's Misery." p.396
Here is an interview with Mick Garris whicn includes some discussion of Riding The Bullet.

Seven Reasons We Read Stephen King

photo credit HERE

1. He's Fearless


2. He's Mean


3. He Writes Uphill


4. He's A Woman


5. He's A Scaredy Rat


6. He's Disgusting


7. He's Everywhere

The magic of Famous Monsters

photo credit: tgdaily.com

I really enjoyed David Konow's article, "The Magic of Famous Monsters" at tgdaily.com

Konow explores the first issue of Famous Monsters.  This is a magazine that King has said qite a lot about, and seems to ahve influenced him deeply as a young man.

The article cites King's book On Writing, in which King recalls the "bright memories" associated with this magazine.
Konow quotes King:
King wrote the introduction to Mr. Monster's Movie Gold, one of the many books Forry had penned over the years, and in it he recalled the first time he ever picked up the magazine at a local newsstand. "I didn't just read my first issue of Famous Monsters," King wrote. "I inhaled it... I poured over it... I damn near memorized that magazine and it seemed eons until the next one."
It wasn't long after King discovered the wonderful world of Famous Monsters that he sent Forry a story he wrote in 1960. It was the very first time King ever sent anything out in the hopes of being published. Ackerman was also a literary agent, he represented Ray Bradbury, L. Ron Hubbard and Ed Wood, and he could have added King to his roster, but unfortunately he rejected the story.


I guess King survived being rejected by Ed Wood's agent! -- Haha.

The article recalls a touching scene in which Ackerman met Kingat a book signing in L.A. and had him sign the original copy of a story King submitted in the early sities!
Go read the entire article.  I've actually linked to the second part, but both are a great read.

Musical Confusion

Sing, Wendy!  Sing!

Am I the only person confused by the Broadway musical, Carrie?  I might be. 

Musicals on their own don't make sense to me.  People do not walk down the sidewalk and burst into song. . . choirs do not leap out of flower beds to join the crazy guy singing. . . taxi drivers don't stop in the middle of the street to join the crazy guy singing with his choir. . .

I can tolerate about two (2) musicals.  Little Shop of Horrors and Phantom of the Opera.  Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote an awesome script for Phantom, and Little Shop of Horrors is simply delightful. 

Something about Stephen King doesn't make me think: MUSICAL!  When a new King book gets announced, I do not think, "Oh boy, I hope it becomes a musical!"  I saw a poll asking what King book should be the next musical. 

Mixing horror and musical seems like more than just a genre buster.  This isn't like Cowboys and Aliens -- it's more like . . .
  • Mr. Rogers directed by Oliver Stone
  • The Happy Days cast does Nightmare on Elm Street 12
  • Frenchtoast and Spaghetti
  • A Bible movie with a budget
  • Oprah in Star Wars
  • Jonathan Edwards teams with Joel Osteen
Seriously, can you see Jack singing away as he swings at Wendy?  Talk about a new take on "Heeeeers Johnny!"  Would the dog sing in Cujo?  Would zombies do a super dance in Cell?  Somehow I just can't really see Misery the Musical.  The only one that might be cool would be IT.  Pennywise sings. . . no, I take it back.

Molly Ranson Talks CARRIE


Molly Ranson is playing Carrie in the new Broadway musical.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from an interview she did with Associated Press' Mark Kennedy in an article titled, "Molly Ranson gets bloody in ‘Carrie’."  (HERE

Kennedy describes Ranson as a petite, polite New Yorker "with a disarming smile who is making her professional debut in a musical. One thing in her favor is something she shares with Carrie: Underestimate her at your peril."  He also says that Ranson loved the movie Carrie, but had not seen the previous musical.

About the blood, Ranson says: "“It’ll look good. It’ll look real. . . It’s going to be done really beautifully and subtly — artistically, kind of abstract.”

About the original Carrie musical: “People should come to it with new eyes and ears and be open to a completely new experience.  If they loved the original, I think they’ll love this, but they should know it’s not the original.”

The Stand Audio now available


The Stand became available on audio today.  HERE is the audible edition.

47 hrs and 41 mins
Read by Grover Gardner

Yes, I am very happy. 

Now, wher is Pet Sematary?

10 Favorite

Here are my current 10 favorite King novels, though my list is ever changing.

1. The Stand
2. The Shining
3. Dolores Claiborne
4. Needful Things
5. IT
6. The Green Mile
7. The Runningman
8. Christine
9. The Mist
10. The Drawing Of The Three

Did I surprise you any?  Didn't surprise myself a bit!

Here's what I notice looking at my own list: First, I am not a Dark Tower nut.  I'll roll with it, but I don't think I like the fantasy genre as much as many King fans do.  I also struggle with LOTR.  I also notice that I enjoy works from different King eras.  Remember the three woman novels, Claiborne, Gerald's Game and Rose Madder ?  I thought Claiborne was off the charts good. 

The Stand and IT seem to rank highest for most fans.  In fact, it's almost boring to admit they're fave's, because everyone rattles those two off. 

A note on Needful Things and Christine.  Two novels I think are excellent, and don't get the praise they deserve.  I found Christine to be a horror delight.  It doesn't attempt to be deep or even dramatic!  It's just fun.  Needful Things on the other hand is serous business.  Characters and plot unfold in a careful web -- the horror master at work here.  King finished Castle Rock off with a bang, and I enjoyed all the sparks and fireworks as the devil himself came to town.

So, you're turn.  10 favorite.  If you haven't read 10, then stop reading the blog and go read 10.  (Read your Bible first, said the preacher.  You're welcome.)

You Can't Kill Stephen King premier's in April

This is from WLBZ 2 (HERE)

AUBURN, Maine (AP) -- A film with a humorous take on Stephen King will premiere in the horror writer's home state of Maine in April.


"You Can't Kill Stephen King" will be part of this year's Lewiston Auburn Film Festival. The film will be shown on April 14 at the Community Little Theatre in Auburn.
The film follows a group of friends who visit Maine in hopes of meeting King, but come face-to-face with several eccentric characters. It's already received national mainstream attention in cinema magazines.

Festival organizers and the film's creators plan to send invitations to King, welcoming him to view the world premiere of the film. Co-director Monroe Mann says he hopes it will make King smile.

Seven Reasons We Read Stephen King, #7 : He's Everywhere

photo credit: The Fire Wire

How many things are everywhere?  Dirt, Sponge Bob, and Stephen King. . . they're everywhere.  Oh, and Star Wars.  Yes, I am aware that only God is omnipresent.  But hang with me. . .

He's sold something like a trillion books.  Yes, a trillion. . . but it might be more.  Okay, more precisely: "His books have been translated into 33 different languages, published in over 35 different countries. There are over 300 million copies of his novels in publication." (source HERE)  I saw a few weeks ago that King's novel Cujo would be published in Persian for Iran.  Other King novels already published in Persian include "Blaze", "Dreamcatcher", "The Green Mile", and "Cell."

No matter what format you prefer, King is there!  His stories transcend simply the written word.  See, some people don't read!  They're literate, but they don't believe in opening a book.  That's okay, because you can listen to Stephen King on audio book.  Don't listen to audio books, that's okay, because he's on Kindle.  Not a Kindle fan, right?  Well, there's movies! 

Oh, boy, are there ever movies!  Movies that represent his work well, and movies that are absolutely terrible.  A lot of movies that are terrible.  Some terrible movies refuse to die!  Like Children of the Corn.  They just go on and on and on until you are ready for the aliens in the corn fields to stop making crop circles and just kill those freaky little kids.

The list goes on and on and on, doesn't it?  Comic books, radio programs, television, magazines, and even musicals.  Yes, musicals.  And apparently, the new Carrie is doing nicely.  Go figure!

Two Reasons King Is Everywhere:
Now, let me ask: Why is Stephen King everywhere?  Two reasons: 1. Because he's written so much stuff!  2. Because what he writes connects. 

You can only have so many versions of the works of Harper Lee, because she only wrote one book -- To Kill a Mockingbird.  So you can make 1 play, 1 movie, 1 audio recording.  Sure, you can do it again, remake it, but in the end it is just not possible to generate as much media. 

But piles of pages aren't enough, are they?  The writing has to connect at a deeper level with a lot of people.  That's what King has a gift for.  He connects!  People read him for different reasons, but the point is -- a lot of people read him. 

A Lot Of Media:
I think one reason we read Stephen King is because of all the media surrounding him.  We are drawn in by the movies, comics and television programs.  You know, I haven't actually READ the pages of a King book in a while.  I listen to everything.  Why?  Because King makes it possible to listen to everything!  (Wait, I have been reading The Long Walk, because I'm too cheap to buy it off audible).

Every format King exposes his work to is another cluster of potential fans and constant readers.

He's not only everywhere in terms of types of media; he's everywhere with genre as well.  While he used to be pigeon holed as a horror writer, I think he has successfully broken out into main stream. . . whatever that is!  Works like 11.22.63 has given him greater exposure and credibility to the literary world, and to new readers.  What do new readers do when they finish a book -- they look for other works by the same author.

He's Generous With His Work
Another reason King is so widely read is because he gives people an opportunity to turn his work into movies.  Called Dollar Babies, one of the things I've noticed is that people were not previously King fans are putting his work to screen -- why?  Because he's the guy that will let the new person at the table have a shot. 

While mentioning generous with is work, it is worth noting that he is also generous with his money.  I wonder if that gains him any readers. . . I know that's not why he does it!

His Work Is Everywhere:

Can you go in a book store and not find Stephen King? I mean real book stores, not theology book stores or Bible bookstores or specialty bookstores, OKAY!  He's everywhere in a video store.  I was in one tonight. . . probably one of my last trips to a video store. . . and noticed just how much King there was in that place.  He's on Net Flix.  He's all over audible.  He's in school, both in the kids backpacks and int he school library.  Are there any schools that have King as required reading?  The copy of The Long Walk that I'm reading is a school library copy.

He's on laser disk, video tape and audio tape.  He also on MP3 and Blue Ray.

Really, He's Everywhere!
Not only is King's work eveywhere. . . he's everywhere!  He grants lots of interviews, sometimes reads his own books onto audio, and often pops up in his own movies.  he doesn't have to!  He could hide away in a closet and write to his hearts delight.  But I think his willingness to, if you will, put himself out there adds to his popularity. 

Please, comment as you will. 
And, tell me. . . what is the stangest place you've found Stephen King?

Girl Who Loves Horror: STEPHEN KING's LADIES

This is good! 
The Girl Who Loves Horror posted on her blog a fantastic article titled: "Women In Horror Month: Stephen King's Ladies."  She first posted this February 2, 2011 -- and has graciously allowed me to repost it in full here! 
I'm very happy about this because it is a great article, and a great blog. 

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH: Stephen King's Ladies
by The Girl Who Loves Horror

As many other bloggers out there have already said, February is Women in Horror Recognition Month, which is pretty freaking awesome. Women are an integral part of the genre, on all sides of the field, and this is an excellent way to honor and exalt them as they should be!

The Mike at the fabulous From Midnight, With Love blog is offering up some linkage opportunities to Midnight Warriors who post their thoughts on women in horror so be sure to step by there this month and see what other awesome bloggers are talking about.

For my first post on this topic, I'm starting off with what I know best.


 What a cute dork.

 Stephen King is known by fans for doing some pretty gruesome stuff to the characters in his books. When he takes on the task of putting a female in the lead of his story, or an otherwise important role, they are just as fair game for his twisted plot lines as the males. So here comes the list! Some are heroines, some are villains, but all of these fabulous females have been put through King's crazy shit that he thinks up and have either come out on top or gotten their bloody revenge, and for that, THEY RULE.

If you haven't read these books, I'm about to reveal some serious spoilers.

Jessie Burlingame from Gerald's Game
Jessie and her hubby Gerald were having a nice time at their cottage by the lake, until Gerald wanted to kink up their sex life. He handcuffs Jessie to the bed, but she's not into it and kicks him off of her, causing him to have a heart attack and die. Lying there naked and bound, with no one around to help her, Jessie's torment over the next several hours are both physical and emotional. She has recollections of being sexually molested by her father; watches a dog eat her dead husband's body; and deals with a frightening manifestation coming at her in the room - all while still trying to free herself from the handcuffs. In the end, she gets out of this situation in the grossest way possible by almost skinning her own hand to slip out of the handcuffs. Gross, Stephen King. GROSS. By the way, that manifestation that was stalking Jessie during her ordeal was actually a necrophiliac grave robber who is later caught by police. Somehow, I don't think that made Jessie feel better.


Sandra Stansfield from "The Breathing Method"

"The Breathing Method" is the only novella from King's collection titled Different Seasons to NOT have been adapted to film, and believe me, after reading this I think you'll understand why. "TBM" is a frame story that follows a men's club who gather around a fireplace and tell stories. One man, a doctor, tells the story of one of his patients, Sandra Stansfield. She is a single woman pregnant with the child of a married man. This happened in the 1950s, so that's not a good thing. However, Sandra is a proud woman determined to have the child and when the doctor introduces her to the new technique of Lamaze, she dutifully practices. Sandra is past her due date when she's in a terrible car accident on Christmas Eve. The doctor arrives on scene only to find out that Sandra has been decapitated in the accident. However, her body is still miraculously alive, and able to continue to do the Lamaze breathing until the doctor successfully delivers her baby. My jaw was on the floor when I first read this story. Incredibly gruesome, but still kind of sweet and uplifting? Yeah, I don't know how it's possible either, but that's how I felt.


Sara Tidwell from Bag of Bones
  

This is my absolute favorite King book. I've read it several times now, and it's a fantastic book to pick when you just want to read a really good story. Sara Tidwell is kind of the villain in this piece but maybe you won't blame her once you read about what Stephen King put her through. Sara was the singer of a popular African American band at the turn of the century in the town where author Mike Noonan has his summer home. Haunting experiences at his house lead Mike to uncover a curse on several families in the town which have something to do with Sara Tidwell. In a vision, Mike uncovers the horrific truth - Sara and her young son Kito were killed by a group of men by the lake. They brutally rape and murder Sara and drown her son in the lake. Since then, the descendants of the men responsible have all had tragic drownings of the firstborn child in their families - children whose names begin with "K" or "C." King graphically describes Sara's attack which is all the more brutal because of how strong and confident Sara is described as being earlier in the book. The men intend to "break" her by raping her, but her spirit proves to be quite unbreakable and very deadly.


 Rose Daniels from Rose Madder
 Rose's husband Norman is a police officer. He should be the perfect guy, but instead he is a vicious rage-oholic who beats Rose for 14 years before she finally leaves him one day. Rose manages to make a new life for herself and get rid of Norman for good (with the help of a woman in a painting and the other world it transports her to - hey, it's a King novel, I don't know how else to say it to make it make sense) Her character is amazing for many reasons but mostly for what she endures in the first chapter of the novel. It's an incident that occurs 9 years before Rose leaves her husband, and it's a particularly violent and disturbing incident of abuse. Rose is lying in the corner of the room, bleeding and in immense pain after Norman has punched her in the stomach. The worst part: she's four months pregnant. This one short chapter of the novel instantly sets up how truly evil Norman is as he casually eats a sandwich while cleaning up Rose's blood and smiling at her while her dead baby is leaking out of her body, assuring her that she can always have another one. Descriptive yet sickening sentences like "Something is putting sinister, slippery little kisses against the insides of her thighs" really put the reader in Rose's shoes and make you feel the unbearable pain she is going through. And you truly believe her and side with her as she vehemently repeats "I hate you" in her head.

Trisha MacFarland from The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

If I were ever lost in the woods for days on end, I'm not sure how I could survive. The 9-year-old heroine from one of King's shortest novels surely has one up on me there. While on a hiking trip with her brother and mother, Trisha wanders off the path and when she tries taking a shortcut back to where she was, she becomes hopelessly lost. With little food and drink, her GameBoy and her Walkman, Trisha must do whatever she has to to live through this. This girl is awesome. She's only a child and still manages to keep her cool and use smart and effective methods to sustain herself until help arrives. Sure, she starts going a little loopy and imagines that an evil creature called The God of the Lost is after her, but having pneumonia and diarrhea from forest berries is bound to do that to anyone. The climax of the novel is great too. Trisha comes upon a road but not before the God of the Lost comes upon her. At least, that's what she imagines it to be, when in reality it's a freaking BEAR. Thankfully she's saved by a hunter and taken back to her family, but damn. This 9-year-old survived days in the woods and almost got her ass eaten up by a BEAR. She's way cooler than all of us. This is not one of King's more popular books, but it is interesting in that it the most straightforward narrative that he's ever written I think.

I've avoided discussing the women most obviously affiliated with King - Carrie White from Carrie, Annie Wilkes from Misery, Dolores Claiborne from Dolores Claiborne, Charlie McGee from Firestarter - because all of those novels have been made into movies and none of the above stories have. (None of them had been when the blog post was written.  Now we have Bag Of Bones.)  And they are some of King's best work and most interesting stories, and hopefully this will make more fans aware of King's entire body of work. I highly recommend any of the aforementioned novels (especially Bag of Bones - I SERIOUSLY love that book) to you so pick one up today and enjoy! And keep celebrating all the amazing Women in Horror!

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Original post: HERE

Seven Reasons We Read Stephen King, #6 : He's Disgusting


Gross!  Grody!  Disgusting. 

“If I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.” -- Stephen King

I'm not sure I need to give content to this post. . . the title says it all!  One reason some of us read King is because he is gross -- disgusting -- can't believe someone wrote that.  Of course, with the disgusting come violence, monsters and buckets of blood. 

So, Stephen King readers are supposed to play cool and pretend the horror isn't the real reason we enjoy him.  We're supposed to say it's literature or something like that; but the truth is, many of us like the blood and guts!

There is a naughty feeling to reading Stephen King.  He's like the kid who sits in the school cafeteria with a little group huddled around him as he tells you the most nasty, disgusting stories you can imagine.  There is giggling and jabbing, but for the most part, everyone is quiet because they want to hear what happens next.

  • A stranded man cuts off body parts and eats himself to stay alive. 
  • A girl is covered in pigs blood. 
  • A corpse rises out of a bathtub. 
  • A car driven by a ghost runs teens off the road. 
  • A Anti-Christ crucifies people in Las Vegas. 
  • A monster devours little kids. 
  • Two women hack each other up in the middle of Main Street, Castle Rock. 
  • An electrocution goes wrong, and fire bursts from the condemned mans head. 
  • A boy shoots himself in the head. 
  • A cat comes back from the graveyard, but smells like death. 
  • A cat is nailed to a sign post. 
  • Aliens are inside you, and they want out! 
  • A fat kid creates total Barf-O-Rama at he local pie eating contest. 
  • A man tried to swallow a cat.  (noticing a lot of bad stuff happens to cats)
                            . . . And then there's rats. . . have I mentioned rats lately?

Okay, tell me what absolutely disgusting scene King has given us that you love!

11.22.63 Journal #9: Thinking It Over



That was a wonderful read! 

Because it is so different from King's other works, I'd hesitate to say things like, "It was his best!"  It was different -- and wonderful -- and difficult -- challenging and at moments mesmerizing.

Audio:

I read this book via the audio edition.  Yes, that counts as reading, Bryant. 

Craig Wasson makes James Hosty sound like Jimmy Stewart.  And that makes Hosty all out lovable to me.  One problem in listening is that you cannot hear quotation marks. There have been a couple of times when I was not sure if George was thinking something, or saying it.  Wasson's reading is very energetic.  He performs as much as reads, which I enjoy.  An example of someone who gets out of the stories way is Grover Gardner, who is often accused of being dry.

Genre:

11.22.63 is a genre buster.  It is not alternate history!  King spends very little ink discussing the real heart of "what if."  So what is it?

The scenes after the assassination attempt reminded me of a John Grisham novel as the FBI sneaks George out of Dallas.  I enjoyed it, as it is the kind of stuff that King doesn't usually engage in.  Big government agents with their own agenda's out-smarted at points by the ordinary guy.

But 11.22.63 is not a legal thriller.  It may smack at moments of John Grisham; but it's not Grisham!  It's not alternate history.  It's really not sci-fi.  So what is it?  Well, maybe goolosh.  That stuff mom made when she had to clean out the fridges -- little bit of everything.  Maybe a better way to say it is that it transcends genre, and good novels do that, don't they?

As I traveled through the last pages, I realized what this book was.  It swept over me in a wave, and I almost cried out, "OH!"  It was both painful, and obvious.  This sucker is romance!  I'm reading a romance novel!  King isn't interested in time travel, he's interested in characters!  He's not even that interested in the alternate history -- he is laser focused on those people in the book. 

Love is such a messy thing, and gets in the way of good science fiction.  It certainly does in 11.22.63.  I like the love story quite a bit.  That said, I wanted more alternate history.  The love story isn't sappy; this ain't Danielle Steel!  It is engaging because it occurs while you are focused on other things -- and that's the way love is, it happens while other things are going on.  You're supposed to be focused don college classes, graduating, and some girl comes along and -- whoa baby!  How many missions have been messed up by love? 

Time Travel Tricks?

We never really get to learn what the world would be like if Kennedy had not been shot.  Why is that?  Because the science fiction gets in the way.  Yes, the world is changed by Kennedy's escaping assassination, but the future is also changed by other things George does.  So we don't get a "pure" look at the world.  More than that, things are being ripped apart by time travel itself.  I did not see how saving Kennedy would cause a giant earthquake.  The logic escapes me, captain Kirk.

Seriously, now -- which changes history more, 1. JFK escaping death , 2. An earthquake that kills thousands ?  I would say the earthquake!  Thus the alternate history is affected more by the events in California than by anything in Dallas or Washington.

In regards to the alternate history, I really struggled to accept some of the main ideas.  For instance, I think King gives Johnson far too much credit for the Civil rights movement.  I also do not see how Kennedy's living changes anything with Martin Luther King.  (?)  It seems that the civil rights movement had a voice so loud that any American president would eventually be pressed to join in. 

Also, would an American president really use nukes?  I know that's what LBJ warned about. . . but do we want to believe the press offered up in a political ad?  The further away from Kennedy that King got, the more unbelievable I found things. 

He creates mega changes to the flow of history, but then keeps smaller flukes.  He asks us to take a world where there are incredible racial tensions, hate meetings. . . but Hillary is president.  And who calls their meetings "hate" meetings?  Starting to feel like Orwell's 1984 here.  It felt like King just wanted to make Hillary president, so no matter what flow of history he went with, that was the end in sight. 

In The End. . .

In the end, the alternate reality doesn't matter squat anyway!  In fact, none of it matters except the last strands of a love story.  That's what you're left with that's real. 

The middle section definitely lagged.  See, I didn't realize back there that this was a love story.  Now it all makes sense!  That stuff that felt slow is what was really the meat of this novel.  I would read it again with more patience for the character development and less urging for King to "get on with it!"

Does the book lag at points?  yes.  Is it a good novel?  Absolutely!  Is it King's best?  I don't know.  And neither do you!  It should be enough to say, that was a good book.

Stephen King Is The Modern Charles Dickens


I am reposting this article in honor of Charles Dickens' 200th birthday.

Dan Simmons published a fantastic book called Drood. In the novel, Mr. Charles Dickens is haunted by ghostly figure named Drood. Dickens is sure he saw Drood eating people after a serious train accident. Yes, you read that right: Cannibalism. It's a wonderful, dark, humerous novel.

King said this about Drood on ew.com: "Simmons is always good, but Drood is a masterwork of narrative suspense. It's a story of Egyptian cults, brain-burrowing beetles, life-sucking vampires, and an underground city beneath London...or is it? Maybe it's all in the drug-addled mind of Dickens contemporary Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone), whose poison jealousy of the Inimitable becomes more apparent as the story nibbles its way into the reader's head."  ew.com

I think that Mr. King is very much a modern Charles Dickens.

One blog reader responded to my article about Dickens and King by noting, "The last names of Little Nell in Old Curiosity Shop and of Tad in Cujo are almost exactly the same. Both children were created by extremely popular writers and proved outrage among readers because of their deaths. Coincidence?"


Setting

Charles Dickens was largely a writer of his own times. A few exceptions come to mind, namely A Tale of Two Cities. (By far, not Dickens strongest work. It is too bad that is forced on school children.) But for the most part, Dickens wrote about his own time period. Like him, Stephen King is very much a writer of his times. Sure, there are a few books that go back maybe to the 50's, but for the most part books take place in the "prime reality" -- right now.

Audience

Second, both King and Dickens have/had the ability to enthrall the lower and middle class. Why is King so popular in schools? For the same reason people lined up on docks to cry: "Will little Dorrit live?"

Andrew O'Hehir of salon.com wrote, "King's real literary grandfather is not Henry James but Charles Dickens, another shameless yarn spinner who captured the middlebrow popular imagination, who shares King's sentimentality, didacticism and love of the grotesque, and against whom all the criticisms of the previous paragraph (save perhaps the scatology) could be leveled."

O'Hehir continues, "It's impossible to know whether King's work will ever acquire the aura of respectability that Dickens' has. While Dickens was probably just as big a celebrity, in 19th century terms, as King is today, he was never stigmatized as a back-of-the-store genre novelist in quite the same way (nor was the disjunction between popular and elite taste quite so exaggerated)."

Serealization

Third, King has at times openly tried to emulate Mr. Dickens. For instance, the Green Mile was published in installments much the way Dickens novels were released.

Christina McCarroll and Ron Charles of The Christian Science Monitor note that "Like Charles Dickens, King's published his work in serial form to great commercial success."

Children

Fourth, both writers have a deep understanding of children. In fact, most of Dickens works connect in some way to children. Most popular are David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Pip and, of course, Tiny Tim.

Both writers are willing to take children seriously as characters. They aren't added in to toss out a few cute lines, they are understood at an unnerving level.

 Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, once said of Dickens, "All his characters are my personal friends."  And we have the same feeling for many of King's characters as well, don't we?  One reason we read King is because we identify with the people in the books. 
 
Holidays

If Dickens is known for having popularized Christmas -- what Holiday might we attribute Mr. King? Yes, I'm afraid you're right: Halloween.

Social Injustice

Sixth, both writers fought against social injustice. Dickens with the debtors prisons and picture of dire poverty in England. A good example of this is his novel, "Hard Times."  King speaks clearly on social issues as he sees them today -- his sympathy always falling to the side he sees as the oppressed.

About Mr. Dickens book Little Dorrit, King writes that Dicken's "most sentimental, absorbing, delightful novel...and yes, you will like it. Dorrit is as easy to read as any current best-seller, and more rewarding than most. Also, it explains the whole Bernard Madoff mess. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'."

Prolific

Seventh, it is worth noting that both writers are extremely prolific. Of course, Dickens had to write by hand, which certainly would cramp his output. And, at least according to Simmons' view of Mr. Dickens, the old man took long breaks from writing. I've heard that King writes every day except the fourth of July and his birthday. (But I can't confirm that)

Biographical:

Eigth, Dickens left the Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished. That was almost the fate of the Dark Tower! Thankfully, Mr. King lived on and became a part of his own story. (I don't think Dickens ever wrote himself into a novel).

Neither King nor Dickens wrote their ownbiography in so many words. King came pretty close, though, in On Writing. However, both writers used their own lives in their fictional work. King in the Dark Tower, Dickens in David Copperfield.

Reading

Both writers have been known to give live readings of their work. It's not just that both did it, but that both saw it as an important aspect to the craft itself. King explains the value at the beginning of the Dark Tower, the Gunslinger, audio edition why it is good to hear the writer himself read the book. Imagine hearing Dickens read his own work!

Subject Matter

I thought this one might be the place where I would find a major difference, until I began to think over Great Expectations. Dickens wrote his fair share of spook stories. Come on, the old woman who lives in her wedding dress is pretty spooky. And she is burned alive in it! Just because they put pretty pictures on the cover of Great Expectations, doesn't mean it doesn't have its fair share of scary stuff.

And in shorter fiction, Dickens often resorted to Ghosts. A Christmas Carole is frightening, with three ghosts scaring poor Scrooge into repentance. 

Big

These guys wrote big books!  Dickens was paid by the word, so imagine hearing the pennies drop every time he pressed the pen to paper!  I need not mention that Stephen King has written a couple of books that are, as he put it, bigger than his head.

I see no point in buying those books that are "all the works of Charles Dickens."  Seriously?  That's like those ones that bind 5 King novels together.  Aren't you afraid it might fall on you while you're reading and cause serious injury -- possibly death!

Dickens -- The Inspiration For Misery?!
Stephen King explained: "The inspiration for Misery was a short story by Evelyn Waugh called The Man Who Loved Dickens. It came to me as I dozed off while on a New York-to-London Concorde flight. Waugh's short story was about a man in South America held prisoner by a chief who falls in love with the stories of Charles Dickens and makes the man read them to him. I wondered what it would be like if Dickens himself was held captive."  (sephenking.com)

Dickens On Kindle For. . . FREE!

Mackenzie Carpenter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes:
Charles Dickens celebrates his 200th birthday Tuesday, and while the author of "A Christmas Carol," "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities" obviously isn't around to enjoy this tiny, exquisite exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum, he no doubt would be pleased at all the attention his birthday is getting -- while simultaneously outraged that readers can now get his novels on Kindle free.
Interesting Stuff:
  • In his birthplace, Portsmouth, the buses are named after his novels.
  • He was a terrible husband!  He left his wife for another woman, and banished her from the family home.  He even ordered the ten children she bore him not to have contact with her.  Contrast that with Mr. King, who so often honors his family and wife in particular. 
  • Charles Dickens wrote his books by hand. They didn’t have typewriters, so the printer had to carefully read Dickens messy writing.
  • Queen Victoria ordered Dickens be buried in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abby in London.
My favorite Dickens novel is Great Expectations.  So, with free Kindle downloads of Dickens books, you should hurry and get reading!

11.22.63 Journal #8

Biblically Knowledgeable


I enjoyed this article about Stephen King's daughter, Naomi.  The article says:
In fact, it wasn’t unusual for the family to read the Bible aloud together.
”My father is very biblically knowledgeable,” she said. “We were reading the Bible with our parents even well after the point where we needed to be.”
Of course, religion and Bible play a vital role throughout King's work, most notably in The Green Mile, Desperation and Under The Dome.  I would have to agree that King does have a good working knowledge of the Scripture; a grasp of its flow and stories.

I like this quote from Naomi King, "To me, giving a sermon is thrilling,” she said. “It’s like dancing for a long time. Your sense of beginning and ending disappears. You never know what will happen.”  That's true!