I’m not really sure what I can say about this. A rambling, ramshackle tale, deftly tied together. The only Dickens I’ve read other than A Christmas Carol, and it makes me want to read more. I’m just not sure which one!
As I’ve written many times before, it’s pretty useless for me to review a Stephen King novel. I bought Carrie with my allowance at a garage sale close to thirty years ago, I guess, and I’ve been reading his stuff ever since. When a new one comes around, it’s like falling into an old conversation with a friend I haven’t seen for a while, and that’s always pleasant.
I’m not going to recap any part of the plot; it’s a new King novel, and it’s a sequel to The Shining, and that tells you all you need to know about whether or not you want to read it. I’ll just say to read it without having read The Shining, even if you’d seen the movie, would be a mistake; they depend on each other, mirror each other.
I ate this book in two days. It has been a long time since I’ve fallen under a book’s sway like that. I have other books to start, books waiting, but I can’t even think about reading them for a while. My head’s still full of this.
A book with three stories, widely separated from each other. Because that’s what books do, you expect them to draw together, and they do, but slowly. 80% in is the first tangible link, and then they all come in a rush, some more successful than others.
I’m not sure I’m happy with where the third story goes, symbolically. I feel like some of the same territory was mined again, much more successfully, in The Bridge — but then again, it’s been years since I read that one.
Re-reading this after fifteen years (according to the receipt I found tucked into the slim paperback) makes it a little difficult to rate. Even though all that time had passed, I did not forget the main twist, so reading the book expecting that made it a different experience than the first time. Still, there were things I had forgotten or misremembered — for example, What Happened to Eric — that still surprised me. It’s hard to imagine the furor over the book’s contents, given that I’ve read much more graphic things.
It’s a shame that the book’s direct message was muddied by that remembrance, and then by an on-the-nose ending that clunks more than a little bit. Still, I remember the impact of the last 20 pages from the first time I read it, and thus, rated 5.
On to Walking on Glass, which I haven’t read before.
So, the first Culture novel, and the first M. novel as well. A little rough. I’d tried to read it once before but kind of sputtered out in the beginning. Recommended Banks to a friend, tried to get him to start with Excession or Player of Games, but he insisted on starting here, and didn’t get very far.
This time around, I really enjoyed it, but it is definitely rougher and more formative than later Culture novels, and does not wrap up well. The book is a long, slow series of incidents tumbling out of control, and gets a bit exhausting.
I don’t quite know where to go next with my Banks re-reads — whether to go back to The Wasp Factory and read in printing order, or to continue on with the Culture and then loop back…
I backed Sinner on Kickstarter, as well as Greg Stolze’s RPG “Better Angels”. Even though I pledged for a physical copy of Sinner, I went ahead and read it on my Kindle (well, and some on the PC — the newspaper clippings proved to be too hard to read otherwise). I’ll still be happy to put the book up on my shelf, and will probably re-read it sometime.
Sinner is the story of a supervillain who turns himself in, and what happens after that. The voice of the very likable protagonist propels everything forward, and it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the whole thing. I read it mostly over a lazy, nap-filled July 4th, finishing it off with the sound of fireworks booming from outside.
Lots of fun.
A poetic slip of a book which I didn’t love as much as I was expecting too. Lots of stuff to like, but I just can’t put my finger on what disappointed me.
So there’s a bit more of the fantasy novel to this one, and the ending leaves it open for a travelogue, which I generally enjoy. Also, I started reading Dag with the voice of Geralt and that made things twice as entertaining. (Okay, with my worlds colliding here, I wonder who will understand what I’m on about…)
Not going to move on to the other two just yet though… after all, I did just get this copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane in.