Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm Taking A Stand!

Not really. Actually, I'm taking up The Stand, the 1138-page 1141-page* (at least in the version I'm reading) Stephen King chunkster classic that Trish and a bunch of other people are reading for this summer's group readalong, which Trish has dubbed the Standalong. I don't know if I'll hit the half-way point in a timely manner, but we have until July 27th to finish the book, and I think I can handle that. Hubby's gone for a week, so I've got plenty of time to a big scary book all by myself in a house that only makes weird noises when no one else is around to help you fend off the creepy.

Anywaaay...Trish wants to know a little bit about all the folks crazy enough to sign up for this, so she has asked us a few questions. Here are my answers:

1. What makes you want to read The Stand? I've always heard this lauded as one of Stephen King's best works, so it's been on my radar for a while, but it's always been such an intimidating read! Knowing that others are slogging through it along with me (although, honestly, if it gets too sloggy, I'll probably stop slogging) is encouraging.

2. Describe your preconceived notions of The Stand. Long! Also, probably scary, but not in the blood-and-guts horror movie kind of way, more along the lines of making you realize how scary the potential for disaster is in the real world with a little bit of paranormal/supernatural/good v. evil creepiness thrown in. Also lots of walking across dry, barren landscapes. And cornfields.

3. What was the last scary(ish) book you read or movie you saw? I think the last scary book I read was The Fall, book two of The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The strain refers to the virus that turns people into vampires and, so far, I think the series has been done incredibly well. It also fits in quite nicely with a discussion of The Stand (hmm..The Stand, The Fall, killer flu virus, killer (sort of) vampire virus...I'm seeing a connection here!) This is no sparkly, romantic vampire tale. This is a tale of a virus that lands in major metropolitan areas and spreads quickly and violently. Scary stuff.

4. Which version of the book will you be reading from? I'm reading the complete & uncut edition because that's what was on my bookcase, yo! Actually, this is probably the one I would have gone with anyway. If I'm going to read the 641 pages originally published in 1978, I might as well read the additonal 500 pages that were published in 1990. I don't want to miss out on anything! Besides, after reading Part 1 of King's Two-Part Preface (Part 1: To Be Read Before Purchase) I'm convinced that this is the way to go. This is the story he wanted to tell in the first place, not a new story added on purely as a sales gimmick.

5. What are your previous experiences with Stephen King? Ahh, Stephen King...where to start? I consider myself a Stephen King fan even though I can only name one of his books as among my favorites (The Eyes of the Dragon). Most of the rest of his stuff that I've read is...all right. I've read a lot of short stories and started several novels that I never finished. So why the love? I think it stems from my childhood. I was a big fan of scary movies, and things like The ShiningCujo, Silver Bullet, and Creepshow made their mark--these were slumber party favorites for years! (BTW, I still love Silver Bullet-Cory Haim was such a cute kid, and Gary Busey as his crazy Uncle Red is spot-on.) My mom would probably still tell you that Pet Sematary and It are the scariest things she's ever read; I've heard a lot of people say that his non-fiction book, On Writing, is fabulous; some of my husband's favorite books are The Dark Tower series; and some of my all-time favorite movies are also based on King's writing: The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, The Green I don't quite know where I stand with King as an actual novelist. I'm hoping that after I read The Stand I will finally be able to add another King book to my list of all-time favorites.

6. Anything else you'd like to add (bonus points for being extra random). My copy of The Stand is full of mildew and it makes my throat hurt and makes me cough. Or else it's covered in plague. Check in with me in a couple days to make sure I'm still here!

*7/27/12-Corrected page number counts and the (several) misspellings of the author's name. Sheesh!


Dreamybee said...

Oh gosh, looks like I've actually read a few other scary novels since The Fall--guess I should have checked my Goodreads account before I wrote this post! Add to the list Monsters of Men (dystopia scary), The Last Werewolf (Uh, werewolf scary), Heartless (Supernatural/Victorian/Steampunk/more-fun-than-scary scary), and A Monster Calls (Monster-trying-to-help scary).

Mike Frighetto said...

Cool! I read the shorter version a long time ago and really liked it. I don't think I'd go back to read the in-cut version, but I'm interested to see how you like it.

"It" was definitely scary. I also really liked "Bag of Bones" which is a weird ghost story.

Oh, "On Writing" is great. I could go on forever, but I'll stop. But, first I'll say I really liked his latest book about the guy going back in time. Okay, I'm done. :)

Dreamybee said...

In the Preface, King mentions some of the scenes that got cut from the original version, so after I've read the book, I'll go back and re-read that and see how I feel about the scenes that he mentions.

I've heard lots of great things about 11/22/63-I think this is one that I'll probably end up reading even if my experience with The Stand is less than stellar.

Trish said...

Oh no about the mildew!! That's definitely not fun reading conditions, especially as everyone is dying of swollen neck syndrome.

Thanks for joining us on the Standalong! I also found King's note to the reader interesting and it was nice to be able to get some perspective on what was cut in the original version of the book.

Just saw your comment above about A Monster Calls. Have been really interested in that one lately!

Dreamybee said...

Trish-I finally gave in and ordered a Kindle version. I didn't want to die of swollen neck syndrome!

I really liked A Monster Calls, and it's an easy read. Here's a link to the review I did on it back in April