Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

IT, by Stephen King: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Jumping between the past and the present, the Losers Club has been tasked with defeating a strange force that has caused the local children of Derry, Maine to hallucinate, have incredibly terrifying nightmares and to even go missing.

When Bill Denbrough begins to have nightmares of a mysterious figure, often taking the shape of a clown with a red balloon, things begin to go sideways in his life. His younger brother Georgie is found dead…his arms ripped from his body… when he goes out to play in the rain. Bill begins to realize that the creature in his dreams is what has caused Georgie’s death.

As his small group of friends spend the summer doing what kids do they join together over these nightmares, which have been plaguing all of them. When they discover the cause they do everything in their power to end it.

Ans things seem to have gone well, the creature appearing to disappear.

That is until another sting of vicious child deaths occur in Derry. The Losers Club must face all of their fears, and look into the face of IT again… this time will they defeat the alien force and come out alive? Or will they have to sacrifice everything they hold sacred to save the children of Derry, Maine?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages: 1,138 pages

-Main Characters: Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Bev (Beverly) Marsh, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, Stan Uris, Pennywise/IT, Henry Bowers, Vic Criss, Belch Huggins, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler, Gard Jagermeister, Georgie Denbrough, Eddie Corcoran, Adrien Mellon, Will Hanlon

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I just honestly can not with this book. It is WAY too long. You could cut about 400 pages out of the middle and it would be the same story.

There are so many moments in this novel where I feel like King was just putting stuff in to be disgusting. It wasn’t scary… it wasn’t terrifying. It was just disgusting.

This is one of the books I absolutely cannot stand. It is full of homophobia, misogyny, excessive abuse particularly sexual and abuse towards children. And most of the descriptions of these items ARE NOT NECESSARY to build the characters or move the story forward. It is just signature King.

As I have read more of his works I am finding that there is a consistent and excessive need to add in sexual encounters and moments that do nothing to the plot, often come out of no where, and are often incredibly degrading to women.

This books is no different.

The movie (particularly the newer two part film duology) are BEYOND better than this 1100 page novel. I wish I could get the 45 hours of my life back that I listened to the audiobook. Thankfully I was able to do other productive things while listening.

Do not recommend.

Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Misery, by Stephen King: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Paul Sheldon is a prolific writer.  He is most famous for his Victorian-era romance novel series: Misery.  The problem is…he hates writing it.  He has passion projects that he would rather be spending time writing (though they often do not even net HALF of what a single Misery installment brings in).  As his final installment of the series, Misery’s Child, is released in which he FINALLY kills off his dreaded main character Paul takes a break to write a new crime novel: Fast Cars.

As he finishes the manuscript in the small town of Sidewinder, Colorado, Paul decides to celebrate with some champagne and a long drive…deciding that he should take his ’74 Camaro to Los Angeles instead of flying back to his empty apartment in New York, recently vacated by yet another ex-wife.

Fate has other plans as a snowstorm pops up outside of the small town and causes Paul to crash on the side of the road.  When he awakes its in a strange environment.  A small room with nothing other than a bed, a side table….and he doesn’t recognize any of it.  When Annie Wilkes comes into the room things go from odd to plain weird. 

It turns out Annie saved him from the wreck.  And being a nurse she has first hand experience, and the resources to take care of Paul as he recovers from his incredibly destroyed legs…but is she really there to take care of him?  Or is something about this “number one fan” even more sinister than what is first presented when Annie brings him back from the brink of death?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages/Words: around 420 pages,

-Main Characters: Paul Sheldon, Annie Wilkes

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

So I’ve seen the movie a lot and now I’ve read a few of Stephen King’s novels…and I can honestly say this: Stephen King is much better on film.

Maybe its because my imagination (while very clear and my inner eye can create basically anything) knows that it doesn’t have to with books) has decided it doesn’t need to animate what is going on in the novels.  Or maybe it’s the way the prose is written…the books just aren’t’ scarry.

Misery has a few ick moments in it but I didn’t find myself worried or scared.  Honesty the false ending where Paul imagines Annie as having escaped the police and showing up at his apartment to kill him with the same ax she uses to chop off his foot was way worse and would have been a better ending in my opinion that the “everything is fine” ending that was written for Paul.

Overall,

 the book was fine.  It wasn’t too long.  The action was fine.  The depiction of the mental illness that Annie displayed defiantly fit more of the knowledge and views that were known about in the 1980s when the novel was written and published.  There were some slightly misogynistic moments and Annie (while overweight, isolated and mentally ill) was described in a way that was disparaging when all the things she is aren’t necessarily negative traits.  Her being an Angel of Death however was discovered in a very interesting way.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve read.  And it wasn’t the best.  The movie is better in my opinion which for me isn’t a common view…usually the books are way better.

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

2001: a Space Odyssey, created by Arthur C. Clarke at the request of Stanley Kubrick: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

In the prehistoric African plains, a strange alien monolith appears amongst the early humanoids. As it reaches out to study the primitive lifeforms they learn more and more, progressing to the point of using very primitive tools.  When the monolith has learned what it sets out to, it disappears, along with many others, leaving in its wake a more advanced civilization-one on its path to intelligence and survival.

In 1999, Dr. Heywood Floyd is needed on Clavius Base to review an electromagnetic disturbance.  When they investigate a large black monolith is found, its appearance and creation hinting intelligent origins.

The Discovery One is sent to Saturn with most of the crew put into stasis.  The ship is run by two humans: Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole.  They are assisted by HAL 9000- an artificial intelligence that is extremely human in attitude and manner.

As the ship continues on its journey into the vastness of space HAL begins to report malfunctions to various parts of the ship…many of which are not occurring.  The problem is HAL refuses to admit that his diagnosis was wrong.  While trying to fix the issues Bowman and Poole discover that more might be going on that they realize.  What happens when your supercomputer might be trying to kill you?  And what are these odd monolithic structures doing popping up all over the globe?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: created by Arthur C. Clarke at the request of Stanley Kubrick

-Number of Pages: 221/224

-Main Characters: Moon-Watcher, Dr. Heywood Floyd, David Bowman/Star Child, Frank Poole, HAL-9000

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! Also available on Audible if you enjoy audiobooks!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 107

Review (contains spoilers):

Honestly not my favorite book, but I was fascinated with the story that was told at the beginning of the copy of the book I read.  It was a foreward with Arthur C. Clarke himself where he discussed how the story came together in the first place.

Usually when I am reviewing movies that are based off of a book it is a struggle to review whichever one I am less familiar with.  In this case I had seen the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey several times before.  It is classic science-fiction and is often recommended as one of the top 100 sci-fi films that you should watch in your lifetime.

As I read through the book (well, honestly, listened to the audiobook because multi-tasking for the win!), I was fascinated by how closely the book followed the film.  Like eerily close.  This is super common in a lot of older films that I’ve experienced based off of a written material verses but this particular novel/film pairing was basically the same save the book goes to Jupiter and the movie goes to Saturn…other than that they are identical.

So I went back and read the forward.  I’m terrible and usually skip it because it often doesn’t add much to the enjoyment of the book for me.  If I’m interested in what the author or the publisher or whoever put together the publication thought was important enough to add in something of the sort then I’ll go back.

I’m glad I did.  It changed a lot of my perspective on this book.

Apparently, the film and the book were basically written together.  In fact the novel is basically just the screenplay…but since Stanley Kubrick knew that Arthur C. Clarke would  be bored writing a screenplay he asked Clarke to write a book instead when Kubrick approached him asking if they could collaborate on a science-fiction story.

While that doesn’t change how I feel about the writing (pretty much the same I feel about most adult and/or straight science-fiction novels-what can I say they aren’t my cup of tea), or the plot (quite long and drawn out…and it was really hard to see the connection and why it started in the prehistoric era…), or even the ending (why is Star Child even a thing???)… it did give me some insight into why the two things were so insanely similar.

My opinion on the book:  if you are a hard-core science-fiction lover, read it, you’ll probably love it or at least enjoy seeing where a lot of modern sci-fi stories, ideas and storytelling come from.  If you aren’t a hard core sci-fi novel lover….just watch the movie…its literally the same thing.

Oh, and I did enjoy the audiobook if that is your jam. The narrator had a pleasant voice to listen to.

Review:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me, Week of Love

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman: a Novel review

Synopsis:

From the back cover:

“As Florin and Gilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini- the criminal philosopher who’ll so anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik- the gentle giant; Inigo- the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen-the evil mastermind behind it all.  Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.”

General Information:

-Genre: Romantic Fantasy Action

-Author: William Goldman

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Westley, Buttercup, Humperdinck, The Six-Fingered Man, Vicinni, Fessik, Iniego Montoya

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 38

Review (contains spoilers):

I read this book long after I had first seen the movie.  In fact I didn’t realize it was a book until many, many years after my introduction to the film.

I enjoyed the book overall, though I do enjoy the film more.  It seems to do better in a format with visuals more than in novel form.  But that isn’t to say that the book isn’t down right hilarious and I do appreciate the addition of the short story Buttercup’s Baby that is at the end of the novel.

The characters are about the same as they are in the movie, fleshed out and realistic.  Yet there is a beautiful film of fantasy woven throughout the whole thing.  The descriptions of the world are comprehensive yet not overly dry or longwinded as they are in some other fantasy novels (I’m looking at you Outlander).  The action is vibrant and the story is relatable…even though we don’t live in a medival time period with a stunning farm boy fighting his way across the high seas to rescue us.

A wonderful read that I highly recommend particularly to people who enjoy stories of action, intrique, wit and true love.

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Ready Player Two!!!

The long anticipated sequel is coming! Mark your calendars for November 24, 2020.

Announced today by Cline himself, Ready Player Two is finally being published. And with it I hope thousands of other, and new, references for us to explore on this blog.

I know we have been a little quiet the past month but that’s just because we have been preparing so many cool things to release including Gen Con at the end of the month!!

Stay tuned for updates. And know that we will have more information on this book as we hear about it. And it has already been preordered!!

UPDATE: currently we have no synopsis to the book but we are all hoping for what Cline says took so long to write the book— making it a true follow up or continuation book to the original and not just a cheap sequel to the Spielberg directed film!

Photo from Google