From a Buick 8 was way more interesting than I expected. Honestly, this is one of the few novels in King’s backlist that I would have had no qualms skipping if it hadn’t been on the suggested expanded Dark Tower reading list I found here. I had no desire to read about a supernatural car. Freaky inanimate objects don’t really do it for me. Most of the time, anyway. I should’ve remembered the topiaries in The Shining. Because this unnatural Buick ended up being pretty darn creepy. I was expecting Christine or James Dean’s Little Bastard. That’s so not what was delivered. …
As I’ve been reading through King’s back catalogue, I’ve come across very few of his stories that hadn’t been spoiled to some extent for me, simply by the culture in which we live. While I had never read The Shining or Pet Sematary or ‘Salem’s Lot, I had some idea what was going to happen because they’re so present in our collective cultural psyche. The same could be said for Carrie, and Misery, and IT, and so many other King novels. But Bag of Bones? I went into this one completely blind. And as with Needful Things and Rose Madder, other books of his that I knew nothing about, it was more impactful because of my lack of exposure. It’s not among my favorite King books I’ve read, but Bag of Bones will be sticking with me for a while.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Near the Bone is the story of Mattie, a young woman living alone on a mountain with her abusive, much older husband. Something isn’t right on the mountain. Something besides the abuse Mattie can never seem to escape. A new creature has made the mountain its home. It’s huge, a master at staying hidden, and far too intelligent to be a bear or any other average predator. Can Mattie find a way to escape them mountain, and leave both of her monsters behind? …
This is one of those King books I honestly didn’t expect much from. It’s not one commonly listed as a favorite, or even mentioned that frequently from among his works. I can’t say I would’ve thought to pick it up had I not been so invested in the extended reading list for the Dark Tower. But it was next on that list, so I found myself a copy. Now I’m incredibly glad I picked it up. Though not perfect, Rose Madder is now one of my favorite King novels outside of The Stand and the main Dark Tower series. Talk about a protagonist you can root for.
“It ain’t the blows we’re dealt that matter, but the ones we survive.”
The Dark Tower has completely captured my heart and mind. I feel as though I am part of the gunslinger’s ka-tet, making the trek right along with them. And so far, it’s one of the most fulfilling literary journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. Wizard and Glass did nothing but reinforce that feeling.
“And now, all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existence was that broken hearts mended.”
This isn’t my favorite King novel I’ve ever read, but it was a fun, very interesting ride. If you’re planning on a journey to King’s Dark Tower, this one is absolutely essential. Not only are the concepts of ka and ka-tet integral to the plot of the novel, the Tower itself makes brief appearances. And while I didn’t look it up for fear of having important future plot points spoiled for myself, I’m almost positive that two important new characters in the main series were introduced in this book.
And the award for creepiest train in all of literature goes to…
“Don’t ask me silly questions
I won’t play silly games
I’m just a simple choo choo train
And I’ll always be the same.
I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.”
Stephen King has had a place among my favorite authors for 3 or 4 years now. But over the span of this book and its predecessor, The Drawing of the Three, he’s edging remarkably close to becoming not just one of my favorite authors, but my hands down favorite. Right now he’s in a three-way tie with Brandon Sanderson and Nora Roberts, but Wizard and Glass might actually change that if it holds a candle to The Waste Lands. I’ve heard that the back half of the Dark Tower series pales a bit in comparison to the first 4 books, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but this is shaping up to be my favorite series of all time.
Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical fiction, magic realism, horror, mystery
First Published: 1991
Boy’s Life is a beautifully written and captivating coming-of-age story.
I would like to highlight first of all that while this book might have won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1992, I would say that it was more akin to magic realism with a dose of horror in historical and fictional setting of a small town named Zephyr in Alabama.
I’ve honestly come to believe that King can simply do no real wrong in my eyes. And I’m still baffled by this turn around, as I vividly recall years of my life when I couldn’t get past the first chapter of anything he wrote. Whatever the catalyst for this change in taste might have been, I’m grateful for it. King is now firmly planted among my favorites. While not every book or story is a masterpiece, they’re all enjoyable. This newest collection of his is no exception. Below are micro-reviews for each of the four stories contained in this collection. Even if I didn’t adore them all, I had fun reading them. …
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is billed as “Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meets Dracula.” I have never been as immediately excited by the promise of such a weird marriage. While I didn’t find the book nearly as Southern in tone and setting as the title promised, it was still a fun read. Fun and infuriating and, on occasion, very very gross. I should have remembered how nasty My Best Friend’s Exorcism was in places, but I had evidently blocked that out. This book didn’t reach quite the same level of ick, but there was definitely some ick within these pages.