Friday, September 11, 2009

my summer reading

I have finally finished Book VII of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  I’ve been reading this story all summer just about.  It’s not that I’m a slow reader so much as I don’t devote a lot of time to reading.  Not like Husband who devotes all his time to reading.  I like to read but I just seem to have lots of other things that I like to do or that need doing.  

Back to the Dark Tower story.  This is a long 7 book continued tale.  The next book takes up where the previous book left off without any back story to fill in readers who may have picked up a middle volume unknowingly.  I liked that about it.  Steven King wrote the first volume when he was 19 and it shows (and he never got over it apparently as the number 19 gains a mystical dimension in the books).  The later volumes are more mature.  I don’t generally read Stephen King anymore.  He is a very prolific writer but some of the stories I thought were not worth the paper they were printed on.  But that’s just me.  I loved his first 6 (actually, I didn’t read Carrie, but I loved the movie) and I think The Green Mile was incredible.  And I liked Pet Semetary.  So I had mixed feelings when I decided to read The Dark Tower.  There are some really good stories in these volumes that I think would have stood alone.  They are interspersed with long sections that I found tiresome.   (Spoiler alert:  if you are interested in reading these books and don’t want to know how it ends, don’t read the rest of this.)   I think he was finding it tiresome as well, as if he really didn’t know where to go with it.  And so he writes himself into the story.   I’ve read other books where the author includes himself as a minor character (Clive Cussler for example) and I don’t care for that literary device.  King, however, makes himself a major player, not just as a character, but also as the pivotal underlying manifestation of the other characters.  I thought it was a cop out.  Eventually the story moves past his part in it and the main character makes it to the Tower.  I absolutely did not care for the ending.  My thoughts that King didn’t really know where to go with this story or how to end it were completely reinforced.  It ends the way it begins.  It’s Ground Hog Day all over again and it did nothing to give meaning to the whole premise of the story.  Very disappointing.

I read another series of books this spring and early summer which were very entertaining...the Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter books by Janet Evanovich.  These books are light reading, very good and laugh out loud funny.  At least they made me laugh out loud.  There’s at least 14 with a few side volumes and every one has made me laugh.  If you decide to read these books, start at the beginning because the characters build as she goes along and there is a time line involved, though each book stands alone.

Another book I read this summer was Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez.  This book is a true story about an American hair stylist who ends up on a humanitarian mission to Kabul and her experiences there.  It is an excellent read.  There is a good review of it here, so I won’t repeat it.


  1. To me, reading is a great luxury which I have time for only sporadically. Scratch that - make time for sporadically. I'm not much of a sit on my behind girl anymore, so it just has to be perfect timing married to a rainy day (cold preferably) with chores and exercise already out of the way. A full bottle of wine is a plus.

    I learned something new today... I didn't know Stephen King wrote the Green Mile. I can see it now, with it's magic and mystery - but I didn't know until you told me. And I did so enjoy that movie. Mister Bojangles! What a character.

  2. Ellen, I truly admire anyone who goes through a series. I have trouble with series.

  3. You know, I'll have to admit, I've never read a King book. I've seen many of the films, though. I don't really read series, either. Not sure quite why.

  4. I think the only King books I've read are Rose Madder & The Stand (LOVED The Stand). I really like the Stephanie Plum series - she is a total nut & it's so nice to read about someone crazier than me!

    I've been reading a lot of Dean Koontz this summer - my boss is a fan & found out that I like him so he loaned me a stack of paperbacks. I've enjoyed them all - plan to finish the last one this weekend.

  5. Loved the Green Mile. I read it on a plane ride. Couldn't put it down. Some of his stuff is too creepy. I listen to audio books as I do other things, like cook or sew. I don't buy them, I go to the library. Evanovich is a favorite of mine. Unless they have some new books in audio at my library.....I have "read" them all!

  6. "The Shining" remains my favorite creepy novel ever. I read everything up through "Gerald's Game", but that one was so lame, and so was "Bag of Bones" that I gave up on him. But someone gave me "Cell" and I thought that was up to his former standard.

    I'm currently reading "The Time Taveler's Wife."

  7. Go Figure?? I didn't know that was a King novel either, the Green Mile. Things that make ya go HHMMM. My last was Memoirs of a Geisha, is that just pathetic?

  8. So tell me, Ellen, is The Stand part of the series? I found that book incredibly intriguing.

    I'd heard about Kabul Beauty School. Thanks for reminding me. I sure wish I had a skill to bring to a place like that. You, as an accomplished artist, do. Does the idea ever tempt you? Isn't there a lot of sand in Afghanistan? Isn't glass made from sand?

    I'm on the board of an NGO trying to get a fresh water well built in a settlement that's become a "city" in the Somali region of Ethiopia. I learn so much from my dear friends on the board, who are part of the huge Somali diaspora.

    How did I get onto that?

    I'm clearly blogdrunk at at the moment!

  9. I seem to have stopped reading for some reason. I did take some e-books on my iTouch when in Iceland, but the amount of time I spend reading these days is far less than about 5 years ago.I read the Stephanie Plum books, but became a bit tired of the formula. I find I'm reverting to Elizabeth Gaskell these days when I do read.

  10. I seem to have stopped reading for some reason. I did take some e-books on my iTouch when in Iceland, but the amount of time I spend reading these days is far less than about 5 years ago.I read the Stephanie Plum books, but became a bit tired of the formula. I find I'm reverting to Elizabeth Gaskell these days when I do read.

  11. I wish I was attracted to novels. They always sound so good when they're reviewed, but if I pick one up, I soon lose interest. Wonder what's up with that?

  12. Loved Kabul Beauty School too. Haven't read SK in a long time.

    Just finished Julie and Julia and The Help. And just started Sarah's Key. I got the Kindle in July and am nuts for it.


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