Before I start, I feel it necessary that you know a couple of things about The Stand and me.
Firstly, The Stand is my favourite Stephen King book and I have read it now either five or six times. It is my favourite Stephen King book; not necessarily, in my opinion, his best book (the answer to that is a constant change for me); it isn’t his scariest book (that’s Pet Semetary); it’s not my favourite book (probably Matilda by Roald Dahl); and it’s not the best book I’ve ever read (a tough one, but you can’t be too far off with The Road by Cormac McCarthy). But it is my favourite Stephen King book, and one I return to again and again and my enjoyment is never diminished.
The other thing is that The Stand I am referring to is The Complete and Uncut edition; this edition was released in 1990, 12 years after the original book. I have not read the original release, but from what I can gather, the new edition contains material originally cut from the earlier edition as it was perceived too long at the time. Stephen King also updates the setting of the story from its original 1980 to 1990 along with some popular cultural references.
I first time I read The Stand was probably in 1995, I don’t remember the exact year but I should think it was then as my obsession with anything King had written was in by then in full flow. The Stand is a big novel, and not just in the number of pages; the scope of the book is huge with a large array of characters juggled together over the course of the book. The story itself is split into three distinctive parts – I think that if The Stand were to be published now, there would have been a temptation (not necessarily by King) to publish as a trilogy. I think that The Stand is King’s most ambitious book, a single volume that oversees the impact of a true pandemic and the inevitable decline of humanity that subsequently ensues…
But that isn’t just what The Stand is about. At the very start of the book a super-flu virus is leaked out to the world and starts to rapidly spread across America; within a month or two the population has been reduced by more than 99% and the story follows the survivors.
It’s been quite some time since I last posted a blog, and I have read twelve books since finishing Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. In amongst these twelve, I have just finished The Stand (Complete and Uncut Edition) by Stephen King which runs to a huge 1,421 pages. This blog post will have to be a catch up and then I will make time to start blogging more regularly again and maybe revisit some of these titles.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
I have read The Hunger Games trilogy before, back in the summer of 2012, and very much enjoyed them. If and when I read a series of books, I will most commonly read one and then take a break before continuing. This was not the case for The Hunger Games, I found them highly readable and enjoyable; all I wanted after reading the first was to find out what happened to Katniss Everdene and the other characters within the series. Continue reading →
In May, for book group, we decided to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. As a group we had read ‘The Last Word’ by Hanif Kureishi (which was universally disliked) and ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson (which had a mixed response) in the two preceding months. Each member of our little group pitched a book to the other members, and then we voted. Extremely Loud (as I will now shorten the title to) tied with ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro and was eventually chosen on the toss of a coin. Even though I voted to read Extremely Loud I still wasn’t sure about it; the only reason I had heard of it was because of the film released in 2011 which received very average reviews. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its film reviews but sometimes it’s hard not to.
Extremely Loud is the story of a young boy, Oscar, who lives in New York with his Mother. They are both trying to deal with the trauma of losing their Father/Husband in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. Oscar’s father was in one of the towers when it collapsed. Two years later Oscar finds a key inside a vase in his father’s wardrobe and then sets off to find the lock that this key will fit. Continue reading →