In November, we decided at book group to read H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald – it was suggested by a member of the group who read it last December after receiving a copy for her Secret Santa present and enjoyed it. I knew very little about the book when I started reading it, only that is was an autobiographical account of owning and training a hawk. This is true, and to be more accurate, it is about owning and training a Goshawk. However, alongside this, the novel is about the author’s feelings of loss and grief after the death of her father Continue reading →
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 →