Tag Archives: Stephen King

Growing People, Plants & Novels

A grainy picture of flowersDear Blogosphere,

It’s been far too long. I won’t regale you with tails of woe and excuses as to why I haven’t written for the better part of a year. Let’s just put it down to the following, logical, equation:

Family + IVF + Pregnancy + Work + Uni + NaNoWriMo + Maintaining Sanity = Something’s Gotta Give.

You, my dear bloggy space, were de-prioritised.

But, let’s not dwell. Let’s move into a new season – one that will hopefully include more blog posts, but will DEFINITELY include: NaNoWriMo, a feat I am loving; Stephen King novels; Christmas; births and birthdays! Lots of wonderful happenings to enjoy!

Whilst I’ve been growing a person, eating my weight in dry biscuits and writing essays, I have managed to read a few books. I finally finished Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 – an interesting story, though if it weren’t for the sheer size of the thing, I’m not sure I would have hung in there. That doesn’t sound right, I know, but once you’ve committed so many hours of your life, there doesn’t seem to be an Exit Stage Left anymore. The only way out is through. In this case, it was worth it for the simple fact that the world Murakami paints is interesting and I enjoy his quirky writing, though the story wouldn’t make my top 10 and I’m pretty sure I’m disappointed in the ending (though I’m still percolating on that). I’d be interested to hear what anyone thinks of 1Q84?

I’ve also passed the time with some great authors who weave a good yarn. Tom Clancy (rest in peace), Patricia Cornwell and John Le Carre to name a few. I’ve been looking forward to getting into SK’s Joyland and Dr. Sleep, but have been savouring those until I can really sit down and enjoy them. Watch this Space.

You may recall a post in which I talk about my life-long desire to write. Well, I’ve taken the plunge and delved head first into NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I’ve never participated before, but am really excited to be giving it a bash. For some reason, I have this crazy notion that being forced to sit down and write 50,000 words in one month will somehow forge an innate connection to Stephen King. Haha, stalker much? “Cray cray” as the hipsters say? I’m heading down that track, I know, but it’s true! I have loved his books for so long and they have been such a huge part of my reading life, to be writing one of my own does feel like something of a tribute.

Finally, my world has consisted of some fairly intensive gardening. I once started a blog called “Sheco Blog” FYI it no longer exists, but was meant to document my escapades of seeking a more sustainable lifestyle. Well, Shecoblog or not, H and I have been foraging our way through this new terrain, slowly trying to figure out what it means to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle – and how to do it. It’s slow going, but lots of fun. I’d like to keep you posted on that stuff, it’s a big part of our lives.

Well, thanks dear readers. It’s so great to have the head space to blog again. I hope I can keep it up!

Shan

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Quote: Stephen King wants your attention

I’m a confrontational writer. I want to be in your face. I want to get into your space. I want to get within kissing distance, hugging distance, choking distance, punching distance. Call it whatever you want. But I want your attention.
– Stephen King

washingtonpost.com

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December 9, 2012 · 11:22 am

From Book to Film: Stephen King’s ‘A Good Marriage’

Stephen King, author of A Good Marriage.
Source: hollywoodreporter.com

What would you do if you discovered your spouse was a monster?

Hi! Anyone read Stephen King’s novella A Good Marriage? Well, it’s set to be released on film late 2013.

A Good Marriage was published in Full Dark No Stars, a dark collection of stories themed around retribution.

A Good Marriage is a good read. I liked it the most out of all the Full Dark, No Stars stories.  It’s like a novella mash up of a Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series with an episode of Criminal Minds, both of which I am a huge fan. It definitely has all the makings for a GREAT psychological thriller film.

Joan Allen
Source: hollywoodreporter.com

Tell me, what would you do if you discovered your spouse was a monster? Joan Allen from The Bourne series has been cast as protagonist, Darcy Anderson who is faced with this question. The short story revolves around her response to discovering her husband’s nasty secret. It will be interesting to see what that looks like on screen, particularly as Stephen King has written the screenplay.

Hopefully A Good Marriage will be released in 2013. I CAN’T WAIT!

Baby, Can You Dig Yo’ Adaptations?

Book to film adaptations can be tricky, particularly Stephen King books! Films made from his stories range from cult classic such as Stand By Me and The Shining, to the disastrous Creepshow and Sleepwalkers. It could just depend on the size of the wallet bankrolling the production, or the calibre of actors & director that determine whether it shifts well into film, though I doubt it. Hearts in Atlantis & Bag of Bones lost something significant in their book to film adaptations (in my opinion), and they are modern productions with a great casting and relatively healthy budgets. Perhaps its just that the wild and wonderful mind of Stephen King doesn’t translate well on screen when it dives too far down the rabbit hole. Whatever the case, some movies haven’t thrived in the transition across mediums.

Hey you with the cynicism, enough already!

OK, I know… despite my cynicism, I am optimistic about A Good Marriage translating well into film. Besides, there have been some fantastic adaptations of Stephen King books. Some of my favourites are:

  • The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Both films are based on short stories from Different Seasons and they are outstanding.
  • The Green Mile is another one that I thoroughly enjoyed, but with Tom Hanks as leading man, what’s not to love?
  • The Stand and IT were also good TV mini-series (for their time), though I’d like to see them rejigged and revived – as long as they kept Tim Curry as Pennywise, of course.
  • The Shining & Misery both had powerhouse performances from Jack Nicholson (“Heeeeere’s Johnny!”) and Kathy Bates as the scariest fan ever in  Misery.

Yep, I’m backing A Good Marriage to be a hit! What do you think? Come on, argue with me 🙂

What’s your favourite Stephen King film adaptation? Do you think A Good Marriage can be pulled off as a film? Tell us in comments below.

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Some Things are Good for the Soul

Some things are just good for the soul. Camping is one of them.
My family and I have just returned, unwashed and suitably feral, from a week of it. We took our camper trailer, a tonne of books and all the essentials away with us for a week of quality family time, great food, buckets of coffee, sunshine and reading.
Four images inluding: our camper trailer, me on Wanda, my bike, a coffee cup from Beechworth Bakery and a plate of vibrant coloured food.

Soul food

We spent many hours reading in the sunshine, beer nestled in cup holders, books in hand.
I also discovered a second hand book store…

Another kind of soul food

Some things are just damn good for the soul.
Camping is one of them.

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Wow. Stephen King’s writing has really had a huge impact on the perspectives and writing styles of his readership. What a legend.

I’m keen to read a Jenny Mounfield book now, too!

The Australian Literature Review

The Ice-cream ManNightfallA Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine)CarrieSomething RottenThe Dark Tower: Bk. I: GunslingerShades of Grey

For those unfamiliar with your books, how would you describe your fiction?

All over the shop – but most has speculative fiction, and/or psychologically interesting elements.

You have several novels published with small publishers and self-published, What has your experience been like with these methods of publishing? 

My first experience resulted in a book (junior novel) that, while it sold very well, was remaindered after a year so the publisher could focus on picture books. The second fell through the cracks and was remaindered even sooner due to a buy-out by another publisher who wanted to focus on their own titles. My third book experience was much better. Despite slow sales, Ford Street Publishing still has faith in The Ice-Cream Man, for which I’m eternally grateful.

As for self-publishing: I’m still very new to this experience, having only just released my first Kindle e-book—an adult title: The Unforgetting

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Five Kings

I could read my favourite Stephen King books over and over and over again until the end of time. So, one of my reading goals for 2012 was to read 5 Stephen King books I’ve never read before. I’m happy to say that this has been achieved! I read 5 new Kings, and man, it should become an annual policy.

Here’s what I read:

On Writing (1999)

Source: StephenKing.com

It’s great to read about your favourite author. I’ll admit, there were times when the approach of just plonk on paper any random memory in no order and call it a memoir was a tad irritating, but I  still enjoyed reading the bits and bobs that made SK the writer he is today.

The second half of the book that addresses the craft of writing was excellent. Definitely a great read if you are interested in Stephen King and / or the craft of writing.

Verdict – 6/10

Bag of Bones (1998)

Source: StephenKing.com

Bag Of Bones is a great modern gothic story. After the death of his wife, author Mike Noonan returns to their cabin on the lake, ‘Sara Laughs’ and finds himself in the midst of an extraordinary battle between the living, the dead, and one little girl he must protect. I really enjoyed the sensory aspect of this book, which may have been heightened because of the audiobook format. The gothic elements were a wonderful: location, wild weather, supernatural events, the sound of loons crying on the lake. In fact, that phrase ‘a loon cried on the lake’ is repeated so often during tense moments, that every time I heard it a little shiver ran down my back, keeping me on my toes throughout the story.

The novel contains all the makings of a good King: great characters, an interesting plot, a sprinkling of cool genre and literary devices, not to mention the irony of SK having written Bag Of Bones from the perspective of an author way below his calibre = an ‘I-can’t-put-this-down’ type book… my favourite kind. Yes, definately a good read.

7/10.

11.22.63 (2011)

Source: StephenKing.com

If you’ve read my post ‘11.22.63‘, you know I loved this book. Damn it was good. I’d love to read it again next year and see if the second time round is just as good!

8/10

Full Dark, No Stars (2010)

Source: StephenKing.com

Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of short stories that are more like character studies. And, well, they’re quite dark. Ultimately, each story explores the circumstancial and psychological factors that combine to make a ‘normal’ person decide to murder someone else. It was pretty heavy at times, particularly as it focussed on the darker shades of humanity rather than monsters lurking in the closet.

What is also interesting is the response I had as a reader – there were some scenarios in which I identified with the protagonist and was barracking for them as they went on their rampage of revenge. Other scenarios made me feel sick. I imagine this variety of responses evoked by the stories was intentional.

I have to add that there were a couple of moments where the writing felt a bit like fan fiction, but ultimately it was a good collection. I’m glad I read it.

I’d be interested to know what other people thought. 6/10.

Hearts in Atlantis (1999)

Source: StephenKing.com

Hearts in Atlantis is a collection of short stories that follow a loosely connected group of characters beginning in 1960. One character who gets a mention in all stories is Carol Gerber – though she’s never the main protagonist or narrator. I realised at the end that I’d learned more about the journey of Carol’s life then that of any of the others though she is peripheral through much of it. Clever. But Hearts in Atlantis is not primarily about Carol Gerber. The collection is compiled of a series of stories bookended with Bobby Garfield in 1960 as an 11 year old kid, and Bobby returning home in 1999 (incidentally, these stories are a nice little plug for the Dark Tower series). The Vietnam war plays a major role in the stories, as the protagonists continue to battle through life long after the war has ended.

Great read. 7/10

A word on time:  

So, here are the five Kings I read this year. One thing I noticed through all of them is how SK plays with time. ‘Bag of Bones’ deals with historical events that affect the protagonist’s past and present. ‘Hearts in Atlantis’ follows a timestream for a group of people loosely connected and how their lives spin off in different directions like a spinning top. ‘11.22.63’ explores the concept of time travel and changing history, even ‘On Writing’ plays with time in examining some of the building blocks of SK’s life.

What was my favourite new King you ask? The jewel on the King’s crown?

They were all interesting and captivating in their own ways. I really loved Bag of Bones, but 11.22.63 will have to be the number one King that I read this year, mainly for the emotional response I had to the book, it was such a great story.

What do you think?

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11.22.63

Do you ever find there’s this cynical part of you that just doesn’t believe your favourite author can possibly have it in them to blow your mind again?

I think I had this experience with 11.22.63. I wasn’t expecting to be rendered completely unable to eat, sleep, work, have a conversation, go for a walk, hang out with my husband or basically function without this book in my hands.

If I was oblivious to it at the time, I knew I’d been book-whipped at the end when I found myself re-reading the final paragraph on the last page a few times… flicking through and skim-reading some earlier narrative I’d forgotten about as I drank in the story as a whole, complete entity… stroking the spine and feeling that completely disorienting realisation that it’s over… (how would I spend my time now?)… missing the characters already, the colours of the world they lived in… feeling a little too light without the narration of a man with a mission so heavy you could feel it in each page…

Yep, I was whipped by 11.22.63.

And let’s face it.. I can be extreme. I get obsessive with some books, there’s no doubt about it. If you’ve read any of my posts you may have realised that my relationship with literature is a passionate, zealous, all consuming love affair worthy of the Bronte sisters. Yet, I think I’ve retained enough sense of mind to say that this was quite simply, a great story.

If you’re not sure whether to give Stephen King a go – read this book!

Here’s some more reasons why this should be on your list of soon-to-be-reads (I’ll try not to spoil it!)

  • It’s a surprising love story, on a number of levels.
  • The 1950’s America that SK paints is a vivid, sensory experience.
  • If you’re a fan of SK’s “IT”, you’ll appreciate a brief little encounter with 1950’s Derry. In fact, I think I may have shed a tear during those precious pages.
  • The characters are wonderfully King-esque (ie., believable)
  • The age-old question ‘what if we really could change history?’ is explored, sprinkled with a dose of SK flare.
  • The motif of cause-effect, choice-consequence and questions of what it means to “have it all” in life are a great challenge in this post-post-modern era.
  • If you’re not a fan of evil sewer clowns, incestuous cat-people and haunted hotels, then you’ll like this book.
  • If you are a fan of evil sewer clowns, incestuous cat-people, haunted hotels and more – you’ll like this book!

It’s just damn good.

Buy it. Borrow it. Try it on, wriggle around in it and let me know what you think.

Avid Reader,

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Tea & Sluggish Company

I seem to have a knack for ending up in literary dialogues with insects and inanimate objects.

Oh it starts off awkward and uncomfortable – conversations with insects and inanimate objects don’t come that naturally to me. But a pot of Earl Grey and the topic of books will nail it – every time. After two cups of tea time, location and apparently species are forgotten as we explore the colours and shades of the literary world.

This evening, my cohort was Mugg, a pink slug who lives in my garden. I happened across her as she was trekking the long journey towards the book-lined walls of our study.

Mugg

She wore a small pair of glasses perched on the edge of what might have been her nose, though I’m not too familiar with slug anatomy. Bags lined her preoccupied eyes and she carried a small purse. I had a moment to wonder whether it was filled with the same kind of non-essentials I walked out of the house with: my son’s racing cars, orchards of apples, used tissues and a book, of course, always a book. I thought it would be impolite to ask.

She wore the determined look of a woman on a mission – I recognised the look immediately as I’m sure its an expression H has seen cross my face many times: a ferocity that said The only damn thing I’m doing tonight is reading my book! I liked her.

Ordinarily, I might have ignored a bright pink slug wearing blue glasses on the wall and gone about the business of reading my book. But i’d just finished reading 11.22.63 and needed desperately to debrief! So I offered her assistance in getting to the study, to which she was grateful (at her rate it seemed she’d take a few days). Mugg directed me to place her on the shelf that housed my ‘classics’ collection. She’s got good taste, I thought. When I learned she’d never read Jane Austen, I almost knocked her off the shelf. “What?! Every woman needs to read an Austen!” I handed her Sense and Sensibility. She accepted, laughing.

Our conversations led us back to the kitchen where a brew of Earl Grey awaited. We enjoyed a delightful little chatter about our latest reads. Obviously I chewed her ear off about 11.22.63 – she’s never read any Stephen King, but I think I had her convinced to give him a try:) (I’ll share some reflections on 11.22.63 shortly). I’d never heard of the slug authors Mugg mentioned, in fact I was embarressed to say that I didn’t know slugs were authors! Apparently there are many. Mugg’s favourites are Begg Mulosc, who wrote a series about a young slug who befriended a butterfly, much to the chagrin of her slug community, and Ligg Millow, apparently a great feminist slug who opened my new friend’s eyes to gender inequality in the slug home. Fascinating! I was very interested to know more about this slug world I’d never considered before. Mugg promised to return with some books that she would translate for me, as long as I provided a nice hot cuppa. I could definitely do that.

It’s not always the case that I enjoy book banter with insects – my previous encounter with Scout the wasp was horrific, but Mugg was pleasant, a good listener and fascinating to chat with.

‘Twas nice to make a new friend.

Your Reader,

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I Heart You, Stephen King: A 5 minute presentation on my favourite author

This week I was asked to do a 5 minute presentation on anything – yes, anything.

This is what I did:

Some background..

Where it all began..

Shouldn’t need explaining, really.

Admittedly, this ‘Top 5’ list depends largely on what I’ve read recently..

Just looking at this makes me want to read It again..

In case you thought SK wasn’t for you..

‘Nuff said.

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A refuge for the discarded

I seem to have become something of a ‘Literature Rescuer’ providing a refuge for the once-loveds that no longer line the shelves of friends’ bookcases. Much to H’s annoyance, I have been delighted to stack my already overflowing shelves with books, more books. Here is a photo of my latest acquisitions.

Piles of books by Stephen King, Dostoyevski and Dean Koontz

Ah, books, I welcome you.

I’ve even managed to find happy homes or creative uses for duplicates!

I look forward to sharing more of my reading endeavours over the next few weeks (specifically, Stephen King, Tim Winton and Suzanne Collins), but for now I must study for an upcoming exam.

Until then.

Your Constant Reader.

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