Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Sunday, September 23, 2018

“IT” by Stephen King


I must (grudgingly) admit I had fun reading this book. Stephen King is definitely not my typical choice; Bookworm Child was reading this last fall, and I started picking it up to pass the time while I was waiting for her Monday night band sessions to end (partly out of curiosity, partly because I was starved to it). When Monday night band season ended, I forgot all about this book . . . until Monday night band season started up again this year, and I remembered my nasty little It-reading habit. By that time Bookworm Child had long ago finished reading It, and I decided to see if I could finish it too. (By now I'm hyper-aware of how many times I'm using the word "it" and I'm annoying myself.)

Well. I did it. It was definitely easy to read and went by pretty fast while also seeming a bit unhealthy and wasteful (imagine reverse diarrhea, no cramps). Lots of plot, very little thinking. I'm sure you all know the story (child-killing clown terrorizes Derry, Maine every 27 years or so) and I liked the mystery and suspense of it.

However, I could have done without the horror. Yeah, I know, the horror is the main point of this book and that's what most people actually like about it, but not me. The gross gore, grime and guts do nothing for me. I suspect a more subtle hand could have actually upped the creep factor. (I know the scariest movie I ever saw as a kid was the one where they never even showed the monster.) I think I could have skipped every scene of horror without feeling like anything was missing. I might have said "ew" less often while reading, but saying "ew" while reading is not something I eagerly seek after. And then there was all the Chüd hoopla. It's like this book started as one thing and then took a wrong turn and ended up as something completely different.

Verdict: Yeah, as much as I hate to admit it, I enjoyed reading this book (for the most part). But I would have preferred a book that ended with a whimper instead of one that ended with a (gang) bang.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

“Burning Bright” by Tracy Chevalier

I didn’t like this book as much as I’ve liked others by Chevalier. At first, something about the writing bothered me. Either that wrinkle smoothed out or I got used to it, but I never really got invested in the story, which is tangentially about William Blake. (He lives next door to one of the main characters). I think I would have preferred to read more (or more directly) about Blake than about Jem and Maggie.

This is the 5th Chevalier I’ve read and I only remember really loving one of them (Girl With a Pearl Earring). That's the funny thing about my memory, though (and the good thing about having a book blog): I re-read my posts on the other four books and found that I definitely liked three and only didn't really care for one. I'd rank Burning Bright as #4 of the 5.