The Stand by Stephen King

A few years ago, I read the original release of The Stand. I decided to do so because it was shorter and I was kind of afraid of the book.  It had grown to the heights of War and Peace in my mind but I love King and I wanted to get through it.  I loved the book but once I finished it I started to get the feeling that I had made the wrong choice.  If I was going to spend three weeks reading the book, I may as well spend those weeks reading the complete uncut edition.  I finally gave into that nagging voice and decided to read the big one.  I mean, what if I missed something?

My honest opinion:  I’m glad that I read the long one and I still love the book but you could probably get away with reading the shorter version.  There was only one thing that I actually noticed being different and its absence from the original release didn’t leave a gaping hole or anything.  I prefer the time setting of the original release, actually.  The small updates to pop culture and dates felt a little wonky to me.

I’ve heard of people who read this book again and again.  I can understand it.  It’s a great book.  The post Captain Trips world that King creates was vivid enough to seep into my dreams.  The characters feel real, even the bad guys.  They all have a real sense of humanity about them.

Repeatedly now I have tried to come up with a plot summary for you and I just can’t.  There is so much here and so many stories and characters that I feel like I would be doing the book a disservice in leaving something out.  Suffice to say that The Stand is a post-plague world that feels close enough to our own world to be scary, that he seems to really think things out down the line and around corners, if you will.  This is 100% worth the read for me.

Tally Monday- June 5, 2017

Checked Out

None

Bought

None

Read

The Stand by Stephen King

 

Welcome to my bold, new reading life, kiddies!  Right now my TBR consists of the book that I have been keeping since I was 16 and a couple of random piles on my desk at home.  When I say that I do not have a TBR list, I guess that I am oversimplifying things.  What I mean is that I do not have the kind of stack and Goodreads list that keeps me frantically trying to catch up.  No, the plan now is to read intuitively.  Stephen King, two books I own, young adult.  I finished The Stand last night and went back to my office to pick my next read.  I chose a slim volume that I recently purchased, something that it a complete change from the last two doorstoppers I’ve read, a book that I intend to write in and to really think about but that also won’t take me a month and a half to read.

It’s both freeing and maddening.  When I started thinking that I would finish The Stand before today, I knew what book I wanted to read next and I have an idea of what I would like to read after that too.  I told myself to stop.  The point of this is to maybe only know what my next book is going to be, not 20 books ahead.  On Friday I caught myself also walking along the shelves at work, deciding what YA book I wanted to dive into, whether it should be something I’ve been really wanting to read (Dumplin‘?  The Selection?  Rainbow Rowell?) or something off the new shelf so I can suggest those to people.  Take a deep breath, Smy!  Wait until it’s time and grab what feels right.

I expect that Tally Monday is going to start looking a bit more normal now.  While I am trying not to buy any books for a while so that I can read down my stash, I also have a couple of books on order through the library.  I’ve decided that it’s time to get back on the audiobook wagon and have decided to start the Anne of Green Gables series, which I’ve never read but always meant to.  And I’ve ordered in a board book to read to Little Man, a new Mo Willems book that I didn’t even know existed.  Soon, there will be books checked out and books read and I’ll also be talking a little bit about what I am reading to LM.  (Right now we are working through Real Mother Goose, which is a book that I give at every baby shower I go to except the last because I snagged my last “for gifting” copy.)

Now, about The Stand.  Wow.  Like, really.  I spent most of the day yesterday plowing through the last 9% of this book because I wanted to move on but it was, yet again, totally worth it.  I love King and I recall liking this book the last time that I read it but this time I turned off my Kindle, took my bookmark out of the paperback, and sat it between Hubby and me on the couch.  “Wow,” I said.  “I think that may be one of my favorite books.”  Hubby replied, “That’s cool.  I don’t need to read a book where you read a book’s worth of pages and you’re not even half through.”  Fair.  However, I didn’t point out that he owns the audio. lol.

I loved the book but I am looking forward to being free of it.  My Kindle is back on my headboard, waiting patiently to be read only at night.  My next book, Leaves of Grass by Whitman, is loaded and I read three or four poems before bed last night.  More importantly, I am hoping that maybe I will quit dreaming about The Walkin’ Dude.  And then I can stop wondering why I only dream of him and not Mother Abigail…

Already half through my next Little Black Classic and I have an interesting week ahead of me.  Wish me luck and may your reading rock as well!

Graphic Friday- Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux

As part of my new, much more relaxed reading plan, I decided this morning that I was going to select a comic from the shelf and read it.  I can say that the end goal is to be more familiar with the comic section at work or to boost reviews on the blog but, honestly, I kind of just want a little thing to look forward to on Fridays that isn’t the BuzzFeed cat newsletter, though I do look forward to that too.

I began with Sidescrollers because I had been meaning to pick it up for a long time and whenever I walk past it it mocks me.

Now, I’m going to do some things that I never do.

First, there were a lot of things that I liked about this book.  It was fun and funny.  It reminded me of a high school movie.  It was kind of like Superbad where everything that can go wrong does go wrong.   I felt like it was full of tropes and stereotypes but they are tropes and stereotypes that I love.  Plus, shenanigans, including evil and good cats, lobsters, and even a scorpion.

But then.  You know, do we have to talk about people being pussies all of the time?  Or, like, do we have to talk about “tang”?  And I hate to be that person because sometimes you have to take things as they are but why do all of the female characters have weird boobs?  Why are they basically only there for boobs?

So, yes, I was amused and I laughed and I enjoyed it but I could not in good conscience give it a glowing review.

Podcast Tuesday- May 30, 2017

Podcasts Downloaded:  1117

Today I want to talk about a podcast that I slammed through a couple of weeks ago.  It was my last week of maternity leave and I was interested in making some kind of permanent dent in my podcast collection.  I have a couple that are completed, kind of like Serial.  However, I only had one of those “completed” podcasts completely downloaded.  In the Dark.

True crime stuff is weird for me.  Like, sometimes I really do enjoy it.  Serial was so fascinating that I listened to it twice and I was riveted by Netflix’s Making a Murderer.  When I come across true crime books, I like to look at the pictures on the glossy pages in the middle.  In junior high, I closely followed the O.J. trial.  When I log out of my Yahoo email, I catch myself sucked into the gut wrenching stories of abuse and murder.  I don’t know why.  It’s kind of sick, this rubber necking.  But we all do it.

In the Dark is the story of a boy who went missing in 1989 and how the police department flummoxed the investigation.  While they were working on the story, a man confessed to the murder and led authorities to his body, which added an extra layer to the story and a couple of additional episodes.  It was one of those stories that didn’t seem like it could fill 10 episodes but was riveting the whole time.

I listened to it in two days.  If that is your cup of tea, I’d give it a shot.

Tally Monday- May 29, 2017

Checked Out

Nothing yet!  I’m kind of proud of myself.

Bought

  1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Read

I’m still working on The Stand

Let’s get down to it!  Yesterday afternoon I got out my laptop to write this post and just then my mother showed up to go for ice cream.  When I got back, I played a couple of games with Hubby.  Then I completely forgot that it was Monday.  I seriously was sure it was just a normal Sunday.  When I realized my mistake it was 10 and I was almost through a movie and ready to go to bed.  Things can wait.  It will get easier to stay on track now.

You may notice that my TBR column is gone.  That’s because I am, at present, not keeping one.  My stack of books is still on my desk but that’s mostly because I just haven’t done anything with them.  My current reading scheme is Stephen King, two books I own, and a YA.  But I’m not planning anything but the King, which I am reading through in publication order.  When I finish The Stand, I’ll grab a book out of my office and read it, whatever it may be, and then I’ll do it again.  After that, I’ll go to my new books at work and grab a YA to read.  I can’t promise that this will last long but for now the idea feels freeing.  I also plan on not allowing myself to buy a book until I have read two of my books for a bit.  Things are a little out of control.

I don’t recall if I talked here about my resolutions this year.  I kept them very broad.  I wanted to focus on The Big Three:  healthy body, clear mind, nourished soul.  The first two are easy enough for me.  Eat right, stay active, drink water, get sleep, keep notes, journal, stay organized, meditate.  But I had a hard time figuring out how to have a nourished soul.  I mean, I try to stay grateful and positive.  I try to do things for people I love.  I pray.  I read books about spirituality.  I try to live a good life.  But is my soul really nourished?  What makes me feel like my soul is nourished?

Reading.  Dammit, you guys.  I mean, seriously.  How could I not realize that over all of these months?  When I was stressed out.  When I was unable to sleep.  Even when I was losing my shit in the hospital because I hadn’t slept and couldn’t nurse and just wanted to eat my breakfast instead of trying to force feed a baby for two hours.  I read during those times.  I read and it made me feel calm and refreshed.  I read and it helped me sleep.  I read and felt like myself.  Reading nourishes my soul.

And so it is time to confess.  I have not been able to read much in the past week.  I have not gained traction yet with work and home and baby and husband.  I’m busy and tired and behind and needed.  BUT, I have been bribing myself.  Every day I read for 30 minutes when I get to work.  I put my phone on “do not disturb,” set a timer, and sit at my off desk with my book.  It makes me feel better about leaving Ian.  It makes me feel calm enough to put my day in order.  It makes me feel like myself.

I’m going to keep reading.  It may take me longer.  I may not get through as much.  But it brings me true, pure joy to do so and I must treat myself like a human.

Podcast Tuesday- Edition the First

Podcasts Downloaded: 1123

“Wait… What?” you say.  “Don’t you already have a Monday thing that you do?”

Yeah, I do but since I recently axed my Thursday project and another whole blog about my personal life, I’ve decided that it is time to talk about my other Project Major: my ongoing battle of the podcast buldge.

See, for many years I was working in an itty bitty library that was almost out of the county.  The village it was in came in at just under 450 residents in the last census and it was nestled in a kind of valley somehow.  Really!  It was described to me by a number of people as “being in the valley and too low to get a good internet signal” even though I drove UP a hill to get there and it appeared to have flat farm fields on all sides.  But valley, sure.  I’m sure that’s how internet works too.  (I don’t know.  I like to think that fairies live in my router.)

Anyway, it was such a small library in such a small village and with such a small sign that I spent a lot of time alone there.  No problem for me.  I love being alone.  (See: Maternity Leaver Hermitage.)  I would get to that branch and spend at least a couple of hours each night listening to podcasts and since I’m a little crazy about not going over my data limits, I would download all of my podcasts while I was at home even though the library obviously had wifi.  It saved my bored ass a number of times when the internet was down, which was also the number one way to make sure that I had NO patrons.

Recently, Hubby pointed out to me that it’s kind of stupid to download all of these podcasts when I can, you know, just listen to them on our data.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.  We probably won’t go over now that we have so much more but I can’t take that chance.  And, thus, I am playing catch up because they are taking up 38 gigs on my phone.  If you’re interested in a list of Podcasts I subscribe to (even though I haven’t even sampled most of them), you can check out this post.  I’ve only added a couple since then.

Over the next however long until I get bored, I will be talking to you about my podcast listening life, what I’m loving and what I’m not loving and what you OMG NEED to listen to.

That’s it for today, just a lay of the land, but if you’re looking for something to suck away your time, my suggestion for this week is In the Dark, a true crime podcast covering the story of an 11 year old boy who went missing in 1989.  Looking for something lighter?  Check out 99% Invisible, the endlessly fascinating podcast about design that I didn’t realize was about design until I was about 20 episodes deep.

Tally Monday- May 22, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

None!

Read

Still none!

TBR 14

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official.  I have returned to the real world.  But, you know, reality is kind of funny.  I’ve been calling going back to work “returning to the real world” but for years now I have called my life outside of work “real life.”  I say things like, “In my real life, I swear a lot and wear flip-flops.”  That’s actually like the best example that I can come up with.  Though, in all fairness, in my real life I swear a lot…

So far, I’m holding up.  It was hard leaving LM this morning but he’s with his grandma and she’ll love him so so much in my absence.  I came to work and fell right back in.  I’ve already conquered my e-mail and mail.  Next I have some book reviews to read and a big order to get out and a couple of loose ends here and there.  I actually think that I’ll be back into my regular swing of things by the end of the week.  I AM feeling a bit tired now that it’s the afternoon and I’m used to naps.

Regardless, it sucks.  lol.  I LOVE being home.  I always have and I love it even more with each cat and baby I add.  I miss my couch.  I miss my easy access to coffee and food.  I miss my kitties.  I miss my baby most of all.

Last week I worked away at The Stand some more.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not but I’ve started to dream in King.  It’s actually really disturbing, right?  In this book, people start to dream about Nebraska and they start to dream about the dark man.  Well, imagine that you started dreaming about the dark man and never Nebraska?  It kind of fucks with your head.

Now that I am back in the real world, I anticipate being able to sneak reading into my day again pretty soon.  I’ve also been thinking about blocking off some time after putting LM down at night to just disappear into my office and take some me time.  I doubt that, though, because I love Hubby so much that I want to be around him all of the time.  Shut up, I know I’m gross.  I’ve also been considering how to handle my new reading plan.

Reading plans!  Ah!  I always have them.  Before I went on leave I made the following pattern:  author, big list, little list, nonfiction, book I own, YA, graphic.  I think that for a while I am going to continue to focus on reading books that I own.  My present idea is King, book from my TBR stack, book recently purchased (because these are stacked on my desk as well), and YA (because I am out of the swing of things).  Who knows where my crazy reading life will lead me.

I could use a nap.  Anyone else?