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books and reading

The Shining

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This book is the first Stephen King book I read, over 20 years ago. I sure did start out with a bang! Since I have yet to read Doctor Sleep, I wanted to revisit The Shining to refresh my memory of the Torrance family. This book is one where you can’t compare it to the movie at all. They are vastly different. It’s pretty well-known that King isn’t a fan of The Shining movie, calling it “a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it.” Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the movie just never really captures the terror presented in the book.

We first meet the Torrance family, Jack, Wendy, and five-year-old Danny, after Jack has stopped drinking and is applying for a job as the winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. High up in the mountains, the Overlook closes from Sept-May. Jack’s drinking troubles have ceased, but the memory of him breaking Danny’s arm lingers. Wendy loves her husband but is wary. And Danny is a great kid but an unusual one. Danny can see things before they happen. Once they get to the Overlook, Danny meets the head chef, Dick, who can also see things before they happen. This skill, Dick says, is called “the shine.” Dick knows the hotel isn’t harmless and is nervous for the family. He tells Danny to call him, mentally, if he needs him.

Slowly, the hotel begins to take possession of the family. Jack is the easiest to turn because he’s mentally troubled with his alcoholism. Even though the place is dry, the instability he has previously suffered makes him an ideal candidate for going crazy. The hotel also tries to get Danny into its grips by showing him horrifying things that have happened there. Wendy is the strongest, but she is at the mercy of her husband and son.

The ending of this book is nothing like in the movie, and giant chunks of the plot were altered, which was unnecessary. The book really is great as is, no adjustments needed. Aside from the end, the book is only graphic in a few spots but is really more of a psychological horror than anything else. I’ve read dozens of his books, and this one really does stand out as one of his best.

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books and reading

Spoon River Anthology

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I don’t have a ton to say about this book, but I do want to mention it because it’s really creative, and I think a lot of people would be interested in it. The story is of the town of Spoon River, but the story is told via epitaphs.

The writings on the gravestones are written as if the person who died was writing it for him/herself after death. So, each one is written from the third person and tries to explain something about the person’s life, death, or both. A lot of accusations are made in one person’s epitaph which are resolved in another person’s. Explanations about divorce, murder, and the like fill the gravemarkers and, through these, you get a good idea that Spoon River isn’t the greatest place in the world, nor are its inhabitants.

Published in the early 1900s, the stories are much dated, but that really doesn’t matter because they are still salacious. And while I ultimately enjoyed the book, it was just so long and so many graves to keep up with. I found my brain wandering and skimming a lot. So, I recommend this book for its uniqueness and value in literature, but I can’t say I’ll pick it up again. But one more PopSugar Reading Challenge knocked out. Clearly this fit the “anthology” category.

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books and reading

2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge

Here is my plan for the reading challenge. Can’t wait!

A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club Lovecraft Country Matt Ruff
A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it The Lucky Ones Mark Edwards
A book that has a book on the cover The Book of Lost Things John Connolly
A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name Little Voices Vanessa Lillie
A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics Leaving Atlanta Tayari Jones
Book published in the month you were born Joyland Stephen King
Book with a map The Regulators Stephen King
A book published in 2020 If It Bleeds Stephen King
A book my a trans or nonbinary author An Unkindness of Ghosts Rivers Solomon
A book with a great first line Still Life with Woodpecker Tom Robbins
A book about a book club Mayhem at the Orient Express Kylie Logan
A bildungsroman Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed Doctor Sleep Stephen King
A book with an upside-down image on the cover Topics About Which I Know Nothing Patrick Ness
An anothology Spoon River Anthology Edgar Lee Masters
A book that passes the Bechdel test The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
A book by or about a woman in STEM Cress Marissa Meyer
A book that won an award in 2019 The Testaments Margaret Atwood
A book on a subject you know nothing about Concussion Jeanne Marie Laskas
A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics Doomsday Book Connie Willis
A book with a pun in the title Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins Misery Stephen King
A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI character Winter Marissa Meyer
A book with a bird on the cover Brief History of Seven Killings Marlon James
A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leader A Warning Anonymous
A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the title The Devil in Silver Victor LaValle
A book by a WOC Children of Virtue and Vengeance Tomi Adeyemi
A book with at least a 4-star rating on Goodreads The Talisman Stephen King
A book you meant to read in 2019 Broken Harbour Tana French
A book about or involving social media If We Had Known Elise Juska
A medical thriller The Farm Joanne Ramos
A book with a made-up language The Country of the Ice Cream Star Sandra Newman
A book set in a country beginning with “C” Dreams of Joy Lisa See
A book you picked because the title caught your attention Gnomon Nick Harkaway
A book with a three-word title The Perfect Nanny Leila Slimani
A book with a pink cover Bunny Mona Awad
A western Inland Tea Obreht
A book about or by a journalist The Girl Who Lived Twice David Langercrantz
Read a banned book during Banned Books Week Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
Your favorite prompt from a past PopSugar challenge- book set in a hotel The Shining Stephen King
A book written by an author in their 20s Everything is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer
A book with more than 20 letters in its title The Deep Dark Descending Allen Eskens
A book with 20 in the title 20th Century Ghost Joe Hill
A book published in the 20th century Black House Stephen King
A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement Blindness Jose Saramago
A book from a series with more than 20 books The Black Echo Michael Connolly
A book set in Japan Shogun James Clavell
A book with a main character in their 20s The Mothers Brit Bennett
A book by an author who has written more than 20 books The Dark Half Stephen King