Category Archives: Authors

Revival

I started reading Stephen King’s Revival last fall after it’s release. Unfortunately several life situations took me away from my read and it came due at the library. I immediately reserve it again, but being that it is a new book it has taken this long to make it’s way back to me. In the meantime I did something I rarely do – read reviews before I read the book.

The reviews led me to this quote, “” King has always been generous in acknowledging the inspiration for his fiction. With “Revival,” he names Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” (1894), one of the greatest supernatural tales ever written.” Ah ha! I’ve never read that and, further, I don’t know Arthur Machen’s work. My research tells me that Machen was also followed by H.P. Lovecraft.

Time for me to delve further into the book web even though I’m a mere fifty pages into my current book. I’ve reserved it at the library.

Also, my supernatural phase is starting early this year. Usually I reserve it for fall!

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Stephen King’s Repeating Themes

This summer I revisited a few Stephen King novels and, in the process, discovered phrases and themes I hadn’t noticed before. King is infamous for repeating characters and even has many of them in his series The Dark Tower.  The discerning eye (or ear if listening to an audio version) also catches phrases and themes when reading his books back to back.  I just mention a few below and then a longer post soon

not fair

Corn

Fire

Shovels

Mean mothers (he addresses this in his book On Writing)

Religious people and/or people of authority who are out of control

People who are controlled by their own satanistic tendencies or by Satan

Children and women who overcome the “monster”

People who have no violence control

The end of humanity as we know it

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Back in the Web

Lately I haven’t been getting caught up in the web. My hyper reading slowed to a snail’s pace so there just hasn’t been anything interesting of which to post. I’ve gone from Gaiman to Atwood to some droll non-fiction, but, nothing really snared me into research on other books, other topics, nor even a quick google search. Nothing until Shirley Jackson as of today!

I was soaking in the tub yesterday reading Mental Floss reading an article about Shirley Jackson’s short and oft retold short story The Lottery.  I recognized the title not because of  the written word, but,  as a script I’ve seen played out a few times on-screen. Ms. Jackson pops up in my reading now and then and occasionally I’ve thought about reading her, but, not very seriously because I am just not that familiar with her work…or so I thought. Maybe the warm water floating around me jolted my memory …or maybe it is my old hyper-reading self itching to get back in the game, but, a vision suddenly burst through to me of an old book lurking somewhere in my mind and home!

Raising Demons. I remember checking the box for this book on my 1970 Weekly Reader Scholastic Book order from. It cost 60 cents. It is the first book I ever bought with money that was all mine. And guess what…I still have it. In fact, I’m going to start reading it again tonight. Evidently it is a memoir about her raising her three children. Back then I simple saw it as funny and I liked the image of demons as children. I wonder what it will mean to me now some 41 years later.

Both Stephen King and Neil Gaiman cite Ms. Jackson as an influence in their horror writing. It’s no wonder I read them and read them often. Shirley influenced me and I didn’t even remember her.

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The Murder Room

I truly love watching forensic criminal investigation shows. It’s true and has been since Quincy, M.D.  It’s not the crime for me. It’s the figuring out, the dissecting the essence of a person, the examining of the crime scene, and the path that led them to the crime.

Of course Criminal Minds, the 21st century grandchild of Quincy, is sexier showing more of the crime and less of the mind. Still, I hang on every frame waiting for the other mental clue to drop so I can figure it out like a Nancy Drew Mystery (although I hated Nancy Drew). So, what does this have to do with hyper-reading and being caught in the book web?  I’m reading The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo.

Wow! I know crime investigation really happens, but, this fascinating book tells the tale of some famous crimes through the eyes of real detectives who solve the real problems and how their paths cross leading to the creation of a society of experts who meet to ruminate about and solve international cold cases. In Murder Room I met people like Frank Bender who reconstructs the faces of dead people through his art and imagination. His eccentric habits (not the least of which is an open marriage and multiple sexual partners) do not deter his eerie ability to conjure up a face from almost nothing.

The book is not easy to read. It’s kind of all over the place and the structure is loose so I decided to go the audio route. I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m fascinated by the work these folks do.

I think if I could have gotten past the violence and gore, I would have liked a career in profiling criminals.

NOTE: The name of the Vidocq Society is derived from Euegen Francois Vidocq, a French “crook-turned-cop” who is credited with being the “father of modern criminal investigation.” http://www.vidocq.org/vidocq.html

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