Monday, August 04, 2008

Books You Should Be Reading Number 46 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

It by Stephen King

I discovered news of old horrors in old books; read intelligence of old atrocities in old periodicals; always in the back of my mind, every day a bit louder, I heard the seashell drone of some growing, coalescing force; I seemed to smell the bitter ozone aroma of lightnings-to-come. I began making notes for a book that I almost certainly not live to write. And at the same time I went on with my life. On one level of my mind I was and am living with the most grotesque, capering horrors; on another I have continued to live the mundane life of a small-city librarian. I shelve books; I make out library cards for new patrons; I turn off the microfilm readers careless users sometimes leave on; I joke with Carole Danner about how much I would like to go to bed with her, and she jokes back about how much she’d like to go to bed with me, and both of us know that she’s really joking and that I’m really not, just as both of us know that she won’t stay in a small place like Derry for long and I will be here until I die, taping torn pages in Business Week, sitting down at monthly acquisition meeting with my pipe in one hand and a stack of Library Journals in the other... and waking in the middle of the night with my fists jammed against my mouth to keep in the screams.


It is 1116 pages. I know this because I first read it when I was eleven or thereabouts, making it the longest book I had read at that point – it was a source of some pride.

King has written his share of stinkers, but in this book he gets it right. I’m not saying it’s without its faults – the sexualisation of the female member of the gang, for example, didn’t sit right with me when I was the same age as the characters, nor does it today – but overall it is an entertaining read with some genuinely scary parts, which not many books can boast. Rereading it for the first time in a long while I picked up more than a few nods to Lovecraft, which I missed the first few times around, and the long digressions from the main plot (which when I was a kid I thought were fairly irrelevant) do a very good job of creating an entire haunted city. Well worth a read, especially on a dark night when the worst storm in decades is whirling around your house and uprooting your trees.

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