I've been reading Stephen King's newest novel, 11/22/63. The premise sounded interesting so I pre-ordered it from Amazon even though reading his last few works became a chore to finish. Often I never finished them but put them aside, one of those books that if you ever put it down then you never pick it up again. Wading through his long winded, let's face it his last few hardly saw a editor, books became work not pleasure. After all, who's going to tell Stephen King that he needs to trim his tomes? I have often wondered if his publishers signed a contract to pay him by the word.
At any rate, I first read King in the 70's. It wasn't Carrie. It was The Shining. I was in my mid thirties when I started reading that book. After a few pages I was hooked. It became an obsession that started to keep me reading til the wee hours of the night. My eyes were glued to those pages. It was deep into the morning when the world sleeps and the quiet is unearthly. I began to hear noises foreign to my ears. When I did look up from the pages I sensed things beyond the lamp's ring of light just outside my peripheral vison. Either his words were conjuring up strange things that go bump in the night or they had some subconscious effect upon my mind that it was releasing the eery from my own village of horror. I closed that book, slipped under the covers completely, holding them tightly over my head. Sleep was a long time coming as the shades of things going bump in the night slipped back to wherever they came from.
The next morning I just laughed at my foolishness but swore I'd never read another page of The Shining after sundown. I kept that promise until I finished it. I don't remember a book bringing on the fears and chills that visit in the dark like The Shining. It was my most visceral read ever. I wanted to dive into his other works hoping to repeat that involvement. Nothing ever recreated that sense of foreboding. Everything after that just seemed long and tedious. Needless to say I struglled to get through most of them. I finished Thinning and one other whose title escapes me now. I had to force myself to get to the last page of those two. Any others I chucked to a table top. They either remain there or have been moved because I never lifted them again.
His newest 11/22/63 when offered for pre-order I decided OK I'll give it a shot. A chance to go back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination? Who wouldn't want to find out how he planned to do that. When I first started to read it was like wading through treacle. So many words to say this and that. I began to think, Oh no, I've just bought into another doorstop. I'll never finish. I dropped it on a desk and it lay there for several days. Finally, I decided to give it another try. Somewhere, like Mother Mcree's Medicated Hemorrhoid Rectal Rockets, it caught and engaged. I was totally involved. Each day, because I am a slow reader, I wake up to slide back into the time frame of the late 50's and early 60's with a mission to stop that assassination. He has sucked me into the time of innocence.
I'm a little over half way. My only concern is that his ending will not be satisfying. The other two that I was able to finish, besides The Shining, let me down with the final page. I can only hope this one will not. I think, barring a poor ending, this is the best novel to come from his pen or typewriter or computer. His best has arrived. I recommend it highly at this point. I'll let you know how I feel after reading The End.
I don't know why I don't feel comfortable in his books. Especially after wading through this blog entry. So many words to say something so simple. Read 11/22/63. You'll enjoy it. I could have saved so much time if I'd written that at the outset.