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January 3rd, 2007

Beautiful King

jimvanpelt made some interesting observations after recently completing Lisey's Story by Stephen King and the comment thread reminded me about some of the high points I've encountered through the years while reading his books. So I thought I'd list a few that came to mind:

1) The Shining -- I went all the way through to the big reveal before learning what "redrum" meant the first time. I think it was because Jack Torrance, as a recovering alcoholic, kept thinking about drinking and the Martians (martinis).

2) The Shining -- I'm a geek when it comes to redemption themes. The confrontation between Jack and Danny is unforgettable. Anyone who's only viewed the film and TV interpretations (Kubrick's travesty or the more faithful ABC miniseries) really owes it to themselves to read the book. I know I've mentioned this elsewhere before, though I can't recall specifically when or where, but I believe The Shining is one of the best novels written in the last 30 years. Set aside the supernatural aspects and it shows the death of the traditional American family.

3) The Dead Zone and Insomnia -- I'm also a fan of self-sacrifice as much as I am of redemption themes. Johnny Smith and Ralph Roberts are two sides of the same coin. I know they're fictional characters, but what King can imagine, other men can accomplish. I know there are Insomnia detractors, but its final pages ran my emotions through the wringer.

I'm sure others will come to mind the longer I think about them. First, I'm placing Lisey's Story at the front of my 2007 reading list. There are 120 pages left in the book I was reading before 2006 came to a close, so I should tackle the latest King book over the weekend or early next week.

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