Book Review – Under the Dome by Stephen King

. . How I can finish this book, Under the Dome (1074 pages), before I can finish The Stand (1141 pages), when I started the Stand one year ago, and Under the Dome three weeks ago is beyond me, but it’s true. Under the Dome reads like a season of 24. The book opens with a series of tragedies that initially befall the residents of the small Maine town of Chester’s Mill, and lopes along, downing one domino of tragedy after the other, until… Whammo! What happens? Well, you’ll have to read the book for that. King populates this novel with many characters. So many, in fact, as a budding writer, I find it intimidating. I think the more I study writing, the more intimidated I get when I look at the minefield of cliche I must traverse in order to get to the inside of ONE character, much less twenty of them. King may not flush all the cliche from his population, but does he have to? In a town like Chester’s Mill? It’s believable that people would live by them. I wasn’t distracted by Big Jim’s H3, nor by Barbie’s military kick-ass a la Reese from the Terminator. The characters are fun. They fit the bill. They are reachable and understandable to everyone, and no one has to tread through a mound of rich metaphor to get the point. Sometimes that’s just what I need to read, and I am so happy King is there to provide. The Plot involves a fun thought experiment. (I personally LOVE thought experiments like this) What would happen if … a large indestructible dome suddenly enclosed an entire town, completely separating it from the rest of the world in every way (except, for some odd reason, sound and radio-waves pass through it with no problem, and air and water can trickle...

Eavesdropping and BananaFish….

. J.D. Salinger, God rest his soul, wrote more than just the incredible coming to age novel, The Catcher in the Rye. He wrote many short stories, and many related to a central group of characters. I’m taking a UCLA Extension class called Putting Dialogue to Work. The first assignment requires that we read the Salinger story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Although the story is in the American Realism genre, I LOVED it. I think it is because my grandfather was a WWII veteran, and from him, I came closer to understanding what a veteran might feel while trying to reinstitute himself into society. Here was my assessment of the story: * Muriel comes across as shallow and indifferent. She hadn’t been able to get her call through for 2.5 hours, but when the phone finally rings, she doesn’t bother to rush for it. Her call seems habitual rather than motivated by any sort of conscious desire or need to communicate. She paints her nails while she talks. I inferred that she probably spent more attention on that than the actual conversation. She takes her rings off, probably including her wedding ring, to hang around the hotel room. Despite her mother’s concern, Muriel behaves like any teenage girl. I can envision her rolling her eyes to look at her brain as her mother voices her concerns. Muriel is so far removed from reality that she feel invincible. She has, “It can’t happen to me syndrome.” I was taken by the following dialogue between Muriel and her mother: “When I think of how you waited for that boy all through the war-I mean when you think of all those crazy little wives who–” “Mother,” said the girl, “we’d better hang up. Seymour may come in any minute.” The fact that Muriel cuts her mother off in mid thought here...

World War Z

I’m reading this book called World War Z by Max Brooks. I’ll confess, I have a pretty horrific mind. So, I was pleasantly surprised to get genuinely creeped out by the first few pages. It gets gnarly on about page 5. Bravo! I also have managed to have dreams about my baby trying to gum me to death during a breastfeeding session, all as a result of this book, but that’s just me. No really, folks… That’s the kind of reading that sets me on fire. I love it. It’s like virtual crack. I don’t need to smoke it to feel paranoid and otherwise jacked-up. Brooks tells the tale through a series of reports from various characters all over the globe who have personally encountered the zombies and lived to speak of it. The people come from all walks of life, which is where things get interesting. You hear the motivations of politicians, the view points of the common citizen, army infantry, doctors, swindlers… He’s included virtually every identifiable group, however, I am not quite finished yet. He may have missed a few. I whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good freak-out novel. Better yet, It goes beyond the gross. Brooks makes social commentary on many different levels. It covers the economics of a cover-up that evolves into a world war of a second nature. I can’t help but immerse myself in the thought experiment: What if it actually happened? May god grant us all the strength to write something that can put others in as gripping an emotional vice-grip as Brooks’ World War Z. Great stuff! And may the force be with...

Tell me what to read!

There are sooooo many wonderful books to read. In fact, I have at least fifty novels on my list of books to read. Not that I really need it, but PLEASE, tell me what more I should read. If you add a reason why I should read it, that’s a plus… 😉

The Stand

I am reading The Stand by Stephen King (Who, by the sheer number of his books I’ve read and enjoyed, I’ve decided is my favorite author). I started this novel in August of 2009. I hope to finish by August 2010. LOL. Well, the beginning rocked, but the exodus is trying for me. That’s when the momentum stopped. I would have been happy with just a horror novel about the superflu. Given that one piece of criticism, I’m still hanging in...

Italio Calvino

I am currently reading If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italio Calvino. When I read the first pages, I didn’t like it. Then I read it again, altered my perspective a bit, and VOILA! It’s like what he was trying to do dawned on me. Anyone else have thoughts on...