Monday, October 8, 2012

Reading A Metric Ton of Books

Okay, maybe not a metric ton, maybe not even a regular ton. But I've been reading a lot. And I thought I'd share some of my more recent books with you guys. Aren't you lucky ducks?

Four Past Midnight  - Stephen King
I've always been a big fan of Stephen King. I picked up a copy of 'Salem's Lot back when I was a wee little thing of 12, and I've never looked back. His novels are fantastic (and fantastical), but his short stories and novellas are not to be neglected. Four Past Midnight is a collection of four novellas, each centered around the theme of time, and how time affects us all. 
The first story, The Langoliers has been made into a movie, and it was easily my favorite in the collection. The story is about a small group of airplanes passengers who wake up in the middle of a flight to discover that everyone else on the red eye flight has vanished.
Next up is Secret Window, Secret Garden which was made into a main-stream movie starring Johnny Depp. Believe it or not, I haven't seen the movie yet, but the story was great. It's about a novelist who gets accused of plagiarizing a short story, and how he deals with the increasingly bizarre consequences. 
The Library Policeman is a great case for returning your books on time, and will probably scare the crap out of any of us who might have kept a book out of the library a little longer than we should have.
The last story, The Sun Dog reminds me a little bit of an old episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? It's about a Polaroid camera that seems to be taking pictures of another dimension. One that houses a very terrifying and angry looking monster-dog.
Like I said, I've always been a big Stephen King fan, and this book didn't disappoint. I loved all of the various characters and the different stories. While I love sitting in for a long story, and getting all of the juicy little details that can only be revealed in a longer novel, I also love getting to know a character in the short snapshot of biography that's allowed in a short story.

Christine - Stephen King
Another Stephen King novel? Shocking. Just shocking. But seriously, I have so many Stephen King books sitting around my house it's embarrassing. I keep telling myself that I need to read some of the books I already have sitting around before I start buying more of them. So, over the summer I made a real effort to cut down that list. Christine had been sitting around for a long time, both the book and the car, which is fitting, I suppose.
The book's about a junked-up car that slowly takes over the life of a teenage boy. It's spooky, of course, but it's more than that. While the book might be short (for a King novel, anyway) but the way that the story draws out and builds tension is masterful. The story centers around a teenage looser, you know the type, "Every school has two". But this looser finds a car, Christine, that makes him into something much more.
If you're looking for a quick thrill, this probably isn't it. But if you're looking for a story that will draw you in and scare you at every turn, look no further.

Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains one of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries - Molly Caldwell Crosby
I'd picked this one up at Barnes and Nobel a few months ago when I had some time to kill. Medicine has always been a hobby of mine. I'll read just about anything I can get my hands on if it's about medicine or the history of medicine (which is a favorite topic of mine). So when I saw this at the store, I knew I had to read it. I grabbed it off of the shelf an sat down in an overstuffed chair to read. I devoured the first few chapters, and I was hooked, I knew I had to read the rest of the book. Which is exactly what the first few chapters should do!
I ordered a copy of the book on amazon (it was too expensive at the store) and read it over a vacation to Boston. It's a non-fiction piece about the history of Encephalitis lethargica, better known as Sleeping Sickness. The disease reached epidemic proportions in the 1920's in the United States and elsewhere in the world (though the book primarily focuses on America). The book talks about how the disease affected not only the patients who had it, but the doctors and facilities that treated them. From soldiers in WWI to children in sanitariums across rural New York, the disease spared no one. And the most terrifying aspect of the disease (and the book) is the fact that the survivors of the disease were left forever changed, some of them doomed to spend the rest of their lives literally frozen in mental institutions. Oliver Sack's book Awakenings (and the film with Robbin Williams) focuses on the after-affects of this terrible epidemic.
Overall, I liked the book, though there were some things about the author's writing style that I didn't much care for. Her transitions were almost non-existent and she tends to jump from topic to topic with little warning. If you are interested in medicine though, especially the history of disease, then I would recommend this book, the story is compelling and the history is almost unbelievable. 

There's more that I've been reading lately, but this post is already getting ridiculously long, so I'll have to save the rest for another post. Keep checking back, and as always, your feedback is always appreciated!

No comments:

Post a Comment