Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Doctor Sleep
author:Stephen King
pages: 531
published: 2013
genre: paranormal horror
first line: On the second day of December in a new year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of  Colorado’s great resort hotels burned to the ground. 
rated:  5 stars
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blurb:
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

my thoughts:
Hello all, I am still here and after taking a few weeks off blog-land I figured I’d come back with my thoughts on Doctor Sleep which is the sequel to The Shining. I first read The Shining over a decade ago, when I was finally brave enough to. So when Doctor Sleep was published in 2013, I re-read The Shining in order to refresh my memory before picking up this sequel. Meanwhile, here I am finally reading the sequel six years later. Did The Shining need a follow up? Not really because it had an ending. But I was still curious to see where King would take the story. In an interview I heard him say that Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining novel, not a sequel to the film since the two are different in many ways and he didn’t like the film version.

Mild spoilers ahead….

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The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

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source: free copy via Amazon Prime membership
title: The Exorcist
author: William Peter Blatty
genre: classic horror/paranormal horror
published: 1971
pages: 380
first line: The blaze of the sun wrung pops of sweat from the old man’s brow, yet he cupped his hands around the glass of hot sweet tea as if to warm them.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars for horror with heart
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blurb:
Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist, one of the most controversial novels ever written, went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

my thoughts:

I have wanted to read The Exorcist for a while and I finally got the nerve to. I also wanted to make sure I read it fast which I did, so I wasn’t dwelling on it too much. I finished it in less than a week. What I found on reading this one is that it was terrifying yes, but also full of almost poetic writing with a well-developed plot and with characters that you root for. It is essentially a story about good vs. evil. The book is pretty much the same as the film but it has more heart.

I tend to become easily immersed in the books that I read so this was a scary experience for me but ironically The Exorcist  has become a new favorite horror novel. It is easily the scariest book I have ever read. I have been jumpy all week and scared of my own shadow. I don’t know when I will be able to go down to the basement again when I am home alone. Or how I will even agree to being left home alone now but I digress.
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Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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source: purchased
title: Heart-Shaped Box
author:  Joe Hill
published: 2007
genre: horror
pages: 366
first line: Jude had a private collection.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit….

my thoughts:

I re-read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill this past October. The protagonist Judas Coyne is a 54-year-old rock-star who lives with is assistant and his current 20 something year old goth girlfriend Georgia.

Judas enjoys collecting macabre items, he has a snuff film and a hand written letter from a woman killed for witchcraft during old witch trials among other things. One day his assistant tells him he received an email offer to buy a ghost online. The ghost comes attached to a dead man’s suit. Judas cannot resist and he buys it for his collection. The suit and ghost arrive to his home inside a black heart-shaped box. When Georgia goes to touch the suit she is pricked with what they assume has to be a pin. Not long after Judas starts seeing a man’s ghost in his home and Georgia’s pin prick starts to get badly infected. When Judas decides to call the suit’s previous owner, a woman named Jessica, she tells him the real history behind the suit and it involves someone from Judas’ past. He then becomes frantic trying to rid himself of this ghost before it is too late.

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My Favorite Scary Books

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Halloween is right around the corner and I find these Fall months the perfect time to settle in with scary, thrilling books. I am definitely a fan of the horror genre both in films and in literature. I recently re-read Heart-Shaped Boxfor the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and I read Rebecca for Fraterfest 2018 . (reviews coming soon)

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite scary books, here they are in no particular order…

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 1. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
This whole list could be Stephen King novels couldn’t it though? It took me a while to finally be brave enough to read Pet Sematary . I’ve read it twice so far and it is my favorite King novel. The film is good too and I am looking forward to the remake. Not only is this one terrifying but it is very sad, like most King novels tend to be.

 

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2. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems
I only read Poe during the Fall. It is a little reading tradition I have. I will grab my copy of Complete Tales and Poems and I will read a few stories or poems. Poe had a flair for the dramatic and I enjoy his gloomy and beautiful writing….The Tell Tale Heart, The Raven and Annabel Lee are among my favorites. This book is a great for any Poe fan.

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Needful Things by Stephen King

needfulsource: purchased
title: Needful Things
author: Stephen King
genre: classic horror
published: 1991
pages: 790
first line: In a small town, the opening of a new store is big news.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:

Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 New York Times bestseller about a mysterious store than can sell you whatever you desire—but not without exacting a terrible price in return.

“There are two prices for this. Half…and half. One half is cash. The other is a deed. Do you understand?”

The town of Castle Rock, Maine has seen its fair share of oddities over the years, but nothing is a peculiar as the little curio shop that’s just opened for business. Its mysterious proprietor, Leland Gaunt, seems to have something for everyone out on display at Needful Things…interesting items that run the gamut from worthless to priceless. Nothing has a price tag in this place, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware…

my thoughts:

Needful Things was a re-read and is a toughie to review because it is such a long book with so many characters and events. It is hard to believe my copy is over 20 years old.

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In this classic, King takes us to Castle Rock and sets up the scene quite nicely. I love that about his writing, he takes his time introducing his characters and giving us a feel for them. There is a new shop in the small town of Castle Rock called Needful Things and the townspeople are very curious about it. The owner is a man named Leland Gaunt who seems to mesmerize his customers. When you walk into this store you find the perfect item for yourself that you didn’t even know you were looking for until you lay your eyes on it. Everything is for sale but everything comes at a steep price. It is akin to making a deal with the devil. The customers leave with the perfect item but not quite remembering how they promised Leland Gaunt what they would pay for it.

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