Quantcast

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond

Source: the author
Hardcover, 320 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond is an expedition that leaves you feeling the biting cold as it burns the skin and takes the breath away from naturalists like Deb Gardner. Antarctica is a deeply mysterious place, one that travelers may have on their bucket list because they can see icebergs cleaving and wildlife free from human interruption. This environment, however, is not forgiving and many times those who travel there — even for research — can lose parts of themselves or their lives even if they are highly trained.

“The end of the world, the beginning of everything.” (pg. 14 ARC)

Raymond has crafted a novel that takes the harshness of the frozen wasteland and reweaves it into a place of solace for Gardner, a researcher whose family life is not close-knit and who feels closer to the penguins she observes than to people. Her narrative shifts backwards and forwards in time, sometimes a few months and sometimes by a few decades, but readers never leave Deb’s world view. She pushes you to care for the animals and their world, even as it crumbles around them and even as a researcher she is polluting its pristine nature. The dichotomy of her work is never lost on the reader — learn more about their environment and the effects of humanity upon it by being there and observing but through the act of observing, you disrupt the natural way of things (even if only for a few months).

“I feel his proximity like an electric current, a frayed wire, loose and dangerous.” (pg. 93 ARC)

The stakes become even higher when Deb finds that she feels more at home with fellow naturalist Keller Sullivan, a man who knew little until she reluctantly trained him. The nature of their work separates them more than it brings them together, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a mere romance. There are deeper layers — the surface slush must be swept aside.

“But nature has a way of surprising us, of overpowering us, of reminding us that, no matter what we believe and no matter how hard we try, we’re not in control after all.” (pg. 140 ARC)

Sometimes the last continent may be a return to the one you abandoned long ago. My Last Continent by Midge Raymond is engaging and deeply moving. It’s message is clear; we are not so far evolved from our animal brethren and even if we were, we all still need the same planet to build families and to survive.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Midge Raymond is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short-story collection Forgetting English. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, Poets & Writers, and many other publications.

Midge worked in publishing in New York before moving to Boston, where she taught communication writing at Boston University for six years. She has taught creative writing at Boston’s Grub Street Writers, Seattle’s Richard Hugo House, and San Diego Writers, Ink. She has also published two books for writers, Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing.

Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 463 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, which was our banned book selection for book club, was a re-read for me. The book was initially banned in Ohio because the language was considered indecent and considered objectionable. While there is objectionable language and graphic sexual situations, this is a book about the absurdity of war and it is a satire about World War II.

Catch-22: a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

Yossarian is a bombardier who is an excellent shot, who achieves a second pass and earns a medal, but Colonel Cathcart has plans and continues to raise the number of missions his crew must fly. This bombardier and the colonel are in a silent battle, as Yossarian seeks out any number of reasons to get admitted to the hospital, or be declared insane, anything that will get him out of flying more dangerous missions. He’s almost like a clown bumbling around to disguise his strategy for escape.

“Colonel Cathcart cracked his knuckles violently. Colonel Korn, a stocky, dark, flaccid man with a shapeless paunch, sat completely relaxed on one of the benches in the front row, his hands clasped comfortably over the top of his bald and swarthy head. His eyes were amused behind his glinting rimless spectacles.” (pg. 148)

The shifting nature of this book mirrors the chaos of war on a smaller scale, leaving the reader in a whirlwind of activity and nonsense. Despite the horrors of war and the deaths around them, there’s a levity to these characters and their interactions. Frustration with superiors and bureaucracy is typical of many war novels, but Heller carefully demonstrates the back-stabbing, the all-for-myself moves of men in power, and the utter disbelief of soldiers at the very bottom of the power structure when the rug is pulled from beneath them. As in war, readers are unlikely to form strong attachments for the characters interacting in Heller’s novel — despite the incident with Snowden — making the war seem even more distant even more ridiculous.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is a fun ride that never disappoints. From Yossarian’s struggles within the system to Milo’s triumph outside the hierarchy of military power, Heller has created a novel that speaks to the overall chaos and disharmony of war, the futile attempts to make life for soldiers seem normal by the military through order and discipline, and the machinations of those with their own agendas and how they can place everyone in jeopardy.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999.

banned2016

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Source: Audible/Gift from Friend
Audiobook, 13+ hours;
Hardcover, 448 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes is the second in a series of books about Joe Goldberg, a serial killer who is no stranger to love, obsession, and death.  If you haven’t read You, you need to because without reading it, you miss way too much.  I read this in hardcover and listened to the audio — the narrator of the audio, Santino Fontana, owns the role of Joe Goldberg and that of Forty.

***Spoilers for previous book***

Goldberg loves books and considers himself a writer, and after killing his latest girlfriend, he finds himself in love with a new girl who loves books and is eager to play games, like he is.  However, when Amy, who met him through a fake credit card, screws him over, Joe has little choice but to leave his bookstore managerial post in New York to head out to California to take care of her.  Along the way he gets sucked into the California dream of fame and fortune and finds himself opening social media accounts, something he would never have done in New York.

He meets Love and falls in love, but she has a twin named Forty who sucks the life out of everything with his addictions and his tantrums. Then, there is Milo, the third twin. At the same time he’s living the high life, he sees Amy and tries to catch her and fails and gets tangled up with a star-struck actress wannabe. His tangled web nearly unravels several times, as the story gets more twisted up and the body count rises. Readers will want to check reality at the door, you just have to go along for the ride.

Written and Directed by Joe Goldberg
Love is laughing and clapping and I hug Forty and shake his hand and thank him but he tells me not to thank him. ‘This was all you, Old Sport!'”

Joe is a character you love to hate.  He is creepy, calculating, and scary, but he’s also logical and rational and makes you want to believe he’s doing the right thing and helping the larger world. Kepnes’ story is twisted and crazy, but there is some great humor in these encounters, particularly when Joe corners police officer Robin Fincher who has his own Rolodex of celebrity encounters. Joe is in a city where everyone is obsessive.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes makes readers wonder just how many obsessive and self-obsessed people are in the world and how on Earth people like Joe don’t kill more of them for us. Joe has evolved — somewhat — in this book, but don’t expect him to become a Boy Scout or a hero.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Caroline Kepnes is the author of You and Hidden Bodies. She splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Find her on Facebook.

You by Caroline Kepnes

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 422 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

You by Caroline Kepnes is creepy, obsessive, and twisted, and Joe Goldberg and Guinevere Beck are certifiable.  This thriller will pull you in and suck you dry, as Beck walks into a bookstore and flirts with the wrong man.  Kepnes has created two downright sinister characters who are perfect for each other and when circumstance brings them together, everyone around them better watch out.  Check your morals at the door with this one; these two are not redeemable, but you can’t help but watch how everything unfolds between them and how it impacts those around them.  Truly one of the unsettling novels out there.  Kepnes’ prose easily draws in the reader, making them wonder who this obsessive man is and why he’s so drawn to this particular girl.

“‘This will sound crazy, but I’m saving it.  For my nursing home list.’
‘You mean bucket list.’
‘Oh, no, that’s totally different.  A nursing home list is a list of things you plan on reading and watching in a nursing home.  A bucket list is more like … visit Nigeria, jump out of an airplane.'” (pg. 8)

Through careful manipulation of social media and a few lucky breaks, this relationship begins to take a life of its own, and while both parties have their demons, it’s clear that they cannot keep away from one another.  Even though you know throughout what will happen in the end, readers will be up late and turning pages in this psychological thriller.  Joe sees himself as a protector, someone charged with saving Beck from predators, but those predators are not who you’d expect them to be.  Meanwhile, Beck loves new things, and this love of wanting and being wanted is something that drives her incessantly.

“‘There’s no such thing as a flying cage, Joseph,’ he said.  ‘The only thing crueler than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly.  Only a monster would lock a bird in here and call himself an animal lover.'” (pg. 47)

Joe is her opposite in that he obsesses over old things and continuously covets old books and collects old and broken typewriters.  He’s waiting for social media to overheat and die, he prefers anonymity, but is it only because he feels unworthy or is it because it enables him to stalk and obsess more freely?  He hates pretentious people who live their lives for others and share everything with everyone, but he too is pretentious in that he’s a book snob.  Dan Brown is not a good enough author, and people should be reading Paula Fox, and they should never pretend to read books.

For those who do not like graphic violence or sex, you should stay away.  You by Caroline Kepnes is riveting and disturbing.  What does it mean to be you?  What is your true self and do you share that with everyone or only a special few?  And what if the real you is scary?  Do you share that self with anyone? Lock it up? Or simply let it out?

About the Author:

Caroline Kepnes is the author of You and Hidden Bodies. She splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Find her on Facebook.

 

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 4 CDs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, narrated by Jeffrey DeMunn, is one of those mysteries that King does from time to time, bringing his readers on a journey through evidence and oddities in a case.  King’s use of small town, older journalists in a Maine town gives the story a rather low key quality, as they talk about the 25-year-old mystery of an unidentified man found dead.  The dead man has no identification on his body, but as they unravel the mystery of his identity, the case gets stranger.

These characters are in a small town that crawls with tourists in the summer and sometimes big city journalists looking for their big break in the headlines about small town freakish accidents and murders.  Those who live in the town look suspiciously at those from out of town.  What’s important here is not solving the mystery of the man’s death but the journey of uncovering the truth, even if cases are not neatly tied up.  DeMunn does a fantastic job in his narration, providing a local-sound drawl for these Mainers.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, narrated by Jeffrey DeMunn, is a mystery that could leave some readers frustrated, either because of its conclusion or because the story is mainly two men recounting their efforts to solve a 25-year-old case in which an unidentified man is found dead.  However, like with many King novels, this one is more than its surface reading — it’s about the niggling feeling at the back of your mind to uncover the truth to find out why things happen they way they do, rather than make up a story that is plausible but not likely to be true.  Good journalists and detectives have this desire, this passion for uncovering facts.  King is paying homage to those who do their best to uncover the facts of unsolved murders and unexplained deaths.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Dome by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 34.5 hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Under the Dome by Stephen King, narrated by Raul Esparza, is an experiment to uncover what would happen in a small, 200 year old Maine town, Chester’s Mill, if a dome trapped them under glass for observation.  Some are trapped in the town by their own circumstances, like drug addiction and lack of ambition, while others remain in the town because they can be top dog in a smaller pond.  Dale Barbara, however, is an outsider who had enjoyed his time in town until he was told in no uncertain terms that he should leave.  Too bad the dome blocked his escape.

As many know, this was turned into a television series, and while it varies widely from the book, there are still some core elements that remain.  Fear, greed, and self-preservation drive many in the town to do unspeakable things, and some of the worst were already in positions of power, like Jim Rennie.  There are horrors within the dome walls — and some of them are very graphic in nature — but it is the world that King builds that will have readers riveted.  These characters could be in any small town you’ve lived in or visited, from the nosy neighbor to the mean girls torturing the smart kid.

Under the Dome by Stephen King, narrated by Raul Esparza, is a really well done audio book that will make readers hold their breath and pray for good outcomes, even when there is no hope.  Rather than rely too heavily on supernatural or alien elements, King focuses on the reactions of the townspeople and their inability to see beyond their own issues.  Their myopic view is one element that will have readers pounding their fists in frustration, and while Rennie is easy to hate, it is clear that there are great things at work than the greed of one man.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

11/22/63 by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 30.75 hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

11/22/63 by Stephen King, narrated by Craig Wasson, is a time travel novel in which teacher Jake Epping is tasked with the impossible — stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The local diner owner Al has the cheapest prices in town, but the town continues to speculate that his hamburgers are made from local cats and other pets.  After reading a brilliant essay from a GED student, Epping finds himself embroiled in a secret that is almost too fantastical to be real.  A bubble in the time line has enabled Al to return to 1958 repeatedly and buy the same cheap meat over and over.  Although Epping — who begins to write a novel that’s eerily similar to that of King’s IT set in Derry, N.H. — agrees to check things out and try to determine if Oswald had worked alone in assassinating the president, he finds himself swept up in a life he could be happy in, even though there is no Internet.

Although this book takes on the larger question of how one man could have impacted history had JFK lived and what would have happened had he not been killed and the country forced to mourn alongside his wife and child, King’s talent is in the small town experiences of that time period and the connections that seemed prevalent then that are not as present now.  Epping is skeptical about his task and even as he makes changes to the lives he knows about in the now and some for the better, he’s still not convinced that he can accomplish the bigger task of stopping the assassination.  And like many of us, Epping loses himself in the past — only in his case he literally loses himself.

11/22/63 by Stephen King is chock full of side stories, deeply sketched characters, and small town nuance.  Although there are a number of characters, readers can follow along from time line to time line because the “past harmonizes,” and readers are likely to be swept up into the story with little issue.  King is a master storyteller, which is a statement that I probably have beaten into your heads by now, so don’t miss out on his books any longer.  They’re an investment worth making.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public library
Audiobook, 12+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King is another example of how good King’s story-telling is.  Rather than rely on paranormal or other elements to craft this story, King has created a murder mystery that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.  But he never compromises his dynamic characters in favor of a fast-paced plot.  When someone runs down a bunch of people at a job fair on a rainy morning in a Mercedes and disappears, it seems as though the police will never find him.  Along with a series of other open cases, ex-cop Bill Hodges realizes just how much his job had become all there was in his life.  Now, watching horrible television talk shows and fingering his father’s gun, Hodges continues to fall into and out of deep thoughts, until Mr. Mercedes reaches out.  Will Patton always does a great job narrating King’s novels, and this narration is no exception — his voice is easy to follow as the main characters and changes enough that you can gauge who is speaking.  Patton also takes the time to act out these scenes and dialogue so that readers will feel as though they are in the room with the characters as they track Mr. Mercedes down.

Mr. Mercedes has more than just mommy issues, as he’s guilt-ridden but also homicidal.  He’s beaten down by his measly existence, yet revels in its anonymity.  His plots against others were initially random and unplanned, but as he’s progressed, he’s come to realize that the best medicine for him and his needs requires careful planning and due diligence.  Hodges, on the other hand, is mourning the loss of his work as a cop, but the communication he receives “under the blue umbrella” spurs him into detective mode and he cannot stop himself.

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King was very well told and readers will enjoy this other side of King’s writing — the less paranormal and more normal side.  He creates dynamic and flawed characters who are taken on an unexpected journey, and for the most party they survive that journey and blossom into better versions of themselves.  Another engrossing read from a master storyteller.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audio, 17.5 hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is just as good as I remembered it.  Author Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine to write out the horrors of his childhood in a house on a hill.  Reading this, you’ll note nods to the great horror stories, including Dracula, but here it is not just about the vampires in the shadows, it’s about the shadows that lurk in the small town among the people.  From the Catholic priest, Father Callahan, who is not seen as fit enough to replace the previous one to the townspeople who are easily sucked into the plots of Straker and Barlow.  The consummate storyteller, King uses his main character to dig into the recesses of the town and uncover not only the mysteries of the haunted house on the hill, but the darkness beneath the quaint little town’s aesthetics.

Along the way there is love and friendship, but these things are tested in only ways that the supernatural and Stephen King can test them.  These are the horror books of my childhood, and I still love them, even on audio.  I love that vampires are what they are meant to be — blood-sucking evildoers.  I love that small towns have darkness in them, including those greedy people who will sell you down the river for a pretty penny.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is that creepy novel that you’ll want to stop reading but can’t put down, and when the lights go out, you’ll be trembling beneath the covers and peering over the edge at every shadow as your mind works overtime.  I cannot recommend this one enough.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 249 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien, which was our July book club selection, and is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel in which a teen is alone on the family farm when the rest of the family ventures beyond their valley in search of other survivors.  The only survivor of the bombings, but the teen has enough knowledge to know how to grow food and care for what farm animals are left.  Soon, the teen realizes that there may be others, as smoke in the distance moves closer and closer each day.  After being alone for a long period of time, how would you react to another person, a stranger that you don’t know anything about other than that he is a scientist and has some knowledge of radiation.

“I passed the house.  Visions moved behind my eyes, and I saw the house as I had seen it as a child: climbing the front steps on the way to supper; sitting on the porch at night, watching the fireflies; my grandfather rocking me on the swing; sitting there listening to someone singing, or a phonograph; later sitting on the swing at night weaving long, romantic dreams about my life to come.”  (pg. 242)

After observing the stranger for a few days, the teen decides that to meet him face-to-face is the best option, as this is the family home in the valley.  There is a sense of responsibility not only for the farm and its buildings, but for creating a home-like atmosphere even for this stranger.  Mr. Loomis, who claims to be a chemist and knows about radiation, falls ill with radiation sickness when he throws caution to the wind and jumps into the stream without testing it.  The green lushness of the valley has lulled him into a false sense of security, and this mirrors the false sense of security the teen feels when a routine develops between them.

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien is character-driven from a first person point of view, and while the protagonist can be insipid at times, there are moments of evolution in her character.  Some readers, however, will be angered by the teen’s reactions to Mr. Loomis and his actions.  There are moments in which readers will want to slap the teen silly, but living a farm life in a semi-religious family, it can be easy to see how the teen would have an outlook that is hopeful and positive, expecting the best from others, rather than the worse.  Mr. Loomis and the teen are nearly foils of one another in terms of worldview, and while he is paranoid and controlling because of the loneliness he felt, the teen views the world optimistically and with wonder.  Is this due to the difference in age, their upbringing, or other factors …  it is unclear.  Background information on the characters is minimal, but the story is engaging for the most part as a teen faces a series of tough decisions.

What the book club thought: (updated 9:12 AM)

Our meeting had a consensus of they liked the book for the most part, but the protagonist drove us crazy and the scientist is someone we thought was just evil — though one member made the argument that he may have experienced more damage during his radiation sickness than we thought.  We liked the premise of a valley isolated in its own weather pattern from the fallout and we liked that the young girl had survived on her own because of her farming skills, and most of us agreed that had it been an urban kid there, they would likely have had a harder time.  There were some religion vs. science themes, but it didn’t seem to be overly done to most of us.  There were two members who absolutely disliked the main character and her decisions, her inability to swear, etc., and her naivete about the world outside the farm and the necessity of killing the antagonist.  Some also had issues with the plot and overall, most were disappointed by the ending — though we agreed that because this is an older book (1973, I think, and was finished by the author’s wife and daughter from his notes) the prose was much different than today’s cinematic-style YA post-apocalyptic novels.

About the Author:

Robert Leslie Conly (better known by his pen name, Robert C. O’Brien) was an American author and journalist for National Geographic Magazine.

Revival by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audio, 11 cds
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Revival by Stephen King, narrated by David Morse, is more subtle in its horror than previous novels, but King’s gift for weaving a complex story with dynamic characters shines through.  Jamie Morton is a young boy in a small New England town who is wowed by the new minister, Charles Jacobs.  Like any new, young couple who enters a small town, the Jacobs’ turn heads, with the young ladies fawning over the minister and the young lads gazing at his wife.  When tragedy strikes, Jacobs shocks the small town with a final anti-religion speech that sends him packing, but even Morton cannot forget the minister’s passion or secret obsession with electricity.

Morton, however, has his own path ahead, and much of it is spent in a drug-induced haze of rock n’ roll clubs and motels as a guitar player.  While he feels like an amateur, he has enough talent to take him from band to band and earns enough money to keep his habit up.  Morse does an excellent job with the narration, and he’s sufficiently creepy.  What I found wonderful were the nods that King places to previous novels, such as Mr. Electrico in Joyland, inside Revival to provide a little extra umph to the idea of reviving or living again.

King really has a handle on childhood and growing up in small towns, and the many superstitions that can be spread about among teens and their parents.  Rumors often spread like wildfire, and in many ways, when those of us leave those small towns, we try to reinvent ourselves like Jacobs’ does.  But the difference is that his obsession with revival becomes the only focus of his life, and in the process of pursuing the truth of life and death, he ruins the lives of others, drags Morton into the darkest of places, and ultimately, leads to a truth that can never be unseen.  Revival by Stephen King, narrated by David Morse, is well told, and though slow in some places, weaves an incredible story that will have readers questioning reality and their faith.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. (Photo Credit: Denver Post)

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audio, 18 hrs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is a sequel to The Shining, starring Dan Torrance who was just a young boy in the first book.  In this novel, we learn about the life Dan led after the infamous events at the Overlook Hotel.  Dan has struggle most of his adult life against addiction to alcohol, like his father, but in many ways, the alcohol became a way for him to hide from his gifts.  As he copes with his addiction, he finds solace in that he can help those leaving this world for the next go peacefully.  Eventually, he becomes known as Doctor Sleep in a small New Hampshire town at a nursing home.

Meanwhile, Abra Stone, a gifted twelve-year-old girl, has caught the eye of the members of the True Knot who are human and not-human.  The True Knot seems to be an unstoppable force that are sucking the life force out of those with special gifts, but they haven’t yet met their match.  This novel is a slow builder, but in true King style, the characters are varied and dynamic.  Blending not only the supernatural with small town creepiness, King creates an atmosphere that is at once familiar and other worldly.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is an adventure and otherworldly with interesting characters, but there were times during the audio that my mind wandered.  The narrator, Will Patton, does a great job of creating voices that are nuanced enough to be separate entities in the performance.  I enjoyed the audio performance, but felt as though Dan’s flaws lost their impact along they way — does that mean his character evolved or that they were forgotten? — and Abra has gone from a scared Shiner to a formidable foe awfully quickly.  There are some story arcs that are quickly wrapped up and others that seem glossed over, leaving readers to fill in the gaps.  However, in terms of a sequel, written so many years after the first book, King has created a book that could be read wholly on its own, but is richer if readers have read the first book.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.