Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shaking it Up with a little Stephen King

I like to vary what I'm reading, but even so, I'll often find myself firmly entrenched in my Comfort Zone reading my Typical Genres and Very Little Else.  11/22/63 was the perfect opportunity to interject something different into my daily diet.  I've read Stephen King before, typically leaving his super bizarre stuff on my husband's nightstand.

Enter 11/22/63: more history than science (or creepy stuff, rather) and that wonderful time-travel element.  It feels so rare to find a time-travel-ish book that examines the idea thoroughly and doesn't seem to be a byproduct of science or sex instead.  King is not only an incredible storyteller, but he's got an amazing talent for creating extremely believable worlds (of which science and sex are, of course, a byproduct, but that is much more manageable than the other way around.)

For all that the title, cover art, and synopsis declare that this is JFK-centric novel, I'd hardly describe it as such.  Certainly the assassination is a pivotal component, and those with a passing fancy for Camelot may be induced to read Stephen King because of it, but it is much more a time travel novel.  What really matters here is the idea of time, what holds it together, what the future holds, and the world to which you are transported in the meantime.

This book has a strong sense of place without being overly atmospheric.  It has a cast of believable characters even though they aren't incredibly layered or fleshed out.  The writing is fun and fluid--not encumbered with lengthy sentences and descriptive prose, nor yet distracting for being elementary or simplistic.  These elements (setting, character development, writing skill, and enjoyability) may not rise to award-winning levels, but when you add in the cracking good story...well, it's really quite impressive.  It made for a massively enjoyable read that still sits in my imagination, waiting for a conversation to jump into.  Plus, it feels rather fabulous to blow through 800+ pages in no time, doesn't it?

11 comments:

  1. I found it enjoyable but expected it to be about the assassination and really it wasn't. If I take that disappointment out of it, I still have problems with the "romance" as I didn't find it believable. It seemed forced to me.

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  2. I'm a massive King fan and my husband got this for Xmas. I am waiting for him to read it so I can legitimately have a turn! It's great to get out of the comfort zone every now and again, isn't it?

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  3. I've been waiting for your review on this one! I'm going to take a closer look now. Thanks. I've been busy this past week, but I hope to take a look at those Indie winners soon.

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  4. I can't wait to read this! Have a sample downloaded on my nook, hope I can click 'purchase now' and read it soon.

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  5. Ti, it definitely wasn't perfect & they certainly over-marketed the JFK aspect. (Actually, reading your review probably helped me keep my expectations in line.) The romance seemed a little fake for me too, but I was having so much fun with the book in general that I decided I didn't care. Too bad it was a miss for you.

    Sam, King has such an incredible imagination. I love the worlds he builds--his enthusiasm makes it that much easier to enjoy. I hope you get your turn at it soon!

    Heidi, it's been a crazy week for me too--still need to get reviews done for some the Indie winners! But I figure that you all have been there too and understand. :)

    JoAnn, it had been so long since reading Stephen King (a decade maybe? crazy!!) so it was a fun excursion. He kept me engrossed pretty much the entire time.

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  6. I read this in 3 days over Christmas break. What you said, exactly ;-)

    Plus I got this most wonderful package in the mail yesterday and it brightened my whole day. Thanks Melody!

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  7. I'm doing this thing where I'm reading all the Stephen King things in order and I'm soooo not up to this one yet! However, it always makes me happy when someone likes a Stephen King novel, so I'm glad you liked it, and I can hardly wait to read it!

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  8. I also really enjoyed it, despite the JFK assassination only playing a minor part in the story. It was definitely marketed as a different book than it turned out to be, but it was a terrific read anyway. If you gingerly try less scary King books, you'll probably develop an interest in his freakier fare ;) I'd highly recommend Bag of Bones, one of his best ever, which is more like a gothic novel than a blood & guts horror book.

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  9. I've never, ever read something by Stephen King, but this sounds like a very interesting story, more appealing to me than his terror stories.

    Thanks for the review!

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  10. Belle, I remember you saying that you read it quickly...that inspired me to keep it at the top of my stack. I'm so glad I did! Glad my package got to you! Hope you enjoy the book. :)

    Laura, that sounds so ambitious! Talk about a prolific writer! Are you included books published under pseudonyms?

    Teacher/Learner, thanks for the Bag of Bones rec...I've also been wanting to get to Green Mile, have you read it?

    books and reviews, I'd say that it's a great intro to his writing style, storytelling and imagination while avoiding the freaky stuff. Highly recommended!

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  11. After watching "Carrie" at a young age I've put off reading any King. I'm just not that into horror. But I do have this book on my Kindle and have read through the "first time travel visit". I'm looking forward to having the time to read it all the way through.

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