The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

Taking on The Stand

on March 18, 2013

The Stand

Oh, Stephen. How and why do I let you weave your magical spell over me, especially when I’ve promised myself to take a break from huge chunkster books, and especially when that magic is being worked by a book that just happens to clock in at just over 1100 pages (I’m reading the “uncut” version, according to the cover, which I’m imagining adds at least a couple hundred pages). So, that’s what I’ve been reading. For just over a month now, actually, along with the short stories I’ve been keeping you guys updated about.

SIDE NOTE: I’m in a bit of a mental loop with my reasoning on short stories v. novels v. chunksters. To me, as a reader, I kind of need that motivational push of accomplishment to get through huge books. Enter the short story, which I can usually read in a sitting or two, start to finish, after which I’m re-revved to go jumping back in to a longer book, taking in a bigger chunk. However, after a while, I start to think that maybe I’d be better served by trying to just push through the bigger book, that taking breaks for short stories just takes time away from getting through the bigger book. But when that happens, I lose interest, and almost give up on getting through the book. It’s this kind of viscious cycle, and one that leaves almost no room for average size novels (300 pages or so, for me). Those would be too long, too distracting, and wouldn’t meet that whole motivational finish factor. Plus, it seems like all the books I want to read right now are long. There’s The Stand, which is nearing half done, but I also want to get started on the Wheel of Time series, all of which are fairly hefty books. WHAT TO DO?! #fussy #firstworldproblems #shutupandreadmore

Anyway, back to The Stand, it’s proving to be a really, really compelling read so far. Sure, some of the bits get a little sloggy, but I chalk this up to the “uncut” nature of the book, meaning that this volume is clearly going to contain some bits that the editor didn’t deem essential on the first go-round. None of it is bad, but there are whole chapters covering people, places, and events sometimes tangentially related to the plot and sometimes not related at all. The plot focuses on America as it’s destroyed by a government-related superflu (don’t worry – none of that’s spoilers. That’s all on the back cover). We meet family after family who end up completely decimated, and by about 300 pages in to the book we’re left with an idea of the central cast of characters – those who have, for some unknown reason, proven resistant to the deadly disease. I’m on about page 500 now, and let me tell you – the thought of one of those CDC contained superviruses escaping may have just become, like, my number three top fear of all time. King, as should be NO surprise, builds the kind of hopeless suspense, denial, and chaos that emerges as the entire country -first it’s common citizens, then it’s leaders – and eventually the world are ripped away. To imagine what it would be like when all of the social factors upon which we, as people, most support…it’s a scary thought. Of going to the doctor and seeing the doctor sick and just knowing…

Yeah, King’s done it again with this one for sure. Part of what’s keeping me reading is the appearance of two new figures who, according to the back of the book, will feature prominently in things from here on out – Mother Abigail, the oldest woman in American and the foundation upon which a peaceful group of survivors builds their new community, and Randal Flagg, a man who is – I shit you not – the Antichrist and dedicated to seeing the world remain in a state of chaos and ruin. The Hubby tells me that Randal Flagg makes appearances later on in more of King’s fiction (apparently he’s a pretty leathal character in the Dark Tower series, which I haven’t read YET but plan on reading soon) and so far he’s looking like one twisted, dark, violent SOB. And I kind of am in love with him, in the same way I was kind of weirdly in love with Jack Torrence from The Shining (side note: skip the book and see the movie on that one. The book was good, the movie was better -that’s right. I said it.)

I’ll be back later my pretties, when I’ve finished and have far more indepth things to say. For now, I shall rate this book as a Hell Yeah! book while retaining the full ability to change my mind in the future if the book takes a total nosedive in the second half!

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