Every day I scour Amazon for the best deals, trying to find the gems among the dirt and dust. Mind you, there are a lot of great authors writing today, and many are doing direct publishing, so I know I miss a bunch. Thinking too hard about this can make me crazy–I want to read everything worth reading, but this means sifting through the others that might not be so worth my time. But then there are those books that may hold in them lots of promise; the book might not be great, but you know that author will do well.
I’m going to take some time every few days (maybe everyday? but no promises) to highlight ‘GEMS’ I have found. I know there are a lot of places to find the ‘deals’, so I really only want to do those that are worth buying. A deal is only a deal if you’re going to read it, right?
P.D. James is always a good bet, especially for $1.99. “Unnatural Causes” revolves around a famous author found dead in a lake with both hands cut off, and Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is called upon to solve the mystery. James creates a cast of unlikable authors, making you wonder WHO she’s talking about.
Annie Proulx’s “The Shipping News” is one of the best books I’ve read. I loved this book, and love her as a writer. This story of a writer who returns to his ‘ancestral’ home of Newfoundland with his two daughters after his wife is killed, this book won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Well worth the $1.99.
“That’s your job in this hard world, to keep your love alive and that you get on, no matter what. Pull your act together and just go on.”
I decided to re-read The Shining in anticipation of Doctor Sleep and was pleasantly surprised. I first attempted to read this book when I was eight, at which point my mother discovered it and took it away from me in horror after nightmares kept me awake for a few nights. I went back to it in my teen years, and read it at least three more times. And then I put it away as childish.
Don’t get my wrong, I love Stephen King. And The Shining was a must for a child of Colorado, growing up not far from Estes Park. The Stanley Hotel is said to be The Overlook, although it is in Estes Park and not higher up, and it is reachable in the winter. But there came a time when I believed I had outgrown that kind of scary, forgetting how psychologically scary The Shining actually is.
I re-read this just in time for the sequel Doctor Sleep, about 35 years after The Shining. And it is just a creepy-scary, just as real. Just like many books, re-reading it creates a different feeling. Reading it as a child I identified with Danny, the young son with “the shining.” This time I’m a mother and a wife and I read it identifying with Wendy AND Jack. Both are flawed but wanting to be better, but sometimes the demons find you.
And, like most Americans, the movie has snuck into my thinking. I remember both Jack and Wendy differently because of the movie (which is good, but doesn’t do them justice). In the movie, Jack lets the evil in easily, which doesn’t happen in the book. And Wendy is a dishrag of a woman, which she definitely is not in King’s original version of her.
So, this book still scared me, maybe more than in my youth, because you know, as an adult, how hard it is to keep all the demons out (although we usually don’t have to deal with a possessed hotel). Even beyond that, it scared me in a things-that-go-bump-in-the-night kind of way. It made me wished I had read it just slightly slower, because I still have two days to wait for Doctor Sleep.