Joyland by Stephen King!

20130716_165658Joyland was a lot different from King’s usual horror novel.  For one it was a lot shorter and had no chapters. Instead there were cute little hearts to break up the passages which I actually found aided my reading experience.

You may think that a haunted Funhouse has been done to death & would be fairly predictable.  However, King being the master that he is, makes the story his own & keeps the reader guessing until the end.  The story consists of a murder mystery, unique and likeable characters and a ghost thrown in for added suspense.

Although it won’t be added to my list of favourite Stephen King novels, it was an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to his next masterpiece.

QUOTES:

* ‘When it comes to the past, everybody writes fiction.’

* ‘Love leaves scars.’

* ‘You think Okay, I get it, I’m prepared for the worst, but you hold out that small hope, see, and that’s what fs you up. That’s what kills you.’

Coming Soon – Books I can’t wait to read

Just a few books that I am waiting patiently for;

1) Joyland by Stephen King (JUNE) – As a fan I’ll read pretty much anything he writes but this plot just sounds intriguing and creepy.   Set in a small-town amusement park in the 70s, student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder.

2)  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (JUNE) – I really enjoy his books for young adults (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) and am curious to see what he has in store for an adult audience.

3) The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen (APRIL) – I love both Illustrator and Writer and a picture book about being afraid of the dark will be enjoyed by my students (and myself).

4) Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (JAN but I haven’t had the time to get it as yet) – 11 connected stories with macabre and supernatural themes.  Sounds fascinating.

5) In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (APRIL) – Séances, spirit photographers and early-twentieth-century photographs, what more could I ask for?

Top Stephen King Books

Cover of "Cujo"

Cover of Cujo

Cover of "Gerald's Game"

Cover of Gerald’s Game

Stephen King is one of my favourite writer’s.  His knack for creating disturbing characters and circumstances is one of a kind.

Here are some of his best novels (according to me, feel free to disagree!);

* Misery – One of my favourite books.  Every time I read it I don’t want to put it down.  Annie is one of the most disturbing characters I have ever encountered.

* Cujo – I enjoyed this book because you really feel for the main characters and desperately want them to get out of the dire situations (especially the car scene).

* Gerald’s Game – This book truly creeped me out and I don’t usually get frightened easily.  The presence in the room with her is terrifying.  Such an interesting concept – A woman handcuffed to a bed, her husband dead, miles away from anyone.

Misery (novel)

Misery (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Favourite Ghost Stories

photo

For those of you that like to read a ghost story in the middle of the night, all alone and even though you are frightened and want to stop reading you just can’t…this list of recommendations is just for you!

5) Ring by Koji Suzuki – The movie scared me and so did the book.

4) The Ghost Writer by John Harwood – You almost forget that this is a ghost story for the first part of the book and just enjoy the interesting plot but then all of a sudden you are hit with scariness.  Harwood builds the suspense perfectly.  I also recommend his other ghost story The Seance. 

3) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – A classic, short but creepy tale.  Leaves you thinking about what happened for a while.

2)  Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King – This is my favourite of Stephen King’s short story collaboration.  There are some scary tales in this book.  I particularly liked ‘Autopsy Room 4‘ and ‘1408’.

1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – I read this when I was by myself at the edge of a forest in Germany.  I was so scared that I had to finish it off in the day time.  Okay so it may have been the circumstances that made it so terrifying the first time but it still gives me chills each time I read it and Susan Hill is the queen of the ghost story, one of my favourite authors.

On Writing by Stephen King

As a beginning fiction writer and a fan of Stephen King I was looking forward to getting some tips from a master of the craft.

While it did have a little too much biography and don’t get me wrong, it was interesting to read how he developed as a writer, I did gain some valuable writing advice that I had not found in other writing guides.

* The revision sections really helped me; leaving the manuscript for 6 weeks, getting rid of pronouns and adverbs that are not absolutely necessary, letting 6-8 people read your book at its second draft.

* His tips are simple and get straight to the point.

* The actual example of a revised story (1408, near the back of the book) was particularly helpful.  You can clearly see the revisions.    He also explains his reasons for making changes and cutting certain parts.  The editing part is what is really challenging for me as a writer and his techniques made the whole process not so daunting.  KING

2013 Reading List (updated)

Books 2013My aim is to read more than 38 books this year.  I have treated myself to a book splurge courtesy of www.booktopia.com.au

I have 21 books in my stack thus far and will add more as the year progresses.

My reading pile for 2013 consists of new releases, non-fiction, some classics that I have never read and some old favourites that I have not read in a while.

2013 Reading List (not in reading order): 

* The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom

* Red Rain – R.L. Stine

* The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

* IT – Stephen King

* Madame BovaryGustave Flaubert

* On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

* The Passage – Justin Cronin

* Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

* The Secret History – Donna Tartt

* The House of the Dead – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

* The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

* Mystic River – Dennis Lehane

* Ten – Gretchen McNeil

* Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

* The Turning – Francine Prose

* Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire – Rafe Esquith

* Engaging Students – Dianna Beirne & Kathleen Velsor

Old Favourites I want to re-read in 2013

* The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

* The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

* The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven titles) – C.S. Lewis

How is my list looking?  Any more recommendations?