Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday night ramblings

I'm sitting outside in my screenhouse, it's still raining a bit, music is drifting over from the Red Bank Jazz and Blues Festival - somehow this reminds me of camping. Maybe it's the tacky lights. I love to sit out here; especially now that I have a laptop with a wireless connection. Once the weather warms, I really hate to be stuck inside. It rained all day today, so we didn't get to pot up any of the new plants we bought - that will have to wait until tomorrow when hopefully the weather will be better.

I finished up the book I've been reading this week. What a disappointment that was! Stephen King was my favorite as a teenager - I first read "Pet Sematary" as a freshman in high school and was hooked! I didn't read other horror writers, just King. Something about his sense of storytelling and character development always appealed to me. The last 10 years or so all I've read by him are his Dark Tower books - sad to see them be done. His other books haven't appealed to me at all, but I bought "Cell" on a whim, to see if maybe he'd gotten back to the writer he used to be before churning out a new book every six months. The story was good enough, but the ending! I feel totally cheated - it's as if he got tired of writing half-way through the story and just wrapped it up as best he could in a few short pages. What a waste of my time! The reviews were good, though, so maybe my criticism is unfounded.

My students this past semester had a similar reaction to the ending of "The Kite Runner" which I've been using the past year in the course I teach. They were annoyed that the ending leaves the reader *hanging* somewhat, and doesn't answer all the questions a reader might have. I like that kind of ending to a book; one that lets you imagine how things may have turned out for the characters. The technique was well used in that book, not so well used in the King book. I suppose King is just setting us up for a sequel - one I will not be wasting my time with!


Susan Gets Native said...

It's such a shame that King seems to be played out. I devoured everything he did up to Dark Tower.
Sorry "Cell" was a disappointment. I hate when that happens. You invest your brain into this book and it leaves you cold at the end. Bummer.
I love "Kite Runner". The rawness, the honesty. And it taught me more about Afganistan than history classes. The fact that it was the first book out of that country since...ever?...that appealled to me.
Sounds nice on your porch. I wish we had a screenen-in porch to while away the evening hours.

Endment said...

How wonderful that you have read this - now I don't have to ;-)
Most authors today seem to be writing with a focus on something other than bringing the reader along with them.... Guess I am jaded... Will watch for more reports - perhaps there are lots and lots of books I won't have to read ;-)

I am with you on the joys of sitting outside with the laptop. One of my favorite activities...

pablo said...

I've found that in real life most "endings" leave many things unresolved and many questions unanswered. Depending on the kind of fiction you want to read, you may want your stories to be realistic, or you may want them neatly wrapped up. I favor realism myself.

I never got into King. I'd read a few of his books but never got the fever.

Susan said...

I just finished reading "The Kite Runner" yesterday and loved it - sitting out in our screen room at the time with a squirrel sleeping inside my shirt. (Maybe that's a little too much information...)

LauraHinNJ said...

I agree - "The Kite Runner" is excellent. Anyone read "The Swallows of Kabul"? yet? It's on my list for this summer.

Pablo: Thanks for your comment. I guess I don't like my fiction *too* realistic - that's why I read King! Seriously, I enjoy a book that leaves one with questions unanswered, but this example by King read as if he copped out half way through the story.

Mike said...

I've always considered King one of our finest contemporary American writers. I haven't read him in ages though - he just doesn't know how to finish a novel! Is there even one that ended well, meaning in a way which doesn't leave the reader feeling unsatisfied? His short stories are brilliant though.