My buddy-reader and longtime friend of DA, Keishon, suggested that I post about what I’ve been reading recently and ask other people to chime in on their reading in the comments. I would love to hear what other people have been reading, because I invariably get good suggestions (the latest is the Kate Hewitt book Liz McC talked about in her last post).
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been reading:
Stephen King’s The Stand. This was part of my post-apocalyptic reading trend. Keishon and I decided to buddy-read it since it was over 1100 pages and I’d tried and failed before. I made it this time! We both decided to read the director’s cut edition. In addition to being longer than the originally published version, King updated the time frame from the 1970s to the 1980s. If you’re unfamiliar with the US in the 70s it may not be that apparent to you, but for me it was a bit jarring at times. Still, I enjoyed the book a lot. I thought it was really three novels in one volume: First up was the introduction of the many characters and the spread of the virus. This was scary, fast-paced, and gripping. In the second section the various storylines and characters converged as the survivors made their way to one of the two sides. One was led by the forces of good as embodied in a 101-year-old black woman, and the other by Evil. Third and last was the leadup to and then the climactic battle between the two sides. The second part dragged the most for me, and there is a literal deus ex machina at the end, but overall it was a great ride.
Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This is mystery novelist Ian Rankin’s favorite novel (he wrote his PhD thesis on Spark) and it’s been called perfect by critics. I can see why. It’s short, but Spark makes every word count. Miss Brodie is an unforgettable character, and despite the fact that the story is closely set in a girls’ school, the reader gets a rich, textured view of Edinburgh in that era. There is just so much packed into 160 pages, and it never feels forced or artificial. An amazing novel.