East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A morning among the rude mechanicals

I took the morning off. My brother was to see the doctor, and I went along, basically to enjoy the air conditioning in the doc’s waiting room. I brought my Kindle along (about which, more later) and settled in one of the wonderfully uncomfortable chairs.
The air conditioning was on to Alaskan Winter levels – I guess the doctor is trying to increase his workload by causing his patients pneumonia or, who knows, maybe decrease his workload by offing the weakest.
And I had the opportunity of spending two hours surrounded by the nice villagers.

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Ghosts, Crimes and Philosophy: a review of Joyland

My friend Flavia says she re-reads Stephen King’s Joyland every year, usually in June, because she likes how it makes her feel. And I know a lot of people that did not like the book – and it’s because of both Flavia’s opinion and of those people’s opinion that I went and read it.
I said I’d write a review when I finished it.
Guess what… I finished it.

I’ll start by saying that Joyland plays a dangerous game, because it’s both a crime thriller and a ghost story, and if mixing genres is always dangerous, it is also true that ghost stories often deal with the revelation of some dark secret, the avenging of some old crime. So, it’s a classic mix, and it works fine. Many also point out that Joyland is a coming-of-age story, and this is throwing another genre (or is it a theme?) into the mixer.
As I said, a dangerous game, that King pulls so nicely it seems effortless.

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Stevie’s second Hard Case: Joyland

Having spent most of the day writing, I decided to take a break at 4 pm and dug out another Hard Case ebook from the big supply I have now on my reader. My friend Flavia posted about starting to re-read once again Stephen King’s Joyland, and I thought, why not?
I always liked the cover of this one, time to see if the story is up to it.

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A learning experience: The Colorado Kid

No need to make a fuss about it: my favorite Stephen King book is Danse Macabre, with On Writing coming second. I’ve read also a nice share of King’s fiction, but I always found his essays a lot more interesting.

On the other hand, I was quite curious to read The Colorado Kid, for two main reasons:

  • First, it was published by Hard Case Crime, and I am sort of a Hard Case Crime cultist.
  • Second, everybody seemed to hate it, in particular those that style themselves as King’s fans.

With such credentials, I said to myself, it had to be good.
And so, having received a copy as a gift for Christmas, I spent two evenings reading it. And here’s a few thoughts.

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Talented and Successful

I’m posting two Stephen King quotes here.
King is not my favorite author, but I respect his professional skills and I enjoyed a few of his books.
Basically, when someone sells the number of books King sold, any critical analysis, any evaluation of skill, talent, technique or whatever becomes an exercise in futility.

The reason I’m putting these two quotes here is because I’ve was involved (marginally) in two discussions in the past few days, about two words that are often used when talking about writing, and that cause me a certain amount of unease, so to speak.
These words being talented and successful. Continue reading

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c2gif00zSo there was this guy going on at length about how much his writing had been influenced by his reading and re-reding of King.
The man to him is an icon, an inspiration, a true master. King is God and King is his prophet.
Or something along those lines.
And I had to agree.
For me, too, I said, Jason King remains a true model as a writer.
I want to be him, more or less, like, totally.
Now, he did not get mad at me.
He did not know what I was talking about. Which is sad, I think.

Fact is, I was not lying – you see, I think Jason King is a pretty damn cool role model when you are trying to make ends meet as a writer. Continue reading