Monday, January 26, 2015

The Dark Half by Stephen King

The Dark Half
Stephen King
1989, 1990, Hodder & Stoughton, London

A writer is forced to admit his use of a pen name to write violent and profitable novels. He takes the opportunity to publicly 'kill off' his pseudonym in order to fully pursue his own, less popular but less violent, writings. But the pseudonym does not stay dead.

This book starts off as wryly amusing, and then very quickly turns violent and horrible. A couple of passages made me feel almost physically ill, and the last section had to be read all at once as it was terrifyingly suspenseful. The other great passage is the opening scene in which an eyeball is excised from the brain of an 11 year old boy - King can paint with words.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

The Casual Vacancy
JK Rowling
2012, Little Brown and Company, New York

Adult novel by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, The Casual Vacancy is set around a small town in the UK and its politics. When a councilman dies while in term, many local people are very intent on seeing that their favourite candidate gets into power. This book looks at not just local small town politics, but small town gossip and social issues to do with the working and middle classes.

This was an engrossing read. There was only one character I liked throughout the book, and the cast of  characters is quite considerable. I also learned a plethora of new English words! I recommend reading this with a dictionary close at hand, unless, of course, you're an English major.

It's certainly not a happy kind of book. Time have reviewed it as "... funny, very upsetting ..." and I think that is an apt description.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Insomnia by Stephen King

Stephen King
1994, Signet, New York

Sixty-something year old Ralph begins to suffer from insomnia shortly after the death of his wife. And then he starts seeing coloured auras around people, and stumbles onto a whole other world beyond normal vision.

Stephen King is always a good read, and this is no exception. It's a great premise, and quite suspenseful. I read this in my first week in Iceland, it's so nice to have time to read again. If I was at home, working, a 600-page book would take months to read.