SK Saturday: The Gunslinger

And so it begins…

This week I read The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger for the second time. It took most of the week because I had a lot going on with my daughters’ last few days of school. But to be honest, I could’ve finished it in one day of uninterrupted reading. Is it that good? That’s certainly a matter of perspective. I can’t say I was as riveted by it this second time around as I remember being the first time. But I have changed in the past few years as a reader…the world has moved on.

In this first installment we are introduced to Roland Deschain, born in New Canaan. His land is long gone as are the people in it. The world has moved on and his life’s quest now is to find the dark tower. To do so he must capture the man in black, who we are led to believe is a type of magician. In this first part of the saga the reader isn’t given much in the way of explanations. We learn some of Roland’s past and get a glimpse of his hardships. We’re told a small bit of what has made him the man he has become. We meet Jake, who plays a much bigger part later, and we lose him before the end.

I remember the first time I read this book that I hated Roland at the end. I was very upset about Jake and no insight to Roland’s motivations or psyche could appease my anger at him. This time, knowing more about Jake and Roland as I do, it wasn’t nearly as emotional a journey for me. I can’t say if that’s a good thing or not.

I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t read it yet, but I do encourage you to do so. Whether you’re a Stephen King fan or not, if you enjoy a good story then read this series. It’s described as “Part sci-fi novel, part futuristic dystopia, part spaghetti Western, and part high fantasy vision,” on the website. I’ll have to agree. It’s not like anything else I’ve read before or since, but it’s certainly an adventure.

Are you reading along with me? Post your thoughts in the comments, or link to your own review.

SK Saturday Update

If you’ve followed me online in any way for any length of time at all, you may have come to realize I’m a HUGE Stephen King fan. I own almost every one of his books that’s currently in publication. With very few exceptions I’ve even read most of them. 

Back in June of 2003, I was pregnant with my third child and working full time. I somehow found the time to read The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger in only a couple of days. I was enthralled and instantly in love with Roland, the last Gunslinger. He was every cowboy fantasy I’d ever had and I had to know everything about him. Over the following year I eagerly awaited each installment of the Dark Tower series and read it with ever increasing fervor. What was going to happen to Roland and his ka-tet? Would he ever reach the Dark Tower alive?

Like many other very vocal fans, I was highly disappointed in the pseudo ending of the series and swore never to touch the books again. But of course I couldn’t get rid of them. So, now that SK has released another installment, basically book 4.5, I’m feeling the itch to visit my beloved Roland again. The Dark Tower IV.V: The Wind Through the Keyhole is out and I have to have it. But what does it have to do with the story? To be honest, it’s been too long and I’ve read too many books since 2004 to remember any details. 

So, this summer I’m embarking on the adventure again. I’m going to read all eight books and one short story in Roland’s world. Would you like to join me? I’m willing to commit to one book per week, though I may read faster or slower than that. I’m going to post a weekly review/update every Saturday to let ya’ll know my progress. If you decide to read along, feel free to post links to your reviews in the comments section each week. I’m eager to know if the story will feel the same after all these years.

Schedule:

June 9th:    The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

June 16th:  The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

June 23rd:  The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

June 30th:  The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

July 7th:     The Dark Tower IV.V: The Wind Through the Keyhole

July 14th:   The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla 

July 21st:   The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah

July 28th:   The Dark Tower VII

August 4th:   Little Sisters of Eluria (Short Story in Everything’s Eventual) 

August 11th: Final thoughts and impressions

SK Reading Challenge 2011

This year I’ve decided to enter my first ever reading challenge with one of my favorite authors of all time as the focus. It’s the Book Chic City blog’s Stephen King Reading Challenge, as you may have noticed from the button on my sidebar. Why am I doing this? Up until maybe five years ago, SK was the author I read the most. He was the one I lined up at midnight for, and not a single new release of his escaped my notice. I’ve seriously slacked off. I don’t even own Under the Dome or  Full Dar, No Stars  yet. In fact, the past three books I’ve purchased have sat unread, collecting dust on my TBR shelf for literally years. What the hell happened?

Romance and erotica, that’s what, and I fully blame my minion for introducing me to those genres. Actually, I can’t really yell at her since reading them turned me to writing in those genres also 😉
However, I’ve decided that my long lost love of SK’s work must be rekindled this year. I’ve already lined up the books required to meet the challenge (minimum of six). They are as follows, in no particular order:

  1. Everything Eventual. I think I’ve actually read this one but can’t remember, so have decided to read it again.
  2. Storm of the Century. I’ve seen the movie (who hasn’t?) but have yet to read the book. I can’t wait!
  3. Lisey’s Story. I remember buying this one and anticipating cracking open the cover. Don’t ask me what happened, I have no clue.
  4. Cell. I actually started this one and put it down when life happened. I think we then moved or something crazy and I never picked it up again. There may be a dusty bookmark still embedded within.
  5. Blaze. This is a “Bachman Book”. That’s all I can remember off the top of my head.
  6. Duma Key. Here’s one I don’t remember much about, not even the purchase. It may be the first I read though.
  7. Just After Sunset. By the time this one was released I felt snowed under. I knew I was getting way behind on my SK but had too much else going on to fix it.
  8. On Writing and Secret Windows. Ive put these two together because they are about the craft of writing and fall into that weird zone for me that borders non-fiction. I thoroughly enjoy living within my imagination as often as possible and therefore stay away from non-fiction for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a biography or philosophical treatise now and then (no, really). However, I go through genre phases and that one hasn’t come back around lately.

So there it is, my list for the Stephen King writing challenge of 2011. As I said before the challenge is to read six and technically I’ve listed eight. I own all but one of them and may even decide to reread It…again. We’ll see. Once I get rolling through SK I might tackle the whole shelf. I’ll try to remember to post my progress here.
If you’d like to join me click on the button and follow the rules.
Good Luck!

SK Reading Challenge 2011