Doctor Sleep & Weekly Update

Doctor Sleep is Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining. Did anyone think he’d write a sequel? I’m burnt out on series and trilogies at the moment, but when I first heard King was revisiting Danny, the boy from The Shining who is now a middle aged guy, I started counting the months, weeks, and days till its release. This sequel follows the book, not the movie, and if you’ve only seen the movie and not read the book, you don’t know what you’re missing. Get thee to the library or bookstore!
Doctor Sleep engaged me from the get-go, but it lost some steam toward the end. I kept reading not because I was in the grip of a story I couldn’t put down, but because I wanted to finish the book and see how it all ended. Know what I mean? Rose the Hat became a bit flat, as did Abra. Still, its a really good story and has that King magic of making me feel swept along for a ride that I both want and don’t want to be on.

Dan is one of the most believable flawed characters that I’ve read in sometime. His struggle with alcohol, his early days in AA, and then his acceptance of the program all ring true and reveal, along the way, many facets of his character. Dan’s trajectory–his deepening sobriety and its fruits–is the reverse of Rose the Hat’s. Her increasing lust for the quality steam she could get from Abra causes her to make irrational decisions, allows her anger to control her, and drives her ever closer to her own bottom. Brilliant.

If you want to read a review, try this one by Margaret Atwood.

Tif Talks Books and Charleen at Cheap Thrills have been hosting a read-along for Doctor Sleep appropriately called Sleep Along (#sleepalong on Twitter). Between packing up my house, trying to buy a new one in another part of the county, and wrapping up two jobs, I don’t have the space left in my brain to participate in the event, but I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts post-event.

Some of my favorite quotes:
–“Once upon a time Dan had promised himself he’d never get going with that habit, either. He had come

to believe that life was a series of ironic ambushes.” [Habits referring to his dad’s drinking and his mom’s smoking.]

–“Drinking was undoubtedly a part of it, but when you were down, some guys just seemed to feel an urge to walk up your back and plant a foot on your neck instead of helping you to stand. It was lousy, but so much of human nature was.”

–“The mind was a blackboard. Booze was the eraser.” [By far my favorite quote.]

–“‘What’s your favorite hymn?’ Dan asked [a woman who swears a lot]. ‘What a Fucking Friend We Have in Jesus’?”

–“Dan did not reply to this. If he told her [Abra] he had found his own first taste horrible, that he had also believed there was no big deal, no precious secret, she would have dismissed it as windy adult bullshit. You could not moralize children out of growing up. Or teach them how to do it.”

–Not a quote, but I love that he jabs Anne Lamont and Phil Caputo. Rube names of Apron Annie and Dirty Phil. LOL.

Other books currently in my reading life:
  • A. Scott Berg’s Wilson: I put it aside to start Doctor Sleep and need to get back to it.
  • Stuart Dybek’s I Sailed with Magellan: great short stories, but as often happens with short story collections I needed to take a break from it because the stories are intense. Will get back to it. Earlier this year I read William Stryon’s A Tidewater Morning and Flannery O’Connor’s Everything that Rises Must Converge, two powerful short story collections that I feel the need to reread before attempting to write about them. Powerful stuff.
  • Carolyn Heilbrun’s Writing a Woman’s Life: I read this one years ago and when I was packing up my books it called to me for another reading. I feel like a bad feminist because while reading this an idea came to mind for a new story–one about a man’s life of adventure. Oops! But its just in time for NaNoWriMo.
  • Roy Peter Clark’s How to Write Short: it caught my eye at the library. Short chapters, little nuggets full of powerful thoughts and motivation.
  • JJ Marsh’s Tread Softly: a review copy of a mystery that I just started. The transitions are a bit confusing at times, but the story is engaging.
    I’m usually a one book at a time reader, or at most have one fiction and one nonfiction book going at the same time. Having five books going at the same time is a sure sign that I’m stressed out. We have the movers coming on the 25th. We’re putting everything in storage since we don’t yet have a house in New England–two offers didn’t pan out. We’re headed back for more house hunting at the end of the month. Third times the charm, right?

    What’s going on in your reading life?


    1. Yeah!!!! I finished the book over the weekend, so have been really having to be careful what I say in comments for the read-along! I don't want to give anything away.

      I thought the beginning started out slow, but I loved the ending. It was just so, so good. I also loved that you listed your favorite quotes. I was going to list at least one next week in my wrap-up post, but there are soooo many good ones that I've written down from this book.

      Good luck with the house hunting and all the other moving tasks. I'm still trying to sell my house where we used to live, so I know the struggles! I will continue to think about you!

    2. Thanks for the thoughts and for co-hosting #sleepalong. It has motivated me to read King's more recent novels. I stopped reading him after IT. Actually, I didn't even finish reading IT. Clowns in sewers was just too much for me to handle! But reading Doctor Sleep made me realize how much I miss his style and sensibilities.

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