January is Author Appreciation Month! (Not officially. Just go with it.) Last month, I announced I would spend this AAM on Stephen King.

I hear a lot of things about Mr. King from my friends (and others), and a lot of it comes in dismissive, contemptuous tones. “Oh, well, Stephen King.” Now, I reserve my author judgement for people I’ve actually read unless the person in question is notoriously bad. (I won’t name names. I won’t name names.) When you come away from others’ comments on King, you think of him like this:

This scene actually represents my thoughts on R.L. Stein. My childhood loves that guy! And so I thought I’d appreciate the more adult version, the version that has many brilliant film adaptions. The thing about Stephen King is that I’ve been curious about him since birth (probably) but have only seen The Shining and more recently Stand By Me. It was time I found out what his writing is about.

My choice was Misery because Family Guy‘s adaptation featuring “Stewie Wilkes” intrigued me. It was a pretty good book to start with; as a writer, the main character was easy to relate to. It had a rocky start and a quiet enough ending, but the middle. The middle! In short, it was good.

I went in with a forgiving heart thinking King might be close to a pulp writer. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. I give him props in this novel for experimenting with the style. Some pages are the flowered prose of a novel-in-progress written by the main character. Other pages are delusional, dream-like and repetitive. In some pages, the character (probably embodying the writer himself) talks to himself in dialogue, thoughts, and prose. Of course, there are also gory parts. One well-received plus was the inspiration it gave me for one of the novels I’m working on. I’d already developed a specific concept for it, but Misery helped nudged some of the style in the right direction.

Dare I say it was a pleasure reading Misery?

The rest of my Stephen King reading list is pretty much set, but you’ll have to check back here to find out what I’ve chosen. A little of this, and a little of that. There will be celebrity guest appearances (made you look), one or two movies, and something published after 1990.

I hope King’s later work is a little different, stylistically, to fit the book. I’m hoping he isn’t like this other mention in Family Guy:

I’ll be back with more in February, babies!

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