I have two items for my write-up today of Stephen King’s The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition:
1. On pages 258-259, I read the following:
“Three years ago Stu had gotten a book called Watership Down to send to a nephew of his in Waco. He had gotten out a box to put the book in, and then, because he hated to wrap presents even more than he hated to read, he had thumbed to the first page, thinking he would scan a little of it to see what it was about. He read that first page, then the second…and then he was enthralled. He had stayed up all night, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and plowing steadily along, the way a man does when he’s not much used to reading just for the pleasure of it. The thing turned out to be about rabbits…The stupidest, most cowardly animals of God’s earth…except the guy who wrote that book made them seem different. You really cared about them. It was a pretty damn good story, and Stu, who read at a snail’s pace, finished it two days later.”
I can identify with much of this. Often, I have difficulty getting into books. My mind wanders. I plow through them slowly. Sometimes, I get lost, as was the case when I read Chapter 31 of The Stand last night, which was about Kit Brandeton, from whom Randall Flagg got a car. I was thinking, “Who is this Kit Brandeton again?” In some cases, reading a summary of a book on wikipedia before I start a book helps me to read the book better, for at least I know what to expect—and my reading serves to flesh out an outline that is already in my mind, which I think is better than me having to figure out for myself what the outline is (and that can be difficult for me). But many people wouldn’t do that because they don’t like spoilers.
My difficulty in reading is a huge reason why I blog. Rather than reading a book and getting nothing out of it because my mind was wandering, or because the subject matter did not particularly thrill me, I read each book as if it has hidden treasure for me to blog about. I have found that I get more out of books that way, even books that would strike some as dry and boring.
But there are some times when I find a book that enthralls me. Like Stu, I read a page, then two, and then, before you know it, I’m making progress through the book, and I’m on my way to finishing it. I wish I could be that way with all books, but it only has occurred with some.
2. On page 259, Stu thinks about a man named Elder, who is an authority at the hospital where he is staying. Stu felt that Elder looking at him with his flat blue eyes drained the will out of him. I feel that way about some people: just one cross look from them is enough to put me into a tailspin and to ruin my day. How can I become stronger?