Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

King is the genius of fiction that goes bump in the night…but what did a bunch of thrill seeking book grouper’s make of it?

I have to admit that I was a little wary when Salem’s Lot was chosen as the last book group choice. My horror reading experiences being condensed to my teenage years when I would avidly devour point horror books. Oh I wish I had an excuse to still read them now. But I digress, so when Salem’s Lot was picked I had my reservations. This wasn’t helped by a very slow start to the book that marked the beginning of the novel as sluggish to read.

Thankfully I had a reason to read this book and so trudged on, and about half way through it suddenly dawned on me that I was glad I had stuck it out. I’d gone from minimalist interest to piqued curiosity, King had me hanging on his every written word desperate to see how his dark and ominous plot line would work out.

The novel begins with a prologue where a middle-aged man and a young boy are on the run fleeing their past from what is now a ghost town; Salem’s Lot. The once rural, small town in the US has now, according to a spooky newspaper report, just blown away and dried up, and whilst some say it can be economically and socially explained others suspect that something far darker and more superstitious is at play.

The novel then goes back in time to when writer Ben Mears, one time resident of the Lot, is returning back in the hope of gaining inspiration for his next story. He hopes to take stimulation from the spooky, dark and looming Marsten House, a house ripe with scandalous gossip about its previous occupier who is said to still haunt the mansion.

Ben is trying to exorcise his own demons by renting the house where he once had a dreadful fright as a child. Yet when he arrives he discovers that another mysterious person has beaten him to the post.

Things soon heat up in the town when a young boy goes missing and his older brother develops a serious but unfathomable illness that makes him averse to sunlight and deathly pale. But vampires surely cannot be real can they? Well think again, Stephen King makes the unimaginable real, the unthinkable thinkable and he takes our biggest fears and lays them bare.

The more the novel wore on the more my interest and investment in the story deepened and grew, for the most part his characters are well-built and therefore easy to engage with. With the exception of some truly repulsive characters that king isn’t afraid to chuck in, the book is littered with ordinary people with vivid backgrounds bringing a sense of reality to the novel. It is probably the pains that he goes to in order to make a realistic and believable township that hits home the true horror of what happens in the lot when the sun goes down.

Book Groups Reaction

As always in true book group style opinions were split, well it wouldn’t be fun if they weren’t would it? A few people were so put off that they declined reading this book which is a big shame because like horrors or not I do think this book is well worth reading.

Holly absolutely loved the book and couldn’t put it down, she reported sleepless nights of looking over her shoulder, so much did the book spook her out.

Myself and Dave seemed to have similar feelings of enjoying the book for what it was, an engaging book with a reasonably good plot line that was fun to read. Neither of us felt ridiculously spooked out by it and neither of us felt it touched us in any particular way and thus an interesting discussion evolved when Dave put forward the debate of what is better a literary book or a genre book like this?

Certainly the book group usually sticks to literary numbers that we can pick apart and analyse to death and for me these books will always be superior. But every once in a while it’s good to take some time out and just enjoy a damn good genre book which is exactly what King has achieved here.

There was a little criticism that the book lacked in originality and that it borrowed ideas from Dracula but I haven’t read any other vampire books and so can’t really complain. What did everyone else think? Did the book lack in genuine originality for you? Or did you love it and couldn’t put it down?

This is my first Stephen King book and I’m sure it wont be the last, no I wont rush out and by loads but I’ll certainly keep my eye peeled and when I want a book that’s gripping and fun to read then I’ll reach for some Stephen King magic.

One Book, Two Book, Three Book, Four….and Five

I’m a little slow to join in with Simon’s latest meme ‘One book, Two Book, Three Book, Four and Five” but when I saw that he was running this wonderful and interactive post again I couldn’t resist getting involved.

So without further ado, here are my answers:

1.) The book I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and I hate to say it but wow am I struggling to get into this book. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been in a total reading slump of late but still this book has proved hard work. I actually started reading it a month ago and just couldn’t get past the first chapter so I put it down and started it again. I’m still not very far into it but I hear it’s a slow burner and the pay off is worth it….fingers crossed.

 

2.) The last book I finished:

This was the wonderful Jane Eyre, a book that despite taking an age to get through was totally worth it and utterly charming throughout. It’s part of my Day Zero Challenge to read 10 literary classic and what a brilliant way to kick things off. Which classic should I read next?

3.) The next book I want to read:

I’m struggling with this one because like I said I have been in a reading slump. I feel therefore very uninspired by the books around me. That said I’ve just joined a new library at college and every time I walk past the literary section I feel like I’m walking through Aladdin’s cave. That said I think my next book will be The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo that I asked for and was given last Christmas and still haven’t read.

4.) The last book I bought:

I had to really think about this because I never by books, I usually wait till I’m at my favourite second-hand shop back home and go on a splurge. But the last time I parted with my cash it was to buy Annabel. Off course the book is only out in hard back so I grumbled a lot a the till but O it was so worth it so I mustn’t complain.

5.) The last book I was given:

A very kind friend of mine recently sent me The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan. I have actually read this book before but a long time ago and I adore McEwan so I’m happy this book has found its way to me for a much need, and in my case unprecedented re read. I remember being quite disturbed but I also found it incredibly thrilling. Hope I enjoy it as much the second time round.

So there my answers, what about everyone else? If you do decide to join in then remember to leave your link on Simon’s Site, and thanks to Simon for the brilliant meme.

October; A Reading Slump

I feel I should really start this blog with a big apology because October was an extremely quiet one at I hug my Books. I’m normally a huge book geek and like to cram in as many books as I can each month, I love sharing my thoughts with you all even more.

And yet the month of October was for me a huge reading slump. I’m sure we all have these moments, you pick up a book, try to get into it and yet the words just jumble into a blur and the power of the narrative just passes you by. Well that’s how October was for me and after trying to force myself to get into several different books I just decided to take a little reading break.

There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to get into something you usually love, it just makes you resent it and reading should never in my opinion be like that. That said I took my sweet time and slowly read the rest of Jane Eyre and I also read a fair chunk of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King which is the book up for analysis at my next book group. I think I underestimated the time a book of such a size would take, it’s huge! It’s always hard reading a book your obliged to read when your really not in the reading mood but thankfully my reading funk seems to be slowly lifting so hopefully I will devour the rest of the book this month in my usual reading style.

 So as I said sadly I have few books to talk to you all about in this post, so I thought I would pose the question instead ‘do you get into reading flunks where you just can’t get into anything? If so what do you do to get yourself out of it or do you just let it ride? And what hobby to you pick up to fill the reading void’?

I usually try to read a book that is light years away from my usual stuff when in a reading flunk; the idea being I’m a little bored of reading the same stuff over and over and it’s a great opportunity to push my boundaries. Sadly there were no books that could captivate my attention this month. So I’ve thrown myself into some knitting and a lot of winter cooking, pies and stews, mm. I’ve also being snowed under with work and studying; maybe I’m just too worn out to read?

But what about everyone else? How do you tackle reading slumps? Hopefully October was a far more productive reading month for you all, What did you read? Perhaps your choices may help inspire me this month? Did anyone divulge in some scary Halloween reading?

 I haven’t made any plans for November, I did that in October and didn’t get too far. Instead I’m going simply by what grabs my attention when I reach for the bookshelf. I think instinct will be my reading guide in November. Off course finishing Salem’s Lot is first on the agenda. I hope I can get more into it. So what is everyone else reading this month? Anything planned or will you just be going with the flow? Whatever your plans Happy Reading as always.