Tag: Appeal

Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.

 


William Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing | Review

Title: Much Ado About Nothing

Author: William Shakespeare

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 268

Rating: 4/5

I’m not sure how I hadn’t got to this play yet, but I’m glad I picked it up. I think it’s actually one of the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays to follow, and I flew through it because I have a weird edition. The left pages have the notes on and the right side has the play, but I didn’t need the notes except for the introductions to each scene to make sure that I knew what was going on.

One of the things that interested me here is that it focusses on a case of mistaken identity, which Shakespeare has done elsewhere. He does it well, and this play is a fantastic example of that. At the same time, it was much easier to understand and to follow the action than it was in The Comedy of Errors, which has some similarities.

But this also stands up on its own as a fantastic little play and something that’s going to stick with me for a while. There’s also a little bit of romance in there, presumably to give it some more mainstream appeal, and the humour is of the kind where I think anyone could enjoy it. That makes it a play for all the family, and I hope that at some point I get to see a performance of it.

We’ll see, though. That might have to wait until after all of the coronavirus stuff has blown over. But Shakespeare was quarantined too, I hear.

Learn more about Much Ado About Nothing.