Tag: Band

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.

 


Kurt Vonnegut – Jailbird | Review

Title: Jailbird

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 240

Rating: 3/5

This book is a satirical novel that ties back in with the Watergate scandal, and because of that I struggled with it from time to time purely because I’m not particularly familiar with that particular part of American history. I’ve never liked Nixon, but he was also in power a long time before I was born and so it almost feels like it doesn’t matter.

Still, there was some fun stuff here, mostly revolving around Vonnegut’s wry observations and his occasional excellent one-liners. Because it’s also a sort of fictionalised biography of sorts, it also reminded me quite a lot of my own current work-in-progress, which follows the career of a fictional band. It has that same vibe where you have to optimise between showing and telling because while showing is an understandably good practice to have, you also need to tell sometimes to progress the narrative.

I’d say that I mostly appreciated this book from a writing point of view rather than because I particularly enjoyed it, but I think there’s a place for books like that on my shelves and I’m glad that I finally read this, especially considering it’s been on my shelves for several years now just waiting for me to finally tick it off. And to think that it took less than 48 hours. I feel kinda silly now!

Learn more about Jailbird.

 


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