Tag: Master

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.

 


Haruki Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman | Review

Title: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 436

Rating: 4/5

This was another book that’s been on my wish list for a little while because Murakami is one of those authors where I want to read everything that he’s ever written. I actually picked this one up because I got my friend to pick out some random numbers to correspond with books on my wish list and this is what she came up with.

I didn’t realise until after it arrived that it was a collection of short stories, but that’s not a problem. I’ve always enjoyed short stories and Murakami is a master at the style, and so you know that you’re in for a treat here. Despite that, there are still a couple of stories here that I didn’t much enjoy, but that’s only natural in a collection like this.

For the most part though, this was a cracking collection and I was very pleased with it, even though it took me a little longer to get through it than I was expecting. There are a lot of ideas here and it takes a little time to wrap your head around them, but that’s to be expected when you’re reading Murakami. I blitzed through the whole collection in three or four days, but I’d also understand if you wanted to take a little longer to make sure that it all sinks in.

What I would say is that this could be a pretty good place to start if you’re new to Murakami’s work and you want to get an overall cross-section of what he’s all about. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but then show me a book that is. No, seriously, show me it. I’m about ready to add a few new more books to my wish list.

So would I recommend it? Overall, it’s a yes from me, although you might want to read it over a prolonged period of time instead of doing what I did and focussing on it as your main read. That way, you can enjoy it a lot more, a bit like having a series of meals at different restaurants instead of stuffing yourself silly at an all-you-can-eat.

Oh, and of course, big thanks to my friend (who’d probably prefer to be unnamed) for picking this book out for me. As you can tell, it was a big hit for me and a lot of fun, and just the book that I needed at just the time I needed it. Good stuff!

Learn more about Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.