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Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by Arkie Proud, Aug 31, 2015.
Another one by America's most prolific writer.
Fell off the book club when the crash happened, but can participate in this one because I started reading The Stand a month or so ago. About 30% though it, excellent book, my first Stephen King book.
Love this book.
Do you compare it to The Passage at all? I feel like I saw that comparison made when we read that book a few years ago.
Either way, excited to read The Stand. About halfway through Finders Keepers, then I'll dive into this.
Does watching the mini series count?
Real question how does the mini series compare to the book?
I could never make it through the first episode
No book discussion? I'll probably finish Cartel today (fucking loved it), and then start this one.
I read this a few years ago and still remember it pretty well, not ready to reread it yet, but once some discussion gets started I will definitely join in. Should be lots of discussion to be had, especially for those who have read multiple King books as this book intersects and references other novels.
I will always bring a flashlight when I visit NYC because of the Larry Underwood tunnel section. Horrifying.
Yes. Underwood's escape from NYC is an excellent part of the novel
Just started... Disease just starting to catch fire, but this book is like 48 hours on audible, so it'll be a while until I'm done.
Been so freaking busy since September 1st that I didn't start it until last night. Only read a few chapters because it was late, but I'm already all in. Stuff like this is so interesting when done well and I think the writing is great (as usual from King).
The Blackfish, have you read both versions of the book? I saw the extended version (which is what I am reading) had a new beginning, so I was wondering if it just didn't have that prologue basically.
I only read the extended edition
I am really enjoying it right now. Love the world building that's taking place before everything (seemingly) hits the fan. Like that we're getting to know the characters that (I imagine) will play a part in whatever the world is post-virus, as well as dealing with people that will be dead very soon. A couple chapters ago, it essentially was "this person got it and saw five people, who then saw 25 people, etc." and I thought that was great. Felt like the camera was panning around to one person, focusing on them for a bit, then following another who got sick. Well done so far.
I can't believe I hadn't read a King book until 2012, because this, along with the Mr. Mercedes trilogy + 11/22/63 back in 2012 makes me want to dive into every one of his books. Good stuff.
I really enjoy the fact he went into both viewpoints as well. Thought he did an excellent job with that.
After this might I recommend some of his older stuff: It, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining (and its more recent sequel Doctor Sleep). Also enjoyed his recent novel Revival as did many here. There's also his "magnum opus" The Dark Tower series. It tails off over the last two books though. Some people say three but I enjoyed Wolves of the Calla.
I have most of those on my Kindle. I've heard really good things about Revival.
Every time someone new coughs I get excited in a weird way, because shit is going down. Read a bunch more last night, sucks though that a "bunch" of this book is 6% of it, but understandable when it's damn near 1200 pages. Can't remember all the names right now + I'm at work, so I'll be describing stuff in generalities: Sucked about the sheriff. He seemed like a good dude, his wife seemed nice, and suddenly one is dead and the other is almost dead. Also, the mom of the pregnant chick is a psycho. Interested to see where that storyline + her relationship w/her husband and daughter goes from here.
I am super intrigued as to where this goes. If I'm reading/understanding right, this seems to be something that was designed by the government. For war maybe? Idk. What I like is that I don't really know what that means for the endgame. Usually with stories like this, a virus happens and causes vampires/zombies. Now, there's still a ton of book left, but it doesn't seem like this one is moving towards that type of end game, so I'm wondering what the hell will happen with the few people who do end up surviving this thing.
I need to find a way to read this throughout the weekend. Football usually zaps everything else from happening, but I am enjoying this quite a bit right now.
Good thoughts. I think you'll continue to enjoy it going forward.
Huge fan of The Stand, have read it several times. Probably my favorite King book and I've read (and for the most part loved) pretty much everything he has ever written.
Does your copy have the ending ripped out?
Ok... Love King, but why does he insist on including the sci-fi bits in stories when they just aren't needed? What's the point of including the bit on the Grim Reaper? I've only been through his one part, but I've been meaning to bitch about it.
IIRC, he added some unnecessary Sci-Fi bullshit to an otherwise great book in the Green Mile as well.
Edit: Stu just met the professor guy... Loved that guy's dialogue.
About 60% through
Ok... I'm ok with the 2 factions now. I like it as part of the story line.
What happened to the guy that went to jail for that killing spree he and his buddy went on? I can't remember.
Also, was The Kid eaten by wolves?
The Trashcan Man is definitely my least favorite storyline, but I'm still curious to see how it ends up. Last I heard from him it said something like "Oh, he'd burn" not sure if it meant he himself or him burning other things.
I'm now at the part where Larry Underwood tells Fran how awesome Harold is. I like that, and am interested to see what happens when Harold sees his new found adoration.
The guy that went to jail for Shitty AMC Show spree was freed by Randall Flagg and joined up with him right? Its been a few years since I read it, so I may be mistaken. I believe The Kid was eaten by wolves but again I'm not 100% sure. I'll be interested in seeing how you feel about The Trashcan Man story line at the end.
Is he the same guy that's super nice to the Trashcan Man? That's kind of running the show in Vegas, Lloyd? I think so, either way. The narrator kind of does his voice differently now though, so that's slightly confusing.
The whole setting up of government thing is pretty interesting as well, because everyone seems to have slightly different ideas on how to go about it. I think at this point, all they would need to do is just banish people for punishment. Seems like jail would be an unnecessary hassle, and straight up executions for little things too excessive.
I'm still so far behind :( I plan on finishing it, just have not had time to read this month.
Trashy Trash Man thoughts after book....
I can deal with this ending overall, but am still failing to see what the point of "the walk" by Larry, Stu, Randy, and Glenn was all about? What was the benefit of them being there? It seems like a reach at this point. If they hadn't been there, Whitney wouldn't have spoken out right as Trashy was getting back with the A-Bomb, and then the little weird electric ball of light wouldn't have gone up into the sky, and therefore it wouldn't have detonated? That's a lot of dominoes, and I think King could have had an ending that was much smarter. I'm really not totally sure what the point of the trashcan man was other than to bring back a nuclear bomb, and kill everyone in Vegas. It doesn't detract much from the overall book, and I like how the good guys won, but I would have preferred King handle it slightly differently. Maybe a rebellion, and King harping on the inherent good nature of man, or some kind of biblical weakness that only the pure could exploit (aka Tom Cullen or the old lady).
Also, there was literally no benefit to Boulder in the spies. What the hell kind of info did they provide? All it helped was to start a downward spiral.
Is there any significance to the initials "RF" btw? I'm at the part where everyone in Vegas is incinerated and Tom is helping Stu get back to Franny.
Finally, I'm bitching a lot in this write-up, but it's a bitching of love. I very much enjoyed this book, and think little things could have significantly improved it. Things that seem (at least to me, who isn't a writer) relatively easy to fix relative to this entire story.
RF = Randall Flagg. Everyone's biggest gripe about the book is the somewhat anti-climatic ending. Very typical of King's writing. A few times he nails endings (see 11/22/63) but a lot of time they leave some to be desired. The Stand and The Dark Tower Series are the biggest two. With that said I agree, the book is awesome despite the ending.
It's like he uses magic and shit to get around being clever about endings.
If they put writers into a video game and gave them ratings (out of 100) King would be like...
Character Development: 98
Plot Development: 92
World Building: 89
Closing Ability: 25
So I have like 15% left and will finally be finishing it tonight or tomorrow. I've loved it, even though it's taken this long. Love what it's been building towards and, while I have heard the ending sucks, I'm excited to see what goes down. I'll do a big thought dump once I finish the book.
Read for three hours last night and couldn't finish, have about an hour left of the book, will finish tonight after work. Some thoughts
1. When the chapter ended with "and that's the last they saw of Stu Redman" or something along those lines, I was super bummed because I thought it meant he was toast. But then like one section later he's hanging with the dog so I wondered if he would make it. Bummed to see everyone else die in Vegas, but good riddance to that shit hole and all the awful people there.
2. Larry might have turned into my favorite character by the end of the book (and I say that with ~5% left, but I don't think that's changing) which is surprising because early on I was super annoyed by his chapters. But the general trolling that he did of Flagg + all of his people in Vegas was phenomenal. Great stuff.
3. I thought it was interesting narratively that so many endings for people came so quickly. Which I guess happened throughout the book. But Harold's story just ENDED and obviously Nadine had no idea wtf she was getting herself into because once she fucked Flagg she was done as well.
4. Tom showing back up made me so damn happy. And I will never laugh at "M-O-O-N, that spells ______, everyone knows that!"
I guess at this point my biggest criticism might be character development with Flagg. But as I talk myself through his story, I just see how messed up people were for buying in. Because Nadine wanted him. Harold wanted him. So many people wanted him. Then they'd meet the guy and realize OOPS. Idk, some of the stuff with him felt a little short and I wanted more.
That said, I have really liked the book and look forward to knocking it out later today. I'll have some final thoughts once I'm done.
Finished the book thoughts
You put into words a lot of my criticisms. Trashcan Man was essentially a plot device. Kind of like I said in my previous post, a lot of that came down to Flagg and the lack of true learning about him. We followed Trash across the entire country, learned about him, etc. Then he gets to Vegas and essentially becomes this guy who fucks with people, knows Flagg, and then he leaves. But this all happens on the edges and not from a third person view like his earlier chapters. So he's just there to ultimately end that part of the story? Pretty disappointing in that regard.
That said, I really did like the book. Characters were for the most part great and I was genuinely happy/sad at certain endings that characters got. Like others have said, little things at the end would have made this just a tad better.
Would agree on 8.5/10
Started The Stand last night. Between this and Reaper's Gale (Malazan #7), I won't be reading anything new until mid-July. Almost 500k words. Sheesh.
I'm through Chapter three. So far, so good. I'm intrigued.
These thoughts mirror mine. I'm through ch 20, so about 14% as well.
I've read this is the first book Randall Flagg shows up in. Im assuming I haven't met him yet. Seeing how I've only read 3 books by King and none had Flagg in them, I'm pretty interested to see what he's like since he's one of King's most famous characters.
Randall Flagg has many names in King novels
Well if he was in Salem's Lot, The Body, or Shawshank then I have no idea who he was
No he was not in any of those
Update: he made his first appearance.
So is he the devil or something? I'm assuming it gets cleared up. He was levitating at the end of the chapter.
There's a pretty cool Watership Down reference (one of, if not my absolute, favorite books) in a Stu chapter.
Not much in the spoiler, but I'm about 25% through and pretty much everyone is dead. I guess now we're going to transition into who takes control of the leftovers.
Man, I'm about halfway through and some of these chapters are rough for me. The first Mother Abigail, most of this Trashcan Man...I'm still enjoying it, but it's dropped off post plague. Hoping it picks back up once we get the two factions with some direction.
I get excited every time King makes an allusion to Watership Down.
I'm about 75% through. They
just found Harold's Ledger
Finished. I'm going to have to really think about this one. Really liked parts, other parts dragged a lot for me. Need to let it settle.
Thoughts. I haven't read through the thread yet all the way, but what I have read, I (for the most part) have agreed with.
The first thing I want to touch on is the length of the book. A quick Google search tells me it checks in at 472,376 words. This would make it the second longest book I've ever read, behind only War and Peace. Now, while I am certainly no stranger to long books (I'm a fantasy fan, after all), I thought this book could have done with some cuts. The funny thing is when King originally got the book published, it was maybe 75% of its current length. The publishing house reissued it with the inclusions later on, along with some changes King made to move the setting to the early 1990s.
I think a lot of the dragging I experienced, especially in the dreaded middle, could have been avoided through these cuts. I haven't read the original release, but I would not be surprised if it avoids a lot of these issues. The early chapters after the plague broke and 99% of people died, when we were focusing on Mother Abigail and the first signs of movement around the country, all felt very slow to me.
Now, I want to make this clear: I enjoyed this book. Quite a lot, actually. King is a very good writer, he does a great job with characterization and immersing you in the world. But I did have a few issues, and the first (and most blatant) one was the length.
I thought the first third of this novel was incredible. He did a great job with the buildup, and then the eventual spread, of Captain Trips. So props to him for that. I will say, his writing style can be a bit tedious at times, with the repeated use of similes and sentences like Frannie thought that was just fine, please and thank you. (not an actual quote). For some reason, I always had the mental image of a yo-yo when reading these passages because I would be moving really fast and then would hit some of these dense thought paragraphs that just slooowed me down. I haven't noticed this as much in Salem's Lot or any of the short stories I've read of his, but The Stand gave me plenty of time to pick up on these things so I guess they just seemed more apparent.
I want to know why we needed so much background on the Trashcan Man when his only real role at the end was to find the nuclear bomb. I thought his passages would eventually lead somewhere, but he just kind of dropped off the map exept to go nuts and set things on fire in Las Vegas. I guess that was his character, but I would have liked more depth for all the time we spent with him.
I was initially pretty pissed when I thought Stu died, but as soon as I read the passage with him and Kojak (go dogs) I figured he would survive. His relationship with Tom was pretty cool.
I thought Randall Flagg was a bit one dimensional as a villain. I know he's Satan's Imp and everything, and I suppose he had his struggles, but he didn't feel as fleshed out as the other protagonists. Though I could say the same for Mother Abigail. I found her passages to be pretty boring.
What was the purpose of Joe/Leo? Just to show how Nadine's character changed?
Things I enjoyed: I actually really liked Frannie's character, and her relationship with Stu and Harold. I liked that the people in Las Vegas weren't all just inherently evil people. They all had flaws and that's what brought them there, but they held to their scruples, near the end (Whitney). I enjoyed the size of the world and the realities King went into about how they would have to build their society back. King has a gift for dialogue as well, so I always enjoy that. \
Honestly, I could spend a lot of time deep-diving into this book. There's just so much material, it could take hours.
All in all, I would give it an 8/10 and a 4*. It had some great highs, and where it shined I found it captivating. Yeah, it had some lows, but find me a nearly 500k word book that doesn't. I think it's pretty important for me to read, just as a burgeoning King fan as well as how it plays into his other novels. So I'm glad I spent the nearly two months reading it (off and on).
Got this beast of a book in the mail the other day, thinking about starting it this weekend
I’m a fifth of the way in currently and loving it
One of my fav books eva
Just finished my 3rd read, 1st since HS
-Stu and Fran are garbage characters
-How come no one ever recognizes Larry as a singing star? Disappointing payoff IMO
-Why didn't Larry just take a flashlight with him in the Lincoln Tunnel
Seeing this thread bumped so much as of late has me itching for a re-read.
Fran should have just left Harold in Ogunquit. Why would you set out with that incel