Kindle: Read between 8 May - 10 June 2016
"That is the curse of the reading class - We can be seduced by a good story even at the least opportune moments."
Book Blurb (courtesy of Goodreads): On November 22 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas. President J.F. Kennedy died and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King's heart-stopping novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. King sweeps readers back in time to another moment - a real life moment - when everything went wrong.
Since the first publication of 11/22/63 in 2011, there has been written numerous reviews and comments on this exceptionally well crafted novel by Stephen King. I am most definitely not an expert on the works of Stephen King (I've only "discovered" the King in my 30's), but to me - this is his best novel (my frame of reference is not very big, please feel free to correct me!). Therefore, I am not going to add to the number of reviews - I will much rather give you 10 reasons why you really should read this book:
1. It's a new spin on an old history lesson
You must really live under a rock not to be aware of the assassination of JFK or even the whole Kennedy Dynasty. I'm also quite sure that more South Africans know the name Lee Harvey Oswald than they know the name Dimitri Tsafendas (the guy who assassinated South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd in 1966 - Verwoerd assassination).
Lee Harvey Oswald (left), Dimitri Tsafendas (right)
I've got no idea why Oswald is more interesting than Tsafendas. I strongly suspect that the targets of their assassinations are the defining object here.
The portrayal of Oswald in 11/22/63 is very informative. Given that some parts are fictional, I still learned more about this Little Shit than ever before.
2. It's infinitely Google-able
Yes, I am aware that 'Google-able' is not a word. Although it ought to be one. Somethings are just so 'Google-able'. You can Google for all eternity on events; people; places; cars; towns; music; fashion etc as depicted in 11/22/63.
Authors take note: Please write your novels so that it is Google-able. We as readers love to Google everything mentioned in your book. It is just a matter of time until all babies will be born clutching a cellphone as fiercely as Mrs Kennedy was clutching her husband's brains on 11/22/63.
|Seconds from disaster|
3. It's time-travelling at it's best
We live in a bookish era of Time-travelling. It is an increasingly popular genre and we all love being 'transported' to another time and era. Stephen King's "Land of Ago" is a tribute to a simpler era. The air was fresher, the food tasted better, 'trust' was a way of living and not a bunch of assets. While reading this book, I felt part of the 1960's and loved it.
4. You get stuck in the story
Let's not get into the age-old argument of 'what makes a book great'. The simple truth is that a great book knows how to capture your attention and keep it. I've spent the last 33 days living in Jodie or Dallas. My favourite dress was a pink one with 3 petticoats. My hair was blond-from-a-bottle and don't you just love my glasses?
I lived and breathed this novel like I haven't done in years. There is a scene close to the end of the novel on a bus. I was on a plane while reading this scene and for a moment it felt as if I was on a bus and not a plane. Now that is how you should feel when reading a book.
5. You can use it as a doorstop
Thankfully I was reading this novel in Kindle format and didn't have to travel with the paperback/hardcover. At a whopping 849 pages the printed novel would have filled-up my suitcase like the story filled-up my senses. But please don't let the large page count dissuade you. I wouldn't have minded if it was even longer. Just go and buy the book, if you don't also get obsessed with the story - you can use it as a doorstop. No harm done.
6. It's the perfect novel for the indecisive reader
Don't know what you feel like reading next? Historical novel, romance, horror, time-travel, science fiction....?? Then don't look any further! This is the novel for you. At 849 pages, you only need to buy or borrow and pack this novel for your summer vacation.
Note: I'm starting to sound like the crazy add-lady on page 249:
7. It is written by the King of all weirdly talk-able things
Have you ever noticed that you have never spoken to anybody who haven't heard of Stephen King? Even if they don't read his books, they know who he is. I've grown-up hearing that I'm not allowed to read those horrible books, predicting that I will have nightmares. Nightmares I have, especially due to the horrible realization that my book is now finished. If people ask you what you are reading and they are not immediately intrigued by the amazing story premise, just mention that it is written by Stephen King. You'll see how quickly everyone is interested.
8. It lets the sleeping dogs lieI've rewinded the following clip a thousand or more times back in the good old days of VCR's and Will & Grace and Cher. "If (only) I could turn back time, If (only) I could find a way...."
How many times have we not longed for the chance to change the past. Maybe it's not such an awesome idea after all and we should just let sleeping dogs lie. And keep the dead ones buried. Raising the dead is never a good idea.
9. The TV mini-series is not bad at all (but read the book first)
Also the main reason why it is always a good idea to take part in group reads. I wanted to read this novel for quite some time and wouldn't have known about the mini-series if not for my friends at South African Book Lovers Group. I'm dragging the series out. There is only 8 episodes and it needs to last. The characters are all well cast, although there are a few character changes. But it is still very enjoyable.
And that brings me to my final reason: