11/22/63 A Novel

This is not a blog about writing. This is a blog about reading.
In the late 1970s—maybe 1977 or 1978—I carried a very large book around with me, telling people, “You must read this. You must read this author.”
The book was The Stand and it was the second book by Stephen King that I’d read. The first was Salem’s Lot which scared me more than anything in my short thirty years.
Thirty-three years later I find myself carrying around another very large King book: 11/22/63 A Novel, telling people, “You must read this book.” I know longer have to tell people to “read this author.” The world knows who he is and rightfully so.
The longer Under the Dome received an unusual (for King) positive review in the New York Time Book Review section. 11/22/63 A Novel also did. Either King is growing as a writer or the NYT reviewers are growing as readers. I think it’s probably both.
It took me less than a week to read this book. I “fell” into this book. That’s my term for making the book, the story, one of the most important parts of my life—almost as important as work, showering, eating—almost. I did carry it around with me, just so I could read it henever I had a spare moment. And even though I’m a Kindle fan, I got the hard cover. I loved the feel of its 840+ pages in my hand. It was weighty. The topic was weighty. But the writing wasn’t.
King’s spare, direct, no-adverb (cut them out like tumors) writing wove a story out of time—from now to 1958 and back again. I (I will not say “the reader” because this is all about me and how I saw this book) was transported to a time I remember well. I was eleven in 1958. I was sixteen when the President was assassinated.
King weaves history with the social mores of the day with a skill that has grown (I almost put an adverb in there) since The Stand. The Stand was fiction. 11/22/63 A Novel is part history lesson.
I could say so much more about this book and probably will (damn, adverb!) in the coming weeks. I just finished it, so I must digest it. I dream more about it.
I may even reread it.


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