A few minutes ago, I finished the seventh--and final book in Stephen King's DARK TOWER series. It took King over 30 years to write it, and it took me nearly a whole year to read it (granted I took several months off between book one and two). What a long, strange trip.
I've never been one to read long series. It's not that I don't like a good, long yarn...it's just that I have literary ADD. After a while, my pile of books beckons to me. I want to move onto something new. Anyway, I read book one last July, at the behest of my friend Paul who said I'd love it. I read it on the third floor of an empty office building (downtown KC) in the wee hours of the morning. There were a few parts that scared the hell out of me (what with my solitude and the hour of the day). It was good, but I didn't have the other books. When I got them (free, on Paperbackswap.com) it was time to go back to school for my final semester. Suddenly I was swamped with stuff to read. So THE DARK TOWER took a backseat. Then I grew up, and got out of school and found a job where I had nothing but time. So I read. And I read.
The tale of Roland, the last gunslinger kept me from going crazy many a night over the UMSL's Mark Twain Center (where I was a lame-ass security guard). One of the lifeguards downstairs (a hippie-dippy named Nick) was into the series, and it gave us something common to talk about. Had it not been for him, I might not have finished the series. But he kept pressing me, and the books got better as I went along.
Now, THOUSANDS of pages later...I'm finished. How was it? Was it worth the effort? Yes. I'd say it was. THE DARK TOWER has an ending I found both bone-crushingly pessimistic--while at the same time hopefully optimistic. That sounds a bit odd (and at odds) but trust me on this (no spoilers here people).
I'm about to start ANOTHER series (if you believe it or not), one that my baby-sister has recommended I read. I can't wait to hop right into book one tomorrow.
As a side note, it's sort of funny that my hesitancy to start long series is due to "literary ADD." Why? My wife-to-be ACTUALLY HAS ADD and started THE DARK TOWER series only a few months ago--and has been dogging me to finish the last book--so she could start it!!! That's right, only a few months in, and she's on the last book. Ironic.