Friday, June 27, 2008

Reached! THE DARK TOWER

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.

4 comments:

Mountaingirl said...

I love it when a good book gets to us emotionally, intellectually and socially.

The last Stephen King book I read was Misery - somehow that crossed a line I was comfortable with and I have been hesitant to go back into his mind but I like the way you responded this series so I will put them on the list of books to keep an eye out for from my Ebay seller.

Greta post Jason and good luck with The Lightning Thief :-)

Jason said...

King's novels are usually pretty much the same--bland, boring in the middle, and filled with lots of gross-out stuff (that said, King is modern master of the short-story). THE DARK TOWER was different.

TDK is a Western/Fantasy. It's an epic quest with Sci-Fi elements to it. There were a handful of scary parts, but overall it really feels different than any of his other works.

I'd encourage anyone to read it--though be prepared for a long read.

Murph said...

I've not read The Dark Tower but I did read The Stand. Granted, I was trapped in the Arabian Desert after the war ended and I'd read all the other books.

I wonder. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that King gets read only when people are trapped somewhere.

Respects,
Murph

Jason said...

Wow, I've never thought about it before...but you raise a good point Murph.

I read DREAMCATCHER a few winters back when the power was out (and there was nothing else to do). I wonder how many other people have read his books...when they had no other choice...