Author: Stephen King
I was in the bookstore a while ago, looking for something by Stephen King that I didn’t already have, and picked up It. I’m sure I’d read this book before, but, frankly, I didn’t remember anything about it, so it was like reading a new book.
King uses a very clever device in this book: The story is about a group of seven people, who encountered something when they were kids, and then had to encounter it again when they were adults. So the entire novel ping-pongs back and forth between the story as children and the story as adults. I found that to make for a very interesting read, personally.
The big problem I have with the book, though, is its length. I like King’s writing, so I don’t normally mind a long book from him, but by the end, this one just seemed to drag on. For the first 90% of the book I found myself interested, only to spend the last 10% wondering how much longer it would go on. I don’t fault the writing for this, per se, just the fact that the story takes so long to tell—I don’t think he had a choice but to do it the way he did.
So, all in all, I would probably recommend the book, but with the caveat that it is pretty long, so I’m guessing that only the really die-hard King fans will really want to read it.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Author: Stephen King
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I’m almost at the point where I will have time to blog again.
Not quite, but almost...
posted at 3:09 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Well, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Which means that either the project I’m on will be done soon, or I’m dying.
At this point, either one’s good for me.
posted at 6:29 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
If you have a blog, I have some advice for you. I don’t claim to be a great blogger, so don’t expect too much valuable insight here, just one piece of advice that I, as a reader, offer to you:
Include multiple paragraphs when you post blog entries.
That’s it. That’s all of the advice I have to give to other bloggers. It’s very difficult to read your posts when they’re just one continuous paragraph that goes on and on endlessly. I have some friends who have blogs, and I often give up partway through reading a post, simply because I can’t read that one long, continuous paragraph very well.
And, let’s face it: most blog entries—especially mine, but yours too, if you’re honest with yourself—aren’t really that important, to the lives of the readers. So if people have to work to read these entries, why would they even bother?
So that’s my advice. And now, for comparison, I’m putting exactly the same entry, but all in one paragraph, so you can see how much harder it is to read.
If you have a blog, I have some advice for you. I don’t claim to be a great blogger, so don’t expect too much valuable insight here, just one piece of advice that I, as a reader, offer to you: Include multiple paragraphs when you post blog entries. That’s it. That’s all of the advice I have to give to other bloggers. It’s very difficult to read your posts when they’re just one continuous paragraph that goes on and on endlessly. I have some friends who have blogs, and I often give up partway through reading a post, simply because I can’t read that one long, continuous paragraph very well. And, let’s face it: most blog entries—especially mine, but yours too, if you’re honest with yourself—aren’t really that important, to the lives of the readers. So if people have to work to read these entries, why would they even bother? So that’s my advice. So now, for comparison, I’ve put exactly the same entry, but all in one paragraph, so you can see how much harder it is to read.
posted at 12:48 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I know, I know. I haven’t posted anything here for a while. I’ve been pretty busy at work, so I haven’t had time to write anything.
Unfortunately, I don’t expect to post anything much until closer to October, either. I went away on the weekend, and might post some pictures from that (but not many), but other than that, I won’t have time to put anything up here.
Good thing this isn’t a heavily trafficked site...
posted at 10:55 AM
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Do you believe that God answers prayer?
Well, if you’re Christian—and many of the people who read this blog are—you must. And I don’t mean “you must” as in “well surely if you’re a Christian you must believe that God answers prayer”. I mean “you must” as in you don’t have a choice; you have to believe that God answers prayer. You might have quibbles about the whens and wheres, but as a general principle, you can’t call yourself a Christian and not believe that God answers prayer. If you don’t believe that God answers prayer, but you think that you’re a Christian, you need to take a good hard look at your faith.
Even if you’re not a Christian, chances are you believe that God answers prayer. There are some atheists out there, but in general, most people believe that there’s a God, even if they don’t know much about Him, and given that there is a God, most people believe that He probably does answer prayer. They may not think that He answers prayer all the time, but they do believe the general sentiment that He answers prayer.
So it’s funny how people like me, who are definitely Christian, sometimes get surprised when God answers one of our prayers.
Case in point: I had a meeting on Thursday, which I had been dreading for days in advance. Every time I thought about it I got a feeling in the pit of my stomach, and wanted to quit my job just to get out of it. But I prayed constantly, and of course, it was fine. This is a great example because it’s not even that big of a deal; so I thought the meeting would be bad, and it wasn’t so bad. So what? The only reason it’s important is that sometimes we lose faith that God will hear our prayers even about such small things.
I’m going to have a pretty bad couple of weeks, at work. The fact that God answers prayer, even for the little things, is a huge comfort. Because work has been so stressful, I’ve been reading Revelations, which is a great reminder of the fact that God is in control of everything.
posted at 11:05 AM
Friday, September 02, 2005
I’ve previously reviewed a book by John le Carré, called Absolute Friends. Because I liked it so much, I’ve decided to read more of his work, the result being that I have now read The Constant Gardener. (Funnily enough, on the cover of the book it says “now a major motion picture, with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz”, but neither my wife nor I had ever heard of it; I assumed it was a movie that just didn’t do well. And then I saw an interview on The Daily Show with Rachel Weisz, because the movie is just about to come out. So if you’re reading this after August 31st, I didn’t do this review just because of the movie.)
I’m beginning to really love le Carré’s work. Of course, the reason I first started reading him was that I was looking for a new author of spy novels, which I love, and the two books I’ve read don’t really classify as your typical spy novel. (The Constant Gardener isn’t a spy novel at all.) But he’s a great writer, and I love the way he mixes politics into his writing.
Unfortunately, I can’t go into much detail on the plot of this story, because I love the way he developed it; almost anything I mention will ruin something in the book for you. So I’ll just give you this: The story is about a woman and a man who have been killed, Tessa Quayle and Arnold Bluhm. The woman’s husband Justin is trying to get to the truth behind who killed her, and why.
I was hooked on this book almost immediately. For the first little while, the book doesn’t concentrate on the main character, Justin; it instead concentrates on a relatively minor character, and one who is not really that likable. I thought that was great writing, and it was a very interesting way to develop Justin’s character: by looking at Justin through the eyes of another character, and one whose judgement we don’t necessarily trust, we get an interesting perspective on things, while at the same time adding to the mystery of who Justin really is. Any opinions we form about him we know we will have to reconsider, as the novel progresses, simply because we can’t trust the opinions of this minor character. (Don’t let me confuse you when I talk about parts of the book being “from the perspective of” a particular character. The novel is all told from the third person, not the first person. It’s just a matter of where the focus is given.) This is a device le Carré uses a number of times in the book; he will often put the focus on another minor character, or not give any character focus, including Justin, and this adds to the mystery of who he really might be.
As I mentioned earlier, I like the way politics are mixed into le Carré’s writing. He does it well, and manages not to hit us over the head with things, while still presenting a very clear picture of his view of the things he’s discussing. If you’re looking to write a novel that includes politics, you’d do well to read some of his works; even if you don’t like the books, I think you’ll find some of the devices he uses very clever. Of course, the danger is that I’m going to end up becoming a le Carré clone, since I’m thinking that politics will play a role in my novel, too. Oh well; if I’m going to be a clone, I guess he’ll make a good role model.
posted at 12:00 PM