I’m rereading Stephen King’s It for the many-ith time since I first read it at 11, and it may have influenced that drippy balloon up there.

I’ve always had a fascination with horror in fiction. Like many 80’s and 90’s kids, I cut my teeth on R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike before reading my way through King’s library. I love a good ghost story.

These days, my tastes lean more toward sci-fi dystopias, but I come back to books like The Stand and It for the brilliant storytelling more so than the scares.

happy hobbles!

So, it’s been a few days… done some stuff… and I have nothing relevant to say.  Time for another scintillating edition of…

What is Caro thinking right now?

  • I busted into my first Diet Coke at 9:43 a.m.  If that’s any indication of how this day will go, I should go home.  Oh, and there’s a stain on my shirt.  Which is, surprisingly, right-side out.  The shirt, not the stain.
  • There are new-job-vibes in the works for the S.O.  My fingers have been triple-crossed for a full day now.  They hurt, and it’s hard to type like this.  New job, please come through, preferably soon, so that I can uncross my fingers.  Thanks!
  • I’m so glad for this NaBloPoMo thing.  Not because I’m participating (bwahahaha, the thought) but because I haven’t been for want of new material from some of my favorite bloggers since the beginning of November.  Please don’t leave me, NaBloPoMo!  Work is damn near unbearable without you.
  • In that vein, I’m tempted to start a new blogging event of my own.  Let’s call it… iBlogNazi.  In order to participate, you must blog every single day for the rest of your life, solely for my personal entertainment.  If you forget to blog, I’ll send out a vicious army of squirrels to nibble on your toes, and then you’ll have something to blog about, wontcha?  Dance, minions!  Dance!  … What, you don’t think it will catch on?
  • I’m adding a subscription to JPG Magazine to my Christmas wishlist.  You can still vote on photos for the next issue if you haven’t already.  *hint hint*
  • Thank you, Pilgrims, for coming to America and growing food and dying and sharing a meal with the indigenous peoples, all so I can have a four-day weekend and eat myself into a tryptophan oblivion.
  • And finally, to leave you in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, a joke by yours truly:

What does a turkey with a broken foot say?

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smuckin’ wonderful

I can’t say that my love of books and reading started with Stephen King.  No, my parents get to take the credit there.  Their house was filled with books – books on shelves, books in boxes; ancient, dusty volumes and cheap, colorful paperbacks alike.  We read, and we were read to… The Hobbit, The Little Prince, Watership Down, all the classics, and then some.

Lisey's Story
Stephen King

Though I do love to read, I don’t know if I’d call myself an avid reader… no, I’m a one-chapter-before-bed kinda gal.  It’s hard for me to sit still (and stay awake) long enough to pull an all-nighter with a book, no matter how intriguing.  The S.O., on the other hand, consumes books.  He can read, and read, and read, and you wouldn’t even know he was alive if he didn’t have to turn pages, because he has the ability to sit absolutely still for hours, just reading a book.  I wish I had his ability for quietude.

I’m also incredibly selective about the books I buy – if I won’t read it more than once, I won’t buy it.  My book collection is small, but I’ve read every book at least twice, most three or four times.  This, in striking contrast to the S.O., who is an equal-opportunity book-buyer. If it’s words on a page sandwiched between two pieces of bookboard, it’s fair game.  Where I have one tall bookshelf of books, the S.O. has four… five… maybe six….  He’d probably have more, except we don’t actually have enough bookshelves to house them all.  I swear, his books actually breed.  As a result, our house looks very much like my parents’ house did when I was young… books on shelves, books in boxes, books on the bedroom floor that I will certainly trip over on my way to the bathroom at 3 a.m. And that’s okay, because there are worse things to trip over in the middle of the night… Legos come to mind.

Even when I love an author, I don’t necessarily love all of their books, or aspire to own the complete collection.  In the case of Stephen King, there’s a lot of work to choose from, and a couple of his novels just didn’t hit the spot with me. Gerald’s Game was almost too dark (though I suppose if you want real life horror, child molestation is about as horrific as it gets) and definitely too gory.  Cell fell flat with me entirely – it felt stale, like the story never really got off the ground, and the conclusion was anticlimactic.  I’d bought the book blindly (c’mon, it’s “Stephen King does zombies!”  How can I go wrong?) but I was very disappointed.

So when I saw Lisey’s Story in the store a few weeks ago, I approached with caution.  I read the inside cover flap and wasn’t turned off, but I wasn’t hooked either.  I read a few excerpts and those, while well-written, didn’t move me.  I actually went to the store twice and picked up the book with the intention to buy it both times, but before we could make it to the counter I’d put it back and think, “I don’t trust you anymore, Stephen King.  That Cell thing just didn’t cut it.  I need time.  It’s not you, it’s me.”  What it finally took was a blog post from another of my favorite authors – Jennifer Weiner – to convince me that I needed to give Lisey’s Story a chance.  So, after the third trip to the bookstore, I picked it up and held on tight, all the way through the checkout process.

Even after I’d bought it, though, I let the book sit on my nightstand for a week.  You can blame Richard Russo and Empire Falls, since I can’t very well pick up a new book without finishing the one I’m currently reading.  It’s just not right, and I knew I liked Empire Falls, whereas Lisey’s Story was not a trusted companion… yet.  But last Saturday I woke up at 6:30 in the morning with one purpose in mind:  Finish Empire Falls so I can take a shot at Lisey.

And wow, I’m glad I did.  I spent much of Sunday and Monday night with Lisey and her story.  I’m not entirely sure what it is that makes this book so good.  There’s this underlying tension throughout the novel, this dream-like quality that makes me think I’m trapped in Lisey’s head, and has me telling myself, “Just one more chapter…” even when I’m exhausted and want to sleep.  There’s also this incredible sense of intimacy… I feel like I’m reading someone’s diary.  It’s been a long time since I’ve found a story that’s captivated me like Lisey’s Story has so far.  It’s not blatantly creepy, but you get the impression that it will come at you and grab you by the throat at any moment.

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give and take

Last Friday, instead of doing our usual go-home-and-crash-on-the-couch routine, I decided the S.O. and I should go see a movie.  Free time is a commodity I suddenly don’t have much of, and I’d like to start spending it more constructively.  How, might you ask?  By paying eight bucks to park my butt on the movie theater’s (much less comfortable) couch and watching a freaky blood-fest, that’s how.

Now, I love a good horror movie.  Ghost stories are my particular favorite, but I’ll watch something gory if it has a substantial plot and is artfully done.  The movie review in the paper said The Descent fell into that category, and so says I:  “We shall go, and I shall not leave the theater until I’ve peed my pants from fright!”  Well, minus the pee part.

The S.O, on the other hand, does not appreciate the finer qualities of waking up in the middle of the night, absolutely certain that you heard something, and knowing that the something in question is a blind, toothy cave-creature that’s come to chew on your extremities.

Go figure!

For those of you who haven’t seen it or heard about it yet, The Descent is about six young women who attempt to navigate an uncharted cave system beneath the Appalachian mountains.  While exploring, they discover that they’re not alone in the cave; blind, toothy cave-creatures have come to chew on their extremities!  It’s really gory, really scary, and evokes a deep sense of claustrophobia, even in those of us who aren’t prone.

As you can imagine, it took quite a bit of persuasion on my part to get the boy to join me, as he does not like gory things, scary things, or tight enclosed spaces as a general rule.  As such, I may have neglected to mention these three elements when suggesting the movie, and I may have gone so far as to say, “Oh honey, it’ll be just like 28 Days Later!  You liked that one!”, knowing full well that the only thing it has in common with 28 Days Later is that it was filmed in the UK.

I’m probably going to hell for that, eh?

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the movie immensely, and the boy did not enjoy it so much.  Judging from the pointed glare I received from the S.O. upon The Descent’s ending, I’m now going to be forced to watch Miami Vice, in all its macho Colin Farrell glory.  Talk about horror.

The S.O. is going to hold this one over my head for weeks, but I think it was well worth it!

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