Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: The Dark Tower Series and Street Gang

If it seems like I've been doing nothing but reading lately, that's a little bit true.

I'm still working, but when I get home, I often need a break to cool down and relax (and sometimes nap).  Plus, my audio books are my commute friends when I don't carpool.  I don't mind my commute, but at 50 minutes each way, that's some serious listening time!

Yesterday I finished both the book I was reading and the audio book!  The book is a slightly bigger deal as it was the last book of Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series.

I started the books because I was bored and they were in Gavin's kindle library.  I have read lots of Stephen King books over the years, but the covers of the books and Gavin's descriptions made me think they might be a little too Science Fiction for me.  Of course, I've since decided that I adore science fiction (and I actually like quite a few fantasy novels as well).  My problem with starting a series is that I hate to NOT finish books (or series) so if I start, I want to finish and that's quite a commitment to make!  The Dark Tower books didn't take me too long to read and overall I enjoyed them.  There was apparently a chronological gap in when they were written and I thought there was a corresponding style, flow and plot gap, but even with that I enjoyed the series.

I was slightly annoyed at King's faux ending.  King writes the alleged end of book, then a chapter about why you should stop reading and leave it at that and then writes the end of the book.  I suppose it makes sense given his roll in the plot, although I won't spoiler those who haven't read the books.

As I finished the book and read the epilogue, I found myself remembering my very brief (22 day actually) stint as an 'author'.  The creative process is fascinating to me and I half wish I could participate in NaNoWriMo this year as well and likely will again at some time in the future.  I had a fun thought experiment where I imagined what my stories characters would be doing now as I'd created a premise and then left the story, possibly never to be touched again. I also found myself fascinated by King and the way his life's story affected his story and his writing.

The Dark Tower books aren't horror books, although King's propensity for horror does sneak in occasionally.  And I can't say that he matches the imagination and magic of Tolkien's world in the Lord of the Rings books as he set out to do (although to be honest, it was such a major book early in my literary explorations that I don't think I'd accept a book even if it had).  I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure to set off on for a while.

For the record, the book did made me cry, although during the same day I also cried during my listening to Street Gang as well as while watching an episode of Animal Planet's "Fatal Attraction" so it could have been a pregnancy hormone issue!

The Audio book "Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael David probably wasn't suppose to be a tear jerker (although there are a lot of deaths over the course of the history).

I listened to the Audio book read by Carroll Spinney.  I was not a fan of the reader.  I didn't recognize his voice as that of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.  I tend to be a bit picky about my readers.  He was very compelling, my problem was that he seemed to speed up and slow down in odd places and occasionally his lack of pauses left me confused.  Unfortunately the Overdrive app on my phone doesn't allow for each 10 second recall, so I just kinda moved on.  I'm sure it's partially my fault as well.  Most audio books rarely get my full and undivided attention.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the book is a story more of the creators of the series that the characters in the series.  I was just expecting to hear more about the evolution and history of the characters, which was certainly covered a small amount, more than the lives of those involved in their creation.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and it brought back memories of watching Sesame Street.  I also enjoyed hearing a little bit about the cast and creation of Avenue Q which I'm still hoping to eventually see based on my enjoyment of the soundtrack.

I don't know what I'll read next.  I imagine I have at least a few more weeks before my reading time is greatly decreased.  I should probably be reading educational parenting books, but it's just not working for me yet!  Oh well!