Sunday, March 6, 2016

Catching up a bit

I finally made it back to the library after some months away and stocked up on some books, trying to catch up on my Neil Gaiman/Stephen King backlog.

Finders Keepers by Stephen King.  Sort of a sequel to Mr. Mercedes since it includes some of the same characters, Finders Keepers is equal parts literary musings and thriller, with nary a whiff of the supernatural.  A superfan murders a reclusive author, getting away with not only cash but scores of notebooks in the author's own handwriting.  He hides the cash and the notebooks, only to get put away for a totally different crime.  The stash goes unfound for almost forty years until a young boy finds it, uses the cash to help his failing family and covets the notebooks for his own.  But when the superfan is finally released from prison, he wants back what he thinks is his.  I give Finders Keepers a solid meh.  I think I liked Mr. Mercedes better; FK seems to go along at a leisurely pace for most of the novel and then hurryupfinishitallatonceinarush.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman.  A short story collection but not, I think, Gaiman's strongest.  I liked some of the stories - "Black Dog," "The Sleeper and the Spindle," the creepy "Feminine Endings," "Orange" - but I think my favorite bit was the introduction, when Gaiman gave some context/framework as to how each story came about.  I love these little practical insights into writers' brains.  Stephen King does this too with his short story collections.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King.  A short story collection, made up of stories that have either been published in other places or never been published.  With some of these tales, you can understand why they've been languishing in a drawer for decades.  Others succeed better and I think the quality of the stories improve the deeper into the book you go.  I particularly liked "Blockade Billy," "Obits" and "Under the Weather."

Edited to add:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  This one I enjoyed quite a lot, a short fantasy novel with new kinds of creatures and very old magic.  Things start to get very scary for a young boy when a man steals his family's car and commits suicide in it, at the bottom of the hill near their house.  Cracks in the very fabric of reality start to open up, issuing in terrifying things.  But young Lettie Hempstock, who lives with her mother and grandmother at the farm at the end of the lane, finds the little boy and promises to take care of him, through whatever may come.  Both sweet and scary, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a lovely treat for fantasy and faerie tale lovers.

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