‘Is it just a matter of time, Corona?’

Excuse my terrible attempt at humour in parodying the song ‘My Sharona’ – I wanted to come up with a funny title and that was the best I could do.

These are very unusual times. I’ve been working from home as of eleven days ago, and since last Saturday I’ve been staying with my parents – a relief as it means I’ll no longer be living on canned soup. In all seriousness, I really appreciate them having me to stay, as I love spending time with them and we often have what we call ‘reading afternoons’ where we all sit in the same room and read together (pretty self-explanatory, right?). It’s very peaceful, and considering the frightening news on the TV, scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, I really appreciate that sense of calm.

Of course, I often spoil it for myself by reading non-calming books. Not long after this all started – but with no relation to what was going on, it was just strange timing – I decided I wanted to read more books by Stephen King. This led to me making a joke about stockpiling on my Facebook page.

The Shining and The Stand arrived just before I moved through to my parents’ house – how’s that for good timing? I’ve read the former before, and had wanted to read it again even before the current situation make it frighteningly apt, and the latter… I’m still not sure if I’ll actually pick that up when I’m here or not.

I haven’t posted on here for awhile because I’ve wanted to get away from my screen after working at home during the week, but I wanted to give anyone reading this an update – and also post some book recommendations. Something my parents and I have worked on during lockdown here in the UK is clearing out an old bookshelf:

While doing so I discovered some gems – such as Good Omens, which I would highly reccomend if you haven’t read it already, and a Dilbert book – always good for a laugh. There’s also the very intruigingly named Sex & Punishment – not only a hefty book, ideal for these times of staying indoors, but one which looks to cover a fascinating topic.

Here’s a brief list of some of the books I’ve read since staying at home on a more permanent basis than usual, with ratings and mini-reviews of each.

The Dead Zone by Stephen King
As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this one – and not just because I have my own fictional villain called Greg. King was on top form with this book and I would highly reccomend it – from the horrifying premise to the unexpected ending.

The Running Man by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
The shortest book by King I’ve read so far, this one wasn’t quite what I expected. As well as this, due to its length, I initially found it difficult to fully immerse myself in the world hence the slightly lower rating. Still a very solid book though!

Selling Hitler: The Story of the Hitler Diaries by Robert Harris
This was a very unexpected book for me – I found it when Dad and I explored some charity shops a few weeks ago, and WWII isn’t a topic I usually read about. I didn’t know about the scandal of the Hitler diaries, nor did I know one of my favourite authors wrote non-ficton – and having read a couple of pages while in the charity shop, I knew I had to read more. It was a fascinating and very readable account, but a little overlong.

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
I expected to like this book much more than I did. I knew a little about the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard that inspired the author, but nevertheless the book proved an unusual take on a thriller, focussed as it was on a toxic mother-daughter relationship. While I enjoyed the dual perspectives and thought both mother and daughter were well drawn characters, the ending veered sharply into the realm of the unbeliavable and left me disappointed, lowering my rating from four stars to three.

Thinner by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
My least favourite King book so far. I don’t know if it was the dislikable protagonist or how the story panned out but I found this one a struggle to get through – very unusual when it comes to me and Mr King. While the premise of the curse and its effects was fascinating, the execution of the story wasn’t up to King’s usual standards, at least in my humble opinion.

Night Shift by Stephen King
My first collection of King’s short stories – as with any anthology, I enjoyed some stories more than others. ‘Quitters, Inc.’, ‘Children of the Corn’, ‘Battleground’ and ‘The Man Who Loved Flowers’ were my favourites – I would also include ‘The Mangler’ but I actually felt a bit queasy reading it! Others such as ‘Night Surf’, ‘The Lanmower Man’ and ‘Trucks’ I found less enjoyable, but the collection overall was excellent, and one I’ll definitely pick up again in furture to re-read my favourites.

I’ll hopefully post some more book recommendations – and reviews, isn’t that what this blog is meant to be? oops! – soon. In the meantime, I hope you’re all staying safe out there. I’m sending you all my very best wishes – and my hope that you have some great books to get you through these dark times.

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