You know how on the back of most books (or front, if they are real fancy; inside covers too, if they really want to push the point across that the book is Superb, Magnificent, Fantastic), there will be a brief summation of what various “important” people or magazines think of it? Normally, it’ll just be a few words that have been highlighted from a full review (I’m waiting for one publisher to transform “Completely lacking in originality, and utterly magnificent in its inability to understand what the reader wants” to Completely, and utterly magnificent!), or even a string of sentences together (saying more or less the same thing).
Now, I usually ignore such quotes. Stuff like, “A real page turner”, or “I couldn’t put it down”, have been used so much I’ve become desensitized to them. And there are only so many superlatives in existence. Once you start throwing them about on the cover of every book in the store, it all seems a little pointless*. Especially things like “I couldn’t put it down”. Could you not? I bet you did.
Anyway, I usually don’t pay attention to these ‘sayings’, and I make sure to avoid using them myself when I give my review of a book (speaking of which, I haven’t forgotten about The Law Of Nines…I’ll discuss that soon). But for Under The Dome, the Stephen King novel I bought on Sunday, the whole not being able to put it down thing isn’t that much of an exaggeration (it still is though; a guy has to eat, sleep and shower, after all). I’d hate to say it to someone, but, for once, I can actually agree with the cliché**; I really am struggling to put this book down.
Look at the numbers. Under The Dome clocks in at 880 pages (the second longest book I will have read after IT, another one of King’s works) and in less than 48 hours, I am nearly at the half way point. A fair speed, no? I’ve read it in between games of Halo. I’ve read it while I watched the Chelsea friendly against Milan the other night. I’ve read it on the toilet (sorry!). And I’ve read it in the early hours of the morning when I really should be sleeping. Even earlier today, when I was doing the dishes, I was tempted to put it by the sink (I didn’t of course, but I was tempted)! I’m so hooked (another one of those clippets, that), it is actually having a negative influence on my writing (normally reading inspires me), as I can’t stop reading to work on my own novel!
And why am I addicted?
Because Under The Dome is bloody good. I’m not building my hopes up too much (this is King after all; something is bound to go wrong at the end), but if it continues on like this, Under The Dome will be my most favourite book. I thought Duma Key had that spot nailed down, but that might not be the case for much longer. We’ll see.
And that’s all I have to say for today, really. I have a new addiction. But it’s a good addiction, right?
Think I’ll go back to my book then. You’ll probably get a review tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. So, uh, be ready for lots of superlatives. But don’t worry; mine will be different to all those other reviews. They’ll be sincere. They’ll be real. They’ll be…um, cliches with meaning.
Speak to you later,
*One example of how silly these review quotes are, is the quote that adorns the top of every single Richard Laymon book that I have (and I have quite a few). He’s a writer I admire (RIP), but this is probably the best example of how ridiculous these cliches are. At one time, Stephen King gave his opinion on one of Laymon’s books. No doubt one of his early stories. I can’t quote what it says because all my books are boxed away, but it is something alone the lines of “If you’ve missed Laymon, you’ve missed a treat.” And because it is vague, they’ve chosen to put it on top of everything he’s ever written. And to me, that’s just lazy.
** Now, I should say that there have been plenty of books that I’ve been desperate to finish. I’ll be reading at midnight, and then it’s 1am…and then it’s 2am…but I’m still reading because I can’t help myself. I know what that feeling is like. It is both wonderful but depressing (you enjoy the book, you want to reach the end, yet at the same time, you don’t want it to be over). That’s happened loads.
Usually, however, this happens as I near the finale, or a particularly exciting section. The Larsson Trilogy, for example. Lots of mystery and cliffhangers keeping me going throughout, but it was only near the final couple hundred of pages did this effect really influence me. In this case, with Under The Dome, it has been a non-stop phenomenon. Every page makes me want read the next one. It’s, a, uh, real page turner.