Someone asked me once what my “reading guilty pleasure” was.
I had to think about that. Did I feel guilty about any of the books I read? Well, not really. Do I ever feel guilty about spending my time reading? Nope.
So, I reframed the question. What was something I enjoy reading that others might not expect of me? The answer was automatic.
I love reading books by Uncle Stevie (as he refers to himself in On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft). Yeah, he uses cuss words (including the big F-Bomb). Sure, there’s…ahem…scenes of intimate nature. Of course there are creepy, scary, terrifying baddies. But there’s also darn-tooting good storytelling in those 800-1500 some pages.
Also, reading his books in hardcover is a good arm toning workout.
Currently I’m reading The Stand. The edition I purchased with a gift card (Thanks, In-Laws!) happens to be un-cut. In other words, all the stuff that got edited out from the originally published book was put back in by good old Uncle Stevie and rereleased.
Here’s the thing about Stephen King; he writes forever-long books, but he has become a master of sustaining tension throughout. He gives just enough ka-pow to keep the reader going because he promises to give a bigger bang later followed by an even bigger bazinga later on.
King is the…well…king of building tension. He writes with restraint (in that respect, at least). He is a brilliant storyteller, regardless of what one thinks about his books.
Reading Uncle Stevie’s books – whether it be Hearts in Atlantis, The Green Mile, 11/22/63 (holy hannah, was that a good one), etc – I become better at building tension in my stories. Of sustaining it throughout the storyline so that the core is firm and not flabby.
Now that I think of it, reading his books is like an ab workout. Hm. Maybe I should use his books as a weight the next time I do crunches…
Do you read Stephen King books? If not, that’s cool. We can still be friends. What other authors/musicians/artists/scientists inspire your work?