One might suggest many benefits to a job that requires driving much of the day. There is the silence, the freedom, did I mention the silence? But an added bonus is the ability to listen to audiobooks on a regular basis and experience those stories for which you may not otherwise have time. Yes I notice the avoidance of a preposition at the end of a sentence makes for a clumsy statement.
Stephen King has been around for a very long time. I have picked up his books now and again and have enjoyed what I read. But I am not always in the mood for a horror epic. When he released his time traveling novel about the JFK assassination “11/22/63” I had to give it a chance. I was intrigued. The end of that book left me wanting more. There is, of course, a certain stigma that attaches itself to the peddlers of fright and that in turn often leaves those who are masters of horror out of the mainstream reader’s “to read” list. And that is a shame. If you get past the subject matter and give it a shot, in writers like King, you will discover masters of prose whose skill may surprise and entice.
I wanted more King is what I am trying to say. I then discovered Lilja’s Library. This is all things King. This is where I discovered The Dark Tower series. It is comprised of 8 books with the newest being numbered 4.5 as it goes back to expand on a story in the middle of the series. There is no short summary for these stories that can do them justice so I will simply say they are about a Gunslinger, in a world that has moved on, and his quest to save the Dark Tower and possibly all of existence. Okay that wasn’t so bad but it is a story that takes 8 books to tell and likely more. In his telling, King is able to paint a picture that, for the technologically inclined, gives more detail than the highest resolution computer screen conceivable. There is a mastery of life, death, fighting, heartache, sorrow, triumph and even sex, yes Stephen King can write a sex scene. Who knew?
He is also masterfully incorporates bits of his other stories into these. At first I thought it a bit strange but the sense of familiarity with characters from ‘Salem’s Lot, The Stand, It and others helps move the story along and your stake in the characters successes and failures solidifies.
Audiobooks have the potential for a great shortfall. No matter how good the writing, if the voice actor hired to do the recording is not familiar with the work or is limited in his abilities, then none of this matters. I am happy to say that so far they have done a very good job. The best proof I can give is that I am listening to book 6 of 7 from the original series. The eighth, “The Wind Through The Keyhole,” even though it is set in the middle, will be last as I am so entrenched in the story thus far.
If you are looking for a change in your literary consumption or merely looking for an escape, check out the masterful Stephen King. Like it or not his work and others like it is now more mainstream than ever. He is the tattoo of the literary world.