A full list of Stephen King works is located at the bottom of the blog.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EPIC Dark Tower Read-a-Long--Reconfigured Reading Schedule

I am having to reconfigure the reading schedule for the read-a-long due to some recent circumstances in my personal life.  I'm separating from my husband and my sons and I are moving in with my mom.  It's a big move so I have little time for reading.  I haven't even made it a quarter of a way through The Wastelands because of all the emotional upheaval.  I do apologize and I hope that you all will stick with me.  If anyone else fell behind, this might help you to catch up so feel free to jump back in any time.  Here are the reconfigured dates:

September--The Gunslinger, Book 1
October--The Drawing of the Three, Book 2
January--The Waste Lands, Book 3
February/March--Wizard and Glass, Book 4
April--The Wind Through the Keyhole, Book 4.5
May/June--Wolves of the Calla, Book 5
July--Song of Susannah, Book 6
August/September--The Dark Tower, Book 7

I've updated the button with the appropriate dates as well, if you want to change it out.

Thank you for understanding and bearing with me during this trying time.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Waste Lands: Halfway point check-in

I'm behind on the reading...again, but I thought I would post these discussion questions for you to share your thoughts, if you are up to date.  Some of the questions may pertain more to the entire book so use your discretion on which ones you answer.  I'll be back in a few days with my thoughts.

  1. The Waste Lands is loaded with widely disparate cultural signifiers, from early-career Paul Newman to speed-metal bands to Frodo Baggins to Germany's Weimar Republic to Sugary Ray Leonard to King Arthur's Court. What is the effect of this kind of "kitchen-sink" referencing? Describe the tone of Stephen King's novel. 
  2. How would you characterize Eddie Dean's emotional health in this third novel? What is the nature and provenance of his mysterious connection with Jake Chambers? How does their wordless affinity play out over the course of this novel? 
  3. What is the nature of morality in Mid-World? Does King encourage a traditional good-and-evil reading of his novel? Explain. What fates and fortunes ultimately meet the novel's "evil" or immoral characters? What of the benevolent characters? 
  4. Upon finding the metal ID tag and learning that the giant bear was called Shardik, Eddie is struck by a faint twinge of recognition. The name Shardik triggers in Eddie a seemingly inexplicable association "with rabbits." What is Stephen King's sly joke here? 
  5. How might the work of Richard Adams, both his classic Watership Down as well as the lesser-known novel Shardik, relate to some of the larger themes—of cultural decay, of societal conflict, of nature versus civilization—that run through The Waste Lands? 
  6. In his bizarre dreamscape early in the novel, what book is Eddie holding in his hand as he walks along Second Avenue? What is King up to here? 
  7. Explain the elements of the great paradox—rooted in the events of The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three—underlying Roland and Jake's "doubled" memories and burgeoning madness. 
  8. Recount what happens at the campsite in the "Bear and Bone" section after Roland tosses the jawbone of the man in black into the flames. What do the three pilgrims see in the fire? How does this episode spark the events by which Roland and Jake finally reconcile the paradox that is driving them mad? How do the images of the key and the rose come to inform the ka-tet's quest? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

EPIC Dark Tower Read-a-Long: The Waste Lands Reading Schedule


  • First half of the book will be read the first half of November and the second half from mid-November until the end.
  • You can do a post and leave your link in the comments, or you can just post your thoughts in the comments of the week's discussion post.
Reading schedule:
I realize that you may be reading from a different edition than me so the page numbers may be off. 

  • Argument and Book One:  Jake, pages 1 thru 213--discussion on January 15.
  • Book Two:  Lud, pages 217 (actual text starts on 219) thru 422 (end of Author's note)--discussion January 31.
Hope you're still reading along! Happy Reading!

The Drawing of the Three--Discussion...Final Thoughts

Yes, I realize that this is the only discussion we are having for this second volume in the Dark Tower series.  I do apologize again for my being so behind.  I'm hoping my new reading schedule plan will work better for us for the rest of the series (see this POST).  Here are some questions I thought were appropriate for discussing the book and my final thoughts at the end.  Are you still reading along?  I hope you haven't given up on me yet.  I promise I will get on track.

Revisit the scene in the "Death" section of the novel where an amazed Roland—in the body of Jack Mort—walks into a New York drug store. Roland's reaction to the rows and rows of "quack remedies" is comic, but King spikes it all with a measure of poignancy. Ours is a world full of technological wonders that astonish the gunslinger. But Roland looks into the jaded faces of New Yorkers and muses that "the newest wonder was simply that…wonder had run out." What is King up to in this scene? 

I think King is trying to show us that people in our time are jaded because of how everything is done for us with technology, etc. and by contrast, that Roland, even after all he has been through, can still experience wonder.  Roland recognizes as gifts (and sometimes seemingly trivial items) what we take for granted.

In connection with the previous question, discuss the effect of the various moments throughout the novel where King manages to show us our own world from the gunslinger's fresh, often awe-struck perspective.

I loved his amazement over the cost of the ammunition and its abundance and also the cost of the Keflex.  His pronunciation and his version of how our words are spelled was priceless.  Like tack-see for taxi and Rexes for RXs.  So funny and yet not surprising.   

Decipher the elements involved in the resolution of Odetta and Detta's ferocious struggle with each other. How is it that, in Roland's desperate final act in the New York subway, the deep fissure in Miss Holmes' psyche can finally be bridged? 

I felt that the splitting in half of Jack Mort, the person responsible for the brick (which started the whole split personality in the first place) dropping and the pushing of Odetta at the subway, was the key to putting the two pieces, Odetta and Detta, together as a whole, as Susannah.  One of the most killer parts of the book, in my opinion.  Man, did I hate reading the parts involving Detta.  She was one crazy bitch! King did a great job of making us all afraid of her.

What is ka? What is its significance in King's Dark Tower universe? 

I think that ka is a person's fate.  I think everything that happens to Roland in the series is his fate...is predetermined.  The significance is that we kind of know the ultimate end and yet we don't.  Of course, King will keep us guessing!

What lies ahead for King's three pilgrims? Are Eddie and Susannah Dean's misgivings about Roland's trustworthiness when it comes to friendship justified? Why or why not? 

I've learned to not hold out much hope for the characters after what happened to Jake so I will be constantly waiting for something to happen to Eddie or Susannah or both.  I think their misgivings are justified because Eddie knows that the Tower is the only thing that truly matters to Roland...or is it?

With Roland, Eddie, and Susannah united in their ka-tet and resolved to move ahead, what are your expectations for The Waste Lands?

I'm hoping for more exciting moments like in The Drawing of the Three, especially like the Death section.  I loved that part! Roland was such a cool customer and I loved the references to him sounding like The Terminator.  I'm really looking forward to the next book.  I liked the second book so much better than the first.  I hope the series keeps getting better and better.  From what I've heard from others, it does.

Discussion questions obtained from Penguin Group.


Look for the official schedule for The Waste Lands to be posted immediately after this post.  Hope you're still reading along. =O)