I finished reading The Witching Hour by Ann Rice. I took a few days to think about it afterward. I liked the poetic writing style. It reminded me a bit of Pat Conroy. I disliked the story. I’m not sure if it was merely the first installment of a series. It certainly left much unsettled at the end. However, I’m not interested in reading more. Aside from references to architecture, and history, the story had nothing to offer of interest to me. I haven’t disliked a book this much since The Passage by Justin Cronin.
I suppose I want more from a novel. Especially one so thick. I doubt I’ll read this author again. I may have chosen the wrong book to audition, but my book list is too long to mess around with a writer who couldn’t convince me to believe in their story after so many words. (One Atlas Shrugged was too much.) I think it held my attention as long as it did because I’m an optimist.
After that disappointment, I decided it was time for a Stephen King novel. I picked The Dead Zone. I’m at least a quarter in and riveted. It’s amazing what Stephen King can convince me to believe in. He fascinates me. He’s a total smartass in many of his novels, so of course, I love him. I started reading him when I was a teenager. I can handle scary books more easily than films. I can only watch scary movies with the volume off, and often not even then. I’m not entertained by horror. There has to be a story that arouses my curiosity so much I’m willing to risk nightmares.
I bet Stephen King is an ace at playing the People Watching game. I’ve been playing since I was five. My Mom taught me to help cope with crowds. You pick a person, then tell a story about them. It’s imagined, of course. It’s lots of fun. My brother, Steve, used to add a sentence at the end to make it funny. Such as, “And he’s not only a Hair Club member, he’s also the president!”
It’s a good thing I had him for my brother. I’m pretty confident I would be way too serious, otherwise. He used to make me laugh so hard I would get excused from the table during dinner. I spent many nights eating dinner out back on the picnic table or in the garage if the weather was poor. My Mom was a stickler for manners. (Laughing hard with a mouth full of food was one of her pet peeves.) It also taught me about behavior accountability. I tried to convince my Mom it was Steve’s fault for making me laugh. I remember what she said like it was yesterday: “Nobody can make you do anything. Only you decide how you behave.”