Imagine somebody offered you a ticket to go hear Stephen King be interviewed (by me) on stage at the Bushnell in Hartford July 18. Imagine also that you had never read any of his work. What would Stephen King want you to read in the next ten days, just to get to know him.
His picks, offered up in the final minutes of the interview posted here, are surprising. Lisey's Story and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I guess I'll be throwing those on the pile! Preparing for this interview is hard work...and not. King's books are so engaging that it doesn't seem like a burden to add a couple more.
One thing Stephen King says in "On Writing," which, despite its title, is essentially a memoir, is "Don't look for through lines." In other words, don't examine the facts of his life for themes that run through his work.
King says they aren't there, but they so obviously and fascinatingly are. Just that an essentially fatherless boy who survived a tumultuous childhood would become -- among many other things -- a superb crafter of child characters. Even in the genre novels, the kids are kids first and supernaturally gifted or afflicted second. And so many of them were outsiders, just as King must have felt himself to be an outsider. Even within his extended family, he says, the nucleus consisting of his mom, his brother and Stevie was regarded as kind of a damaged unit.
Anyway, today, meet Stephen King. And then join us at the Bushnell on the 18th.
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