Jun 26, 2010

About Books Blog 21: The Stand


Author: Stephen King
Genre: Post-apocalyptic/Horror/Urban Fantasy

Favorite Line

"Love didn't grow very well in a place where there was only fear, just as plants didn't grow very well in a place where it was always dark."


A government facility accidentally releases a deadly plague upon the world. The survivors are separated between the forces of good and evil to determine who will rebuild the world and society.

What I Thought Of The Book

The Stand was everything I've come to expect from a good Stephen King novel. It goes with out saying that there is a bit of gruesome violence and gruesomeness in general. That rarely bothers me as long as I don't let my imagination run too wild. I think it's great that Stephen always adds a few hilarious moments into the story to make you laugh out loud. There are also beautiful scenes that tug at your heart strings. I am always amazed by King's fabulous characterizations. I mean he even did a great characterization for the dog, Kojak, in this book. How does he do that? He has a way of make his characters seem almost like real people. You start talking about them as if they were real. In the preface, Stephen King stated that people often ask him what happened to characters in The Stand, as if he got letters from them now a then. I can see why.

Only issue I had was the length of the thing. I am one of those people who gets a sense of accomplishment from how far I am in a book. I did eventually get that happy sense of accomplishment...Around page 600. Haha. I am also a big fan of finishing a chapter before I do anything else. It is almost impossible to do when the chapters are so long. That is the nature of the book though. It would be unfair to ask anyone to write a post-apocalyptic drama with short chapters.

In a way, the length was a good thing. I got to live with the characters I adored for a long time. The price you pay for getting to hang with the good people is that you have to live with the sick, mentally insane, depraved, and down right evil people. I was a little stuck when I hit particularly long chapters the centered around the less savory characters. Not all the less than savory people hindered my reading. I actually felt a little sorry for them. They were not completely evil; they were just sadly misled to the dark side. However, some of them deserved to get there just deserts. As the story continued and the story lines started merging I found that, I wasn’t stuck on chapters as often.

Overall The Stand is a great book especially if you a fan of Stephen King's works. Just promise you will not do as I did, and start it when you are super busy. Wait to read it when you have a lot of free time. Unless you read super fast. I only read medium speed. I probably should warn you Stephen King tends to lean toward the idea that evil never dies. You might want to keep that in mind at the end. One more thing, my copy of the book has a few rather interesting illustrations. If you think you might be scarred by drawings of the dead and people warped by radiation, you might not want the illustrated publication.

Facts I Found Interesting

  • The novel was originally released in 1978. It was later re-released in 1990 under the title The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition. In this version King changed the setting from the year 1980 to 1990, updated the pop culture references, reinserted material that was cut for brevity, and wrote a few extra tidbits that rounded out the characters' stories. This was the version I read. I talked with someone who told me some parts that were not in earlier editions. I couldn't believe the stuff that was cut, because I couldn't imagine the book without those parts. The extra stuff really does fill out the story and enhance your connection to the people in it. Therefore, it is worth getting the uncut edition even if it is extra long.

  • The Stand is based on a short story Stephen King wrote called Night Surf. A story that involves teenagers who survive an outbreak of a similar deadly virus. A version of Night Surf is in his short story collection Night Shift. I own Night Shift, but I have not read it yet.

  • Marvel Comics published a graphic novel of The Stand. I saw it at the bookstore once. I was very tempted to buy it but I didn't. I wanted to read the book first.

The Movie

I'm beginning to realize that I am one of those people that watches the movie before reading the book. Noooo! That is just not good to me. I want to be one of those people who always reads the book first. I was hard to avoid watching this one, because they show it almost every month on either the Chiller or Syfy channel. I love those channels. What is a girl to do?

In my experience adaptations of Stephen King novels, are either super great or super not so great. I find that many of the best ones are the ones that Stephen writes the screenplay himself, or the ones that are made into a mini-series. Since The Stand was both adapted by the author and is a mini-series it equals awesome in my book. I think the film manages to be as close to the novel's story line as you could get with a book that is over 1000 pages. Obviously, some story elements had to go for time purposes. A few characters were removed. Sometimes two characters where merged together into one character. The film ending is a little bit happier. I love the casting for the film. The actors are pretty close to the descriptions in the book. Awesome! In short, I love the movie.

Music To Read By

Favorite Albums

These long books are always musical extravaganzas. The general favorite albums included The Invitation by Thirteen Senses, Only by Night by Kings of Leon, and This Is War by 30 Seconds to Mars. A lot of the music I liked for the book was very masculine driven so I injected the feminine in to the musical mix with Lungs by Florence and The MachineDilate by Ani Difranco, Abnormally Attracted to Sin by Tori Amos, and Fallen by Evanescence. I loved multiple albums and best of albums by these bands: Coldplay, The Who, The Blue Oyster Cult, R.E.M, and Muse. I wonder if Stephen King listens to Blue Oyster Cult while he is writing. It seems like many of their songs fit his books. He seems to be a fan of Bob Dylan as well. He's always quoting his songs somewhere.

In case you wanted to know. I guess there is a recording of “Baby Can You Dig You Man.” This is the song that the character Larry sings in the novel. Al Kooper recorded it for the film. I could not find the recording anywhere to save my life, so it is not on the playlist. The closest I could find was a song by Self with the same title. It uses the one of the lyrics that Stephen wrote for the song in the book. I liked how it flowed with the other music on my playlist so I put it on there.

I usually try to include all the musical references in the book in the playlist. This book had a ridiculous amount, so I had to stick to just the ones that I truly enjoyed. I tried to use quite a few of the ones that were directly quoted. I think to do a playlist for The Stand any justice you would have to do one for each character. I am so not going to do that. I just have to live with the songs on the playlist below.

The Stand Playlist

(Don't Fear) The Reaper - The Blue Oyster Cult
Baby Can You Dig Your Man - Self
Boogie Fever - The Sylvers
Jungleland - Bruce Springsteen
Crawl - Kings of Leon
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
This Ain't The Summer Of Love - The Blue Oyster Cult
It's The End Of The World As We Know It - R.E.M
Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
You've Got The Love - Florence and The Machine
In The Garden - Bob Dylan
Join Together - The Who
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Back In The U.S.A - Chuck Barry
Shelter From The Storm - Bob Dylan
City Of Delusion - Muse
Outta Me, Onto You - Ani DiFranco
Angels and Spies - Thirteen Senses
Yes - Coldplay
Assassin - Muse
A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay
Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Riders On The Storm - The Doors
Butterflies and Hurricanes - Muse
Abnormally Attracted To Sin - Tori Amos
Night Of The Hunter- 30 Seconds To Mars
Haunted - Evanescence
Into The Fire - Thirteen Senses
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M
Apocalypse Please - Muse
This Is War - 30 Seconds To Mars
American Tune - Paul Simon or Eva Cassidy
Amazing Grace - Ani DiFranco

Yay! I finally got this review out. I bet you were wondering if it was ever going to happen. Haha. See you guys later. Keep it shiny!

Next About Books Blog: Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison


Lauren {Geeb} said...

OOOO!!! I LOVE your new layout!! Very very nice!!! (:

Brad Jaeger said...

The Stand will continue to inspire authors from every walk of life decades from now. I cannot get enough of it.

Have you read one of his newest novels, Under the Dome? Fantastic, and much like The Stand, it's a mammoth epic with countless characters that all weave together seamlessly to showcase the capabilities of human depravity when put into conflict.