Book Review – ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Salems Lot

‘Salem’s Lot is a 1975 horror novel by Stephen King, and it is the prolific author’s second novel. Set in the small fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine, the story follows a young author named Benjamin Mears. He has returned to the town, where he spent a number of years growing up, in order to face some old childhood fears and continue working on a new novel inspired by the source of those fears, the foreboding and abandoned old Marsten House, which looms over the town on a hill.

Although his arrival in the Lot is met fairly warmly, a mysterious new pair of residents have arrived at the same time, lodging in that decrepit old mansion that Ben can’t help fixating on. Though at first these changes are simple curiosities, the disappearance of two local boys is a sinister portents of things to come, as the town’s new residents have brought with them a nightmarish blight that threatens to consume the town whole.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 17, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

A Gathering of GhostsSince last week I once again had an unexpected amount of free time, so I was able to get a good start on A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland. I’m enjoying the book, though it has been a little slow-paced so far. Not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just surprised with how much things feel like they’re still being established despite the fact I’m 100 pages into the book now. Strange happenings have taken place and changes are afoot, but a core conflict or concern has yet to fully materialize. Nevertheless, I do enjoy a slow burn, and I like the light-fantasy and spooky vibes the book is giving, so I’m excited to get further along. It’s done a great job of capturing just how bleak impoverished life must have been in the 1300s too. Nothing Romantic about all this muck and hunger.


Recently Finished

Manga Diary of a Male Porn Star 1Late last week I read through Manga Diary of a Male Porn Star by Kaeruno Erefante, which made for a quick and very amusing read. It wasn’t too heavy on plot or character, but in this way fulfilled its role as a diary very well. Keeping in mind how these are somebody else’s lived experiences, however embellished, made it easy to look past these shortcomings. I managed to learn a thing or two as well, such as, apparently, a stigma around the adult film industry in Japan is the fact that many people cannot separate the industry from its past association with the yakuza (the Japanese mafia). I also learned that the author does not draw himself as a bean, but rather frog—a rather minimalist frog at that. His reason for doing so is essentially a dirty joke, so I’ll spare any who would mind that. I look forward to reading more of this series.

Salems LotI also used my surprise free time to finish reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I wanted to have a review up before today, but being completely honest, I haven’t even started it yet. My priorities are all over the place, I guess. I really enjoyed this book, at any rate, though there were definite peaks and valleys throughout the story. I absolutely loved all of the prose discussing the town itself, especially as the scourge of vampires slowly makes victims out of everybody in town. The ragtag group of intellectuals coming to grips with the fact that vampires are the problem? I found them inconsistently compelling. I understand that an American vampire novel in 1975, one that refers so much to the films more recent to that time, needs to have the characters come to grips with the seeming impossibility of it all, but it could have been accomplished faster. Too much time spent on skepticism when the reader knows it’s definitely vampires.


Reading Next

This is anybody’s guess right now, to be honest. I have plans, but I’m too in the weeds with A Gathering of Ghosts to commit to anything. I’m also very tired; I have been awake since 4:30 PM yesterday, so I think I will bid you all adieu for now. I’ll have better reading plans to tell you about next week, I’m sure.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 10, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Salems LotOver the weekend I unexpectedly had a lot more free time than I was expecting, so I managed to get a lot of reading done on ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, where I am now just over 300 pages in. King has done an excellent job of making the infection of this town creeping and gradual. So far, most of the townsfolk are still blissfully unaware of what is going on, but it is now noticeably escalating, with a number of people having fallen under the vampire’s thrall. An effectively realistic element is how much the people clued-in to what is going on are wasting time coming to grips with the idea that it could be vampires at all. It’s especially amusing to remember this is much closer to the heyday of the classic Universal and Hammer horror films about Dracula. A sudden incursion of vampires would be hard to believe indeed, and that hesitance is so far undoing them.


Recently Finished

Once again, I’ve not finished anything. I’m really going to have to turn this around soon, for the first time all year I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge.


Reading Next

Manga Diary of a Male Porn Star 1The reading plans I’ve been talking about for the past couple of weeks are not going anywhere, so I’ll not repeat myself, but I recently borrowed a manga volume from a friend that I’m really interested in reading soon. The book in question is the first volume of Manga Diary of a Male Porn Star by Kaeruno Erefante. Though it covers more adult subject matter, it looks to be doing so in a rather PG way, depicting the humorous tribulations of being a male porn star rather than trying to be titillating. I find it especially hysterical how the main character is depicted. While surrounded by beautiful women, our protagonist looks like a bean with arms, legs, and big eyes. I’ll probably read through it in a sitting before next week.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 3, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Salems LotWorking two jobs took a particular toll on me this past week for some reason, but I did manage to sneak in a little bit of reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King anyway. I’m 117 pages in now, so I’ve managed to more than double my page count since last week, but I’ve still got a long way to go. This book has got me continually wanting to nod my head and say “vintage King” aloud with approval. I’m loving the small town setting and cavalcade of small town people. The horror factor is insidiously burrowing its way into these peoples’ lives too, and I wonder if I will slowly behold the undoing of all of them. I’m especially enjoying how much certain facets of the plot are reminding me of the plot of Dracula. I wonder how closely it will follow those lines, or if it’s only lightly referential.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, sadly. Even my Halloween was bogged down with work. 💀


Reading Next

Scott Pilgrim Color Edition Digital OmnibusI still intend to start A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland next, but obviously that will still have to wait for at least another week. In the meantime, I do have a lot of comic books that need reading, many of which are from the two Star Wars: The High Republic series that I’ve been following. I’m way behind on those, and I’m already hearing about “phase one” of The High Republic ending soon. I think, by next week, I will make a concerted effort to start Scott Pilgrim: Digital Omnibus by Bryan Lee O’Malley as well, so I can read it again in colour. I really ought to continue Hope is the Thing with Feathers too… 😓

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – October 27, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Salems LotI was finally able to start reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King later last week, though I’m only about 50 pages in at the moment. I’m sad that I won’t be finishing it before Halloween, but I expected that possibility already. I’m busier than normal, and in previous years this would often happen anyway. I’m enjoying the book so far, though it’s taking its time at the moment. I didn’t realize there was a “chapter two switcheroo” so to speak, with the prologue taking place after what I can only assume is at least a huge chunk of the story. Though I know what it’s building to already, I’m enjoying the mystique being built around the Marsten House concurrently with the arrival of its mysterious new resident.


Recently Finished

The Grip of ItIn the middle of last week I finished reading The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, though regretfully I’ve not had the time to finish up a review for it just yet. I’m expecting I will have one up by Friday, just in time for Halloween. With all said and done, I did really enjoy this novel, and a prediction of mine from last week came true. It was specifically that the story would amount to something much more up to interpretation than concrete that came true, which is the lesser of two evils, I suppose. Upon reflection, the ways in which it leaves things up to interpretation are actually quite clever, because you cannot simply reduce everything to the perspective characters being unreliable. It’s a book I would love to have a long, in-person conversation about, but I don’t know anybody who has read it yet.

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (2)I also read through the graphic novel adaptation of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by I.N.J. Culbard, adapting the short story by H.P. Lovecraft. I was right, I did enjoy this story much more visually than I did Lovecraft’s prose, but there is definitely something lost when considered by itself rather than the culmination of a number of Dream Cycle stories. It helps that I’ve read them, of course, but I wish this book had instead been a part of something bigger. This isn’t even the first Lovecraft story to involve Randolph Carter, nor the numerous denizens of the dream lands that he encounters. Still, it is a worthwhile read and far more accessible than his prose, so it’s worth checking out if you’re at all curious about his work.


Reading Next

A Gathering of GhostsWith all of this consideration for Halloween going on, I actually hadn’t given much thought toward what I want to read next. With autumn still in full swing and myself continuing to be in a horror mood, however, I think I will make good on my old September plans and start reading A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland next. When this will be is hard to say, since I will probably be reading ‘Salem’s Lot for the next little while, but hopefully I can push for more reading time instead of other leisure activities to pick up the slack. Easier said than done, in practice, but we’ll see.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – October 20, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Grip of ItI’m a significant amount into The Grip of It by Jac Jemc now, thanks to some free time over the weekend. I love the way the story is broken up in the small chapters, as it’s easy to say “just one more chapter” and allows for easy stopping points when necessary. I am really loving this haunted house story, which hasn’t reigned in the continually escalating sense of dread that it started off with. What I find most especially effective is that scenes that read more dreamlike are offset by others that are so matter of fact, often bringing in other characters to make events more reliable, but ultimately raising a lot more questions. My only concern right now is that all of this will lead to either something woefully open to interpretation or something dumb. It has done right by me so far, though, so I’m optimistic.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I focused pretty much all of my attention on The Grip of It. I expect I should have two books here by next week, though.


Reading Next

Salems LotWith Halloween approaching like a speeding ghost-locomotive, I will have to make myself read The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by I.N.J. Culbard sooner rather than later. With The Grip of It nearly finished, however, I’m also going to start reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It’s a novel I’ve heard a lot about, but I really don’t know the way the story unfolds. The idea of a Dracula analog moving to and disrupting a small town community in the United States sounds really fascinating to me, though, and I hope it has some surprise scares in store for me too. As a bonus, it’ll be nice to see the origin story of Father Callahan.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 29, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Nothing! I’m currently between books.


Recently Finished

Different SeasonsVery early on Monday I finished reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. I posted a full review yesterday. While it still took me most of July to read through, I’m happy I was able to get through a nearly 700-page book in about three weeks. That’s pretty fast for me. The last two stories I enjoyed quite a bit. “The Body” was a wonderfully poignant and nostalgic coming-of-age story that seemed more like autobiographical fiction on King’s part that I’d been expecting. The final story, “The Breathing Method”, held the most surprises for me as, unlike the other stories, I had no idea what it was about. One notably fun thing about it was it marked the only other return of a mysterious club in New York where members share stories with each other. This served as a narrative frame in a story in Skeleton Crew, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it again here.

Immortal Hulk Breaker of WorldsLast night I also read through The Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds by Al Ewing et al, the fifth volume in the series. I continue to love this series and its horrifying interpretation of the Hulk. Over the last few volumes the Hulk has been contending with a shadowy military organization hellbent on putting him down for good, and this volume has it all coming to a head in a way that brings about an end to this phase of the story. Toward the end of the volume Ewing doubles down on some of the literally cosmic horror stuff in a way that’s got me intrigued, though it was initially a little jarring. I’m excited to see where this series goes next, but am also starting to get a sense that the story’s direction may be getting predictable.


Reading Next

The Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetI still have every intention of starting Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan soon, I just wanted a bit of a buffer between books to read The Immortal Hulk. I’ve also decided to start reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which I’ve been wanting to check out for a while now. Hopefully reading books in tandem works out for me. I’ve come to understand it takes a lot of inspiration from Star Wars, which is always a plus for me. I also just love the tone that the title suggests. Why are the people on this planet so mad? I’ll have to wait and see.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Different Seasons by Stephen King

Different Seasons

Different Seasons is a 1982 collection of four novellas by Stephen King. At the time, this book marked a bit of a departure from horror for King, the stories within telling more dramatic tales. Each novella is headed by a sectional title that assigns a season of the year to it: Hope Springs Eternal for “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, Summer of Corruption for “Apt Pupil”, Fall from Innocence for “The Body”, and A Winter’s Tale for “The Breathing Method”. In the first story, a wrongfully imprisoned convict manages to rise above his destitute fate, in the second a gifted teen becomes obsessed with the dark past of an elderly local, in the third four rambunctious boys go on a quest to find a dead body, and in the final a single mother-to-be goes beyond the natural in order to save the life of her baby.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 22, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Different SeasonsGosh, I’ve gotten bad at getting these up early, huh? I’m still in the middle of reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. I haven’t made a huge amount of progress over the last little bit, but I did finish reading “Apt Pupil”, the longest novella in the book, so I’ve gotten over a significant hump of the book at least. It ended in a fairly predictable fashion, but goodness was it bleak. I did enjoy it as a thriller, but I suspect it won’t be standing out as my favourite story in this book. There wasn’t a lot of good to balance out the awfulness of the characters and what they get up to. The next story is “The Body”, which the film Stand By Me is based on, so I’m expecting a nice coming-of-age story. It’s so strange that three out of four of these novellas each went on to become a well known movie.


Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, I’m afraid. I actually haven’t read all the much over the last five days or so. I’d taken some time off (I work weekends), and apparently extra downtime doesn’t necessarily mean more reading.


Reading Next

Into the Unbounded NightI’ve still got a couple of volumes of The Immortal Hulk that need reading, never mind the numerous other graphic novels I could crack open. With some ARCs that I’ve received releasing soon, I should probably start one of them rather soon. So, I will probably be reading Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan next. I want to be able to get it reviewed for August. I’ll have to start reading books in tandem, which I don’t usually do, if I want to stay on top of my to-read list for the year as well. I’m cautiously hopeful it will all work out.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 15, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Different SeasonsI’ve made fairly good headway in Different Seasons by Stephen King, having finished “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” and already well into “Apt Pupil”, the longest novella in the book. While the former was a rather uplifting story, if a bit dreary in spots, “Apt Pupil” is unrelentingly dark. A 13-year-old boy in the mid-1970s discovers that one of his neighbors is a Nazi war criminal living in America under a false identity. Instead of turning him in, however, he blackmails the decrepit old man into telling him all the “gooshy” details about running one of the most infamous death camps. This book may not be any sort of supernatural horror, but this story goes to some uncomfortable and frightening places. That being said, I’m enjoying it quite a lot as a psychological thriller.


Recently Finished

Through the WoodsThe other night I finished reading Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, a comic book collection of horror stories that I learned about rather recently. It was a fairly quick read, and at first I had some misgivings. The art is absolutely lovely, so I didn’t feel any disappointment in that respect, but the first story was a little unremarkable. These feelings were abated rather quickly as I got further into the book, though. One story in particular, “His Face All Red,” I absolutely loved. I was happy to discover after finishing the book that the author is not only Canadian, but also from Southern Ontario too, like myself. I should have a review up within the next week.


Reading Next

I’m still going to be chipping away at Different Seasons for the next little while, but along the way I’m going to continue reading volumes of The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing et al. Beyond that, I’ve gotten some review requests and ARCs that I need to start getting to soon, so I’m thinking about starting one of those too.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.