The Next Best Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited Oct 01, 2016 08:26AM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10035 comments Mod
HI everyone! Happy October. This is one of my favorite months just because of the focus everyone puts into reading horror novels : ) There is no author more synonymous with horror than the king of horror himself, Stephen King!

This month's discussion will be led by Dawn...

While we wait to kick things off, how many of you are long-time Stephen King fans?


message 2: by Diener (new)

Diener Lima | 3 comments Hi! Happy to be here!

I'm a big fan of Stephen King, he's a master of developing real and solid characters that we always can relate to in so many different levels!

And "Carrie" is great! From the complex relationship with her mother and a difficult turning of age to the simple and shot moments of pure happiness during the ball, the story is amazing!


message 3: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments Holy Moly! I agree with Diener's comment above. I think this book was totally viable and outrageous at the same time. Carrie was someone I could relate to, even though her character was somewhat intense and monstrous at times, she seemed so much like girls her age are. the mob of other girls Christine Hargensen and the others was like the glitch that sent her into a lunatic telekinesis finnale.


message 4: by Jodie (new)

Jodie (anntsy) | 2 comments I've never read Stephen King before but my Mum was a super fan - I'm sure she has his complete works. I'm picking up her copy of Carrie (it's super old, the pages crunch when you turn them!) for this group read. Can't wait to get into it!


message 5: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Hi everyone! Thanks for jumping in Diener, Evalani, and Jodie.

I'm currently re-reading Carrie for this group read - last time I read it I was 13 and got it from the library in a huge stack of King books, and this one ended up being my favorite after I made my way through them (I read much faster back then; ah to be young haha).

Diener: I agree! King is a prolific master of horror and supernatural fiction of course but my favorite thing about him is probably his ability to create idiosyncratic yet totally relatable characters.

Evalani: You're right about it being outrageous. It's one of the most frequently banned books of all time (a badge of honor IMO).

Jodie: Don't you just adore old books? Gotta love that paper crunch haha. Let us know where you're at with it :)

I found a great quote of King's from his book Danse Macabre re: Carrie - "Carrie is largely about how women find their own channels of power, but also what men fear about women and women’s sexuality. Writing the book in 1973 and only three years out of college, I was fully aware of what Women’s Liberation implied for me and others of my sex. Carrie is woman feeling her powers for the first time and, like Samson, pulling down the temple on everyone in sight at the end of the book."

How do you feel about King's thoughts here? That's what I loved so much about Carrie when I was 13 - the raw, unabashed femaleness of it, how it propelled the story to its inevitably horrific conclusion, and that twinning of female power and male fear.


message 6: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments I felt immersed both in the story and the idea of the story. Both were equally telling of the motives that drive human behavior. Jealousy was obviously a large motivating emotion, as we see revenge acted out on different people in different ways. I sort of picked up the feeling of it being about Women's liberation or coming into her own power. There was defiantly a struggle going on about women sexuality. Yet even though horror delivered there was also a sweetness mixed with sensuality. The parts as discovering power could be metaphorical, Carrie learns to use her telekinesis power, we learn very young age 3, but again gains access to it as she relearns to flex. I did also feel this because the novel uncovered the most hidden aspects of women's lives, from the locker room incident and the descriptions of backyard politics. I thought even though there was horror there was also humor in this.


message 7: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Great points Evalani! The story and themes both exemplify our basest motives. I loved how the story uncovered, as you say, the most hidden aspects of women's lives, particularly very young women like Carrie and her peers, which was a fairly subversive move at the time, so hat's off to King for that.

How does everyone feel about King using newspaper/magazine/book excerpts, letters, and multiple POVs to tell the tale?


message 8: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I'm excited to reread this one. I've had a copy of Cujo on my tbr pile for a while, so I may read that one first. I love Stephen King novels. Beyond the horror, I feel like he is really great at writing deeply developed characters. That's what always keeps me coming back for more!


message 9: by Cory (new)

Cory (corydora) | 32 comments I liked how it was almost epistolary -- but that there was also a chronological narrative between the different documents. I've seen some criticism of it "ruining the ending", but I think that's a fundamental misunderstanding of what King is doing re: the inevitability of Carrie's actions -- that a few simplistic gestures can't overwrite a lifetime of abuse, and that it's more about watching it happen rather than the potential of preventing it happening. In a lot of ways we're placed in the position of Sue, or the teachers, or even Carrie's mum -- we see the conclusion before it happens, and we're powerless to stop it. Even if we close the book, we've already read what will happen.

(I did wonder if King had ever talked to a woman about menstruation, though; in the end I decided he'd gone for dramatic hyperbole so he could play up the connection between sexual maturity and TK.)


message 10: by Jodie (new)

Jodie (anntsy) | 2 comments I'm currently at the bit where the neighbour recounts the raining stones incident. I didn't realize at first that the book isn't divided into chapters, but rather into three sections. I'm very intrigued by what I've read so far. I like the use of newspaper clippings and interviews as a means of storytelling, breaks up the regular prose a bit and makes things a bit more interesting.


message 11: by Tina (new)

Tina | 143 comments This title is only my second King book. I read 11/22/63 primarily for the time travel aspect. I am not a fan of horror, but I had seen this movie and was curious about the book. Am at the point in the story where Carrie's date arrives to pick her up for the prom. I am enjoying it more than expected, probably because of the different narratives, which gives me time to pause and digest what's happening and what everyone is feeling.


message 12: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments The spook factor was that the ending was told by lots of different people compounding what was happening. It made the story feel more intense yet detached from itself. I think the use of newspaper , interviews, ect. made the story more interesting and had more layers to it which made it seem real. I think this is the way he pulls off such an outlandish tale. He keeps us always looking toward the present with what is happening, then he can use lots of different perspectives, and information to inform about telekinensis and the interplay between the Carrie and her piers and teachers.


message 13: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments I also think that it is part of King's genius as a writer, telling a story to completion first as the story, but then he creates sort of like a tunnel that pulls you in so that you can recoup the incidents of the book while relating to the characters, the multiple perspectives hold you while giving you the chance to watch what is happening as Cory said, being more involved in there world and inside their minds. Their voices aid to the whole image of Carrie at the point of no return.


message 14: by Diener (last edited Oct 07, 2016 06:29PM) (new)

Diener Lima | 3 comments Dawn wrote: "Hi everyone! Thanks for jumping in Diener, Evalani, and Jodie.

I'm currently re-reading Carrie for this group read - last time I read it I was 13 and got it from the library in a huge stack of Kin..."


Dawn, the quote from King just shows how sensitive and open minded he´s always been. But I, as a gay man, would like to broaden the discussion by saying that I recognized in Carrie not only the female power (and its discovery) but also the awakening for the understanding that we all have the chance and right to be happy, the way we are. Unfortunately, Carrie had to redeem that right by force, but in some ways I feel that I (and so many other people) wake up every day with the same feeling of having to reclaim what is ours by right. Shouldn´t be this way though.


message 15: by Diener (new)

Diener Lima | 3 comments Dawn wrote: "Great points Evalani! The story and themes both exemplify our basest motives. I loved how the story uncovered, as you say, the most hidden aspects of women's lives, particularly very young women li..."

He´s awesome at it, and I´d say it´s a very effective story telling tool. We are able to see different sides and takes on what´s happening to the story, which makes us more and more invested!


This fish likes to read (thisfish) Not a 'long-time' fan but certainly a fan. Haven't read much of his other novels but Full Dark, No Stars and On Writing really impressed me.

Started reading and boy, does he nail the emotions accurately! I've never had such an instant reaction to first 50 pages of any book! Look forward to finishing it soon :)


message 17: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Cory wrote: "I liked how it was almost epistolary -- but that there was also a chronological narrative between the different documents. I've seen some criticism of it "ruining the ending", but I think that's a ..."

I totally agree Cory. Those criticisms = misunderstanding what King was doing. Knowing what Carrie is going to do on prom night is necessary, considering the narrative style, and it creates this sublime sense of dread.


message 18: by Dawn (last edited Oct 10, 2016 06:32PM) (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Evalani wrote: "The spook factor was that the ending was told by lots of different people compounding what was happening. It made the story feel more intense yet detached from itself. I think the use of newspaper ..."

I also find all the clippings/other POVs more interesting. I don't think it would've been nearly as effective from just Carrie's POV. Like you said, it pulls you into the world - the town and its inhabitants feel more real so you're more attached to them, which increases your sense of dread because you know what's going to happen. One of my favorite scenes is from Tommy's POV and ends with this line = "He and George and Freida had less than two hours to live."


message 19: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Tina wrote: "This title is only my second King book. I read 11/22/63 primarily for the time travel aspect. I am not a fan of horror, but I had seen this movie and was curious about the book. Am at the point in ..."

Glad you're enjoying it more than you expected! I'm a low-key horror fan and I already loved King so it's meeting my (high) expectations.


message 20: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments This fish likes to read wrote: "Not a 'long-time' fan but certainly a fan. Haven't read much of his other novels but Full Dark, No Stars and On Writing really impressed me.

Started reading and boy, does he nail the emotions accu..."


Thanks for joining us! On Writing is SO GOOD. Loved it in high school.


message 21: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Jodie wrote: "I'm currently at the bit where the neighbour recounts the raining stones incident. I didn't realize at first that the book isn't divided into chapters, but rather into three sections. I'm very intr..."

I *loved* the neighbor recounting the raining stones scene. Margaret White is terrifying! I loved how King managed to make the neighbor a memorable character even though she was only a mouthpiece and inciting object for the incident. And I'm glad he went with dividing it into three parts instead of chapters - chapters would've broken up the rhythm of the rotating POVs + excerpts. I'm still in Part Two: Prom Night.


message 22: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments I actually loved how the real horror was being legitimately accepted by her peers finally, and then when the spell is finally broken ...


message 23: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Evalani, if you're talking about the prom scenes leading up to the blood-drop moment, I totally agree. I felt so awful for her and everyone who was genuinely kind to her leading up to it all being ruined - it was a real horror, you're right. Those are some of my favorite scenes in the novel. I got so emotional haha - especially re: Tommy's behavior towards her that night. I almost cried when he died.


message 24: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Supplemental entertainment: this hour-long talk King did in 2012 for a "Master Class" series at UMass Lowell. I've watched it five times in the last two years haha.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I wasn't a fan of this book. I found it rather dry for my taste, and would have preferred a little less of the additional clippings and versions of the story.


message 26: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments That's too bad Margaret. Thanks for chiming in though! I totally get why the clippings/interviews/etc don't work for everyone.


message 27: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Question time! Who read the book before watching the 1976 movie and who watched the movie before reading the book? Did the movie significantly effect your reading experience?


message 28: by connie (new)

connie I read the book before watching the movie,which is always bad for me as I am too critical then. The changes they made in the movie compared to the book kind of disappointed me. Of course knowing our rating system as it was back then, I can see why some of Carrie's violent behavior at the end was toned down. Plus also various subtle changes here and there makes me understand why Stephen King doesn't much care for adaptations of his books to film.I still prefer the book to the movie ,even all the remakes .


message 29: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments I know what you mean, Connie. Usually if I read a book before watching its movie adaptation I'm more critical of the movie than I would've been otherwise - the comparison game is too real. In my case I basically grew up with the movie thanks to my mom and my best friend's mom both loving it (and people frequently referencing it), so I watched it a few years before actually reading it (totally terrified me haha).

Re: Violence in movies back then. It was actually pretty lax in the '70s - that's why there were so many exploitation films and explicit art house films (rape-and-revenge films were particularly popular during the 70s, and it was the dawn of the "torture porn" subgenre and the "slasher" subgenre) - primarily because the Hollywood studios had lost the near-complete control they'd enjoyed for decades + all the '60s social upheaval. There are several '70s cult classics that I still can't handle because of how graphic they are. Granted I was born in the late '80s so I'm looking back on the era differently than someone who was actually going to the movies back then - I just took a "Cinema in the 1970s" class in college (we watched Carrie of course). I'm still scarred from having to watch two rape-and-revenge films for that class haha.


message 30: by Evalani (new)

Evalani | 86 comments I havent yet seen the movie,;i'm usually the slow end at watching the film but i do like books so that is enough as I think it is hard to get the movie made as well if there was a book first. But i can still enjoy the film somtimes hollywood will make another version and i think it is interesting to see how ideas and cultural perceptions change through film. I'll watch this maybe, thoughbi'm not too big a fan of horror on film. But that was an interesting clip of King at a student group ralley.


message 31: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Evalani, I agree that it's often hard to make a movie as well as the book. There are many excellent adaptations but there are even more terrible ones. IMO the 1976 Carrie is one of the good ones.


message 32: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments Thanks for chatting about this creepy debut from the Master of Horror everyone! If you have any other thoughts feel free to chime in even though October's over.

Here's some supplemental King/Carrie stuff to enjoy at your leisure: The Top 10 Stephen King Movie Characters, King talking to the BBC about teaching and throwing away Carrie, Stephen King vs. Edgar Allan Poe Epic Rap Battle.


message 33: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10035 comments Mod
Hey Dawn, thanks so much for tackling the group read!!!


message 34: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 547 comments You're welcome Lori! I had a good time :)


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