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The Stand
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Archived 2010 Group Reads > The Stand 01: Chapters 1-6

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Kristi (kristicoleman) Woo's the 22nd!! Time to get this party started. What are your thoughts on these chapters??

Trisha This is my first time reading this and I am pretty excited. I vaugely remember watching the mini-series years and years ago. I have made it up to Chapter 4, definitely an easy read with short chapters, but so many characters are being introduced rather quickly. I am guessing that they are not major characters though since they are all getting sick. We will see what happens in the next two chapters!

Nathalie (natjen29) So far so good. This is a third read for me, but still it feels like a first time going through. I'm definitely not rushing through and savouring every detail.

Many characters are being introduced, but you can fairly easily tell which ones are keepers and which are goners.
I like the fact that you know something has happened, something devastating as a 99,4% infectious lethal disease and you still get carried away with Frannie or Larry. The depth in which he delves his characters is truly the backbone of this novel.

Trisha I agree Nath, anyone who so much as sniffles I have immediately written off as a goner. Ha! King does have a tendency to give a lot of background info, even for his characters that are not going to live through the chapter, but it does help to build up the main characters. Frannie has made it to two different chapters, so I am figuring that she is going to be one of the survivors. On to the next few chapters...

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) I have to say, Stephen King scares me (and not in the horror writer sense). I have avoided his books ever since I read Salem's Lot and got majorly creeped out. So, I am afraid this books will get to scary, but so far so good.

I agree with you both that anyone who sneezes is immediately relegated to goner status by me. There are a few characters, that have the feel of becoming someone major. It will be interesting to see how they fit together as the story progresses.

Nathalie (natjen29) Lyn, I can assure you, The Stand isn't meant to be scary. Not in the sense Salem's Lot was.

In my opinion, you can compare to The Road or Swan Song, a tale of survival with a supernatural twist.

I'm a bit envious that for most of you, this is the first read. This is the kind of book I would want to forget all about just so I can read it over and over.

Nathalie (natjen29) As for the lengthy backgrounds. It's a good thing that Stephen is skilled with his words and that the added information, not always relevant, is crafted well. With a lesser writer it would aggravate me.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) This is my 3rd time as well, Nath and it is just as good ast ever! I ever the first-timers also! But I have to say, I get something new out of it every time! :)

Nathalie (natjen29) Me too.. I'm paying much more attention to details instead of rushing through it to the end.

Have you read From a Buick 8? Most don't like that one (I know, I was one of them) but I still went ahead and read it again and it is better the second time around.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I did read it and really liked it! I've liked all his books....some I just like more than others. lol. Theer isn't anything I haven't like. :) Right now I'm trying to work through the few that I haven't read yet. It's frustrating that as many books of his that I've read there is still some I haven't read yet! Wow! :) I'm going to take my time w/ The Stand too, this time. I want to see how many hints or clues I can find to his universe that I've missed the first 2 times!

Nathalie (natjen29) His oeuvre is like a giant puzzle, isn't it. Almost everything interlocks somewhere! :)

Have you heard about the Office game on the official stephen king website? Fun thing to do when you have a bit of spare time.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I have heard of that, but I haven't played it. Have you heard of the book The Stephen King Universe? I read the first one, but there is an updated one from a few years back. It's great. It totally gives you so many tidbits of information that connects the different books and stories. It's definitely a fun read!

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Thanks Nath. I am such a lightweight as far as the really scary stuff goes, lol. I am really enjoying the book so far. I have to say, you and Kathy's conversation has me quite intrigued.

Nathalie (natjen29) I didn't read that one, but I'm a member of the official forum and a lot of fun facts I find out there :)

But I did read The Road To The Dark Tower by Bev Vincent, which also cross-connects many of his works :)

Nathalie (natjen29) Lyn, I guess me and Kathy are die hard SK fans, and most people I convince to read one of his books, do like them.
You don't have to like them all, but he's often portrayed as a horror writer and that downplays his abilities. He's so much more. IMO he's a writer of the adventure novel, coming of age, but mostly slighty disturbed :D

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Thanks Nath. Since I joined GR a lot of people have mentioned that SK is more than just a horror writer. So far I am really glad that I decided to try him again.

Nathalie (natjen29) My pleasure. Since I've joined, I have been reading with more diversity. I used to be only Stephen King, but I've discovered a lot of great authors now.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) Stephen King is my favorite! But I do read lots of different things also. I'm always surprised at how diverse his tastes go. He reads just about everything!

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) Ok, everyone. I'm getting a late start but I hope to be caught up with the group by the end of the week.

message 20: by Loretta (last edited Aug 31, 2010 09:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Loretta (lorettalucia) I was a little bit lazy last week, but caught up now.

I'm definitely enjoying it so far, and do find most of the background information interesting, even if it's not readily apparent how relevant it is.

I do have to say, however, that the casual use of racial slurs has been bothering me. I mean, this isn't like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Color Purple, or some other book where the use of such words has a purpose and a message. This really just seems to be King throwing it in there to be "colorful" or something, and it's a crutch a skilled writer shouldn't have to rely on.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) Loretta, I disagree. Whether we like it or not, Stephen King is being realistic. There are alot of people out there just like that saying things just like that. You can't deny that. I think it's writers like King that remind us of this so we can be aware of things like this and be better for it. We can't turn a blind eye to things like that and pretend everything is perfect and all people are treated the way they should. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect and we should definitely be reminded and reminded often!

Loretta (lorettalucia) @ Kathy: Believe me, I'm completely aware that racism still runs rampant throughout the United States. Moreover, I've read a large number of novels that deal directly with the issue, and most of them did so in a much more sensitive, intelligent manner. As I said above, my problem was not with the use of the racial slurs themselves, but the way they were used in this novel--he threw the words out there without giving context or crafting the scenes in such a way as to comment on their use. Perhaps he gets better at doing so later in the novel, but at the moment it strikes me as lazy writing.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, Loretta. The last thing I would call King would be lazy. This is my all-time-favorite book of all time and I might tend to get a bit overprotective and defensive so please forgive me if I do. I do hope you enjoy the story, though! :)

message 24: by Teal (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teal (tealismyname) I haven't really read any Stephen King, always thought he was too mainstream. All I had really read by him was the Body and the Shining. Both of which I loved by the way.

Anyways, I'm so glad I'm reading this! It's definitely huge, but it goes by quickly and isn't particularly difficult. I woke up with allergies and have been coughing and sneezing and I couldn't help but think of the flu.

I'm not sure how this is all going to tie together, or even what the plot is going to be but i'm really loving it. (although I'm not a huge fan of the Underwood section thus far...seems a little trite and a boxed in character) I know some people imagine him as Bruce Springsteen but for some reason i'm imagining Rick Astley! I know that's ridiculous!

In terms of racial slurs, I can't see King using them flippantly. I think he's using them perhaps to emphasize the use of stereotypes and how ridiculous they are to judge someone.

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) LOL, Teal - I keep thinking the same thing every time I sneeze or cough.

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) The beginning, I feel is really set up well. Alot of characters, those that will die and those that we will get to know even more on this journey are introduced and it really starts setting the tone. Once you see Campion and his family at the gas station, it's hard not to think the worse if you have a sniffle or sneeze! lol

Nathalie (natjen29) It really is.
A friend of mine is reading IT at the moment and I love the way Stephen King paints a beautiful (not taken too litterally) picture before he really gets his groove on.

message 28: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Sorry i'm a bit late to the party I've been on holiday. Enjoying it so far but a bit confused to when it's set? Not that it really matters.

Nathalie (natjen29) I think you can assume it's set when it was first published.
It has an 80's feel to it. :)

And no worries, you're only fashionably late ;)

Andrea Hi Stand Group!

I'm back from beautiful Aruba and working hard to finish my last two classes as well as getting caught up with all my group reads. I apologize for the delay in leading the group in discussion and plan on having a much more active roll from this point forward.

Looks like our group is split between big King fans and those of us who have limited King experience. I think this makes for a nice mix from a discussion standpoint. My previous experience with King was reading the Green Mile which I loved. I tend to stay clear of him because I get spooked easily :) So far I am loving The Stand and I can't wait to see how the stories are going to start connecting.

Nath- I agree with you that King's writing style is one of several exceptions of a writer being able to weave so much detail without having it get annoying and frustrating for the reader.

I took some notes while I was reading and here are some snip its of thoughts.

~From the introduction I really appreciated that King seems funny and the kind of person that people who know him might say that "he says it like he is."

~The characters are great so far and I really like the thorough development, it works well for the story. I also like the way the story is building, I feel my anticipation level climbing!

~Was rock star Larry just dumped into the story or what? All of a sudden I turned a page and he was there and I don't know how he got there, I don't think I missed anything....

~I work in the medical field and we are preparing for flu season. I think that maybe we should have read this at a different time in the year...hahaha

~I've been at Red Sox games before (and of course had seen on TV) King sitting and writing with his ball cap on. I know he is a big fan of the Red Sox so I was just waiting for him to mention the Maine characters going to a game and I am so glad (and surprised) he did not disappoint me!!!

~I remember Kings accident- when he was hit by the car walking in Maine. I am so glad he is okay, he is a true legend in New England and does a lot for the community

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I don't think Larry just appeared out of nowhere. All the characters started somewhere. We first meet Stu at the gas station, Nick is getting beaten up the first time we encounter him, Frannie is going to meet Jess and tell him about the baby, and Larry has just pulled up in front of his mother's apartment. I love the way we have all these different stories and they will gradually merge into one big story. I may be biased because I'm a huge King fan, but this is just a great book! lol

Andrea Kathy,I am loving this book as all and it may have the credit of turning me into a big king fan!

I also have to agree with you, the way Larry came into the story is comparable to the others. For some reason I guess he (and now Nick) seem like they just were dropped in but this may be more because I wasn't expecting a new character at that point. I'm not saying this as being bad, I love that now I feel like I have to be on my toes. These are huge writer gifts/talents in my opinion. I'm a very avid reader and when an author can shake thinks up I'm always impressed.

message 33: by Gwenyth (new) - added it

Gwenyth Love (everythinggwenny) Even though I am starting late I think I'm going to be able to keep up with no trouble. This is easy reading, and also well crafted and entertaining. It's so interesting to read such depth into characters, even when you know they will be dead within another page or two. Since I watched the mini series before I ever read the book I have those characters haunting my head as I'm reading it. It's interesting to watch it play out (sometimes very different) in my head.

I do think that reading this is the fall/winter is a bad idea many people on the subway around me coughing and sneezing with their's making me nervous...

message 34: by Kathy (last edited Sep 17, 2010 08:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) This book can definitely make you nervous about a cold or the flu! Every time you sneeze now, you'll be like...."OMG, what if.....?"

Andrea Gwenyth, I'm so happy that you are finding it easy to catch up with the rest of us. The reading moves very quick! I've sneezed a couple of times reading this book and it's amazing how my heart beats faster for a few

message 36: by Amy (last edited Oct 14, 2010 12:04AM) (new) - added it

Amy (bibliocrates) I started reading The Stand this evening, my second reading. I really zipped through it the first time, read it with an online friend, and look forward to catching things I may have missed before. This isn't my favorite King novel, nor is it his, which I find interesting, but I did like it a lot. The fact that I'm reading it again says something, as I don't usually reread books. So far, The Talisman is my favorite King novel, but he cowrote that one with Straub.

Anyway, 'Salem's Lot was a scary book in a horrific way and remains one of my favorites as well. This Stand is scary in a different way, so those of you who are reluctant to read King because you are not really horror readers have nothing to worry about. I agree that reading this book during Flu season is probably not a good idea ;)

Regarding his treatment of racism... I will try and keep that in mind as I'm reading so I can comment on it later. I've read a lot of King and I think, while he does write a lot of fantasy, he treats "issues" in a real life way, without much commentary. I like that.

As for characters seeming to drop in out of nowhere... y'all have probably figured out that there will be some survivors, right? Well, we are meeting them, seeing plainly that they have been exposed and yet are not getting sick. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't read this book before, but we will be following the survivors throughout the rest of the story, so pay attention!

I'm excited to catch up with ya'll!

message 37: by Amy (last edited Oct 14, 2010 11:08AM) (new) - added it

Amy (bibliocrates) So, was it chapter 3 with the racism bit? If so, I just figured it was the character that was racist...

As for Larry, I remember not liking him when I first read the book, but he becomes more likable toward the end.

A new thought this time around... why did everyone die so quickly at the army? People in the cafeteria had their faces in their soup bowls and stuff. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Nathalie (natjen29) I think that's probably due to being exposed to a larger dose of the virus or a less diluted type.

Or maybe the facility had some kind of safety wherein the staff were poisoned (like in Resident Evil, the movie with Milla Jovovich)

message 39: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (bibliocrates) Hmmm, interesting... It still boggles my mind. I wondered if maybe they didn't really die right away, but then by the time the facility was investigated, after the Campion incident, they were found dead. But, then, would they really have been just sitting there eating soup, and then just fall into their soup? Also, Campion and his family did die after only a couple days, whereas now people are taking longer to die.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments So I know I'm a couple of years behind, but I wanted to go back and read this and follow along the group's posts. I haven't read any King before, mostly because I don't like horror, and not until recently did I realize that he does more than horror stories.

I'm finished with this first section and it's really good so far. The sheer number of characters is a bit challenging, especially because I'm listening to it, but I have a feeling as some of them die off, it will be easier to keep track of them (plus, there are several hundred pages in which to get to know them lol).

The bit about how it's spreading from person to person is actually incredibly similar to a series I happen to be in the middle of, so some of it is a bit eerie, since it's not an unlikely scenario at all. And yes, it's February, so every time my nose starts running I start thinking "hmm." What's worse, I just started working in a medical office where I'm reading pathology reports for skin cancer all the time, so now every time I hear a sneeze or see a strange spot on someone's skin, I'm going to be all paranoid! :)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments Amy wrote: "Hmmm, interesting... It still boggles my mind. I wondered if maybe they didn't really die right away, but then by the time the facility was investigated, after the Campion incident, they were found..."

I wonder how much of that is due to different individuals and their immune system? And we do have one fellow in the hospital (I forget his name) that doesn't seem to be getting sick like the others, so he must have whatever the immunity is.

message 42: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara Weather (saraweather) Alana wrote: "So I know I'm a couple of years behind, but I wanted to go back and read this and follow along the group's posts. I haven't read any King before, mostly because I don't like horror, and not until r..."
I'm coming into this readalong pretty late too. I'm actually on chapter 43. I've been reading it since last year.

I was ready for all the deaths as creepy as that sounds.
The racist comments came out of nowhere. I was in between on them. I mostly don't like them.
One thing I like about Stephen King is right away his books have action. I have read Carrie and Cujo. I read Misery recently while in the middle of reading this book.

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