21st Century Literature discussion

This topic is about 11/22/63
2012 Book Discussions > 11/22/63 - General Discussion, No Spoilers (March 2012)

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William Mego (willmego) So we're tackling the latest book from Stephen King, 11/22/63. General comments about the book without revealing more than the obvious elements known to all (that is, no spoilers!) and questions, comments, laments, exclamations about finding and getting the book, or about the author or his other works would go here.

message 2: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) I'll start off with a link to this video about the book from the publisher:
It's interesting to me that he began the book, in a way, back in 1973, but eventually decided to shelve it.

message 3: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) condensed from 6 threads to 3. Not sure what I was thinking making threads for all 6. Clearly, I wasn't.

I've been reading this book a bit to get read to lead the discussion, I have to say, I hope anybody reading this who might be on the fence about whether or not to read it will consider giving it a shot anyway, it's an enjoyable read thus far. It's not something I'd have picked up on my own, and probably would have avoided it, but while it might not be Joyce, it is fun to read.

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I'm definitely on the fence. But I'll give it a shot.

message 5: by Mikela (new)

Mikela Sorry but I just can't bring myself to shelve some really good books to read 11/22/63. If I'm going to spend the time on a 1,000+ page book I'll go to 1Q84 instead. I do hope that those who elect to read it enjoy it.

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William Mego (willmego) Actually, I doubt you'd find reading 11/22/63 will take long enough to disrupt reading anything else. It reads rather quick. I get where you're coming from though.

Another question is why has nobody nominated 1Q84 yet? Or another Murakami?

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Now there's a thought...

Jessi | 3 comments I started this a few days ago and I am really enjoying it so far. I'm enjoying it way more than 1q84 which I ditched after five chapters. Can't wait to discuss it with the group.

Deborah | 983 comments I started this today. Now I'm listening to three books simultaneously. Of course, The Turn of the Screw (for another group) is quite short.

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William Mego (willmego) Hmm, you don't want to look at my currently reading list then.

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Ditto!

Deborah | 983 comments I guess I meant actively, with a sense of purpose.

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William Mego (willmego) I AM reading all 15 books actively, with a sense of purpose!

Deborah | 983 comments I feel humbled.

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William Mego (willmego) No! No one should feel humbled! I just read and write a great deal.

Deborah | 983 comments I am so enjoying this. It's not "cool" to say so, but I'm a King fan and always have been. If I have complaints about King they are never about his writing. I like his writing. I think too, there is no writer, and never has been a writer with the same genius of investing the reader in his heroes.

If I have any complaint it's that his endings almost never live up to their build up. Of course, I'm only half way in, so I can hope still.

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William Mego (willmego) Let hope still stir within your breast in this case.
My sole complaint with King is that his writing doesn't have to be solidly good/fine, but he could be one of the greatest living writers in the language...but chooses to not write that way. It's frustratingly impressive how he can glibly toss off hundreds of perfectly constructed pages, where I'd sometimes just settle for 10 pages of art. There's nothing wrong with his writing at all. But the man could choose to win the noble, Pulitzer, Dublin, and Man Booker if he actually WANTED to.

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments He could indeed.

Deborah | 983 comments Don't laugh at me.... I know he's not lyrical or beautiful, but I don't understand what's not right about his writing? (Not rhetorical. I'm pretty much self educated and wonder what I am missing.)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I don't like it because it's unsubtle. As Will says, it's glib. Which to my mind means it's clever and accomplished, but lacking any real depth. So, not to my taste.

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William Mego (willmego) He's (in my opinion) sort of writing down to the reader, to reach the broadest swath of humanity. Compare that with a writer like say, Coetzee or Chabon to name two we just recently read, or take something like Woolf's The Waves or Joyce, where there's more of an effort to express what they are trying to say AND say it in language that exceeds the sum total of it's parts. It doesn't have to be difficult or standoffish, although obviously sometimes authors also try to do that as well.

So my complaint is that there's nothing WRONG with king's writing, and if I felt he is writing as well as he possibly could, I'd have no complaint at all, but instead I feel as though he COULD reach higher, although that might sail over the heads of many of his readership, who simply haven't had the time or opportunity to read deeper literature.

And self-education is the only REAL education, IMO. Never be ashamed of that.

Deborah | 983 comments I love writers who make me work, and where the language becomes as much a facet of the story as the characters or plot. But I guess what I like about King is that he gets behind the wheel and drives and I just have to travel along.

Yeah, I see what you mean about depth though.

David Just started this last night and I'm enjoying it so far, except I've a new pet peeve, that's been growing a while. Over the past decade.

Namely, Baby Boomer authors writing younger characters with the frame of reference, taste and knowledge of a Boomer. We're not all Boomers! A "Gen X" like me lives in a very different world from Boomers.

For example, the lead in this novel is a 30 or 40 something like me, born after JFK was killed. An Gen X'er wouldn't know off the top of his head the date JFK was killed. Would care less about Little Richard. And the 1950s would be a very, very foreign country.

I see this in nearly every novel written by a Boomer and it's very, very tiresome. Other examples are Koontz' Odd Thomas; Wilson's Repairman Jack come to mind first. And I must say Boomer book reviewers never notice it, either.

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William Mego (willmego) I get where you're coming from, but some of us do get it. I'm 35, and I watched on tv when they replayed the entire coverage of the JFK event in real time on the 30th anniv. in 1993, and for whatever strange reasons, I know well who Little Richard is as well.

However, I think the foreign nature of the 60's is exactly the subject and reasoning behind the book. Jake's initial inability to dress naturally or instinctively read people of the era comes up often, and his manner of speech plays quite a role as well. Really, I think many of your complaints will fade as you get deeper into the book.

David Good to know. I'm forging ahead.

Stacey (stacey__withane) I have to admit, I'm not a fan of Stephen King, but I started this one last night, and it grabbed my attention immediately....I may become a convert!

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I'm two thirds of the way through this book and I'm pleasantly surprised. I never, ever thought I'd read a book by Stephen King! It goes to show you never can tell...

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William Mego (willmego) So I'm curious, who's working on the book at this point, and how are you enjoying it?

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I am now finished and have to say I've thought about reading some more by Stephen King. Wow!

It so happens that I've read several books on time travel recently and find it gratifying that a lot of the issues I'd thought must figure in any serious contemplation have been considered here and elsewhere. Although I wasn't that impressed with King's vision of what happens when you fix the past.

Ergo I'm not at all confident that he got it right - but, hey, what do I know (!) I will elaborate elsewhere.

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William Mego (willmego) you can elaborate here if you like, I'd be interested.

I read It as prep for this (yes, a 1200 page novel as prep) and glad I did. As disturbing as the imagery and themes often are, the ties to the first half of this book are inescapable.

We could do a separate time travel thread (or folder) about time travel books and alt-history books, that might be an interesting discussion.

Jessica Cardwell (jessiekay77) I just joined this group, but I had to jump in this conversation because I read this book right after it came out due to my obsession with JFK. Did anyone else expect it would be more about what it would be like if JFK would have lived, a topic covered briefly in the book? It is Stephen King, however, and I should've known there was a twist. It wasn't what I expected, but I really enjoyed this book.

message 32: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) Well, he certainly did spend some time figuring out more or less what might have happened, working with Doris Kearns Goodwin, but I'm not sure where exactly he would have placed that. I can't write more on this thread, as details would be a spoiler, and is best for the completed book thread.

Crystal-ann | 1 comments It is funny, I wasn't going to read this book when I saw what it was about. I was worried it was going to be this propaganda type of book about the goodness of the democratic party and how the evils of the world revolve around the Republican party. Basically, a political lecture that I couldn't care less about. Then I was reminded it was Stephen King and he never writes anything that doesn't have a fantastical spin to it. This book far surpassed my expectations.

Carly Kohanski | 5 comments This is a very different Stephen King book. As I grew up during this time period and was actually living in Dallas, Texas at the time I loved the book. It is a long read, but I just couldn't put it down. I stayed in bed all one day reading. Please read this.

Tanner I loved this book. Mr. King proves once again that he is on top of his game! It doesn't matter if it's horror, drama, or this historical fiction. This one was hard to put down and kept me interested the enire time. Highly recommended!

Jason Baldwin-Stephens | 131 comments I generally don't like novels, movies, television that deals with time travel. It's just a pet peeve of mine as there is most always something that makes me say, "But wait! If they changed this then....."

I'm happy to say that this novel now joins The Time Traveler's Wife and the first Back to the Future movie as one of the few time travel stories that I've been able to get past my own hang ups regarding the subject matter and enjoy.

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