Frequently, when I am working on something like weeding, raking, washing dishes, doing simple paperwork, folding clothes or piecing quilts I listen to books on tape. Our public library has an extensive collection of them, so I can listen to old friends or visit with new books I’ve never met.
Right now, I have Stephen King’s “The Stand.” It’s the unabridged version, and there are about 22 tapes. I have to return it on Monday, so the race is on to see if I can hear the entire book this week!
I’ve read “The Stand” at least twice in the past 25 years. Personally, I think it’s the best book King has ever written, although I have to admit that I stopped reading his work after “Pet Sematary.” He willingly admits that he goes for the most gross as he sets up the books, and his work lost his appeal at that point.
The interesting thing about hearing “The Stand” on tape is that it makes it scarier, if that’s possible. I have always thought that it was better to read a book than to see a movie of the book. When you see a movie, you see someone else’s interpretation of the book, altered by the time and money constraints of the film making. Generally, I’d rather have my own vision of the book playing through my mind.
If you haven’t read the book, it’s the quintessential story of good versus evil. A virus escapes containment at an Army facility and it’s spread throughout the USA (and ultimately, the world), with a 95% fatality rate.
One by one, survivors begin to find each other and experience dreams that draw them either to Mother Abigail in Nebraska, or to the Walking Dude in Las Vegas.
King explores human weakness and strength as he develops the characters, and shows how little it takes to make a person strong, or to have them fail. One of the characters is a deaf-mute. Another is a retarded man. There’s a singer/songwriter who wants to be good, but keeps finding the bad in himself, and a man who exists to burn things. And there’s a girl who is pregnant, who doesn’t know if her baby will have her immunity when it’s born.
Ultimately the good guys end up in Denver, and there has to be a showdown between them and the people who have been drawn to Las Vegas. People you’ve had faith in loose their way, and others find strengths you didn’t know for sure they had. There’s a surprise in every chapter.
You already know I recommend this book, or I wouldn’t be taking the time to listen to the unabridged version. It’s a LONG book. Ask for a copy for Christmas, stock up on wood for the fireplace, make a hot toddy, and pick up the book. I’m sure you’ll find it absorbing.