Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poor Bialy. What a loser.

Last night, I finished reading Stephen King's 1989 novel, The Dark Half. It's a fascinating book about a writer dealing with his murderous pseudonymous alter ego. Yet that description doesn't really do the novel justice. "Dealing" ought to be "dueling," and "alter ego" might more properly be rendered "ghost of his never-existent twin brother." But that's just confusing. Read it anyway. I wouldn't really call the book scary (at least not like The Dark Thirty, which still gives me chills); I would call it psychological in the most thrilling sense of the word.

You know the difference between classic, good, and crappy books? You finish a crappy book saying "Wha--???", then you put it down and never think about it again. You finish a good book saying "Wha--???" and spend the next few days trying to figure out exactly what happened. (If you're like me, you look for anything on the internet that will tell you what really happened.) Finally, you finish a classic saying "Wha--???" and spend the rest of your life trying to figure out exactly what happened.

We've all read crappy books. I won't embarrass the writers (or risk libel) by naming them. Examples of good books include Scott Turow's Reversible Errors or John Grisham's The King of Torts. The best example of a classic is John Steinbeck's East of Eden. (If you haven't read that, you can hardly say that you know how to read.)

The Dark Half falls squarely into the good book category. Since I took a creative writing class in college, I read books with an eye toward literary innovation and creativity, in addition to the pure enjoyability of a book. The Dark Half is creative and enjoyable, if not innovative (at least not like Carrie). I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

Justin said...

I'm thrilled to see your support of "East of Eden". My favorite Steinbeck book by far.