Stories can affect us emotionally; most good stories make us feel something. But they can also affect how we see the world, and help us form our opinions on ‘real world’ issues and problems. They can help us relate to people or situations we might not otherwise have ever experienced. As a 30-something year old, white, English woman there are certain things I will never experience myself and absorbing a wide range of stories, told from different viewpoints and by a diverse range of people can help me understand those experiences better. I often find voracious story consumers to have higher levels of empathy.
Stories can also help us get through difficult times via escapism or by giving us the tools to handle our own challenges. As a massive fan of horror, I sometimes get confused looks when I explain to friends and family that I can take real comfort from stories they might find frightening. But any genre can do all of the above.
Stories come in many mediums, that’s why this website looks at books, films, videogames, online mediums etc. Today I want to talk to you about books. In particular my top five books.
There are some spoilers in today’s letter so make sure you are careful if you don’t want certain stories spoiled for you. I have done my very best to keep spoilers to a minimum though and have put warnings throughout.
So, without further delay and in no particular order…
Today I want to talk to you about one of my favourite writers and an adaptation of one of their novellas. I’d like to look at the adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Mist’. The novella was released in 1985 in the collection ‘The skeleton Crew’, while the film came out in 2007.
In my opinion, the main things that changed when the novella got adapted were the atmosphere and tone of the story. I want to focus this blog on the elements that the director changed which I feel has effected these.
The most obvious in my opinion is the pacing, the novella, for all it is short at only 130 pages, is a slow burn. Everything in the novella takes time, the characters are introduced gently and given time to establish themselves before we get to the monsters (the first one doesn’t show up until the second third of the novella). King uses the first third of the story to foreshadow, build tension and most importantly make you care and connect with the characters.
The film jumps almost straight to the action, we get a brief introduction of our main character, his son and his neighbour all before we’re whisked away into the supermarket where the bulk of the film takes place. I understand that films will struggle with pacing compared to novels and novellas, they are a completely different medium so we struggle to spend time in our MC’s head, films also have a limited run time so it’s natural that they might cut some of the ‘fluff’ but the world and character building does suffer for it in my opinion.
Today I am writing to you about Dr Sleep, which is the sequel to Stephen Kings 1977 novel The Shining. Dr Sleep was published in 2013 and one the 2013 Bram Stoker award for best novel.
The book opens with Danny being educated by Dick Hallorann, who is now a benevolent spirit, on how to control the ghosts from the now destroyed Overlook hotel who are pursuing him. Danny is taught to lock the ghosts in imaginary boxes in his mind, which is enough to protect him. We are also introduced to a cult, led by Rose the Hat, this cult effectively feed on people who have the shining ability is this extend their lives.
Today I am writing to discuss one of my all-time favourite King novels, it also happens to be one of his favourites as well. I am, of course, talking about Salem’s Lot.
King’s take on vampires was published in October 1975 by Doubleday and has since been made into an illustrated book, an audio book, a radio drama, and a film/ two-part television miniseries. There was a sequel film, Return to Salem’s Lot, the town was mentioned in the Castle Rock series and lastly, after the success of IT, the two-part miniseries has also been earmarked for a remake, though no release date has been announced, it only got its director in April 2020.
All that aside, this review will focus on the book, released in 1975. Spoilers ahead!
I wanted to write to you with a recommendation today and I wanted that to be a book. Naturally, my mind wondered to one of my favourite horror authors, Stephen King, and that is when I hit a brick wall.
I cannot choose just one.
I genuinely cannot choose my favourite King book. I have multiple favourites, hell even the books that are not my favourite ones I can still find things I really like about them. So, today I have decided to talk about my top five most re-readable King books. These are the books I go back to again and again and again. The ones I must replace because the spines give up or the covers fall off.
Stephen King’s The Shining by Stanley Kubrick is perhaps one of the most well-known horror films out in the world today.
Many are familiar with the story, the quotes, memorable moments and the countless spoof versions roaming the land.
The Simpsons one is my personal favourite, I love the scene of the blood coming out of the elevator, Mr Burns is not freaked out but confused as the blood normally gets off on a different floor, oh and Homer scaring himself by looking in the mirror is awesome.
But spoofs aside, the book was pretty different, at least in places. To the point where there are rumours that King strongly disliked the Kubrick film due to these changes.
Today I want to talk about the differences between Stephen King’s story and Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic version.
Partly because the original movie freaked me out so much as a kid and I knew this movie (no matter how good) would never be able to recreate that feeling of genuine fear that tiny Katie had felt watching the original. But also partly because I did know what to expect, was this going to be a carbon copy with updated effects (think Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast) or was it going to be truer to the book (think Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book (slightly)).
As it turned out I really enjoyed the first part, it was well-acted and well-paced, with enough of the original film to tease my nostalgia feels and enough new/book stuff to please the reader in me.
I have high hopes for the second part, it has got some good actors and I’m excited to see how they handle it.
Are you excited? Are you worried? Or are you pretty chill?