It's Wednesday, November 4, 2015 as I write this. A new King book -- The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, natch -- came out yesterday. My copies (I bought two, one to take notes in) came in the mail yesterday, and I did a strange thing: I didn't start reading it.
Long story short: I had a few projects I wanted to finish up because I knew that if I dove immediately into a new King collection, I'd put them off and possibly never get them done.
Projects are now finished, however, and I'm typing these words in preparation for sitting down and getting to work reading. I'm not planning to do what I normally do, which is to read it in a mere day or two. Since this is a collection of stories (the vast majority of which I've already read via their original appearances), I figure on taking it slower.
Plus...? A new James Bond movie comes out this week. I'll be seeing it tonight, which means that I've got to get to work on my review of it for You Only Blog Twice. The plan there is to watch it three or four times: at least once for enjoyment, and at least as-many-more-as-I-can-squeeze-in for note-taking purposes (no, I won't be taking notes right there in the theatre; that would be lame). Do the math on that and you'll see that that is going to consume a goodish portion of the next week.
That doesn't leave all that much time for reading, so this post is going to take a bit of a backburner.
I know what you're thinking: this sonofabitch who writes a Stephen King blog is shoving Stephen King over the side of the boat in favor of James Bond! Traitor!!!
It isn't so, folks, cry your pardon.
The fact is, I have read the majority of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. So while it's exciting to have it in hand and to integrate it onto my shelf, it's a very different thing than if a new King novel had come out. "And," you ask, "if it had...?"
Man, that's a tough call. My King fandom is probably superior to my Bond fandom, but my Bond fandom is much older. Still, if I have to choose, I choose King.
But I'd still give preference to the new Bond movie. Here's why: seeing it on the best possible screen is important to me. It's going to be playing in IMAX near me, so I will be watching it on that screen every time I watch it. And that's a thing with an expiration-date on it: it will only be there for two weeks, until the new Hunger Games movie comes out. A new King novel, on the other hand, will be in hardback forever, and my armchair and reading lamp will be in the same place. My cats are still going to want to get in my lap in a few days. King can wait, because the experience will be the same, whereas the experience of Spectre will be different in a couple of weeks. Not hugely; but enough to make a difference to me.
Now, here's a question: what if it was a new Dark Tower novel?
In that case, I think my brain would probably explode, negating the need for a choice of any kind.
In any case, it's irrelevant. The format of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams means that I can go ahead and start reading, and take it a story at a time. If 007 muscles Uncle Steve out of the way for a day or two, well, I'll pick back up with a new story once that has passed. Simple! No fuss, no muss.
My plan, then, is to write this review piecemeal, story by story as I progress. It won't be super-intensive, and there won't be spoilers, so it ought to be quite easy to write. Hell, I've already written about most of these stories anyways, so it's possible that I'll mostly be comparing this read to the first one to see how my opinions have or haven't changed.
I love it when King gives us an introduction or an afterword to his books, and he's typically in fine form when it comes to doing so for his short-story or novella collections.
This one is no different. "I've made some things for you," he says at the beginning, by way of creating the atmosphere of a midnight street-vendor hawking his lovingly-handmade wares. It's a lovely device that (A) immediately turns me into a fan of this collections's title whereas I'd only been so-so on it before; and (B) reminds me of the beginning of Aladdin.