Next Monday is World Book Night and as a giver, I've chosen Stephen King's The Stand. I realized though that I've never ever posted anything about The Stand here on the blog. So here it is, my Stand (and King) story!
I started reading Stephen King when I was about 13. My mom held out as long as she could -- she had a copy of Pet Sematary in her closet that I'd been begging for and drooling over for years. Though mom didn't read a lot, she had read that one and combined with the nightmares she associated with my having watched It on tv when I was 9, there was no way she was letting me read King just yet. I might add that this was the time when you could frequently find Stephen King commercials all over tv -- they just teased me even more.
Side note -- It was not the cause of the nightmares. The shed with the open door outside my window was, thanks! Mom conveniently forgot to record the second half of the mini-series and it was years before I saw the whole thing.
So, around 1992 a tree fell in the office. The office was my grandfather's old house and the tree landed on the closed-in porch. Through a series of events that are still not completely known to me, they decided to sell the house (the buyer was going to move it off the property to a different location) and us kids (me, my brother, and my friend) were tapped to help box up and clean out.
Lo and behold, there was a copy of 'Salems Lot on the bookshelves (my grandmother was not a King fan), so I happily trotted up to mom and said it was mine now. I convinced her to hand over Pet Sematary and found a copy of Firestarter as well. And so my King reading began. Maybe too early. Of the three, the only one that held my young teenage interest (I finished them all) was Firestarter with its child protagonist. So I set aside my King obsession for about a year.
End of freshman year in high school, a friend loaned me the doorstopper hardcover edition of The Stand. I lugged that monster around in my backpack all by its lonesome. I toted it around the house, I read it over the side of the bathtub. I was entranced! I finished it in a week. This was the right book and I came to it at the right time.
And I became a King geek. As a bookseller, my coworkers would giggle anytime anyone would come in asking about King. I could talk your ear off about him. I have no end of recommendations for any kind of reader, but King is my all time favorite.
And so on Monday I get to hand out 20 copies of The Stand and I hope that I get to play a part in inspiring some new King fans and rabid readers.