Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Stand Story

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.


le0pard13 said...

Great story with a seminal book by Stephen King. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Since The Stand Audiobook came out, a lot of people have been sharing there "stories" with this book. It's amazing how one book can affect so many people. Thanks for sharing.

Fear Death By Water said...

I think I must have read The Stand at about the same time. I was already a big Stephen King fan at that time. Also as a reluctant reader my parents really didn't care what I was reading ... just so long as I didn't bug them about nightmares anything was fair game.

The Stand didn't turn me into a Stephen King junkie, rather it made me into an apocalyptic fiction junkie. I read Swan Song And Battlefield Earth soon after.

So remember you may start 20 people on the road to being Stephen King junkies ... but you may also turn them onto end of the world fiction in general. Nicely done.

Becky LeJeune said...

Thanks, everyone!

Sparking an end of the world fiction obsession would be fine with me. I'm quite fond of post apocalyptic stories! I just recently devoured Alex Adams's WHITE HORSE and highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, THE STAND, what a wonderful book. I read it in college, probably my senior year. I had read SALEM'S LOT and was amazed at this horror story that I just fell into - first time for vampires. And then I managed to get a copy of THE STAND. Oh...my...goodness. Such an experience. I've probably read it 3 or 4 times. Haven't gone back to it for probably 20 years. I think it might be time again and do you say that it's available in audio? OK, I'm going to find it.

Good luck with your event on Monday night. Just think, 20 people will get to experience this great book. :-)

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Oh how I love this post! I was about the same age when I discovered King and his books introduced me to a whole new world of reading. I, too, am handing out THE STAND on Monday. I only hope that the people who receive it will appreciate it as much as I did!