What I’m reading (and how)

Right now I’m reading Doctor Sleep and I’m loving it.

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Stephen King’s novels are among the most compulsively readable books I read, meaning I can stay up until almost eleven o’clock on a weeknight I love them so much. I one time turned down a trip to Target at the holidays with my sister and mother to say home and read Under the Dome. That might not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it’s like passing on the trifecta of happiness: Target, family, holidays.

I wish I didn’t categorize books as much as I do into fun reading and work reading, but there you go. Even if I read a book for fun and then later decide I’m going to teach it (I’m looking at you, Olive Kitteridge), it automatically begins to feel like a chore. Part of it is that once something is assigned, it automatically becomes less fun to read because you have to, even if you’re the one who assigned it. Part of it is that I have to be able to come up with something smart to say about the book–pushing beyond isn’t this awesome, to why it’s awesome. My big fear teaching is that I stand up there like an episode of the Chris Farley show.

And the real hesitation here is that, once I look closely at something and try to figure out how it was put together, it’s just not as magical. Reading this way is crucial for me as a teacher and especially for me as a writer, but sometimes as a reader, I feel a bit deflated. I don’t want to see the writer behind the curtain.

I think the reason I haven’t bothered to figure out why exactly I love Stephen King’s novels so much is because I don’t have to. I’m not well versed enough in the horror genre to teach most of his stuff, and I know his books are ones my students will read on their own anyway. Plus, many of the novels are just too dang long for what I’d do in class. So for now, I just love it to love it.

That part in Doctor Sleep? Where Dan Torrence has to convince Dr. John to travel to that place? And they dig up the thing? While he’s head-talking with the girl? Awesome!


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