Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Bird and Bear and Hare and Fish

Give my love her fondest wish.

At least part of my plan for this week is working out so far. For the second day in a row, I've managed to arrive at work on time. Putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room seems to have done the trick, so hopefully I'm turning over a new leaf. I hate the fact that I had to resort to a gimmick of sorts in order to achieve something so simple, but there you have it.

I'm pretty tired this morning, and that comes from my inability thus far to get to bed by 1:00 a.m. as I said I would try to do this week. On Sunday night Brandi and I were out later than that; last night I was actually in bed by that time but couldn't sleep due to the nap I took earlier in the evening, so I got back up and stayed up until almost 3:00. As long as I can continue to wake up and get to work on time, I'm not too concerned about it, but it would be nice to get a little more sleep and not drag through mornings all the time. Of course, not being a morning person, dragging through mornings (no matter how much sleep I get) is part of who I am.

As per usual, I was reading instead of sleeping. I want to talk a little bit about the book I'm reading (re-reading, actually), Wizard and Glass by Stephen King, which may well be my favorite book of all time.

Wizard and Glass is the fourth book in King's Dark Tower series, which currently also comprises The Gunslinger (Book I), The Drawing of the Three (Book II), The Waste Lands (Book III), and Wolves of the Calla (Book V). Book VI, Song of Susannah, is due out in June; and Book VII, The Dark Tower (the final book in the series) in September. Along with these books, the Tower series relates to a number of King's other novels, most notably The Stand, Insomnia, 'Salem's Lot, Hearts in Atlantis, and The Eyes of the Dragon; and The Talisman and Black House, which were co-authored by Peter Straub.

Without going into too much detail and/or giving away anything vital, the Dark Tower series tells the story of Roland Deschain, the world's last gunslinger, who is on a quest to find the Dark Tower and save the world (and perhaps the universe) from the malaise which has crept into it. It's a lot like Lord of the Rings, except totally different.

The bulk of Wizard and Glass offers a slice of Roland's backstory: a tale from his youth that went a long way toward shaping his quest and the man he has become. At the tale's heart is a love story, the story of Roland's first and only true love: lovely Susan, girl at the window. He loves her and loses her, and it haunts him for the rest of his life.

The entire Dark Tower series blows me away. King has created an entirely different world, complete with its own history, cultures, and even languages, very much like Tolkien did for Lord of the Rings. The amount of detail contained in this story is incredible, and I enjoy it very much. It gives the story a certain depth, a gritty reality, a lushness that is believable despite the story's fantasy origins. Also, as he tends to do, King gives us characters that are likeable and believable as well. For me at least, it makes it incredibly difficult to put any of these books down once I've started.

The reason Wizard and Glass has become my favorite of the bunch, and perhaps my favorite in general, is because of the love story that lies at the heart of it. Roland is 14 years old at this part of the story, and Susan, his love, is 16. King's own teenage years lie far in his past, yet he absolutely nails the prose dealing with teenage love. Somebody tossed ol' Steve a big fat softball, and he stepped up and drilled it out of the park. Some of the passages are just incredible.

At any rate, that's the main reason why I have a hard time putting this book down, and why it's one of my most frequent re-reads. At some point I'll probably get the audiobook to see if the prose sounds as good as it reads. Then perhaps I can fall asleep while listening, instead of staying awake to read.

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