On Reading Stephen King

   With the upcoming releases of It and The Gunslinger, I feel like there is a bit of a Stephen King resurgence going on. Which is a ridiculous thought really considering he never went anywhere and his work has continued on with great popularity. His resurgence is only a personal one that I experience all to myself.

    You see, I gave up on Stephen King years ago after reading the final book of the Dark Tower series. I hated the ending. It felt like a total cop-out. I thought to myself that after all the time and work he had put into the series he must have grown sick of it all and just decided to end it in the most ridiculous way possible. I was young, (well, youngish), so you will have to forgive me for my naivety.

   I understand now the brilliance of ending the series in the way that he did. I am, at least, a  tiny bit more literary, and certainly more well-read now than I was in 2004. But back then, I felt cheated. I wanted something more, something different, something concrete damn it, from the ending. All that time, all of those years it took to read that series felt wasted. A whole decade of my life I had spent working my way toward the Dark Tower, and I didn't like what I found there.

   In my grief over what I felt I had lost, what I had essentially been robbed of, I gave up on Stephen King. I gathered my entire collection of his works, slapped .50 stickers on them and threw them in a box for my next yard sale.

   I suffer an entirely different sort of grief now as I look back to the dozens of books I purged from my life in what amounted to nothing more than a reader's temper tantrum. My book shelves are less complete than they should be. My life as a reader is a little less haunted with wonderful tales of the bizarre. It would cost me a hell of a lot more than the fifteen or twenty dollars I sold those books for to replace them all. But still, I might.

   For now I can only comfort myself in the knowledge that the lonely old man who lived down the street, walked away from my yard sale with not only a box of King's special magic, but also with a real sense of joy at the hours and hours of reading he had ahead of himself.

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