Showing posts from November, 2014

Cephalopod Coffee House

Welcome to the Cephalopod Coffee House. The purpose of this little get together is to write about the best book you've read in the past month. The blog hop is hosted by The Armchair Squid, so please take a moment to pop over to his blog to say hi.

These days, I only get around to reading one book a month. I wanted to branch out and read something not written by Stephen King, but that didn't happen.

I decided to read Joyland after hearing an interview with Stephen King on Fresh Air. It was a very interesting interview and the way the novel was described hooked me. It really doesn’t take much to get me to read anything King writes, so I downloaded it and dove right in. story takes place in the summer and fall of 1973. The narrator, Devin Jones, tells the story of his time working at an amusement park in North Carolina. On his first day there, he is told the story of a young woman who went into the haunted house and never came out. Well, never came out alive. It is said that she haunts the place of her death. He is quickly entranced with the tale, and makes it his mission to see her ghost just once. Soon the obsession turns to finding her killer.

In the meantime, Devin is twenty-one years old and he has had his heart broken for the first time. He meets a boy who is slowly dying, and the boy’s mother won’t accept that fact. He makes new, life-long friends and learns that even the friendliest faces have a very unfriendly side.

Joyland was written especially for Hard Case Crime, which specializes in reprints of old pulp novels and  new “hard boiled” crime novels. It is both a very Stephen King book, and a very un-Stephen King book. His characters with all their personality quirks and verbal tics are fully rendered, just as you would expect. A big plus is that the story is told in the first person which keeps the plot tightly focused, unlike some of his more ambitious tales. But it’s not scary, or gory or even unsettling (although, I suppose your threshold for unsettling may differ from mine). If you’re looking for murder clowns, and things that go bump in the night, you will leave sorely disappointed. If, by the cover, you are expecting some sort of pulpy murder mystery full of hard dames, and the PIs who lust after them, you are also in the wrong place. In the end, Joyland is a coming of age tale with a murder and a ghost thrown in to check the boxes, which (I feel) does the main plot a huge disservice.

The verdict: Joyland is a wonderful coming of age tale, not so wonderful horror or mystery. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from getting into it, but just be forewarned before going in.

Take a moment to check out the other participants below.

Am I old? I think I'm old.

I'm 37 years old. I'm often mistaken for 7-10 years younger. I just look young, and that's just fine with me. It's most likely due to genetics, because it's certainly not up to healthy living

I don't usually feel my age. I don't mean that I'm full of energy and a zest for life, or whatever it is that makes younger people seem younger. I just don't feel like someone in their late thirties. I guess part of it is that I'm one of the youngest people in my department at work, and I spend a lot of time around women complaining about hot flashes. It also seems that the people I spend time with who are my age just look and act older then me. The men are going bald, the women have streaks of gray in their hair. They all look a bit haggard. Most of them have settled into their lives. I know people my age who have kids in college. I know people my age with grandchildren.

I still don't "feel" my age. But I was reminded of how "old" I actually am this week.

For the past year I have been taking classes at the local community college. Most of the classes I took were online with 0-nil interaction with my classmates, but this semester I am taking an Anatomy and Physiology class in person. Going into this I knew I would be one of the older people in class. There were maybe two students who were older than me at the beginning of the semester. Now, I'm the oldest person left. No big deal. I'm doing fine. I certainly don't feel as if my "age" is holding me back.

My lab partners were aware that I'm older than them, but they didn't have any idea of how much older until just this past Monday when they were discussing their ACT scores. I let it be known that my ACT scores were 20 years old. The look on these kids' faces. It was like I'd told them I rode a dinosaur to school; ten miles, uphill both ways.

And here's the thing. I know exactly what they were thinking. They were thinking I was OLD. I know they thought that because when I was 19 or 20, I thought anyone over 30 was old, 40 was ancient, and 50?  Might as well start making funeral arrangements.

That was literally the first time I had ever actually been self-conscious about my age.

I have plenty of things to be self-conscious about. Dissecting a cow eye with people technically young enough to be my children should not be one of them.

(FYI and of topic: Eyes are gross on the inside.)

This really got me thinking: It boggles my mind that the nineties ended nearly fifteen years ago. I'm appalled when I realize that someone born in 1987 has accomplished much more than I have. A person born in 1996 is old enough to vote, and my own son is completely comfortable with all manner of technological doo-dads. In my day, only rich, fancy people had a PC in their home, and everyone else used the computer at the public library to play Oregon Trail. I learned to type on a typewriter. A few years ago, I was at the zoo with my son, and there was a "safari" display that included a typewriter. My son banged on the keys a couple of times and then asked, "Mom, what is this thing?" I had to explain what a typewriter was. I've never told anyone to get off my lawn, but that's only because nobody ever goes no my lawn except me.

In the end I have to admit that I am...older. But it sucks to have it nailed home in such a tiny, inconsequential way.


This month I had a whole thing written bemoaning the fact that I'm not achieving, or even shooting for, any writing goals. But after reading it over several times, I decided to be a little more positive. So what if I haven't written anything new in months. I have several short stories that need editing. 90% of writing is editing, right?

So, that's what I'm going to do this month. I'm also going to try to get back into the swing of things regarding blogging/visiting.

That's it. Nothing special. No encouragement for anyone else, because I'm using it all on myself.