Monday, July 18, 2016

Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

I think everyone knows who Stephen King is. Although he is so popular, I have not really read his books. I have watched a few of his books that have been adapted into movies though, like the Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption and I actually enjoyed those movies.

Bazaar of Bad Dreams might be my first actual encounter of Stephen King the author. The real up close and personal thing with the famous author of horror, supernatural, suspense and mystery. I had been seeing a few people reading this book on Goodreads so I might as well start reading a Stephen King.

Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a collection of short stories accumulated throughout the writing career of King.  Some of them have been published and some have not. And I thought what better way to immerse into a Stephen-King-experience than by reading a book of his short stories. I thought, I am in for a wild ride.

Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King book review

What I like about the book is the introduction of King for each story. He explains how the story came about. It would be about a friend, an experience, a scene before him and a lot of other things. As what happens to all ordinary people, when we see a picture before us or an incident, sometimes our brains start to run wild and make up stories. This is also true for King. The book is called Bazaar of Bad Dreams because most of the stories are gearing on the supernatural, bizarre and scary aisle. Bazaar because as to the start of the book, King tells his readers that you are in a night bazaar, all wares are laid out for both the curious and the ones who want to buy an item. Each item represents a bizarre story born out of King's very incredible and limitless imagination. But mind you, the stories are not for the chicken-hearted and I would definitely not recommend them to be read by kids who scare easily. I think, kids should not read them at all as their imagination would surely get a better of them and give them bad dreams. But then, read them at your own risk. You have been warned, both by King and yours truly.

Like the first story for example, I thought it was a story for kids, only to find out that I would certainly keep my nephews and niece away from it. Until they are mature enough to understand that this is just a story and is just a product of a very active imagination. No need to worry that this will happen in real life. That's how talented Stephen King is. Even at my age, the story scared me a bit but I am more in awe of his writing skills and his power to spin stories. Amazing!

So far, there are about three stories that I really like in the collection. These stories are what I think the-feel-good ones. I think I can allow kids to read them. Two may be about death but there is a light aspect in them that makes me want them to be real--like maybe we can have a second chance, a chance to live our lives again but then, everything will happen the same way because you will never know that you have lived thru the same experience once before. Hmmm, ever wonder about deja vu? Well, as per the story, deja vu feels like you have done the same thing before because you exactly did. Part of the agreement for the second chance is that you won't ever remember a thing of the previous life. So, if you wanted a second chance to do a do-over, you will not actually get to remember what you wanted to change in the next life and end up doing literally the same thing to the letter, as what you have done in the past or past lives. Bummer!

The other story is about obituaries. I wondered also how would it be like if you hold a power in your hands. A power to impose death on people who deserve it because they have hurt and have done injustices in this world. Of course, there are grave consequences. So, beware...

The third story is a very modern one --about an e-book reader. I really liked it because I can totally relate to how fun it is to be reading books from mobile devices. Though of course, I think, most book lovers would agree, that there is no substitute for the simple act of flipping through the pages and the smell of printed paper or just yellowed paper. Not to mention, the pleasure of highlighting your favorite lines or make notes on the margins. Though, I am more of a dermatograph type. No hassle of removing the cap of a highlighter and dermatographs last longer. I also like the part when you have to remove the twirling paper to expose more tip. Yes, I am absolutely a true-blooded bookworm though my blog says i-am-not-a-bookworm. I like to play reverse psychology most of the time. What I like about modern reading devices is the convenience, especially when the book you are reading would be a very bulky and heavy one to carry around it if was in print. Everyone is taking advantage of technology, why not the nerds as well. I am a tech-y person also. I love technology.

This book has been a really good introduction to Stephen King. I would definitely read more of his works. Although I have to say, there are some stories that I really did not like but more because of the theme or that the story was not really clear. There is no arguing about his writing prowess. King is a legend and no one could discount his abilities. It was just that some are just too impossible for my taste. But then, I applaud his super uncanny power of imagination. Just extraordinary! 

I give the book two and a half stars. I think some stories are too short. I want them to be longer. Some were also not so clear or I just didn't get them. But I think I would appreciate more of King if I read his other books. One novel at a time. 

So, onward to reading more of Stephen King. I am not sure what I should read next. Maybe, I will start with the ones I have seen in the movies like Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption. I am sure, the books are always way better that the movies. Way, way better.