I began reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series last year. I may have mentioned this in another blog post, but I did search for one and came up empty handed. So I deliver this news to you now, along with my purpose for doing so. King’s The Dark Tower saga … epic saga … consists of seven books in the main arc of the story and an eighth book released after the saga was completed, published between the years 1982 and 2012. It pretty much incorporates all of King’s classic works into part of a larger universe, with characters being interchangeable and events in one world (say, our world) being reflected in Mid-World, where dear Roland and Company venture toward the looming Tower.
I had put off reading The Dark Tower series for years because, to be perfectly honest, I hate picking up a series that isn’t complete. When I start something, I’d prefer it be a complete work that I’ll be able to read through without having to wait a year or more in between. You always run the risk of forgetting something important in that time, and I’m one of those people who rarely go back and reread something. Needless to say, I also lump in the fact that I’m currently 4 books in to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and am angrily awaiting Patrick Rothfuss’s third book in the Kingkiller chronicles. (Darn you, Rothfuss, where’s the friggin’ book!). I’m far enough behind in Martin’s saga that I should be safe, but as for that other one …
So many years ago, I picked up The Gunslinger and breezed through it. I put it down and picked up The Drawing of the Three. I got about four or five chapters in and put it away, shaking my head. Looking back, I believe I was too young to fully understand what I was reading. That’d never happened to me with a King book before because all through my teenage years I reach his work like a starving maniac. Short story collections were my favorites. But when it came to The Dark Tower, I don’t think I was ready for that kind of fantasy/science fiction/horror/etc form just yet.
Fast forward to last year, I … shall we say, found … the complete ebook collection of The Dark Tower. I threw it on my phone and began reading again. This time I feel I was ready. The Gunslinger once again flew through my brain. As soon as I processed it, I loaded up The Drawing of the Three. It took me a little longer because I started to become bored in certain spots. The narration of the tale seemed to snag on something along the way in certain places and I found myself wanting to hurry through it and be finished. I didn’t skip anything, though, I read the book in it’s entirety.
Then came The Wastelands, book three of the series. I read all the way through the first part, and then I was done. My time was consumed by other things and I just couldn’t force myself to pick the book back up. It was purely a mental thing. I’d lost interested and nothing can make me pick back up a book once that’s happened. I went nearly an entire year without reading another thing.
Last week, I plugged up an old Kindle HD my wife had abandoned for a newer model and loaded The Wastelands onto it. I’m breezing through it again. Still not as fast as I’d like, but I’m easing my way through, making sure the burnout is over with before going the final mile. I’m enjoying it again.
I can’t say why I go through these spells, but they don’t always last the same length of time. At one point, I went years without picking up a book. That was probably in my mid-to-late 20’s. Then the whole ebook revolution hit us and I was back on the book band wagon again. I believe that if ebooks hadn’t came along, I’d still be avoiding the firmness of paperbacks like the plague. If I had to pinpoint one thing that I could blame for my loss of interest, I’d say it was the storage space required. I’m not one that likes to get rid of my books, but I’m also not one that has endless space to store them. It had come to a point that was a no-win scenario. To this day, I believe that is why I eventually lost my interest. I’d rather not read at all than have to choose what to keep and what to get rid of.
But I suppose I’ve staggered around this subject enough for tonight. So, in closing, I’d like to thank Mr. King for his epic tomes and I hope to one day finish The Dark Tower Saga and honor Mr. King’s legacy. Oh, and as for that part where I said I don’t like to reread books? There is a small lie in there. The books I have bothered to reread in my lifetime are The Stand: Complete and Uncut and The Bachman Books. These are also two books that I have the hardcover editions of right now in my closet. I bought The Stand the same year the mini series came out. The Bachman Books I’d purchased and read during my teenage years, but sold the book during the time I’d lost interest. Just a year ago I found it on eBay and bought that sucker up. I’m proud to own both of these, and I think that may just make me a book nerd.
I’m okay with that.