Review: Stephen King’s The Stand (Forty Years Old!)

“People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad.”

It’s World Book Day today! In celebration, I’d like to take you back forty years ago. Stephen King released his first true epic: The Stand. I’ve only managed to read it twice, as the “The Complete And Uncut Edition” I have is 1162 pages! Yes, I’ve re-read King’s IT countless times and that’s about the same size as The Stand. But I came to The Stand a lot later in life than I did IT. IT has a certain nostalgia for me; The Stand has zero nostalgia. So I read it without bias, without a memory of a different time. I’ll approach it again this year, but as it stands, The Stand ranks as one of King’s best novels. Continue reading

Halloween Special Review: Stephen King’s Danse Macabre (Waltz With This Book!)

“Why do people want to be horrified…why do people pay to be horrified?”

Who doesn’t love Stephen King? Probably a great number of people, but I’m a lover of Stephen King. He is truly the modern master of horror fiction and understands how to get beneath the reader’s skin and scare the bejesus out of them. I never thought of picking up Danse Macabre before, his non-fiction work about the horror genre (in film, fiction and radio). Yes, I picked up his ‘On Writing,’ but as a budding writer that’s just par for the course. However, I picked up Danse Macabre for a pound from a local charity shop a few weeks ago. If you are a lover of horror, or even just like to dip your toes into the muddy waters once in a while, I insist you pick it up as well. It’s insightful look into what makes horror work is incredible. Continue reading

Review: ‘Watchmen’ by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (The Greatest Graphic Novel Of All Time?)

watchmen-cover“Hmmm…that’s quite a drop”

Thirty years on since Issue 1 of ‘Watchmen’ was first published, has there been a better graphic novel/comic book serial? Is it really the greatest graphic novel of all time? Now, I’m no graphic novel/comic book expert. Graphic novels, I’ve read  a few…the heavy hitters spring to mind, like ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ ‘V For Vendetta.’ Daredevil: ‘The Man Without Fear’ and Batman: ‘The Killing Joke’ also number my small collection. However, even without any knowledge of graphic novels, it’s easy to say that ‘Watchmen’ is a masterpiece. It’s easily the greatest graphic novel that I’ve ever read. Continue reading

Review: Stephen King’s ‘IT’ (The Book, Not The Film!)


“Everything down here floats”

I’ve just read Stephen King’s ‘IT’ for about the tenth time. Ever since I laid my hands on it, in a school library at the age of fifteen, I’ve reread it every few years or so. I had been a fan of Stephen King since the age of seven or eight, but had never gotten around to read ‘IT.’ However, I stumbled upon ‘IT’ in the school library. A half-baked memory arose from staying over at my grandparents and watching the TV movie based on the book. I could hear a clown saying something about floating. I remembered showerheads attacking a weedy little kid, a blood bubble bursting in a pipe, and a massive spider. So I immediately picked up the book and began to read it (and, funnily enough, I finished the book in my grandparents house!). Continue reading

Review: J.G. Ballard’s ‘Chronopolis’ in J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Complete Short Stories, Volume 1 (A Timeless Short Story?)


Ahhh, J.G.Ballard…one of my favourites authors. With the big screen adaptation of ‘High-Rise coming to our cinemas shortly and World Book Day trending, I thought I’d go back to Ballard’s ‘The Complete Short Stories, Volume 1.’ I’m currently halfway though ‘Volume 2,’ but there was one particular story in ‘Volume 1’ that has always stuck with me. That particular short story is ‘Chronopolis’, one of Ballard’s early short stories. Continue reading

Review: Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee (2015)

go set a watchman

“She wondered why she had never thought her country beautiful”

Was a sequel to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ strictly necessary? It was a self-contained story that left no threads dangling. Harper Lee’s agent told her to write her novel about Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch returning to Alabama from New York from the perspective of the child, and change Lee’s original title, ‘Go Set A Watchmen.’ Thus we had the classic book ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ But does ‘Go Set A Watchman,’ the story of Scout’s adulthood, offer us anything valuable? Does it offer us anything worthwhile? Unfortunately, the answer is: not really… Continue reading

Review: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘Notes From Underground’ (See the light after you’ve read it!)

The Double is also worth a read (and after you've read it, watch the film by Richard Ayoade...)
The Double is also worth a read (and after you’ve read it, watch the film by Richard Ayoade…)

“I am a sick man, I am an angry man…”

As it’s World Book Day, I thought I’d review one of my favourite short stories. If you want a short introduction to existentialism, then forget those terrible ‘Short Introduction’ booklets that are meant for children. Don’t be a pretentious prat and vouch for Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Existentialism and Humanism’, either (unless you want to improve your bookshelf, and if that’s the case I would recommend ‘Being and Nothingness’ instead, about 100 times the size of ‘Existentialism…). Instead, buy/borrow Dostoyevsky’s ‘Notes from Underground’. This also serves nicely as a ‘Short Introduction’ for Fyodor’s later works, as themes explored in this novel are embellished in his later greats such as ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ (which should be compulsory reading for everyone) and ‘Crime and Punishment.’ It prepares readers for his peculiarly 19th century Russian way of writing.  Continue reading