Monday, November 16, 2015

#BooktagsBlogHop with Toi Thomas

It's the third Monday of the month which means it's time for another #BooktagsBlogHop book review! If you'd like to join us, please go here.

Today I'm going to discuss the latest book by my favorite author, Stephen King, called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

On the inside cover flap, the publisher is proud to point out that some of these short stories have never been published! What? That's supposed to be a selling point? I guess it's nice to let the reader know that not all the stories are new, but gee-whiz. Some of them have never been published? Like, yippee y'all.

So I was a little concerned, but since I'm such a huge fan, I decided to go for it. And I'm glad I did. My memory is absolutely terrible these days, but I did recognize the first tale (Mile 81), one in the middle called Blockade Billy, and the last tale (Summer Thunder). So those weren't my faves, but everything else (17 stories) was great stuff. No stinkers.

I particularly liked the Kindle Single King wrote called Ur in which one Wesley Smith gets his paws on a magic Kindle that sells books from thousands of other dimensions than ours. So Wes gets to read stuff by Hemingway and Faulkner that was never published in our dimension. Here's an excerpt of Cortland's Dogs "by" Hemingway. 

A man's life was five dogs long, Cortland believed. The first was the one that taught you. The second was the one you taught. The third and fourth were the ones you worked. The last was the one that outlived you. That was the winter dog.

Cool, huh? Could you imitate one of your favorite authors? I might be able to take a stab at King (pun not intended), but the classics? No way.

Speaking of an author's voice, each story comes with a little intro. from King describing the tale's origins. I love reading stuff like that. King writes how other author's voices influence his work and, as a writer, I found that fascinating. When I went to hear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun) speak, she said she didn't read fiction while she was writing fiction because she didn't want another author's voice coloring her work. I was impressed and horrified. How could I not read fiction while writing my own? That would be like not breathing while writing! So it was a relief to read that King doesn't worry about that. Instead he embraces it.

If you are a writer, do you worry about another author's voice coming out in your work?


  1. It's been years since I read any of his short stories. I prefer those to his full length novels.

  2. Like Diane Wolfe, I haven't read any King in a very long time. I do enjoy his shorts over his full length books. My favorite was always Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption...long before it was ever a movie!

  3. I don't think I've ever read a Stephen King book. Is this a good one to start with?

    1. Sure. My favorite novel of his is Lisey's Story. Since you're a science fiction writer, the Dark Tower Series might be of interest.

  4. I've never read one of his books all the way through, but I haven't actually picked on up sense I've been an adult. I've liked the few short stories of his that I've read. I guess I should give one of his novels a try sometime.

    As for voice, I don't think I could lose mine even if I tried. I've tried imitating other authors just for fun with a modicum of sucess, but only with short stories. My voice is too strong to cover up when I'm working on something that's purely original and purely me.

    Thanks so much for hopping along with me this month.

  5. Hi Tamara. Thanks for reviewing this King book. I hadn't read it. I like King in small doses and have to be in the mood. These bite-size stories might be just the thing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I have never read any of Stephen King's books, but I would like to read at least one someday. I think I might be able to imitate some of the modern, young adult authors and I have considered attempting to write in the style of Jane Austen.

  7. This book is my "reward" for when I win NaNo. Can't wait to read it!

    I can't imagine not reading, whether I'm in the middle of writing or not. I might switch up genres or read shorter works or something like that, but if I don't read, I get cranky. :)

  8. Oh yeah... Whatever I'm reading will totally color my own work, from stuff as small as word choices to huge, developmental stuff like character ideas and plot twists. Which is great in terms of stimulating creativity, but we all know the havoc plot bunnies can wreak :D So yes, I try to limit my "influence intake", at least during the first drafts—not by not reading, mind you (that's impossible, sorry), but by choosing what I read to match the tone/flavor/pitch I'm trying to achieve in my WIP. Sometimes it works. Sometimes ;)

    Great post! I'm also a fan of King—and that Hemingway bit is *brilliant*. Excellent point on imitating the greats... An extraordinary exercise.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

  9. I used to worry about that, but when you read a TON, no single author will influence you that much. I think the true key to becoming an author is writing enough that your voice becomes stronger than any you read.

  10. This King book caught my eye when I was in Costco the other day. I haven't read much King though I have a few books in my ownership that I still need to read.

    I don't concern myself with channeling other writers. Influence is good, but I don't think I read enough of any author to become overly influenced. And like you indicated, I have a bad memory so I probably wouldn't be so great at writing in another author's voice.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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