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Pikathulhu

Pikathulhu

Joined July 2022

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.“ - Stephen King
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Pikathulhu
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Pickpick

Not to sound hyperbolic, but I genuinely felt You Like It Darker was King's best collection of short stories in a very long while. All twelve were memorable, and kept me turning pages in a burning desire to seek resolution, but the clear standouts were Two Talented Bastids, Danny Coughlin's Bad Dream, On Slide Inn Road, The Turbulence Expert, Laurie, Rattlesnakes, The Dreamers, and The Answer Man. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Holly: A Novel | Stephen King
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I feel like each successive entry in King's Holly Gibney line showcases an author dialing in more precisely on what he loves about the character and what makes her books so unique. Holly is no different. To date, this feels like the purest distillation of what makes Holly such an engaging character. The supporting cast are all given blessedly ample page space, and the thrill and looming danger of Holly's investigation demands a frenzied pace. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Fairy Tale | Stephen King
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Absolutely incredible. This was legitimately the best I've read from King in quite a while. There's so much I feel compelled to say about Fairy Tale, but so little I want to say, because the discoveries within are best left as the surprises they were for me. Read this book if you haven't. Savor it. Then insist someone you love does the same. Neither of you will regret it. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Gwendy's Final Task | Stephen King, Richard Chizmar
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An amazing end to an incredible trilogy. Gwendy is one of my favorite King protagonists, and it's somewhat painful seeing her struggle with the ravages of time in this final installment. On the other hand, it's incredibly satisfying to see her overcome these and other obstacles in her efforts to bring a conclusive end to the albatross that has circled endlessly over her entire life. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Billy Summers | Stephen King
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Billy Summers is another late-canon standout. Our narrator is extremely engaging, and his trade - executing hits on targets only if they can be identified as truly "bad" people - is fascinating in its own right. The first third of the book is remarkably compelling, but around that point the story takes a hard left, and the remainder is as unpredictable as it is intense. 5/5

TieDyeDude I love that it kept changing genre throughout. Hit-man thriller, odd couple drama, revenge. I liked that he had a “dumb self.“ It was a fun layer to Billy. 2mo
Pikathulhu Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head regarding so much that is wonderful about this book! 2mo
11 likes2 comments
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Pikathulhu
Later | Stephen King
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King's third, and thus far final contribution to the Hard Case Crime series, Later is another quick read that kept me turning pages to discover what would happen. Although there's no single underlying mystery at its heart, the premise is fascinating, the characters are tremendously engaging, and I wanted nothing more than to find out what came next - later, if you will - in the life of its young and gifted narrator. 5/5

9 likes1 stack add
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Pikathulhu
If It Bleeds | Stephen King
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Stephen King proves once again that when he sets out to write a quartet of novellas, he knocks it out of the park. Mr. Harrigan's Phone is deeply unsettling, Life of Chuck is a delightfully bittersweet tale told in triplicate and reverse, If It Bleeds is an incredible Holly Gibney story that is an excellent follow-up to The Outsider, and Rat is a quintessentially Kingian modern adaptation of the classic Monkey's Paw premise. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Gwendy's Magic Feather | Richard Chizmar
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This is an absolutely delightful return to Gwendy and her story, and the narrative threads that present themselves in the second go-around are tied up quite neatly by the end. Chizmar does a fantastic job maintaining the tone he and King set together in the first entry, and the result is as enjoyable to read as its predecessor. I can't wait to reach the final chapter in Gwendy's tale. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
The Institute | Stephen King
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Yet another King read that routinely ripped me from responsibility and rest in a dogged quest to finish just one more chapter. The Institute is a captivating story of children with special abilities and the shady organization who would misuse them. The characters are delightfully written, with Luke as the obvious standout, and the tale King unwinds is entertaining throughout. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Elevation | Stephen King
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Delightful and bizarre, Elevation is an extremely quick read about a man who can't seem to stop losing weight - but not in the sense that fans of King's back catalog might think. Coupled with a hopeful story of overcoming hateful exclusion in a small town, Elevation is a light, airy read that left me smiling. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
The Outsider | Stephen King
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A compelling mystery in its own right, The Outsider nevertheless begins to truly sing halfway through when Holly Gibney enters the fray. Once again faced with unraveling the truth behind the actions and abilities of an unimaginable killer, Holly shines throughout, applying her dedicated brand of dogged deduction to an unpredictable investigation, and aided by a supporting cast of extremely likable newcomers. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Sleeping Beauties | Stephen King, Owen King
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Sleeping Beauties can be a difficult read for those of a gentle constitution. This is a book that is just as much about the violence that men inflict on women as the violence that humans inflict on one another, as well as on the natural world. These are subjects of frequent discussion in 2024 and, as hopeless as any conclusions drawn can feel, this book ultimately settles on an uncertain optimism that nevertheless inspires hope. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Gwendy's Button Box | Stephen King
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I had no expectations going into this, and accordingly, I was pleasantly surprised. In addition to a not insubstantial appearance from a well-known villain in King's canon, the story of young Gwendy being saddled with the weight of a nearly unimaginable responsibility was a massively entertaining one. This was helped along in no small part by what an enjoyable companion Gwendy turned out to be. I look forward to seeing what's next for her. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
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Although a bit of a slog at times, Hearts in Suspension is a truly captivating collection of pieces recounting the experiences of several students at U of M during one of our nation's most turbulent periods. King's twin pieces are, of course, the standouts, but other memorable pieces by Harold Crosby, David Bright, Diane McPherson, Philip Thompson, Larry Moscowitz, and Jim Bishop manage to hold their own. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Charlie the Choo-Choo | Beryl Evans
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Charlie the Choo-Choo will not add anything new to fans' understanding of the Dark Tower cycle. It contains no juicy new bits of story and, in the way of text, absolutely nothing you'll already have read elsewhere. Having said that, the illustrations are a lovely realization of how they are depicted in the Dark Tower series, and it's a nice little piece of King ephemera to have. 4/5

TieDyeDude Well said. It's just cool that they put the effort into making it real :) 3mo
11 likes1 comment
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Pikathulhu
End of Watch | Stephen King
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What a beautiful end to Bill Hodges's trilogy. The return of the greatest evil our favorite retired detective has ever faced, a little more than a touch of the supernatural, and everything tied up in a neat package with a lovely bow by the end. I'm eager to experience Holly Gibney's future adventures, but I'm delighted Bill Hodges was graced with such an enjoyable time in King's sun. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
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Mehso-so

This was a surprise, and not a good one. This is King's worst collection thus far by a substantial margin. Fortunately, this mess of disjointed, mean-spirited, and unfun stories is made (surprisingly) enjoyable overall due to some absolute gems throughout. Standout stories that are this entry's saving grace include Mile 81, Batman and Robin Have an Altercation, Ur (always excellent), Blockade Billy, The Little Green God of Agony, and Obits. 3/5

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Pikathulhu
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As a follow-up to Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers is not entirely what I was expecting. It takes a different tack with the way it presents its story, as well as whose eyes we predominantly see it through.Taken on its own merits, it's an absolutely fantastic read with a very engaging young protagonist, a tense conflict at its core, a disturbing antagonist, and just enough of Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney to keep me happy. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Revival: A Novel | Stephen King
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I can see why folks might be put off by the ending of this one if they're not expecting it. I personally felt that King did a lovely job dropping hints throughout regarding the inevitable destination of this journey. I've always been a fan of the way King utilizes foreshadowing, which can be somehow both subtle and blunt, and Revival did not disappoint in that regard. Throw in a fantastic narrator, and I was captivated throughout. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Mr. Mercedes: A Novel | Stephen King
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I'm relatively new to the world of Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney, so I didn't quite know what to expect from the initial offering in this late-stage critical darling in King's career. While King had at this point written two works for the Hard Case Crime series, Mr. Mercedes fits the mold more comfortably than either. A retired detective is pulled into a hunt for the one that got away, and the ensuing chase is an absolute delight. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Doctor Sleep: A Novel | Stephen King
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Anyone entering the pages of this sequel expecting more of The Shining will likely be disappointed. This isn't about delivering more of the same. Instead, this book examines the concept of legacy - the legacy of Danny's experience on the man he becomes, the legacy of the man his father was, and how it informed Dan's own shortcomings, even the legacy of Dick Halloran taking a young Danny under his wing and teaching him about his gift. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Joyland | Stephen King
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It's always the surprises we remember most, and Joyland was, for me, the epitome of an unanticipated gem hiding in King's canon. While I certainly enjoyed King's first foray into the world of Hard Case Crime, Joyland is miles beyond that first effort. Engaging and likable characters, a unique setting, a compelling mystery, and a touch of the supernatural combine to make this an unforgettable ride. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Guns | Stephen King
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Reading Guns made me furious. Furious because I live in a country where it's so easy for things like this to happen, furious because they happen with obscene regularity, furious because we have become numb and inured to it, and furious because our legislators refuse to pass laws that would decrease the likelihood of things like this continuing to happen. Read Guns, and you can be furious too. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
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A lifelong Dark Tower fan, I'd always looked at The Wind through the Keyhole with a sort of contempt. The story is complete, why tarnish its legacy with further entries? I'm delighted to say I was wrong. This is a very welcome addition to Dark Tower canon, and its nested stories do much to bring further life and light to Roland's world and history. I look forward to including this, properly nested between 4 and 5, on my next Dark Tower read. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
11/22/63: A Novel | Stephen King
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11/22/63 is a love story masquerading as a time travel romp. While the central premise hinges upon our narrator traveling back in time to prevent Kennedy's assassination, the beating heart of this book is his budding romance with the winsome librarian who blows into town and sets his carefully choreographed trajectory astray. 11/22/63 also presents a sweetly nostalgic, yet often uncompromising portrayal of 1958-63 America, warts and all. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Full Dark, No Stars | Stephen King
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While I liked each individual novella in this collection, when considered together, there's no escaping the commonality between them. This is a collection of four very cynical, dark, and - at times - difficult to read stories. There isn't much hope to be found in its pages, but it remains entertaining despite its grimness. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Full Dark, No Stars | Stephen King
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A Good Marriage: What if your partner wasn't the person you thought they were? How would you react? What choices would you make? While this idea is far from fresh, King's take on it feels much more so, and is a tense read from start to finish. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Full Dark, No Stars | Stephen King
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Fair Extension: A rather cynical and bleak take on the classic "deal with the Devil" story that unfortunately doesn't get much time to breathe or go anywhere of particular note. 3/5

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Pikathulhu
Full Dark, No Stars | Stephen King
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Big Driver: This is a brutal story, with some of the most visceral and jarring depictions of assault I've read. The upshot is the unrelenting catharsis of the back half as one of the most relatable protagonists I've seen King conjure gets down to the business of revenge.

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Pikathulhu
Full Dark, No Stars | Stephen King
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1922: Yet another corn-adjacent murder romp from King! Joking aside, this is a pretty solid novella, and the narrator's blunt delivery makes for some fascinating reading right out the gate as he recounts his terrible deeds. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Under the Dome | King, Stephen
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This book has always felt to me like King took the wanton destruction of Castle Rock and its inhabitants seen in Needful Things and cranked it to 11. While entertaining, this remains a tough read. People you love will die in cruel and senseless fashion, and they will do so throughout. The main and supporting cast are well-written and (mostly) likeable, but that ultimately makes this a very tense read as you dread their possible end. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
UR | Stephen King
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This is legitimately one of King's best short works, and remains one of my absolute favorites of his. A mysterious pink Kindle has the ability to access the literary output of authors from alternate realities where they published works we never saw? Yes please. If I got my hands on one of these, you'd never hear from me again, I'd be too busy reading. Short but undeniably sweet. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Just After Sunset | Stephen King
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While probably the weakest collection of King's short works I've yet read, it remains a collection of King's short works, which is to say an absolute delight. I hope his next collection reverses the downward trend, but either way, I'll surely be happy to read it. Standouts include Willa, The Gingerbread Girl, The Things They Left Behind, N., The Cat from Hell, and Mute. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Duma Key: A Novel | Stephen King
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Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting a lot out of this book, but it absolutely blew me out of the water with its inventive plot, likable protagonist and side characters, and unique concepts throughout. Despite my strong desire to tear through this one and discover what would happen, I forced myself to really savor Duma Key, and was ultimately very satisfied with the time I spent there. 5/5

Bookwormjillk I was surprised how much I liked this one too 5mo
Pikathulhu I think that, for me, a large part of my enjoyment came from how tantalizing the mystery at the heart of the island is, and what a great job King does at parceling out details a little bit at a time. 5mo
13 likes2 comments
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Pikathulhu
Blaze | Stephen King, Richard Bachman
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This was a surprise favorite in my readthrough. Though taking obvious inspiration from Of Mice and Men, Blaze tells its own unique story, one that captivates from start to finish. This is largely accomplished by way of its titular protagonist; his naive personality and cognitive deficits soften the blow of some of his more despicable acts, and his backstory, revealed piecemeal throughout, cannot help but inspire empathy for its hapless owner. 5/5

13 likes1 stack add
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Pikathulhu
Lisey's Story: A Novel | Stephen King
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Mehso-so

This was not an enjoyable read. I could occasionally sense the bones of one supporting the garish and confusing framework of Lisey's Story, but it just couldn't support the weight of the weirdness of it all. As a habitual lover of all things weird, I should have loved this too, but it was ultimately too bogged down with painfully slow revelations, and invented "smucking" slang. Apologies to King, who says this is his most personal work. 2/5

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Pikathulhu
Cell: A Novel | Stephen King
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The story itself was excellent, engaging, and kept me turning pages to discover what would happen. The protagonist? Not so much. While the side characters are, for the most part, incredibly characterized and feel unique and alive, the protagonist could have been replaced by a cardboard standee throughout most of the book. He provides very little emotional weight until the end, and just isn't that interesting. The story saved this one. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
The Colorado Kid | Stephen King
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What an incredible, albeit all too brief book this was. I'm sure many will be put off by elements they feel are missing, but ultimately this book poses a fascinating mystery, expertly told by two of the best storytellers out there to one of the most likable audience surrogates I've come across in King's work. My only real gripe? I want so much more - of Dave, of Vince, and of Stephanie. Considering a good story shouldn't overstay its welcome, 5/5.

15 likes1 stack add
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Pikathulhu
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While a naturally enjoyable tale of the breaking of one of the sports world's longest-standing curses, I ultimately found this one hard to get through. This was thanks, in large part, to the proliferation of - pardon the pun - inside baseball that ran rampant through the pages. The frequent use of jargon made the action difficult to follow. Despite this, King and O'Nan are engaging writers, and their disbelief and eventual joy are palpable. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
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The perfect ending to the cycle, no matter what anyone may say. Aside from being a beautiful, heartbreaking, and enthralling tale of the final leg of Roland's journey to the Tower, this book contains - for those brave enough to venture past a discouraging author's note - the most perfect ending to the series I could envision. Until next time, when what was Unfound becomes Found once again, and I stand in the fields of Can'-Ka No Rey. 5/5

TieDyeDude Yes! This was one of the reason that, while not a good adaption, I enjoyed the movie as one of many possible follow-ups to the book's true ending. I look forward to revisiting this epic sometime in the future. Glad you liked it! 6mo
Pikathulhu @TieDyeDude I've heard that about the movie - I'll have to swallow my unease and give it a watch at some point. Hopefully as a prelude to an excellent and pitch-perfect adaptation by Mike Flanagan! 6mo
TieDyeDude *Finger crossed* 6mo
11 likes3 comments
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Pikathulhu
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While remaining my least favorite entry in The Dark Tower, this book is no less a masterpiece. A regrettably brief tale of Susannah/Mia's difficult journey to deliverance, it also portrays some of my favorite passages concerning Roland and Eddie. You can feel King's urgency throughout to reach the Dark Tower, and throw open the door at the top after thirty long years. Despite its unnecessary brevity and haste, this is thoroughly excellent. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
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This has always been one of my absolute favorite Dark Tower entries, and this read did nothing to change that. Inspired by such classic samurai/western films as Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, the tale at the heart of Wolves of the Calla, while not necessarily new, is expertly told, resulting in a gripping read throughout that always has me turning pages as quickly as I can. A glowing 5/5.

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Pikathulhu
From a Buick 8 | Stephen King
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This was such a surprise. Any time Stephen King writes about cars, I think it will result in an entry that just isn't for me due to a lack of interest in the source material on my part. Trust Stephen King to always make the cars he writes about as interesting and alluring as possible. The titular Buick in this story is a fascinating enigma, and will draw you in as surely as Ned and his father before him. Excellent storytelling all around. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
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An absolutely incredible collection of shorts and novellas. As indisputably great as King's novels are, he really shines in short-form entries. Standouts included Autopsy Room Four, All That You Love Will Be Carried Away, In the Deathroom, The Road Virus Heads North, 1408, and with the conclusion of the Dark Tower on the horizon, Everything's Eventual and The Little Sisters of Eluria were very pleasant warm-ups. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Black House | Stephen King, Peter Straub
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This almost certainly wasn't the book I wanted or expected as a follow-up to The Talisman but, as an adventure that occurs in the protagonist's adulthood rather than his childhood, it is an appropriate reflection of the changes that we all experience in that transaction. This is a much bleaker adventure than the first, but it is an excellent and engaging read despite this. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
Whoops! | Louise Batchelor

Although my read-through of Stephen King has slowed, it has not stalled entirely. To that end, it's occurred to me that in stepping away from Litsy, I stepped away from a record of my travels along King's Beam. I'll be posting reviews of the books I've read in my hiatus, and hope to continue posting as I read through the back end of his catalog. Cry yer pardon!

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Pikathulhu
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I struggled at first with Tomie. The chapters felt so disjointed and unrelated, I found it difficult to grasp whether there was an ongoing narrative I was missing. Once I accepted the nature of its structure, I came to love Tomie. Deeply unsettling, this collection continually finds new ways to unnerve and surprise its readers, and I was loath to turn the final page. 5/5

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Pikathulhu
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Not only was this a pleasantly nostalgic dip into the world of a game to which I'd long since said goodbye, the author offers an engaging look at his reticence to engage in the elements from his childhood that might be judged harshly by his serious adult peers. He ultimately celebrates the notion that it's okay to revel in your more "childish" interests, that it doesn't diminish your adultness, and that to do so is to embrace your past self. 4/5

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Pikathulhu
Gone Girl | Gillian Flynn

Any time I take a leave of absence from Litsy, it's distressing to think of what I may have missed. I've managed to follow some extremely entertaining, insightful people whose reviews and blurbs I always look forward to reading, and I hate thinking about all the gems I might uncover if I just made time to scroll through a week's worth of content!

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Pikathulhu
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This legitimately might be my favorite of the Boss Fight Books I've read so far. Durham's recounting of his religious upbringing and the troubling questions it eventually raised, coupled with the incongruous tale of Christian games manufacturer Wisdom Tree makes this a hilarious, fascinating read of which I did not want to see the end. Irreverent, informative, and impressively thorough, this has me looking forward to the next installments! 5/5