Pet Sematary

Lately I’ve gotten really into taking all these List Challenges lists that go viral on Facebook. I take the book list ones. It started with the list of 500 books that’s like if you’ve read ten percent of these, you’re really well read. I’ve read 280 of them, obviously. Which is not an accident: I literally use lists like this to determine what to read next.

Anyway, with these lists, I tend to do well with the classics, but there are always a bunch of popular novels that I’ve never read. And I’ve also been getting a little burned out on the heavy reading. In the last year I’ve read hardly any novels, much less contemporary novels. So I pinned a whole bunch of the popular novels that appear often on these lists, and I’ve been reading them. I just finished listening to Pet Sematary, by Stephen King.

That guy is a good writer! He really understands how to do this thing. I mean the book is over-long, particularly in its final act, but that too is a testament to the level of control Stephen King has: he knows there is no chance you’re gonna stop reading the book. It starts off so slowly, with the main character coming to a new town, making friends with the neighbor across the way, and you getting slowly introduced to his family. The nice thing about King is you always just like his protagonists and their families. They always seem like good, but not perfect people.

Pet Sematary, as almost everyone knows by now, is about kids dying. It was really harrowing for me, as a parent. But also a little cathartic. In the intro, King says the story was inspired by a time they lived on a road where semi-trucks used to blow past at high speeds, and one of his sons once came close to running into the street in front of a truck. I don’t know–it’s just something you think about constantly, as a parent–the fact that at any moment something could go wrong, and they could die. I actually cried at the midpoint, where the kid actually dies. It was terrible.

Anyway, next up, I’m listening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’ve also got some Dean Koontz and Anne Rice books on this list, and then, like…you know…200 more.