Bag of Bones by Stephen King

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I always feel recharged after a Stephen King novel, sort of like the mental version of the way your body feels after a good, hard workout. Stephen King novels are long and intense, full cover to cover of drama, love, fear, wit, mystery, and much more. The plotlines are addictive, and for me that means pushing aside daily activities so I can finish the book as fast as possible in epic, marathon reading sessions. Bag of Bones was no different.

My friend recommended this to me a few weeks ago after we were discussing the pros and cons of Girl on the Train. With my vacation in mind, I decided that Bag of Bones would be a good book to add to my iPad and read on the plane. I mostly prefer to read physical books, but I own both a Kindle and an iPad (both were Christmas gifts). I mostly use the Kindle when I’m in the mood for a “fluff” read and don’t want to spend extra money on a physical copy, and I really only use the iPad when traveling. The added benefit of the iPad is that it allows me to read in the dark without turning on the lights (yes, I know that is terrible for your eyes).

Anyway, I started Bag of Bones somewhere near the end of my flight from London to Reykjavik, but I didn’t become addicted until my flight back to the States from Iceland, when I actually was able to get past the first few chapters. Three days later I was so hooked that I was reading online on the Kindle Cloud Reader at work (another benefit of the Kindle). I would not recommend reading at work, but in my own defense it was the Friday before a holiday weekend and by the time I started most people had already left for the day. I finished the book later that night, while decidedly ignoring messages from my friends who wanted to celebrate the long weekend and hear about my trip (sorry friends!).

Bag of Bones is about an author who suffers from severe writer’s block and is also struggling to come to terms with his wife’s death four years prior. He moves to his old lake house in rural Maine, and begins having delusions and encounters paranormal activity within the house, and also becomes involved in a custody battle over a charming, three-year-old girl in town. The plotlines seem tangled and separate in the beginning, but I love the way Stephen King brings them together in the end. Everything is connected in some way, and I feel like there was no detail that was insignificant or didn’t matter. It’s hard to go into detail without giving too much away, so I’ll just say that this book got my heart rate pumping at times. There were a few instances where I was extremely happy to be reading in the safety of a crowded airplane and brightness of my office rather than alone in my apartment at night.

Also, I loved when King went into detail about the “writing zone,” and how it feels when you’re completely absorbed in what you’re writing. I love to write, and if I could do one thing only that’s what it would be. Over the past few years it’s been difficult to find time, and there have been many moments where I’ve been discouraged and felt like I lost the talent I used to have. But that zone, that feeling, that complete unawareness of reality- I understand it. I can still get there, and in a weird way I felt encouraged when I read those scenes.

Bag of Bones was the perfect plane read, it brought me back from my trip and now I’m ready to tackle my fall reading list. If you’re a Stephen King fan you’ve probably already read it, but if you haven’t you should go for it. Though I would recommend reading during the daytime- I at least found that comforting!

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