Starting Something New

Cover of "The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower,...

I didn’t realize how addicted to routine you can become, even if you don’t realize it’s a routine.

I told you all yesterday I finished The Dark Tower, the seventh book of the series, over the weekend.  For a moment, I felt like I’d accomplished something great.  It was a feat, reading all of the cycle.  Thousands of pages, turned one at a time, no skipping, no skimming.  I read straight through.  As soon as I could find the next installment, I’d get it and devour it as quickly as I could.

I had a great time.

But today, I had to return some movies to the library.  And, I dropped off the final book of The Dark Tower cycle, The Dark Tower. I went and checked out the movies again – we found Iron Man – grabbed a couple of those, and then went to look for something to read.

I already took King’s Just After Sunset, a short story collection of his.  I have a feeling I’ll have read some of them already from other anthologies, but I love his stuff, so I figured this would be a good diversion after the steadfast diet I’d been on.  So, I decided, with a building full of books, I could find something else to read.  Had to be able to.  Right?

I realized with no book eight to read, I was completely unenthused about anything else.

My wife finally steered me toward a set of books (not a series, but a recurring character in separate stories unrelated to each other), one of which I’d read before and genuinely enjoyed.  But my heart’s not in it.  I just don’t feel like reading them.  I had no idea why they sounded so flat to me, until I realized I was weaning from the world Stephen King created in The Dark Tower.

Far from being sick of it, I looked forward to the next one.  I picked up the first volume with great reluctance.  I knew I didn’t want to read a series of books – I don’t like them.  I don’t like having to keep up with books in a series to understand the story.  I’ve never read a single Harry Potter book, not one, and have no intention of so doing.  (For one, J. K. Rowling is no Stephen King.  For another, I don’t dig the whole wands-and-pointy-hats kind of wizard thing.)  And the subject matter didn’t appeal to me … at least, I thought it didn’t.

And yet, today, my eye drifted longingly toward King’s section in the library again, despite the fact there are only a couple of books there I haven’t read yet.

I’d formed a habit, and without my fix, I was lost.  I didn’t know what to do.

I know we all have something like that for us – a TV show, a series of movies, maybe something on cable you love to watch, a series of books, a comic book, a video game, whatever – and I’m probably not that unusual.  For me, it’s become The Dark Tower. What is it for you?

Sound off, if you’re of a mind to.  Maybe I’ll find a new addiction by tasting yours.

Or maybe, y’know, I could go back to writing something again.  Just a thought.


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12 thoughts on “Starting Something New

  1. When it comes to reading it’s the Ashes Series by William Johnstone. I own all 43 books plus the additional book. I love them. Read the whole series about once a year!

    Holy CROW! 43 books??? Wow!

  2. Did you ever try out the Dresden Files books? By Jim Butcher. It’s wizards of the grim and gritty kind. No pointy hats. I read a bunch of them after seeing the (very different, although still fun) TV series. You can stream the series on

    Sweet, thanks Bryce. I’ll check out a couple of episodes and see if it’s something I like. And if I can find a book or two maybe I’ll give it a shot. Thanks again!

  3. I was the same way with The Dark Tower series. But it’s not really a series, you know? Not the way other series are. The books really are like one long book broken up into chunks for ease of handling, and though King sort of wraps things up at the end of each one, you really don’t get that THE END feel until Roland reaches the tower. And even then…I know exactly how you feel. It leaves you with a longing, doesn’t it? It haunts you.

    Yeah, it sort of does. I liked Mid-World better than MY world. So I fell for it. And man, it’s a longing all right. Now I hear J. J. Abrams has the rights to the movie franchise, but it won’t go into development until LOST ends. Hope he doesn’t screw it up.

    So what did you think of the way he ended it? Did we discuss that? I don’t think so. I thought it was perfect, but about 80% of everybody I’ve talked to thought it was unsatisfying.

    You know, I’m not sure how I liked the ending. I did enjoy it, I don’t think I was DISsatisfied with it, but I think he could’ve resolved it better too. At the same time, bookending the story with one of the best lines in modern literature is pure genius. I loved it.

  4. Highly recommend Harry Potter last 2 books…1/2 Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows…I am not a huge fan of the books but those were very good..enagaging and a quick read…..yeah they are kind of juvenile but so is life sometimes right!!…Zman sends

    Well, J. K. DID intend the books as Young Adult fiction, so if they’re a little juvenile, there’s a good reason. We’ll give her a break. 😉 Thanks, Zman.

  5. I’m really embarrassed to say, but I was that way about the Twilight series. I know the books were juvenile and the writing wasn’t great and the characters were one dimensional, but I loved all four books. I wanted to read them again and again. Maybe the publisher put crack on the pages.

    I’m pretty sure The Dark Tower is literary crack too. And I’m embarrassed on your behalf. 😉 (J/K)

    The other series I get hooked on is HBO’s ‘Deadwood’. It only lasted 3 seasons and I own all three on DVD. The language is foul, to say the least, and it is violent and dirty, but it is also well written and well acted. It makes everything else look like an animated cartoon.

    I’ve heard good things about Deadwood. I want to see it; the library has it, but I can’t get my wife to agree to it, and I can only have them for a week, so … Oh, and I happen to think cartoons are awesome. 😀

  6. Remember my panic the other week when I realized the next season of MI5 wasn’t available on demand from Netflix? That’s one show I love… it’s like a British NCIS but better.

    What is it with British TV shows being favorites of my friends? 🙂 At least it’s not something like Monty Python or Benny Hill.

    Let’s see… Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is another. Imagine that King died before Book 7 was written. Jordan died of a rare blood disease but left notes and outlines on how the series would end. Seriously, check it out… Sherri recommends it too.

    I think you gotta be a fan of stuff like fantasy and pointy hats with crescent moons on ’em to like that sort of story, don’t you?

  7. I used to read the Anita Blake series prior to Hamilton dragging the series into soft-porn realm. The first six books or so were great and when I finished them I was like you, nothing else appealed to me. I had gotten them all at one time and devoured them one after the other and then felt lost when they were done.

    These were the first books that turned me on to the paranormal (werewolves, vamps, shape shifters, etc.) style of books and got me addicted to them though I will say I detested the Twilight series and couldn’t finish the first one, it was so badly written.

    Well, I do like paranormal, but not so much vampires and werewolves. They tend to be so cheesy now. *Sigh* But hey … porn. I’m all about that. 😉

    I wound up reading all of the series again and then I was finally able to switch to something else. Was rather sad state to be in. I started numerous books just to find myself closing them after a chapter or so.

    I agree with Bryce and highly recommend the Dresden series. Not a bit like HP, much more intriguing.

    I watched an episode earlier on Not bad, not bad. I’ll check out a couple more, but maybe I’ll see about the books next time I’m in the library.

  8. Adding in my .02 🙂 I am not a Harry Potter fan, in fact I don’t read much fiction at all (yes, I’m quite boring)…that said, a lot of people I know, who said they never thought they’d like HP, loved it. Maybe you should give it a try?

    That said, I like your other option. Write something!

    I like that one too. 😉 Thanks! (No, not trying Harry Plopper.)

  9. I couldn’t get into Harry Potter. I read the first book, and all I remember about it was that there was mention of vomit-flavoured jelly beans. My massage therapist insists that the books get better with each volume, but that’s not enough to lure me back to the series.

    Yeah … yeah, I can see that. Vomit-flavored ANYthing isn’t luring me anyWHERE, period. Ugh.

    My only media addiction at the moment is America’s Next Top Model. Although we’re between cycles at the moment.

    That’s one I’ve never caught. I don’t do American Idol, either.

    I’m in the middle of reading “The Zero” by Jess Walter. I think I’ll miss that book once it’s over. It’s a good one.

    What’s it about? Thanks for the recommendation too! I hope you’re holding up all right. We’re praying for you.

    • Thanks – I’m doing OK. 🙂

      “The Zero” is a novel set in the aftermath of 9/11. The main character has reacted to the trauma of the event by, it seems, creating an alternate personality which does things without the knowledge of his primary persona. We only get to read from the point of view of one of the personalities, slipping in and out of awareness randomly, trying to piece together what his alter ego is doing. If you’ve seen the movie Memento, it’s a bit like that, except the chronology is normal. Very intriguing, I must say.

      I loved Memento. Excellent movie. I may have to find this novel of which you speak and check it out. And I’m glad to hear you’re doing okay. 🙂

  10. I loved the Dark Tower series as well, I started reading the books as they came out so sometimes it feels like my journey to the Tower has been as long as Roland’s. (BTW some folks I know HATED the ending. What did you think?)

    I thought the ending was all right. It wasn’t UNsatisfying, but I’m one of those who likes to have a fully resolved story, so it leaves the whole thing too open for me. At the same time, I love to leave MY stories open-ended, so who am I to talk? I liked the book-ending of the series with the same (incredibly good) sentence.

    If you are looking for a new read let me recommend my favorite Clive Barker Book IMAJICA and China Melive PEREDIDO STREET STATION. IMAJICA is a fantasy quest novel in the way that the Dark Tower series was just very different. PEREDIDO STREET STATION is a look at a world that I can only explain as LORD OF THE RINGS meets the Industrial Revolution.

    Hm. I don’t know … maybe I’ll check that out. How ’bout my idea of the western-themed D&D-style game? Thoughts on that, Mr. Published-Game-Writer?

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