Coffee and Contemplation: IT by Stephen King

I’m posting a little late today. Don’t hold that against me. Today’s book discussion is about “IT” by Stephen King. What can I say about this book? It came into the world around the same time I did. It was published in September of 1986. I was also “published” in September of 1986. Coincidence? I think not. But I digress. This book was long. Longer than it needed to be. While I enjoyed the back-and-forth of childhood and adulthood with the main characters, half the novel could have been left out. And the ending was anti-climactic.

I did enjoy the newest film adaptations of the book. The ending of “IT Chapter 2” was still lackluster. The first film was perfect and is still in my top ten favorite films of all time. But back to the book. Lots of scary sequences. I enjoyed most of the novel. As I mentioned earlier, several parts could have been cut out to make the overall novel stronger. Part of me also wants to know more about Pennywise before meeting the kids that eventually killed the hungry clown. It’s worth reading once. It doesn’t feel like something that needs to be read multiple times.

I do recommend this book. Definitely not for children.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 8/10 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Our discussion this week is about “Hear-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill. This was Hill’s debut novel, and you can see the influences from his father, Stephen King. The story gives a new, modern twist to the haunting story. The main character, Judas Coyne, buys a ghost on the internet. Turns out, the ghost is real and is trying to kill Judas. We get a lot of backstory about Judas and about the ghost and its motives. It’s interesting to think about the main character chasing after spooky, macabre things at the beginning of the novel only to run away from them for the majority of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t my favorite. Hill’s next novel “Horns” is better but that’s a discussion for another post. The video static eyes of the ghost as described in the novel is an interesting visual, but it made the ghost less scary for me. The book overall wasn’t terrifying, but I don’t think it was supposed to be. It feels more action/adventure than horror. It was a fun read. I liked all the characters, especially Judas’ two dogs. This book is good for teens and adults, though some parents may want to check it out before their children beginning reading. 

I do recommend this book, but it’s not my favorite by Joe Hill.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 6/10 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: Studies in Supernatural Storytelling

As promised, I am changing up how I approach the weekly Coffee and Contemplation segments. Think of this as the introduction post. This will kind of be like reviews but focused on the spooky things. This may include films, television, and various other things. My main focus will be on books. As I want to be a writer of supernatural horror, speculative fiction, and magical realism, these are the kinds of books I’ve been reading for the past couple years. I plan to go through them one by one offering my opinion of the works, saying how spooky they are, and perhaps something I learned about writing in this genre.

I can tell you one thing I’ve learned already. The best supernatural horror stories have some real-life horrors included. I mean things that actually have or could happen such as genocide and rape. I will offer and overall rating of the work between one and five stars like so many other rating systems. I will also include a Spooky Spider Scale. I will rate the level of scariness in the book between one and ten spiders. I don’t scare easy. For example, a children’s book might have some scary bits for kids but not for adults. These might be one or two spiders. The average horror novel might get 5 or 6 spiders. It’s too scary for kids but teens and young adults won’t get too scared.

I may need to perfect this scale as I start writing about these different novels. I have read many and have many a book on my To-Read list. I try to keep my list updated on my Goodreads profile. Follow me or friend request me there to see what I’m reading now. And feel free to offer suggestions or comment on what you thought about whichever book I discussed on a certain week. These posts are intended to be a conversation and I want to hear from you all. I hope to have lots of fun with this new approach to my Sunday posts. I’m already excited. Will you join me on this journey into spookiness?