In which I read The Stand by Stephen King for the 8th time.

Do you have a book that you love more than life itself? Do you read this book a thousand times like I do with this Stephen King novel? No? You’re a crazy person then!

Okay maybe I’m the crazy person and I have accepted that. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I first read The Stand – Stephen King, but it was definitely in high school. More specifically, when I was 16. I think….it was when we went to Hawaii in February 2004. Because what’s more relaxing than reading a 1153 page apocalyptic fight between good and evil whilst sitting on a beach?

Nothing. That’s what.

I used to have three copies of the book, but now I’m down to two. Why the need for more than one copy? Because! Reasons! I’m not sure how I started collecting them…actually that’s a lie. I got my second one because I thought I had lost my first one through a move of apartments, so, someone bought it for me for Christmas only for me to find the first one not too long afterwards.

The third one, however, I have no explanation. It’s just…here. And now I don’t know where the first one went again. I probably threw it out because I do remember it having pages holding on to dear life and the spine being out of whack.

Anyways. There’s an unnecessary history of crap no one cares about.

I fell SO hard for this book. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of personal crap and life had turned to absolute shit. She says after mentioning she was in Hawaii. I know, I’m the fucking worst. And whilst Buffy the Vampire Slayer and listening to Weezer were a helpful escape, I needed a book to make me feel good too.

Enter a plague wiping out 99% of the population and I’m in my happy place!

It’s officially become a book that I don’t know how to go a year without reading. Even with a never ending list of books I need to read, this one trumps them all. I could be halfway through another book and be like NOPE TIME FOR THE STAND BYE FELICIA. And it’s not like this is a book I can get through in a weekend. This bitch takes me a couple months to finish.

The first time I read it, I devoured it over a 2 week vacation, which was easy to do. But now that I have Things To Do on the regular like, work, it’s a slow process. Also, when You Know Who is killed off, I just…need a moment.

Yes, I know what’s coming, yes I’ve memorized the plot, yes it’s all repetitive af, but it’s become like a piece of me. I know the characters; I have them down to a freaking science. I know what everyone looks like, what the landscapes look like, how the places smell, and it’s confirmed that I’m insane and I love it.

At around 9:30pm last night, I was texting with my friend Jess about how I wanted to read it again to which she accurately said “God don’t do it, what a fucking roller coaster AHHH NOW I WANT TO TOO.”

It was decided 2 minutes later that I was starting it up again.

Stephen Kingmy second copy is getting rusty.

Upon opening this copy, the bookmark stuck in here was a piece of paper with details about my college graduation ceremony….back in 2010.


So, do you have a book that you can’t stop reading? What is it?
I want to judge you and/or agree with you.

If you’re looking for a kick ass book that isn’t the fastest read but will hurt your entire soul, probably make you ugly cry, and want to punch things, congratulations!

The Stand is here to destroy you.


13 Responses

  1. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. One of the — if not THE — original PA novels. Written in the 50s. It fell apart but fortunately, new editions are available. But I keep the pieces (in a baggie) of my first copy.
    I also confess to regularly re-reading The Lord of the Rings. And Anne of Green Gables. And Two Solitudes by Hugh Maclennan. (I am laughing to myself at the spectrum of literature these titles represent.)

  2. I read The Stand last year and, much like Lord of the Rings, it was… quite good. I know, Brit damns much loved book with faint praise. Glad I read it, generally enjoyed it but I won’t be reading it again.
    I don’t tend to re-read stuff because I can remember so much about the story; I have to wait about 5 years before I even consider it.
    But the book I have read the most is probably The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – so unique, bonkers, clever & funny. Other books I definitely will re-read will be stuff by Iain Banks & Terry Pratchett.

    1. Oh I just love everything about The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. I remember we had to read it in high school and everyone was all “the fuck is this?” and I just ATE IT UP. The movie is also one of my favourites. A bang up job.

      I have yet to read a Terry Pratchett book because I’m a terrible human being. Where should I begin?

      1. Oh the irony of THHGG being a studied book for schools these days: I used to fantasize about having to read about Marvin, Deep Thought and Arthur at school instead of the dull dross we had to put up with. Never thought kids would be so lucky!

        You redeem yourself from being a terrible human being by asking where to begin reading Terry Pratchett. So, Discworld, obviously. There are other TP books (Good Omens with Neil Gaiman, plus some recent sci-fi, The Long Earth series) but Discworld is definitely the place to be. The tricky thing is that the books change over time: the first dozen or so (especially the first two) are essentially satirical versions of all sword & sorcery / folk mythology tales, with entertaining plots and characters thrown in. A few end fairly unsatisfactorily (like Good Omens) with big bad magic overcome by bigger good magic. So slowly the Discworld came to represent a version of our reality, but wrapped fancy dress. And this is where the writing and the satire leap into a whole new league. So generally speaking, the later books are the best.
        But to understand the characters and the world they inhabit, you have to read the early ones first, so you may as well go in chronological order (The Colour of Magic is the first and riffs on the usual LotR / Dungeons & Dragons type spiel – the main character is Rincewind, a cowardly useless wizard). If that doesn’t initially float your boat then Equal Rites (#3) and Wyrd Sisters (#6) introduces the witches (and Granny Weatherwax in particular) while my favourites (Sam Vimes & co of the City Watch) turn up in book 8 (Guards! Guards!).
        Read these and then you can revel in the wonder of books such as The Night Watch, Interesting Times & the Tiffany Aching series (where we learn how a girl grows into being a witch, under the instruction of Granny Weatherwax, whilst defeating some unpleasant magical beings – and a lot more). The Tiffany Aching stories are apparently for slightly younger readers but I’m not quite sure why – they still have violence, some tangential reference to sex/relationships and the hilarious Pictsies (reet Scottish bastads, ye ken?) are probably swearing in their own dialect.
        So there you go – 41 books and they’re all worth a read. Some are worth many readings.
        This may help too:

  3. I read Catch 22 in my late teens but didn’t fully appreciate it until I got my draft notice in 1968. I REALLY appreciated re-reading it during my Navy years. I still find myself quoting parts of it in random conversations. I also was completely lost in the Lord of the Rings saga which I have read twice and which is my list for my retirement years. I completely understand why books can draw you back again and again. Thanks for this post.

    1. I think I need to try Catch 22 again. I read it when I was a lot younger and couldn’t quite grasp the humour of it. I think now it will have more of an affect on me!

      Lord of the Rings is a tough go; it’s just too involved. I’ve read through them once and have no interest in going through it again. The movies, however, I will watch on repeat until my eyes bleed.

  4. You’re not crazy at all. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read my favourite book, “The Forest People” by Colin M. Turnbull. I first read it in grade 5 while I was bored out of my mind at my grandparent’s house. My uncle had left a ton of his university books in the spare bedroom and while most of them were super dry, he had luckily taken a social anthropology course (my future university minor thanks to this book), that included “The Forest People” on the required reading list. I couldn’t put it down. I wrote a book report on it that year, and read it nearly every year since. I even cited it in some of my university anthro papers. Kris recently gifted me a new copy because my original has detached pages tucked into the spots where they roughly should have been. I have a huge stack of newer books that I’ve been meaning to read but now all I want to do is read “The Forest People”.

  5. There are a number of books that I’ve slept with multiple times, but the winning number of trysts belongs to Anne Rice’s “The Witching Hour”. I’m not certain of the exact number of times I’ve scratched the itch, but it’s somewhere in the double digits. Still, every time I go there I am completely entranced…

  6. I honestly have never intentionally read something again (despite owning my favorites. Why haven’t I reread them!?! What’s the point in owning them!?!) but I’ve been wanting to reread Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and reread the entire Harry Potter series.

    I haven’t yet read The Stand but it’s on the list!

  7. I have favourite books, but not one I’ve read over and over. I love Stephen King, having read many of his books – he hooked me with Salem’s Lot, terrifying. Also a big fan of Iain Banks, Audrey Neffiniger and Gillian Flynn.
    I enjoyed The Stand, but it must be more than 30 years since I read it. Maybe I’ll give it another try. All I can remember is that the manifestation of all evil is called Randall. Which happens to be my family name…

  8. I think I may actually have read The Stand as many times as you have. I’ve got about five books I’ve read multiple times and that’s second only to 1984.

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