Tag Archives: The Dark Tower

A to Z Bookish Survey

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As I was catching up on emails this morning, I ran across this fun A to Z Survey from Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner! I’ve decided to participate by creating my own A to Z post since I need something light-hearted and stress-free today. You can visit Jamie’s blog and see how other bloggers answered this survey, and you can even participate and create your own post, or simply leave your answers in the comments section. And you might learn a little more about me too:) So here are my A to Z answers:

AUTHOR you’ve read the most books from:

I’m just guessing here, because I have not entered my entire life’s reading history into Goodreads. But as most of you know, I’m a huge Stephen King fan, and since he’s written over 40 books and I’ve read all of them, my answer is clearly going to be Stephen King!

BEST Sequel Ever:

Fire by Kristin Cashore. I adored Graceling, but there was something about Fire that spoke to me even more. What an awesome writer and series this is!

CURRENTLY reading:

Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard. Wow, this book is making me crazy! It’s a combination of a whacked-out road trip  story and a mystery…and I still have no idea what’s going on (I’m about 100 pages in). It’s one of those stories that you just can’t stop turning pages because you NEED to find out what’s happening.

DRINK of choice while reading:

It depends on the time of day. When I read in the morning, of course it’s going to be coffee. I’m a coffee person all the way (with Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds on the side, please!) But other times during the day, I either drink iced tea, or nothing at all.

E-READER or physical book?

Well, my heart says “physical book” and always will. I’ve amassed a huge library over the years, since I started collecting books, and I love to turn pages, real pages. However, I’ve discovered that when reading review books, it’s much easier to read on my Kindle and highlight and take notes, rather than trying to keep a notebook and pen handy. Both have their positives, I guess!

FICTIONAL character you actually probably would have dated in high school:

Edward! No, just kidding:) I wanted to see if you were paying attention!

GLAD you gave this book a chance:

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman. That book was sooo depressing and I nearly gave up on it. But I forced myself to read the whole book, and of course by the end I was so glad I had. It was an amazing story told by an amazing writer (but yes, depressing…)

HIDDEN gem book:

I’m going to have to say Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler. One of the most unusual books I’ve ever read, and one that needs more attention, I think! She’s a brilliant writer.

IMPORTANT moment in your reading life:

Starting this blog! I can’t imagine my life without blogging, and I’m so glad I took the leap, even though I had no idea what I was doing.

JUST finished:

Geddy’s Moon by John Mulhall

KINDS of books you won’t read:

Contemporary romance. I just feel for the most part this genre is mostly fluff (and I know that’s not true, but it’s my general impression). I like some darkness in the books I read, so I do love romance, but it needs to be of the urban fantasy, horror or science fiction variety.

LONGEST book you’ve read:

Again, I’m kind of guessing for this question, since I don’t have any way of looking this up on Goodreads. It’s probably Under the Dome by Stephen King, which comes in at a whopping 1,072 pages and can be used as a weapon.

MAJOR book hangover because of:

I’m going to pick a recent read for this question. Absolutely it’s got to be Three by Jay Posey. Damn he threw a curve ball at me with a certain plot twist, and I’m still recovering. Thanks a lot, Jay!

NUMBER of bookcases you own.

OK, I actually have to leave my desk and go count. I’ll be right back. Technically I have eleven, but I have just as many stacks of books hanging around in almost every room of my house that don’t have a home.

ONE  book you have read multiple times:

I’m going to get some hate for this answer, but it’s true. I’ve read Twilight about six times. And let me explain that this was before all the Twilight blogger hate that exploded, especially after the release of the last two books. When I first read Twilight, no one even knew what it was. I literally finished it and flipped back to the first page and started it again. Sorry, but it’s true.

PREFERRED place to read:

In bed! Under the covers! With my two dogs next to me!

QUOTE that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

Oh, there are so many! I tend to like quotes that aren’t really touchy-feely. I don’t really get into inspirational crap so much, so I’m choosing a quote that I love for the beauty of the writing and the utter simplicity of conjuring a feeling. This is from The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig:

It’s like being in a ship that’s just starting to capsize. Listing on an unforgiving ocean. Then: a wind of wet heat on his forehead – a hot breath – and at the edges of his vision the ripple of blue flame like a puddle of vodka lit with a Zippo, a ripple that fades fast, taking with it the scales that cover the eyes, that protect the mind, that hide the happy dumb people from the truth of what lies beneath.

READING regret:

Wow, this is a hard one. I think I’m going to have to steal from Jamie on this one (sorry Jamie!), except mine’s a bit different from hers. I regret not finding out about Harry Potter until book four was about to come out. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Being a collector, I really regret not having first printings of books one through three. That kills me!!

SERIES you started and need to finish (all books are out in the series):

I’m cheating on this one. This is a series that I haven’t even started! I can’t believe I haven’t read Beth Revis’ Across the Universe series. I know they’re amazing and they’re my kinds of books, but blogging duties have gotten in the way of reading them.

THREE of your all-time favorite books:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.

UNAPOLOGETIC fan girl for:

Another tough question! The first thing that comes to mind is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Although I don’t think I need to apologize for that! There are seven books in the series and I think every one is amazing. Stephen King at his best, don’t miss them!

VERY excited for this release more than all the others:

This one is easy: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. I’m literally DYING to read it.

WORST bookish habit:

Not reading everything I buy. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Which shelf? OK, I’ll pick the closest one.  The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.

YOUR latest book purchase:

Ink by Amanda Sun.

ZZZ-snatcher book (the last book that kept you up WAY late):

This one’s tough for me, because I generally don’t stay up late reading. But I do remember reading Bruised by Sarah Skilton and not being able to put it down, so that counts, right?

Wow, that was tons of fun! Thanks for checking out my A to Z Bookish Survey! Let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree with any of my answers.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Posts on Books, Bones & Buffy

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week they are asking bloggers to list the top ten posts on their blogs that will give readers the best idea of what your blog is all about. The posts I’m listing highlight the things I love most and will hopefully give any reader an over-all picture of my personality.

Fifty Shades of Purple Prose. (April 9, 2012).  I wrote this right before Fifty Shades of Grey took off into the stratosphere. Yes, I wanted to get my two cents in before everyone else did, and I also wanted to poke fun at the general public for making this book a bestseller (myself included!). My plan worked, and this has become my most visited post ever.

What Keeps Me Up At Night. (October 8, 2011). I wrote this as a love letter to Stephen King. I also wanted everyone out there in blog-land to know how much The Dark Tower series means to me, as well as give some background on my life as a book collector. Writing this post brought back so many memories, and also made me realize I want to write more posts like this in the future.

Tammy’s Top Ten Things I Learned at Camp NaNoWriMo. (July 10, 2012) I participated for the first time in NaNoWriMo this summer, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least! I urge anyone who has been thinking about writing a novel to check it out. Everything is explained in this post, and you can even sign up for the August camp, which is going on right now.

Curse of the Bestsellers. (October 12, 2011).  After several months of blogging, I began to notice that just about every book I selected for my “Read Me!” feature (which I have since abandoned) was also appearing as the main book selection in Entertainment Weekly. I didn’t want people to think I was stealing their ideas, so I wrote this post to defend myself.

Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Good Book Club Picks. (January 31, 2012). This is also the longest title of all the blog posts I’ve written! I love this post because the girls in my book club mean a great deal to me, and these are some of my favorite reads. For anyone in a book club that needs ideas, start here!

The Night Circus – Review. (September 30, 2011). One of my favorite books last year, The Night Circus recently came out in paperback, so I’d love more people to read my review of this magical and dreamy book. I also just realized how short this review is! I’ve definitely become more verbose since starting my blog.

Ode to Joss Whedon #1. (December 16, 2011). You might be able to tell from the crazy name of this blog that I love Buffy, and by extension, I love Joss Whedon and just about everything he does. Strangely, I haven’t written any posts about Buffy, but on occasion I like to highlight my favorite Joss Whedon projects. This is one that’s near and dear to my heart.

Ready Player One – Review. (November 21, 2011). Here’s another of my favorite reads of 2011 that has just been released in paperback. I loved everything about this book: the characters, the futuristic and hallucinogenic world that Cline created, and the blast-from-the-past 80′s vibe that infused every part of the story. This is a “can’t miss” book that everyone should read!

The Future of Us – Or How Two Writers From Opposite Ends of the Country Wrote a Book Together. (January 26, 2012). OK, this is the longest blog title I’ve written so far! The story was a fun and futuristic take on Facebook, but the real joy of writing this post was getting to hear the story behind the book, from the authors themselves.

Tammy’s Top Ten Horror Books (They Aren’t What You Think). (March 13, 2012) Or maybe they are what you think, but the reason I threw that into the title was to indicate that my Top Ten did not include any classics. I’m all about current book releases, and even though a few of these choices are on the older side, they are still what I would consider “modern.”

So now you know who I am! Leave me a comment and a link so I can get to know you better, too.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and every week they come up with a new Top Ten theme. This week’s theme is pretty cool! To come up with list, I simply thought back to the books I’ve read that gave me a tingly feeling that I only get when I’ve been transported to someplace extraordinary.  For the most part, the books mentioned are fantasy or science fiction, and the settings are invented. But they all have one thing in common: I remember exactly where I was when I read them. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Hogwarts (and all the other locations in the books) from the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. This was the first thing that popped into my head when I was thinking of vivid worlds. Rowling created literal magic with her seven Harry Potter books, and I can’t imagine a top ten list without mentioning Hogwarts!

2. Lyra’s Oxford from His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are three of my all-time favorite books. They mostly take place in Oxford, England, and alternate between the real Oxford and a magical version of the city.

3. The desert world of The Dark Tower  series by Stephen King. Yes, here it is again on this blog. The Dark Tower. Best series ever! King’s desolate wasteland of a desert is so beautifully drawn and is the perfect setting for this complicated and epic story. The setting changes throughout the series, and each location is as vivid as the last.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana in Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice. Rice’s seminal vampire tale set the standard for the romantic vampire stories of today, and her descriptions of the French Quarter in the 1800′s are perfectly suited to the story and characters. You can practically smell the air of New Orleans in this book!

5. The world of Hyperion in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Here is another series I keep going back to on this blog. I can’t help it, the best books keep resurfacing. If I mention them often enough perhaps I can get more people to read them! Hyperion is science fiction at its best. Simmons is amazing, and his take on The Canterbury Tales will leave you speechless. Seriously.

6. New Crobuzon from Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Miéville. Miéville is a true poet, and this fantastic world comes alive in the pages of these books. I have to admit some of Miéville’s work has left me cold, but these two stories rank among my favorite books of all time. Please read them!

7. Great Britain from The Eyre Affair (and other Thursday Next books) by Jasper Fforde. This fun series from Fforde takes place in an alternate 1980′s England, where characters from literature exist inside and outside of the pages of their books. In this first book of the series, Literary Detective Thursday Next must track down Jane Eyre when she is kidnapped from the pages of her book.

8. Manchester, England from Vurt and Pollen by Jeff Noon. Another science fiction series I love, the strange and drug-infested world that Noon has created is unlike anything I’ve read before. Vurt is a drug, feathers that you put on your tongue. The different colored feathers give you different types of highs and lows, and some of them are extremely dangerous. I felt like I was on drugs the whole time I was reading these books. What better example of a vivid world could there be?

9. Hell in Mortality Bridge by Steven R. Boyett. I’ve never read anything like Boyett’s ghastly descriptions of Hell and what one man experiences when he takes an extremely long trek there and back to save his wife.  Based on the story of Orpheus and other legends, Boyett forces you to watch all the torments of Hell, and I guarantee you won’t be able to look away.

10. Wisconsin from The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It may seem like a strange choice, but this book had such a strong impact on me that I had to include it. Edgar Sawtelle is my only mainstream fiction title, but the lonely farmland in Wroblewski’s first novel plays a big part in the story, and this strange and sad retelling of Hamlet is one of my favorite books ever. And I mean that!

Please let me know your Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds! I’d love to see what you’ve picked.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books I’d Save if My House Were Abducted By Aliens

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and today’s very frustrating theme is the Top Ten Books you’d save if (insert calamity here).  I say frustrating because I do love all my books, and since I’m not the kind of book collector who spends loads of money on first edition The Catcher In the Ryes and Moby Dicks, I don’t have ten obvious choices.  So my list this week is mostly based on feelings of nostalgia, and leans heavily on the side of horror, which is really my first love, and the very first kind of books I started buying when I was able to afford them.  So here they are, pretty much in the order I acquired them:

1. The Stand by Stephen King (Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1978). As I’ve mentioned before in my other Stephen King-centric post, The Stand was my very first hardcover purchase.  I bought it when I was sixteen from my small home town’s one and only book store (I think it was actually called The Book Store!) for $12.95, a brand new hardcover.  Today it’s worth a few hundred dollars, but for me the price is irrelevant.  It’s still the best thing I own.

2. Swan Song by Robert McCammon (Dark Harvest, 1989). Dark Harvest published beautiful editions of horror novels back in the 80s, and it was during that time that I began voraciously stocking up on every Dark Harvest title I could find.  Swan Song is one of those books, and mine just happens to be signed by the wonderful Robert McCammon, whom I’ve met several times.  It is a grand, terrifying and magical tale of good versus evil, and it is still one of my favorite McCammons to this day.

3. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (Dark Harvest, 1989).  Another beautiful example of my Dark Harvest collection, Carrion Comfort is another stellar horror story by another master of the genre. These Dark Harvest books are over-sized and have beautiful dust jackets (Swan Song is illustrated by Charles Lang, and Carrion Comfort is illustrated by Kathleen McNeil Sherman and Dan Simmons.) These tiny thumbnail photos just don’t do them justice. Carrion Comfort is also signed by the author, and I am proud to be the owner of this beautiful edition.

4. – 10. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (Donald M. Grant Publishers, 1982-2004).  I won’t repeat myself too much, since I’ve done a whole post on these books, but the truth is, they are an important part of my library and they would definitely be part of my Top Ten rescued books. I feel lucky that I was able to purchase all these books for the original list price when they were released, and not pay inflated collectors prices.

OK, I guess that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. As long as I don’t keep thinking about the rest of my library and everything I’ve left off this list…

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What Keeps Me Up At Night

October is the perfect month to talk about scary stories. It’s also the perfect time to mention Stephen King, without doubt one of America’s modern masters of horror. (I’m pretty sure someone else came up with that title.) Say what you will about Steve (yes, I am claiming the right to call him “Steve”), he has had a major impact on the world of publishing, and if I hadn’t discovered The Shining back in highschool (I vividly remember trying to read it during choir practice – choir practice of all places!! – I could not put it down. Sorry Mr. Parker!), I would not be the person I am today.  When I was sixteen and finally had a steady, though tiny, income from working at McDonald’s, I purchased my very first hardcover, The Stand, and my future was set.  Many years later I own over three thousand books, and I have Stephen King to thank for it.

Now like most writers, Steve has had his ups and downs. His hits and misses. His classics and flops.  I am not so blinded by his brilliance that I can’t admit to being disappointed once in a while (Cell, anyone?).  But today I want to focus on one flash of brilliance, in particular a smallish book that was originally published back in 1982 by Donald M. Grant.  The Gunslinger was a mere 216 pages long (Compare that to Under the Dome, which clocks in at 1,072 pages.)  The first book of The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger was different from Steve’s other books: it was fantasy.  Not only was it fantasy and a puzzlement to many of his loyal fans, but the book was hard to find.  Donald M. Grant was (and is) a publisher of fine, limited edition books.  The Gunslinger was released with a print run of 500 limited edition copies (meaning signed by the author and artist) and  10,000 first edition trade hardcover copies.  After those had sold out, Grant released another print-run of 10,000 second edition trade hardcovers (one of which I am proud to say I own.)  20,500 copies may seem like a lot, but compare that to the first print-run of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was 12 million copies!  Grant’s edition was gorgeously illustrated by Michael Whelan, and a precedent was set for future volumes.  In fact, the covers you see above are the original editions published by Donald M. Grant, each with its own illustrator (Phil Hale, Ned Dameron, Dave McKean, Bernie Wrightson, Darrel Anderson, and Michael Whelan, who bookended the series by illustrating the first and last books.)  A paperback edition was not published until 1988, about the same time that The Drawing of the Three, the second book in the series, was released.  It wasn’t until 2004 that Roland’s story finally came to an end in The Dark Tower, and I realized that I could now read the entire series the way it was meant to be read: one book after another, from start to finish, without years between books trying to remember where one book left off and the next began.  Instead of losing the threads of the story (and believe me, there are lots of threads), I had the best reading experience of my life.  I remember tracking down reading copies of all the books except for The Dark Tower.  I did not want to wait another year for it to come out in paperback. (An aside: the term “reading copy” usually refers to a paperback edition of a book.  To a book collector, it’s a copy of a book that can be read: you can fold down its pages, spill coffee on it, and generally put it through  hell if you want to.  I did read my second printing of The Gunslinger when I purchased it, but I assure you I probably read it with gloves on.)  So I got my reading copies together and put them in a big stack, and I started to read.  It took me three months to read all seven books.

All this is a roundabout way of getting to the point of this post: What does keep me up at night? It may not be what you think. The Dark Tower is not horror, really.  There are horrific elements to be sure, but most people would categorize these books as fantasy.  What keeps me up at night is the fact that there are probably loads of people out there who have never even heard of The Dark Tower, let alone read it.  The single experience I had of immersing myself in Roland’s story for three months was life-changing, and I can’t imagine not having read these books.  If you are reading this, and you have read The Dark Tower books, perhaps you understand. (Of course, maybe you read them and didn’t like them. And if that’s the case, you probably won’t be coming back to this blog…)  If however, you have not read about Roland and his friends, and you have some time to spare (about three months, I’d say), I urge you to take the time and jump in.  All seven books are now available in any number of affordable editions (including digital and audio), or can be found at the library, or can be borrowed from a friend.  They may not keep you up at night, in the scary/horror sort of way, but they will make you think, and dream, and imagine.  And I will sleep better knowing you are reading them.

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is:  The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, The Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower.

Special thanks to Goodreads for being so helpful with book covers and publishing dates.  You guys are awesome!

Learn more about Donald M. Grant Publishers.

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