Sunday, November 10, 2013

Currently reading: JOYLAND by Stephen King

While travelling in the US recently, I picked up a few crime novels along the way (I find it hard to browse great independent bookstores and not buy at least one book, no matter how travel baggage constrained I am). One that I've started reading now I'm back on New Zealand shores, and is intriguing me greatly thusfar, halfway in, is JOYLAND by Stephen King. It's part of the often-excellent Hard Case Crime specialty imprint.

Yes, Stephen King, the horror-meister who combines insight into American small-town life with some pretty fantastical happenings in his novels. Many readers I know are split on King - some love him, some opposite - but I've always quite liked his work, without being a mega fan. I really, really enjoyed some books, such as THE GREEN MILE, NEEDFUL THINGS, THINNER, and others, but haven't read a large proportion of his canon. I really, really liked his memoir, ON WRITING, one of the best writing-related books I've ever read.

Oh, and the TV adaptation of IT scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. Bloody clown in the sewer. Sheesh.

But I'm loving. Love love loving, JOYLAND. Not entirely sure why yet - it's just an intriguing story, flowing well, with not a lot necessarily happening as yet, in terms of massive big plots twists or point. But King has sucked me in with his tale of a man looking back, perhaps nostalgicly, on the summer he spent working at a theme park in North Carolina as a college kid in the 1970s, while getting over a broken heart. Talking about publishing this crime novel, King said:
"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book." – Stephen King

JOYLAND has gathered good reviews overall, and I've even seen the book mentioned on a few 'best of the year' conversations. I'm not the whole way through it, so can't fully pass judgment, but I am enjoying it greatly thusfar. Prior to my own review, you can check out more views on the book here:
Have you read JOYLAND? Does it sound like something you might want to read? What do you think of authors crossing genres and writing quite different types of stories? Are you a Stephen King fan? Comments appreciated. 


  1. Craig,

    I'm not exactly a fan of King either. I read The Stand and did enjoy it. However, I've tried others by him and never finished them.

    There's one exception and that is his "Dark Tower" series which really impressed me. I spent many years waiting for him to finish it. I consider it to be his best work. It's also scheduled for a reread soon.

  2. I have been reading his books for almost 40 years and loved most of them. A few years back he seemed to take a turn down a wrong road, but came flying back with 11/22/63 and now Joyland. These are books I remember long after I have read them and read them again through the years. Listened to Joyland on audio on my way to and from work this last week and had the most enjoyable ride in years. A must read for true Stephen King fans. Even if you are not a fan, pick it up and read - you won't regret it.