Thursday, June 7, 2007

50 Things about a Legend and the Passing of a Friend



I found this published in the Toronto Star today. Since Stephen King is my favorite author, I thought it was appropriate. 50 Reasons to Love Stephen King. I have to agree with all of them!! (I too, thought Tommy Knockers was crap and the long version of The Stand was the best!) But what interested me the most is the criticism King receives for not being a "literary" author. When he received a U.S. National Book Awards lifetime achievement award, literary Critic Harold Bloom wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Boston Globe called Dumbing Down American Readers.
He says: "another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis. The publishing industry has stooped terribly low to bestow on King a lifetime award that has previously gone to the novelists Saul Bellow and Philip Roth and to playwright Arthur Miller. By awarding it to King they recognize nothing but the commercial value of his books, which sell in the millions but do little more for humanity than keep the publishing world afloat."


Personally, this offends me. I like Stephen King's novels. I like his writing. His books reel me in hook, line and sinker. And I think he gets a bad wrap from the critics. His answer to Bloom's slam was "What I'm interested in is attacking readers' emotions because I don't think reading should be an intellectual affair." When I'm reading, I want to be entertained. I've read a lot of "literary" type books. John Banville's The Sea won the Booker Prize a couple of years ago. It bored me to tears! Watching paint dry was more interesting to me! Maybe I'm just a reverse literary snob!


On a much sadder note.....I read that Natalie from Nattie Writes lost her battle with cancer this morning. She will be sorely missed. Please take a moment and pray for her 2 daughters.
Later!

11 comments:

Chris said...

Much agreed! I love Stephen King...I'm rarely disappointed with his books. They're always a fun ride.

It's so sad about Nattie. I'm still a little shocked about it all. She was writing about feeling bad and then this all of a sudden. She was such a great person. She'll be missed.

Zeek said...

Ditto! I was gonna write down the ones on the list that I agree with and I gave up because I do with everyone! (I'm gonna link your post to my blog post today!)

I don't know Nattie, but if she's a friend, I'm sorry for your loss ...

Nymeth said...

That offends me too. I think that in reading there is room for everything - both for being stimulated intellectually and for experiencing varied emotions. It is ridiculous that critics look down on him because his writing falls in the second type.

I did not know Nattie, but this is such sad news. I feel especially bad for her children, losing their mother so early in life.

Margo. said...

I love Stephen King's novels too!

I didn't know Nattie, and I agree this is such sad news. I saw her picture on another blog and she was a beautiful lady.

kookiejar said...

You know I love 'Uncle Steve'. Harold Bloom is the worst kind of literary snob. The kind that doesn't see the value of work that he doesn't personally enjoy...poop on him.

Gentle Reader said...

I agree. Stephen King is always entertaining, and there's a lot to be said for that. Though I didn't know her, I'm sorry to hear about Nattie.

Chris said...

I only read recently that Nattie was sick. I only 'met' her during the Something ABout Me challenge. It's so very sad.

As for King, I'm not a huge fan anymore but I always thought his writing got to the heart of what scares us and that takes some insight. I don't think he's as bad as that article said. Sounds like he had an axe to grind.

Kimmie said...

I read "The Stand" in two days. I'm not the scary type, but nothing chilled my blood like "Survival Type." I was reading in bed and had to put it aside and wait for daylight. That doesn't happen to me.

I didn't know Nattie either. I just joined Pulitzer Literature where she was a member. There's a link to her blog for messages to her family.http://nattierosewrites.com/mt/

Backcountry Muse said...

I'm not a Stephen King fan myself, Stephanie, so I'm not terribly affected one way or another about the article. But I am REALLY curious as to how you came to be reading The Toronto Star!!

Dewey said...

You know, there is just almost no one who does dialogue so well as King. Or characterization. I think that some people resent his success in a genre like horror, so they overlook his immense skill in storytelling and the abovementioned qualities. Well, let him laugh all the way to the bank.

But yeah, Tommyknockers sucked.

Annie the Superfast Reader said...

I agree with you about King--I hate that he gets a bad rap for being a genre writer. Though I agree with Dewey about Tommyknockers!