Thursday, July 19, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Different Seasons by Stephen King


Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile. Be sure to check out all the blogs participating using the linky list at the end of the post (if it isn't up when you first read this, check back later in the day, I will update it as soon as the link is up) .


Different Seasons
Stephen King
Originally Published August 29, 1981
Viking Press
527 pages
There are so many reasons I chose this as this week's Throwback Thursday featured book. First off, it may just be my favorite book of all time, it most absolutely is my favorite Stephen King book. It also has the odd distinction of being one book that's actually a set of novellas that spawned THREE movies. Yes, three. Movies that most people probably don't know were based on Stephen King works: The Shawshank Redemption (based on Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption), Stand By Me (based on The Body), and Apt Pupil (based on, well, Apt Pupil). As you may have guessed, there is a fourth novella in this set, The Breathing Method, which to my knowledge hasn't been made into a movie, and that's probably a good thing.

I love the layout of this book. The four novellas each represent a different season: Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption is "Hope Springs Eternal", Apt Pupil is the "Summer of Corruption", The Body is the "Fall from Innocence", and The Breathing Method is "A Winter's Tale". None of them are really what you would call "typical" Stephen King horror, but all are at least somewhat disturbing in their own way. I cannot claim to have read all of King's works, but of  the dozen or so books I have read of his, Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption is my favorite, and what I think is his best writing ever. For anyone who has seen the movie, you can probably understand why. It's just such a perfect example of all sides of humanity. In just over 100 pages, this world comes alive, and your emotions are stretched to their limits - love, betrayal, anger, frustration, guilt, happiness, and yes, of course, hope. Nearly twenty years after first reading this, I can still remember the way I felt after reading it. Those emotions have stayed with me all this time.

My favorite quotes, one of which I recently published in a Wednesday's Words & Quippish Quotes post: 

"Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” 

“Hope is a good thing - maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.” 
I also love The Body (Stand By Me). It's perhaps one of the best coming-of-age stories out there. Again, such a powerful story full of emotion. I think it really speaks of Stephen King's prowess as a writer that he can write with such breadth not only across stories, but within them as well.

If you are a fan of Stephen King, or even if you're not, Different Seasons is a book that is absolutely worth reading. I think we can all learn something from it.

Different Seasons (as a whole): 5/5 stars

Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption: 5/5 (can I give 6??)
Apt Pupil: 4/5
The Body: 5/5
The Breathing Method: 3/5

Cover: 4/5 - There are many, many covers out there for this book since it has been around for over 30 years and reprinted many times with some covers featuring the movies as they came out. This cover is the one I first read, but it was blue instead of black-brown. I think I like it best for that reason.

1 comment:

  1. The Body is one of my all-time favorite pieces of prose. Every time I watch Stand by Me, I completely forget that certain scenes form the book aren't in the movie because I swear I've *seen* them. Strangely, I'm not sure I've ever read The Breathing Method