Stephen King’s 11/22/63

When I tell people I’m reading a Stephen King novel, many are surprised.

Really? Isn’t he all horror? The skeptics ask.

Not all his books. And over the years, I’ve managed to read quite a few that capture the imagination, ok maybe with a bit of fantasy and horror, like few other writers do. King, whose combination of 54 books have sold 350 million copies, have been made into movies and television series, whose written short stories and non-fiction, continues to produce at a prodigious rate.

His time travel tome, (the paperback clocks in at 842 pages), 11/22/63, was recommended to me by a local bookstore employee on a visit to Connecticut a few months ago. I needed something for a long plane ride and even though I have an e-reader,  I still prefer the real thing.51gir4MU+2L._AC_US160_

The story begins in Maine and moves to Dallas as the main character, Jake Epping, a high school English teacher, assumes a new identity and resolves to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He travels from 2011 to 1960 through a “rabbit hole” discovered by the owner of a diner, who passes the mission onto Epping when he becomes too ill to continue.

The book barrels along at a fast pace. There’s danger and romance, cultural references and social commentary, and of course time travel. You have to suspend belief to enjoy the story and I found myself admiring how King crafted the time travel conceit, making it so credulous as well as frightening. There are plenty of events to convince the reader that the past really needs to remain the past.

So when I heard the novel had been made into a television series, I was curious. Starring James Franco as Epping, and Chris Cooper as the diner owner, the television show seems so far mostly true to the book. Yet I do find myself getting annoyed at plot and character changes and am not sure I want to finish watching the series.

Here are some other King titles I’ve enjoyed: Hearts in Atlantis, Bag of Bones, and Different Seasons, a quartet of novellas that include “The Body,” the basis for the movie Stand By Me and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” which became The Shawshank Redemption, and Apt Pupil, which became a movie of the same name.

When I taught middle school, a favorite unit was “You’ve Seen the Movie, Now Read the Book.” Students enjoyed exploring books that their favorite movies were based on and writing comparison/contrast essays.

What are your favorite books that have been made into movies?

 

 

 

 

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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19 Responses to Stephen King’s 11/22/63

  1. Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one all time favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, love both book and movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a fascinating story Lisa. I have never read a book and then thought the movie was completely true to the book. Sometimes they’ve drifted completely away from the book and sometimes they’ve left out critical parts. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CRGardenJoe says:

    The Princess Bride….read the book before I saw the movie, and really like both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also prefer old-school paper books! My fav book to movie would have to be anything by John Grisham, a local! And a friend recommended King’s “On Writing” which was excellent and made me rethink the use of adjectives! http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/how-stephen-king-teaches-writing/379870/

    Like

  6. notewords says:

    I do think Stephen King is a fabulous writer, but I cannot stomach his horror books. I wish he would stay way from kids and animals!
    I thoroughly enjoyed his book ‘On Writing – A memoir of the Craft’.
    I’ll keep an eye out for the books you recommended.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My only real favorite. I like his stories, but not fond of his writing, but loved his memoir!

      Liked by 1 person

      • notewords says:

        ‘Misery’ gives a fascinating glimpse of the writing process. But it is kind of hard going in some places. I freely admit I skip ahead when things get icky, but he does catch me by surprise sometimes. No kids or animals (if I recall correctly), which is a bonus in his work…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes too much horror doesn’t work for me either.

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  8. Ann Koplow says:

    Some of my favorite books-into-movies: “The Princess Bride,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Accidental Tourist,” “Carrie,” and “The Pianist.” I am very affected by horror books and films, so I avoid them. Stephen King is such a good horror writer that I REALLY avoid him. There are scenes from the book “Carrie” that I still can’t get out of my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Leah Singer says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. The TV series has been on my “to watch” list for a while. I’ve heard great things about the book too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I stayed with the book right up to the end…. and felt it fell apart. Not wanting to give away endings, I won’t say what bothered me. And I have never read a book first and loved the movie after.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was more bothered by the movie treatment than the book.

    Like

  12. L:oved Stand by Me. The sSawshank Redemption has always been a favorite, even though it’s been pointed out that the story has it’s flaws

    Like

  13. Marsha says:

    I love the relatively new book. Fault in our Stars. I haven’t seen the movie.

    Like

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