I am not a huge fan of Steven King. I have read and have enjoyed some of his books, and I have enjoyed some of the movies that have been adapted from those books, but I don't wait in breathless anticipation for the next Stephen King book and don't think he is a literary god. I do respect him as a writer. Anyone who has been as successfully prolific as King has been is to be admired. I think he is a brilliant writer, I just don't usually reach for his genre when reading a book. I did love The Stand though.
But I recently picked up a copy of Stephen King's book, On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft, and have found it to be a very good read. I only got it because I wanted to have a nice book to take to NYC with me in August in case I have an opportunity to snag an autograph after the reading. I bought this book at a church bazaar sale and came home and began reading it. I was gonna bring nice copies of a Rowling book and a John Irving book for the same reasons.
If you are a fan of King's, or a fan of books in general, or are a writer or want to be a writer, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book.
I have picked out some passages where King mentions Tolkien and Rowling and ties together my July/August weekend nicely.
Stephen King on Tolkien: page 136
"...Even after a thousand pages we don't want to leave the world the writer has made for us, or the make-believe people who live there. You wouldn't leave after two thousand pages, if there were two thousand. The Rings trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien is a perfect example of this. A thousand pages of hobbits hasn't been enough for three generations of post-World War II fantasy fans; even when you add in that clumsy, galumphing dirigible of an epilogue, The Silmarillion, it hasn't been enough. Hence Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, the questing rabbits of Watership Down, and half a dozen others. The writers of these books are creating the hobbits they love and pine for; they are trying to bring Frodo and Sam back from the Grey Havens because Tolkien is no longer around to do it for them."
What King says here about the writers who are trying to bring Frodo and Sam back from the Grey Havens could just as easily describe the thousands of fan fictions out there. We just can't let the world of Middle Earth behind.
Stephen King of Rowling: page 225
"...Probably J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter stories, is the current champ when it comes to back story. You could do worse than read those, noting how effortlessly each new book recaps what has gone before. (Also, the Harry Potter novels are just fun, pure story from beginning to end)."
It is interesting, I think, to find that a writer I respect is a fan of some of the same writers that I am. Maybe I should give some more of his fiction writing another look.
PS - I picked my picture of Tim Curry at the stage door to Spamalot as a nod to his role in Stephen King's, It. Tim in the personification of scary clowns in that movie and one of the reasons I hate and fear clowns. Oddly enough Tim is also the reason I have an attraction to men in high heels, fish nets, and makeup.