The Stand: As Read By My 40-something Self

The Stand Book Cover When I read The Passage a few months back, I found myself comparing it to Stephen King’s The Stand. I mean, it’s hard not to given they are both epic novels dealing with similar themes.  There’s a virus, a clear good vs. evil theme, a mysterious black women to lead the good, and a dark, wickedly bad man to lead the corrupted.

Although I listed The Passage as one of my favorites for 2010, it didn’t hold the same place in my heart as The Stand did. You see, I read The Stand when I was 20 and as you can imagine, so much happens in your twenties. I was in college, working, trying to juggle it all on very little sleep and just trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. During this time The Stand seemed larger than life to me.

So, when I mentioned how much The Passage reminded me of The Stand, a couple of other bloggers agreed. I then got it in my head that I had to re-read The Stand and Jill and Michele agreed to some along for the ride. Aren’t they nice?

What I had planned to do is post a comparison post to discuss the two books, but things don’t always go as planned. I was incredibly distracted by this re-read and had the hardest time getting through it. This time around, I decided to read the compKindlelete and uncut version which is nearly 1200 pages long.

The length of a novel does not scare me but I chose to read it on my Kindle and there was some cruel, joke being played on me. You see, there are no page numbers on a Kindle, so you gauge your progress via the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. Well, once I got to 65%, it stayed there…FOREVER! No joke. Michele and Jill sailed ahead of me, chapters at a time yet my progress bar was static. This had a huge effect on my enjoyment of the novel. I found myself irritated over every little thing. Yes, I could see the chapters going by, but with an epic of this size, you really need to see that progress bar move and for whatever reason it got stuck there for me.

So while the others wrapped-up their reading, I was STILL reading because let’s face it, I was dreading the experience. This disappointed me quite a bit, because the book that I loved in my 20’s was causing me great angst. I started to focus on the negatives. How on God’s green earth could these people have food for so long? No one seemed to be concerned about food or water and I know that would be a huge concern for me.

But, in a moment of frustration I downloaded new firmware and all of a sudden the progress bar started to work again. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see progress. In turn, my opinion of the book changed again. It was once again the book of my 20’s. The one thing that came rushing back to me, is that King has such a knack for bringing his characters to life. So many characters, yet each of them distinct.

Although I had planned for this to be an entirely different kind of post, in the end it’s just reassuring that the book that I had such high regard for n my twenties, is in fact still wonderful today. I wouldn’t say that either one, The Passage or The Stand is better than the other, or that they are exact replicas of each other (because they aren’t) but they are each great in their own way.

Scary Bday Cake Today happens to be Stephen King’s birthday!! Happy Birthday, Stephen! May you continue to impress twenty-somethings, and forty-somethings alike!

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27 thoughts on “The Stand: As Read By My 40-something Self”

  1. I heart Uncle Stevie and his sick and twisted and drug-induced plots. The Stand will always be the book of my youth (I think I first read it when I was in 8th grade). The Passage was entertaining, but will never outshine The Stand. And I know what you mean about reading long books on the Kindle. You get hung up on that little progress bar. I have done best to read long books on audio for some reason. I can crank through them. (BTW, Under the Dome was very similar in many ways to The Stand.)

    1. Uncle Stevie? You crack me up. I think it would be terrifying just to BE King. Can you imagine? All of those stories knocking around in that head of his?

  2. I’m glad that you still like The Stand years later. I’m starting Under the Dome and at over 1000 pages, it will take a while for me to plow through it! Glad that you fixed your progress bar. That would drive me nuts too 😀 I’m feeling stuck on Pride & Prejudice. It’s been a slow 40-something pages so far.

    1. Years ago, when I read The Stand for the first time, I read all of his other books too (Salem’s Lot, Cujo, Christine, It, Tommyknockers, etc) and loved them. But the books that came out after those (Dolores Claiborne, Gerald’s Game, Rose Madder) completely turned me off to him.

      I read Under the Dome over Christmas break when it first came out and it was his return to the classic way of writing that I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit. I was glad to see him return to that style. It’s a long book but I didn’t notice the length too much, which is always a good sign.

    1. Really? Not even the Dark Tower series? I actually think his short stories are great. Terrifically scary, but short. Not all of his books are blood and gore either. His scariest stuff, in my opinion, are the stories that have everyday people losing their minds.

  3. I love my Kindle (even though it’s a first generation Kindle and not as sleek as the newer ones), but the one thing that drives me absolutely insane is the lack of page numbers! I wish they would do something about that. Even with the change of text size you’d think there would be something they could do about that.

  4. AT LAST I HAVE FOUND YOUR BLOG.

    You have been leaving comments on my blog for ages but for some reason whenever I clicked on your link it didnt show that you had a blog. Ill be pocking around on your blog over the next few days 🙂

    1. Really? Oh no! I bet I did something screwy when leaving a comment for it to do that. Next time I leave a comment I will check. Glad you found me 🙂

  5. Who would have thought to update the software for the Kindle for that fix –not me..LOL I can’t believe you are reading The Stand, a second time….you must have really enjoyed it the first time.

    1. It’s odd because I only had that problem with The Stand, not any of my other books. It’s haunted apparently. I did love The Stand quite a bit when I was younger. This time around I was a bit more jaded over whether stuff could really happen that way, but that is age talking.

  6. #1 – glad I’m not the only one hung up on the damnable status bar on the Kindle.

    #2 – I think it’s way cool that this book, in the end, stood up to the passage of time for you (wow, that was two puns for two books in one sentence….I’m on a roll).

    #3 – you were my voice of sanity during this read….things like pointing out the food situation. You were completely correct and while I usually latch on to that kind of thing quickly in a novel, King has a way of making me forget about stuff like that.

  7. I can relate to your feeling of the progress bar never moving on the Kindle … it isn’t moving on The Brothers Karamazov (and I KNOW it isn’t broken … the book is just that bad.)

    I’m glad you found the book you loved in your 20s again!

  8. What your kindle did to you really wasn’t very nice! It would bother me very much if I didn’t know how far I’d read in my book

    I am duly impressed by The Fellowship of The Stand ((I read about your froup name & T-shirts on Michelle’s blog!) & appreciate your comparisons of the 2 books!

    I have The Passage here, somewhere, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I haven’t read The Stand either. But that’s another story & it’s a little embarassing: when I was 13, I went on a Stephen King binge & read a lot of his books, one right after the other & I started having terrible nightmares for several weeks! During this time I went to a friend’s slumber party. That night, my friend’s brother & some of his friends scared the living daylights out of a romm filled with 13-year old girls! You can imagine how well that set me up with the nightmares I was already having. I don’t think I slept for at least a week & every sound, no matter how small, made me jump a mile! lolol My mother forbid me to read another Stephen King book while I was living in her house! lollol I put Stephen King & his books out of mind & never read another one.
    But I’m really interested in reading The Stand now! Everything I’ve read about it since hearing about The Passage comparisons intrigues me! The comparisons are Pretty interesting stuff!! So I think I’ll be making some time to read The Stand, if not soon, definitely early in the new year. And The Passage too.

    Do you you think it matters which one I read first ?

    Now that you know my rather humiliating story, LOL I’m slinking back to my blog!
    Thanks for a realy interesting post!
    ~ Amy

    1. I used to like to be scared at that age. I was twisted!

      If I had my choice, I would have read The Passage first and then ended with a novel that in my opinion was a bit stronger in the character development dept (The Stand).

  9. Jill mentioned she read this with you, so I had to check out what you thought. I have it on my Kindle as well, and have joined Trish’ Stand-a-long which begins tomorrow…LOL

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