Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review #1: Misery

Normally bloggers dedicate their entries on Wednesdays for 'Wordless Wednesday'. This practice was a hit some time ago, and I honestly don't know if it's still what bloggers these days stick to, seeing that I only read one or two blogs a day now. But I've never been one to catch on with the hype, so I never did stick to the Wordless Wednesdays entries. 

Not entirely unrelated to the paragraph above, I love reading books. Fictions, specifically thriller ones. No matter how busy it gets, I try to read a few pages every day, normally before bed when I'm breastfeeding Zayd to sleep (yes, I intend to breastfeed him until he turns two like his sister did, God-willing). I did this ever since I started my PhD, as one of my friends said that it was important to have an 'escape' from studying and family obligations, and reading storybooks have always been an outlet for me, so I stuck with it. Especially since used books were dirt cheap in the UK. And I figure it would most definitely help me with my English, so technically it is still 'academic-ish'. 

Alhamdulilah, the practice continues till today. I have always wanted to do write or at least document books which I have just recently finished reading. I've just finished a book this evening, and since today is Wednesday, I thought, why not just write a review of the book. Then it occured to me, why not dedicate two Wednesdays a month to write about the book(s) which I've finished reading (coz that's the speed I go, mate -- one or two fictions every fortnight. Sad, I know, but I'm making an effort here). At least that way, I'll remember the books which I've read, owned or borrowed. Again, it's just petty record keeping, but sharing is caring, they say. Perhaps it will help the odd high schoole rs who needs to finish off their book review assignment which is due tomorrow (naughty, naughty!). May be it will encourage more people to pick up the said book and have a go at them. I don't know. and I don't know how long I'm up for this, but the nerdy academic inside me is saying, 'do it'. Once a nerd, always a nerd, I guess. So let's see, shall we...

Title: Misery
Author: Stephen King
Year: 1986
Genre: Thriller
Procured: Bought for RM 10 from the Islamic Relief Charity Shop, Bangi.

Ok, so I'm not really a bombastic reader, I haven't even finished the entire King's collection, but I'm working my way around them.

Misery, I find, was a good read. It's a story of a famous writer, Paul Sheldon, who'd gotten into a car accident one snowy evening, and was rescued and nursed back to health by a woman, Annie Wilkes, who claimed to be his number one fun but later turned out to be a psychotic ex-nurse. with his broken legs, Paul was kept a hostage by Annie, who demanded that he write another sequel to the book series which Paul had written before (the Misery series or something). She'd gotten Paul hooked on to Novril, a kind of heavy painkilling drug. Annie was a real nutcase, one minute she seemed fine and the next a compete basketcase. Among the torturous things Annie wasn't shy to form included karate-chopping Paul's broken knee, chopping off his left foot with an axe, and de-thumbing him with an electric knife. I know, very gruesome stuff. I winced through those part, since I have a rather active imagination myself. She's also killed an officer who came knocking at her door looking for the missing infamous Paul Sheldon (by this time he was gone for a good few months). In the end, Paul finished writing the book (the last of the Misery series), which made Annie really happy. But Paul wasseeking for revenge and a way out, so instead of Annie enjoying the final instalment, he'd burnt it (with a match given by Annie to lighht his cigarette). Annie fought to save the copy, and they wrestled, and boy was it hard to kill the lady, but in the end she died. Paul had triumphed, especially since it was a dummy copy which he'd burnt so he escaped the house (the police came after the fighting had stopped, how typical) and made millions seling his final instalment. But he was still haunted by Annie Wilkes in his dream and struggled to get back to writing, until his encounter with a boy and his skunk. 

***Spoiler alert***

It was really hard to put down the book, but I didn't manage to read it all in one go, with the kids and all. But it took me only four days to finish, so that's pretty fast for me these days and definitely saying something. The ending was a bit rushed, I felt and had to re-read the ending several times to know what happened post-Annie's death. Or was she really dead for that matter. And also the part about the boy and the skunk confused me a little, but after going back to the same text a few times over, I got it. I'm giving this book 9/10.

Now, I'm off to search the full movie (it has been turned into a film). With Katie Bates playing Annie Wilkes, you know it has to be GOOD....

Cute notes:

I bought this book last Thursday at the Islamic Relief Charity shop. It cost me RM10. I leafed through the first page and saw it marked in pencil as 20p!!! So this book has once been in the land of the Queen, sent to some charity shop in the UK, bought by someone (I don't know how many times it has been bought and sold again), but in the end fell into the hand of someone presumably Malaysian living in the UK. I imagine it then being boxed and shipped to Malaysia, follower its owner's return to Malaysia, and after some time, perhaps the owner got bored with it or trying to save space or whatnot, and now it is in my hand. Quite a journey, for a book  :)

I've overpaid. 20 p = RM1.20 at most. But in the name of charity, right? Hihi... Btw, it's not that surprising, I suppose. Bangi is the academic valley, so I'm imagining it was someone who at one time was abroad studying like myself perhaps? Only Allah knows for sure.

PS: I know a charity-shop book when I see one. Why, I've volunteered at a charity shop for a few months myself, while I was in the UK. But that's another story for another time ;)


1 comment:

Al-Manar said...

Moving from one blog to another I arrived here. That you are in Plymouth, possibly doing your PhD, sounded interesting. Sadly I felt extremely sorry when I was perusing through your latest two entries. They were written by one not fit to be a UPSR pupil, so unbecoming of a PhD student.

Then here, in this entry, I see good English, how you ought to display yourself to your students and the public at large. If only I had your email address this nasty comment But would have gone private. Nevertheless, it is still your prerogative to reject this from being published. My email in in my blog. Give me your worst response to this. I will accept with satisfactions, knowing that you have read my nasty comments.

I will turn up again and see how you have taken my insolence. I am old enough to be your grandpa!