Bound to Books

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OK bitchKinges. I finally decided that if I can’t manage to write anything, I might as well let the pros do the writing and I’ll be doing some reading of said pros.

My wonderful husband tagged me on a link to a post listing 18 new book releases this upcoming year that “Stephen King fans will love”. I just went through the entire list and read the synopsis of each one trying to see if any of them will tickle my fancy.

So other than The Outsider, by the King himself, coming May 22, I picked the following:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
The Clarity by Keith Thomas
The Hollow Tree by James Brogdan
Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry
The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly

Now, I don’t know ANY of these authors. And anybody who knows me also knows that I have quite a bit of trouble reading books by any author other than Stephen King (or Richard Bachman, who is also Stephen King). I have trouble because King is not only my favorite, but also the only author I absolutely LOVE. Stephen King to me is more like Stephen God. Any time I try to read a book by anybody else, I always find myself comparing it to King Almighty, and seeing as the Holy Dude is second to none, my current read comes up short, I find it sucks ass, and I do not enjoy it at all as a result.

But I decided to try and get over my obsession (read: worship) and read other books by other authors. Maybe I’ll find one that I will love as much as King (or close enough is more plausible) and have a greater variety of books to read (if the five dozen King books I read is not enough).

As for the genre, I am only interested in horror/thriller/suspense/mystery novels. If my inability to fall asleep persists, I want to have a good enough reason for it, and it won’t work if the novel I read is romance or fantasy, i.e. BORING SHIT!

So the short list above looks like a good place to begin my search.

I just realised that this sounds a bit like my initial obsession with Arch Enemy and my unwillingness to listen to any other metal band… if I managed to increase my musical repertoire, it might be possible to do with books too!

Peace, love and oh my King!

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Goose Flesh

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I must admit. I am kind of upset that Stephen King decided to take a break from writing and publishing novels at a faster rate than I can read them and instead invest more time in movie adaptations and TV series.

My husband and I still follow his progress. We saw the Dark Tower (see review here), last night we saw the remake of IT (more on that below), we are currently watching the series of The Mist and Mr. Mercedes. Earlier, we also saw the remake of Carrie (review here), the series 11/22/63, and Under the Dome. I enjoyed all these to a certain degree, but not as much as I enjoyed the respective books/novellas.

The remake of IT was amazing. I definitely liked it way more than the 1990 version of IT. I thought it was wise to divide the story into two separate parts instead of making a single movie consisting of constant flashbacks where the viewer has to keep track of two stories at once. Also, Pennywise was far scarier in the remake, I mean, holy shit! Every time he appeared, I screamed out loud.

But again, nothing compares to the novel. I read it a while ago but I still remember how terrifying it was. My perception of reality was completely distorted, I’ve had nightmares, and spent my days looking over my shoulder in fear of seeing a creepy clown like Pennywise. It ultimately became the scariest book I have ever read, and still is to this day. You can read the full review I wrote at the time here.

But I still enjoyed the hell out of the remake. I highly recommend IT to all horror freaks.

Peace, love and I need a new SK book seriously

I Kill With My Heart

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The-Dark-Tower-Poster-Idris-ElbaYes. I saw the Dark Tower movie yesterday. My husband and I bought the tickets for a ridiculous 62 NIS a piece, but the 4DX experience was worth it! It almost reminded me of the rides at Universal Studios.

Anyway, I went into it knowing pretty much what to expect. I knew the movie will reflect the book only by the title. I also knew that compressing seven longass volumes into a 90-minute feature is impossible which means that the story will be completely different. I mentally prepared myself by telling myself that I am going to watch a movie, not a Stephen King adaptation. And as a result, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Even more with the sensory experience provided by the moving platforms. There were also flickering lights whenever there was an explosion, plus winds from all directions whenever there was a shooting match. I felt as if the bullets were flying right by my head.

The story differs from the book mainly due to the reduced ka-tet. Roland was joined only by the boy Jake Chambers, and not by Eddie or Odetta/Detta/Susannah. It also differs in the sense that Roland’s quest was not to reach the tower and save it, but rather to kill the man in black.

The similarities include the gunslinger’s mantra repeated several times, the famous opening line of the book, the unfound doors (known in the movie as portals), todash darkness (in the movie, eternal darkness), all hail the Crimson King, long days and pleasant nights, the wizards crystals, all possessed by the man in black, and some other more minimal things. I also liked the overlaps with other SK books – a distinct SK trademark. Jake, for example, was a Dark Tower version of Danny Torrence, with a powerful shine. Also, there was a portal with the number 1408 written on top.

I found it amusing that while the book has Eddie describing Roland as “old, tall and ugly”, the movie has the man in black referring to him as “black, tall and handsome”.

With the bullets buzzing by my ears, this virtual rollercoaster ride quite literally blew me away. Stephen King fans should definitely check it out, but keep in mind that this is NOT the Dark Tower you know and love.

Peace, love and up next, IT!

Bang to the Beat of the Gun

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Yesterday, I read the final story from a book my friend got me for my birthday – The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari. Not a book I would pick to read on my own, but my friend sent it to me and I said I’d give it a shot, and was pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, the last story of the book, titled as the book, includes a part where the character describes the difference between living in Israel and living anywhere else. She says that the quiet that saturates every other part of the world (or particularly the place where she was at the time) feels lonely and boring. In a stark contrast to the noise and the stress of daily life in Israel. She says that maybe it’s the fact that in Israel, there is the ever-present shadow of death lurking everywhere, the fact that you can die at any moment that makes this place so fast-paced and so loud.

In another story, the author also depicts life everywhere else as safe and comfortable. But that it only depends on how one perceives it, because safe and comfortable can also be described as utterly boring.

This is how I view it. When I lived in Montreal, nothing moved. Everything was quiet, everyone kept silent and to themselves, nothing moved, and I was bored and depressed and I couldn’t stand it.

Moving to Israel, I was thrilled by the excitement and the flow of events. How people appeared to be moving together and thinking together without even noticing it. How people would all stop together whenever there was a siren on Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, and how life suddenly resumed when the siren stopped. Also how traffic and pedestrians stopped flowing into the street when there was a suspicious object in the area, and how they spilled back into the streets when the danger was removed. And how complete strangers suddenly become your only safety net when you all congregate in a safe space during a siren. How danger, fear and tragedy brings together people from different backgrounds, descents, origins, cultures, and yes, even religions.

During these times in Jerusalem, we all stare at each other to make sure the other person is of no threat. When a suspicious person walks onto a bus, again, this sense of togetherness comes through – everyone shifts together, everyone fumbles in their purse or pocket for a self-defense object (pepper spray, gun, a blunt object).

Stuff like that never happened in Montreal. In Montreal, you had to look for your community and your safety net, and even they might not want to join in your fear and may not care about your tragedy. This is the loneliness of a quiet place. The boredom in the overwhelming lack of danger.

One day in our office, we had a wave of clients waiting in the hall. A Muslim family walked in, facial expressions changed at once, the wave shifted back, the two people who owned a gun reached for it, all at the same time, everyone on high alert in a heartbeat. It was like some kind of morbid dance. But it’s through this dance and this atmosphere where I felt most at home. It was like I found my entire extended family, my true safety net, the only people I can trust no matter how sketchy and disappointing some of these people can be in other areas of life. In this one thing – danger – we all stand together, move, think and speak together. Because you can die at any moment, and you must dance with the crowd in order to survive.

I also wrote about this in my upcoming zine. I said that safe and comfortable are not adjectives that are usually used in the same sentence as Israel. But that is where I feel safe and comfortable. I know the dance, I learned the steps, I know what to expect and what’s expected of me.

I love this place. I love the noise, the stress, the danger, the fear, the excitement, the love and the hate. It’s the mindset you learn to accept – taking the bitter with the sweet, the life with the death – and appreciate every moment.

Peace, love and war and hate.

Real vs. Read

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Once again, I am in that mode or frame of mind or whatever you wanna call it.

That frame of mind where I’m so conflicted, I feel torn in half.

It’s not as bad as it sounds since the conflict itself is not earth-shattering or life-threatening in any way. But still, I’m like, wahhhh!

On one hand, I got a bunch of kickass ideas and plans for creativity – flyers, zines, patches, even a DIY business card. And on the other hand, I have this huge Stephen King book (11.22.63 in case you’re wondering) staring me in the face and I’m dying to go on reading it.

It’s just so easy to let go of this thin creative thread and just fall into the mind-numbing make-belief world of Stephen King, and letting yourself drown and feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper until reality ceases to exist. This reality which sucks dick anyway. This reality which saw it appropriate to steal the life of an innocent 16-year-old girl whose only crime was to love and support a community which deserves to live in a safe, tolerant and democratic society and enjoy equal rights.

Who the fuck wants to stay alert and conscious when the world around them goes shithouse? And where in this morbid reality can you find the right amount of inspiration to create anything at all?

Reading is so much easier. You don’t need to move much to do it, except for turning a page every once in a while. You don’t need to think, because the book does all the thinking for you. You don’t need to talk to anybody or entertain anybody or take care of anything. You don’t need to be creative and find the right words and put them in a perfect order because you have it all perfectly done right in front of you, black on white.

But then, the book is over. And you come out of it only to drop like a brick right back into the shitpile that is this reality. And you come out of it to realize you haven’t made anything of yourself. And you come out of it to notice your back is aching, your eyes are bloodshot, and your husband fell asleep while he was waiting for you to give him his birthday treat, but you were too fucking busy cheating on him with Stephen King.

So which way do I go? Do I pick up my lazy ass and create some sweet shiny sparkly sunshiny art? Or do I give in to the torturous temptation of literature and disappear into the twisted dark worlds of the King?

I guess I’ll have to figure out after my husband’s birthday dinner.

Peace, love and happy birthday to my loverboy!

Giddy Town

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Today is a good day and here’s why.

Jerusalem PrideJerusalem Pride March

When I came back from Germany, I was a little upset that I missed the Pride March in Jerusalem that took place on August 7. But as it turns out, they probably postponed it because of the security situation, what with all the rocket showers and stuff. So today is the new date for the march and I’m pretty excited for it. I don’t much dig the left-wing (read: anti-Zionist) environment in such events. However, the pride and the colors and the promotion of love, tolerance, diversity, health, respect, human rights and freedom is definitely where I want to be today, and definitely something I strongly stand for and support. It’s such an imperative movement in Israel’s society, which purports to be democratic, but still has so much discrimination against such minority groups. Hooray for pride!

Retro Vibes

For the Pride march, I decided to bring both my digital camera and my film camera. I haven’t used my film camera in a while because it is quite heavy and also because film and film development is quite pricey nowadays. But yes, I brought it anyway because the pictures it shoots are just so sharp and crisp and professional. And I have much more control over the depth of field and the focus and the amount of light and the shutter speed needed for an awesome pic. I shot a few pictures earlier this morning at Retroshalayim. This is a vintage and antique market that takes place every Thursday in downtown Jerusalem. As I walked by there, I saw some booths selling faded turquoise typewriters and got all excited. One of the merchants was selling them for 350 NIS and the other offered it for 200 NIS. The prices are of course up for bargain. But even if I could afford it, I have no way to drag around a heavy typewriter, especially during the Pride march. So I settled for shooting some photos of the typewriters and the market as a whole. That was pretty damn awesome too.

New Art Project

I want to start making postcards of Jerusalem. Some of my pen pals have asked me for Jerusalem postcards and I sent them a few I found around souvenir shops. Most of them show the usual landscapes of the Old City, Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, camels, the David Citadel at night, etc. But now I’m looking for something a bit more unconventional. So I am planning to use the pictures I will shoot at the Pride march, as well as those I took of the retro market for postcard-making. I also hope to take some photos of the metal nights I will be attending this upcoming week – Metal Night on Sunday, and Festikassach on Tuesday. This will be a great way for me to show to my non-Israeli friends a side of Jerusalem that they will most likely never see on the 6 o’clock news – the way I see Jerusalem and the way I experience it. I would gladly accept tips and suggestions from artists who make or have made postcards in the past on how to go about it. If any of my dear Constant Readers fall into that category, please comment! Speaking of Constant Readers, see next paragraph.

Stephen Fucking King

Today was post office day, so when I checked my PO Box, I found a letter from one of my old friends who is now my new pen pal (yay!) and a notice for a package, being the Stephen King book I ordered (double-yay!). I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t get the book on time because the post office was on strike (or so I thought) and the holidays are coming up. That’s besides the fact that I’ve been jonesing for a Stephen King book for several months now. If I get stuck without a book to read on the holidays, I go crazy. I will be with my big, loud Moroccan family most of the time, whom I love to death, but sometimes the noise and the crowd gets too intense and I need to retreat into a dark secluded room and listen to music, or into the dark foreign worlds of Stephen King and revel in his impeccable prose. So I’m relieved and super thrilled that I got my book! It’s another one of his short story collections called Four Past Midnight. Muahaha!

Aside from that, after the Pride march this evening, I will be going out for hummus with my boyfriend. Yummy hummus + yummy boyfriend = one bitchin end to one bitchin day!

So yes, definitely a good day.

Peace, love and give me some good dreams to match my good reality.

Restocking on King

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King MercedesThis post is inspired by Catherine Elms‘ post on the same subject.

My birthday is coming up on the eve of Succot (my Jewish birthday is always the most accurate one). My family knows me as a Stephen King book addict (see this post and this post, and like a bunch of other ones) and on every birthday they buy me a gift certificate to Steimatzky to help me along my latest book binge.

However, I’ve come to realize that Steimatzky rarely has any Stephen King books that I don’t have. I think this is because I have 38 of his novels (and collections of novellas), and it’s hard for me to find a book of his that I don’t yet own. In fact, the only time I found SK books in Steimatzky that I don’t own is when I had none.

So it’s for that reason, I decided to score books online and made a wishlist of these books, which will complete my Stephen King novel collection short of only four books (Dreamcatcher, Cujo, Insomnia and Eyes of the Dragon). King’s nonfiction, comic books, screenplays, short stories not included in any collection, and anything else the dude’s published will have to wait until later. The novels are what’s really interesting me now.

If anyone reading this is interested in buying me one of the books from this wishlist, here are some pointers:

1) The book must be in English: I can read French and Hebrew just fine, but too much is lost in translation and makes me a sad panda.

2) The book must be brand new: I made the mistake of ordering used books in the past. Never again. And if it’s a gift, new is best.

3) Paperback over hardcover: I find paperback books easier to handle and easier to read. Hardcover ones are too heavy, especially if I’m taking them with me on a trip (and also shipping costs increase significantly). But it’s not a must. If no paperbacks are available, I’ll gladly take hardcover.

Here is the list of my coveted books in no particular order:

11/22/63
The Colorado Kid
From a Buick 8
The Regulators (as Richard Bachman)
Blaze (as Richard Bachman)
The Bachman Books
Cycle of the Werewolf
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Skeleton Crew
Everything’s Eventual
The Tommyknockers
Mr. Mercedes
Gerald’s Game
Firestarter
The Dead Zone
Revival (pre-order, to be released in November)

I have a dream that one day I’ll have the complete King collection (until he publishes yet another one) and then I could take a picture of me with towers of his books all around me, wearing my PJ shirt that reads “Keep Calm, all things serve the beam.”

Ah, that’ll be a grand day!

Peace, love and oh, the picture must also include the King tattoo I plan on getting based on the Dark Tower!