Summer is here, and I couldn’t be happier about it! Yes, we still have a week to go before the solstice, but everyone knows that once Memorial Day hits, the season unofficially begins. Our thoughts turn to all the fun summer traditions we’ve adopted throughout our lives (Jaws, anyone?) and (ideally) our calendars fill up with leisurely activities. Summer reading lists are popular, but my favorite book to read in the summer is one that I technically haven’t read yet: Stephen King‘s The Stand. Let me explain.
Many summers ago, my husband, Terry, was trying to convince me to read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. “It’s a western,” I complained. “I don’t care about westerns.” “But it’s a masterpiece,” he insisted. We went back and forth like this for a while. I wasn’t budging and he wasn’t backing down. “Just give it a chance,” he said. “Let me read the first chapter to you…if you don’t like it, fine, but just give it a chance.” We sat on the couch, and he started reading aloud. In spite of myself, I was intrigued. Terry said, “See? Don’t you want to read this now?” I said, “Actually, I’m really enjoying being read to.” With that, Story Time was born. Weekend mornings were spent on the couch with coffee, open windows, and the words of Lonesome Dove in the air.
We both enjoyed the ritual so much, we kept it going through following summers with different Larry McMurtry books (Streets Of Laredo, Comanche Moon – yes, westerns)…then, at the beginning of one summer, Terry asked, “Have you ever read The Stand? I’ve been thinking about reading it again…the story begins in early summer. It’s over a thousand pages.” No convincing was necessary.
2017 will be the fourth summer we will spend with Stu, Frannie, Larry, Nick, Tom (“laws, yes”), and the other complex (and relatable) characters as they navigate the country after most of the population has been wiped out by the Superflu. The Stand is a supernatural tale of survival, the struggle of good versus evil, and ordinary humans dealing with extraordinary situations. In short, it’s a masterpiece, and a damn good way to spend a couple of months. Read it…or find someone nice to read it to you.