First Lines: Faithful

As a non-fiction entry in his oeuvre, Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season doesn’t count towards the completion of number 66 on my list (Read all novels written by Stephen King). Even so, as part of the collection, I had to read it eventually.

For someone who knows just the basics of baseball — hit the ball, pass all three bases, reach the home plate to score, holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!, three strikes and you’re out, three outs and you’re done — I found Faithful to be a tough cookie. Basically, a dairy of two Boston Red Sox fans just too much private fascination for me to really enjoy. Especially as I’m totally not invested in the subject and there’s a lot of baseball jargon that goes unexplained: what the heck is a sac fly? a grounder? being K’d out? Finally: already knowing that the Sox will win the World Series, breaking their 86 year drought, doesn’t really help the suspense.

Unless you’re a total Stephen King or baseball/Red Sox nut, you shouldn’t feel bad about skipping this one.

Book Read
Steward O’Nan & Stephen King — Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season
First line
It wasn’t always like this.

First Lines: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t going to end up on my list of favorite books this year. While the actual writing is perfectly alright, the story might as well have been called “Harry Potter and the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters” for all it’s “been there, done that, and the previous t-shirt fit me better anyway.” It just reeks of “We want to make a multi-million dollar franchise out of this, so here is part one where we lay the groundwork.”

Nah, can’t get too excited ‘bout this one.

Book read
Ransom Riggs — Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
First line
I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.

#16: “Later, when I’m all grown up, I want a Mini.”

For years I’ve been saying that later, when I’m all grown up, I want a Mini. Because, you know, I’m pretty tall. (2.05m / 6′7″) So when I made my list of 100 things to do before I am no longer able to do them, I put it on there. *

For my latest birthday, my awesome, lovely big sister got me one:

LEGO Creator set 10242: MINI Cooper

Sure, it’s a LEGO one, but it counts enough to tick it off the list. I had a fun few hours building it, excellent project for the weekend.

Thanks, sis.

* I know: under slightly different words, which I just changed to be able to tick this one off, but it’s my list and I always reserved the right to change that list to fit my current needs, so there.

Seen Live: Jesus Christ Superstar

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar toured through The Netherlands, featuring Ted Neeley (who played Jesus in the 1973 movie and toured with Meat Loaf early in the 1980s) and a whole load of Italians. This seemed too good a thing to let it pass by, so we bought tickets.

Then this thing happened, and it was kinda uncertain whether we could make it. But in the end, we did make it — my first big trip out of the door in a month — and it was awesome.

Even at age 73, Ted Neeley was the absolute highlight. His “Gethsemane” was freaking unbelievable. One of my favorite bits of the movie is “King Herod’s Song” — with the magnificent line “Prove to me that you’re no fool: walk across my swimming pool” — and here it was gloriously over the top. Kajafas and Annas hammed it up nicely, and their “Must die, must die, this Jesus must die” melody grooved quite well. Judas, who after Jesus probably has the best parts, was another highlight. Dangit, it was awesome all around. I could nitpick on the accented English, but I didn’t mind that. No, I had a great time.

Ted Neeley, “Gethsemane” live from Amsterdam
Seen live
Jesus Christ Superstar starring Ted Neeley at World Forum Theater, Den Haag on December 27th, 2016

First Lines: The City of Mirrors

Before diving into the last part of Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy, I reread the first two novels. First time round, I thought they were pulpy fun, a good read, but not, you know, particularly great or anything. But upon revisiting them, I can’t recall why I thought that. Perfectly good fun, and pretty great as well.

I’m not gonna recap The Passage and The Twelve. Imagine a world where an military experiment goes horribly wrong, and that a vampire infestation wipes out almost all of humanity in North America. Of course, there are some survivors, who upon the arrival of Amy, a byproduct of the same experiment, set out to see what’s there to salvage. Sort of.

The City of Mirrors starts twenty-something years after the events of The Twelve. After the defeat of all but one of the Ur-Vampires, some sort of normalcy has returned, and life went on. Now, it seems that the end play, is at hand: the one remaining vampire, he who is called Zero, who is the Source, will go and try to finalize the vampire domination of the world. Meanwhile, some others have a dream of an island sanctuary …

Its seems to me that The City of Mirrors is the perfect conclusion to the trilogy. It hits all the spots. There’s a chapter where you get the back story of Zero, and dammit, it just about redeems the fucker. And the ending? Well, it’s probably the only right one. So I have no complaints. And yet, the same uneasy feeling I had with the first two parts gnaws at me. So maybe I’ll just need to revisit it in a while to see what’s up.

Book read
Justin Cronin — The City of Mirrors
First line
The ground yielded easily under her blade, unlocking a black smell of earth.