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Top Ten from the Pop of King: Stephen King Quotes

Bestselling horror novelist Stephen KingWe don’t hate Stephen King around here, despite my colleague bagging on his book titles today.

Recently, Stephen King was quoted as saying about bestselling mormon vampire romance author Stephenie Meyer:

“Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

I thought that was a pretty bold statement from a very famous public figure, and decided to see what else he might have to say.

Most of Mr. King’s books aren’t really my thing (exceptions: Misery, The Shining, The Running Man, Thinner (the gypsy with the rotting nose haunted my dreams when I was about 12), The Stand, Carrie….huh, I like more than I thought), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really like his writing in his Entertainment Weekly (he does a column called ‘The Pop of King’).

I found it engaging, funny, thought-provoking, decisive and interesting. So it occurs to me that maybe it’s not Stephen King’s writing that leaves me a bit cold, but the genre itself. I love horror movies, but I think perhaps I’ve outgrown horror books.

Anyway, I really loved a lot of what he had to say. Here are some Stephen King quotes I particularly enjoyed.

On bestselling books:
“I believe that 70 percent of the fiction and nonfiction best-seller lists is dreck, and that ”The Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown, stands as a prime example.”

On movie snacks:
“My candy of choice is Junior Mints. And while I don’t bring bootleg food into the movies, I do bring bootleg toothpicks. Then, as I relax in my seat, I take a toothpick and poke five or six Junior Mints onto it. It ends the dreaded Chocolate Hand, and it’s also kind of fun to eat candy off a stick. I call them Mint-Kebabs.”

On chicklit vs. manfiction:
“Women like stories in which a gal meets a handsome (and possibly dangerous) hunk on a tropic isle; men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).”

On blogs:
“…a place where, as a rule, the self-appointed critics eat their young.”

On why no Harry Potter reviews ever did the books justice:
“In their hurry to churn out column inches, and thus remain members of good standing in the Church of What’s Happening Now, very few of the Potter reviewers have said anything worth remembering. They take a perfunctory wave at things like plot and language, but do little more…and really, how can they? When you have only four days to read a 750-page book, then write an 1,100-word review on it, how much time do you have to really enjoy the book? Rowling set out a sumptuous seven-course meal, carefully prepared, beautifully cooked, and lovingly served out. The kids and adults who fell in love with the series (I among them) savored every mouthful, from the appetizer (Sorcerer’s Stone) to the dessert (the gorgeous epilogue of Deathly Hallows). Most reviewers, on the other hand, bolted everything down, then obligingly puked it back up half-digested on the book pages of their respective newspapers.”

On movies he didn’t care for:
“Hated ”Antwone Fisher”; ditto ”The Life of David Gale.” Don’t tell me the former is better than the latter, and don’t throw a bunch of sentimental tripe at me and call it social commentary. ”Antwone Fisher” is especially annoying in this regard, a $9 Hallmark card that amounts to ”Roses are red, Violets are blue, Life is tough, But you’ll get through.” I knew that already, thanks, now go away.”

On great writers:
“I think Elmore Leonard is the great American writer…but that he was a lot better 10 years ago. I think that if you haven’t read Stewart O’Nan, Peter Robinson (the Alan Banks mysteries), Peter Abrahams, or the early novels of Dennis Lehane, you have some catching up to do.”

On politics (pre-election):
“Barack Obama looks like the grave and intelligent news anchor on a major-market station. John McCain, on the other hand, looks like the slightly dotty commentator who rants about the local sports teams and obscure bond issues on a small-market station.”

On The Road by Cormac McCarthy:
“Simple, stripped to the bare bones, this story of a man’s effort to keep his son alive and to find any place of refuge in the wake of a great disaster is the finest achievement of McCarthy’s career. I thought it was almost the perfect narrative — spare in its beauty and constantly driven forward by its own interior urgency. Impossible to put down, in other words. “

On his wishlist for 2009:
“I wish for a year during which no talented young [people] die before they can realize their full potential. No Heath Ledgers, please; what a sickening shock it was to hear that on the radio. No David Foster Wallaces, either. We need all the bright lights we can get, because the world is too dark already. “

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