Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Constant Reading Project: DIfferent Seasons

Different Seasons
Released: August 27, 1982
Pages: 527
Screen adaptations: "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" as "The Shawshank Redemption," directed by Frank Darabont, 1994; "Apt Pupil," directed by Bryan Singer, 1998; "The Body" as "Stand By Me," directed by Rob Reiner, 1986.
Connections to other works: Shawshank Prison gets mentioned a lot and "The Body" is a Castle Rock story.

Different Seasons is one of the most aptly titled books in Stephen King's career. It's a shift from the more outright horror he'd become famous for into a more literary realm. That isn't to say his previous work wasn't literature; it's just not the same as the novellas in this collection.

Two of the four are among his most famous works, if you are considering them in terms of cinematic adaptation. I will forever maintain that "The Shawshank Redemption" is a better film than "Forrest Gump" (so is "Pulp Fiction" but that's another matter). I will often hear people talk about how they've never seen a Stephen King movie only to discover they've seen "The Shawshank Redemption" or "Stand By Me." ("The Green Mile" is the third film in what I'd call the Socially Acceptable Stephen King Trifecta.)

We'll save my movie rants for later. Let's talk about the book.

The book is divided into four sections, one for each season of the year. "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" represents spring; "Apt Pupil" is our summer tale; "The Body" is about fall; and "The Breathing Method" chimes in for winter. The middle two could have easily swapped places, I think, and still been just as good. The biggest change, however, would be that instead of a light, dark, light, dark sequence, we'd get the lighter tales at the front and be set up for two downer stories in the second half.

"The Breathing Method" will be a fun one to explore for this project. It's not as well known and definitely less read than the other three. We'll talk more when we get there.

I will be reading Different Seasons on my Kindle Fire. The ebook version is based on a 512-page Signet paperback from 2004.

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