On My Bookshelf

The Shining by Stephen Kingshining uk

From Amazon.com: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

I’ve never read any Stephen King books, so one day during a slow time I work I decided to listen to The Shining. My verdict: sllloooooowwww. Seriously, I enjoyed the overall story (much better than the movie!), but could not stand the page after page of world-building. If I had been reading it old-school style, I probably would have put it down – or at least skimmed through to make it to the end. My husband is a big Stephen King fan though, so I promised to try again with a book he suggested.

Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction by opiumfiend-thumb-300x453-4577Steven Martin

From Amazon.com: A renowned authority on the secret world of opium recounts his descent into ruinous obsession with one of the world’s oldest and most seductive drugs, in this harrowing memoir of addiction and recovery. A natural-born collector with a nose for exotic adventure, San Diego–born Steven Martin followed his bliss to Southeast Asia, where he found work as a freelance journalist. While researching an article about the vanishing culture of opium smoking, he was inspired to begin collecting rare nineteenth-century opium-smoking equipment. Over time, he amassed a valuable assortment of exquisite pipes, antique lamps, and other opium-related accessories—and began putting it all to use by smoking an extremely potent form of the drug called chandu. But what started out as recreational use grew into a thirty-pipe-a-day habit that consumed Martin’s every waking hour, left him incapable of work, and exacted a frightful physical and financial toll. In passages that will send a chill up the spine of anyone who has ever lived in the shadow of substance abuse, Martin chronicles his efforts to control and then conquer his addiction—from quitting cold turkey to taking “the cure” at a Buddhist monastery in the Thai countryside.

This is another one of those books that has been on my want-to-read list for a while. Since I’m considering going back to school, I figure I better get as much fun reading in as I can.

Very enjoyable. It reminded me of several drug memoirs I have read – everything seems fine at first, all the stories must have been wrong, woops now I am in trouble – but with the history and culture of opium mixed in with the story.

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