Tag Archives: stephen king

The Correct Way to Work a Holiday Gift Exchange

Tonight is our work holiday party, complete with yankee swap gift exchange. In honor of this tradition, I thought I would reuse this blog post from a few years back, which basically sums up my priorities and my wisdom in one anecdote.

Originally posted on Dec 14, 2011.

==

Alternate title: My Shameful, Gleeful Secret.

Despite knowing about my work holiday party, and the “yankee swap” type gift exchange, I didn’t remember to buy a gift until the day of the party. (Also despite browsing at Macy’s over the weekend, picking things up and wondering if they were appropriate for a holiday gift exchange.)

On my lunch break I ran to Target to pick up some boring stuff and also look for a gift. On the drive there I decided to buy a book, because I’ve talked about books with several other people here, and I thought that would be a nice diversion from the numerous bottles of wine that I was sure would be there.

I looked through the book section, but there wasn’t really much of interest. There was a wall of trashy teen romance, a wall of trashy adult romance, a wall of trashy thriller/suspense…and then I saw a single copy of Stephen King’s recent collection of novellas: Full Dark, No Stars.

I know of at least two other people in the office who like Stephen King, and he’s pretty mainstream, so I thought it would be a better gift than, you know, Twilight or The Chocolate Cat Caper or something like that. (Although, I also thought about getting Dollhouse, the book “written” by the three Kardashians.)

So I bought the book and wrapped it in a little bag, and told no one except Jonathan what it was. I deposited it under the tree at the holiday party and waited for the gift exchange to begin.

Soon I started feeling like I needed to leave the party soon – later that night Drew, Erin and I were going to a screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and for a minute or two I wondered if I could get the present back out the door if I left before we started the swap.

But then we all settled down and the fun began, and I’m glad I stayed, because it was super fun. The entire thing (there were around 30 people participating) took about 90 minutes.

I was number 26 in the lineup and I had decided I wouldn’t just select my own gift, even though Full Dark, No Stars was one of the few Stephen King books I didn’t own. When my turn came, I stole a set of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from someone else, and I was very happy with that steal. After all, I could always go back to Target and buy another copy of the book.

In a few more turns, a girl sitting next to me selected my gift, and once she’d unwrapped it, she looked less than enthusiastic. No one seemed to want to steal it either. Perhaps I had completely misjudged this group – and neither of the people who I know like Stephen King were at the party.

In another few turns, the hostess of the party stole my balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and I made a snap decision to steal Full Dark, No Stars. Which I did. That girl opened another present and seemed much happier with it. No one stole the book from me after that.

When I got home, I told Drew the whole story and then displayed the book, and he said, “Well, I guess that worked out perfectly.”

And it did.

Merry Christmas!

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Starting my Halloween reading

Last year I wrote an post on great Halloween reads. Tonight I gleefully started my first Halloween book for 2013.

Drew recently gave me Stephen King’s latest, Doctor Sleep, which is a sequel to The Shining. My grand plan is to reread The Shining in preparation for reading Doctor Sleep, and then, if I have any time left after that before November 1st, I’ll reread Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which is one of the freakiest stories ever.

halloween

I don’t know what it is that I freaking love about Halloween. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia: I have all these memories of singing Halloween songs, writing stories about ghosts, stamping pumpkins all over a piece of paper…and that’s just elementary school. I don’t really care about dressing up in a costume myself, but I want to browse every Spirit superstore and look at costume pieces. I love Halloween episodes of TV sitcoms.

I love haunted houses, and scary movies. I love fake spiderwebs and other domestic decorations. I love creepy statues that jump into life when you walk by them. I love crunchy leaves on the sidewalk and brisk winds (not necessarily Halloween-specific).

As a bonus, the bookmark I found in The Shining when I opened it up is a ticket to Nightmare Haunted House! The memories, they are flooding in.

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Filed under Awesome, Books, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment

Shelve all the things

Last night Erin came over to the new place to help me go through this:

 

After about an hour and a half, we took a break to get some water (and seconds of pizza) and admire how far we’d come:

 

And when she left an hour after that, we had filled all the shelves. Most of them were pretty themed. I tend to like to take all the books that

a) I like the most,
b) I’m proudest of, and
c) have the highest reread potential

and put them on the eye-level shelves. I don’t think Erin likes that very much. I think she wanted them more thematically arranged, and she didn’t seem to be a fan of Marian Keyes next to Ira Levin. But that’s okay. After it’s all done, I can always switch everything around. (JUST KIDDING ERIN.)

Anyway, here’s everything filled:

 

And all that remains is assorted fiction, which will hopefully fit on this one last shelf I have.

 

Oh, who am I kidding? I need to buy a new bookshelf!

(I promise, after this, I’ll stop talking about books for awhile. I know it’s been a lot lately.)

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The King of the Bookshelf

I pretty much adore Stephen King. I think I’ve made that evident. This is his author photo from his latest novel, 11/22/63. I think he looks remarkably like an older, fuller-cheeked version of my dad.

Author photo by Shane Leonard

Stephen King, if you read this, I think you’re awesome.

So awesome in fact, that I have collected nearly all of your work. Here is a comprehensive list of Stephen King books (novels, short stories and collections, and nonfiction). I have italicized all the books I own, and bolded the NINE that I have yet to get my hands on.

novels:
11/22/63
Bag of Bones

Black House
Blockade Billy
Carrie
Cell
Christine
The Colorado Kid
Cujo
Cycle of the Werewolf
The Dark Half
The Dark Tower Series 1-3
The Dark Tower Series 4-8
The Dead Zone
Desperation
Dolores Claiborne
Dreamcatcher
Duma Key
The Eyes of the Dragon
Firestarter
From a Buick 8
Gerald’s Game
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
The Green Mile
Insomnia
IT
Lisey’s Story
Misery
Needful Things
Pet Sematary
The Plant: Zenith Rising (this one is actually an unfinished eBook that I thought would be impossible to find. Then I looked on his website and saw it’s just available to download as a pdf. BOOM)
Rose Madder
‘Salem’s Lot
(I don’t have this as a single book, but in one of the collections)
The Shining

The Stand
The Talisman
The Tommyknockers
Under the Dome

nonfiction:
Danse Macabre
On Writing
Secret Windows

short story/novella collections:
Different Seasons
Everything’s Eventual
Four Past Midnight
Full Dark, No Stars
Hearts in Atlantis
Just After Sunset
Night Shift
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Skeleton Crew

as Richard Bachman:
The Bachman Books
Blaze
The Regulators
Thinner

There it is. My gleeful collection. Once I have completed it, I can set about replacing some of the ancient, falling-apart copies with newer, still-bound-together copies. Oh, I should also finally read all of them…because yes, there are some that I have only read once, years ago, and a couple that I’m sorry to say I haven’t yet read.

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The Correct Way to Work a Holiday Gift Exchange

Alternate title: My Shameful, Gleeful Secret.

Despite knowing about my work holiday party, and the “white elephant” type gift exchange, I didn’t remember to buy a gift until the day of the party. (Also despite browsing at Macy’s over the weekend, picking things up and wondering if they were appropriate for a holiday gift exchange.)

On my lunch break I ran to Target to pick up some boring stuff and also look for a gift. On the drive there I decided to buy a book, because I’ve talked about books with several other people here, and I thought that would be a nice diversion from the numerous bottles of wine that I was sure would be there.

I looked through the book section, but there wasn’t really much of interest. There was a wall of trashy teen romance, a wall of trashy adult romance, a wall of trashy thriller/suspense…and then I saw a single copy of Stephen King’s recent collection of novellas: Full Dark, No Stars.

I know of at least two other people in the office who like Stephen King, and he’s pretty mainstream, so I thought it would be a better gift than, you know, Twilight or The Chocolate Cat Caper or something like that. (Although, I also thought about getting Dollhouse, the book “written” by the three Kardashians.)

So I bought the book and wrapped it in a little bag, and told no one except Jonathan what it was. I deposited it under the tree at the holiday party and waited for the gift exchange to begin.

Soon I started feeling like I needed to leave the party soon – later that night Drew, Erin and I were going to a screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and for a minute or two I wondered if I could get the present back out the door if I left before we started the swap.

But then we all settled down and the fun began, and I’m glad I stayed, because it was super fun. The entire thing (there were around 30 people participating) took about 90 minutes.

I was number 26 in the lineup and I had decided I wouldn’t just select my own gift, even though Full Dark, No Stars was one of the few Stephen King books I didn’t own. When my turn came, I stole a set of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from someone else, and I was very happy with that steal. After all, I could always go back to Target and buy another copy of the book.

In a few more turns, a girl sitting next to me selected my gift, and once she’d unwrapped it, she looked less than enthusiastic. No one seemed to want to steal it either. Perhaps I had completely misjudged this group – and neither of the people who I know like Stephen King were at the party.

In another few turns, the hostess of the party stole my balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and I made a snap decision to steal Full Dark, No Stars. Which I did. That girl opened another present and seemed much happier with it. No one stole the book from me after that.

When I got home, I told Drew the whole story and then displayed the book, and he said, “Well, I guess that worked out perfectly.”

And it did.

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