Sep 252014
 

After a lengthy hiatus, Liquorature is back.  Though not as you may have known it.

Earlier this year Liquorature fell from its lofty perch as the last outreach of civilized modern man. For five (mostly) glorious years it had stood as a bastian of hope and intellectual respite in a world sadly riddled with reality TV, socialite headlines and video games displacing books as the preferred medium of escapism. Something had happened. The spark had very nearly died. The lamp had dimmed.

lamp

Rather than see this beloved outpost fall into ruin, we pulled closed the doors and shuttered the windows.

It leaves a hole in your life though.  Once you’ve become accustomed to the ritual of the monthly gathering, the anticipation of a good read, the salivation for new drams and the hope of an inspired conversation, well…it’s hard to simply let it rot on the vine.  Some things inevitably needed to change, though, in order to make it work again.

Now…many moons later, that guttering spark has been brought back to life.  In a way, this is a Frankenstein moment of sorts for Liquorature.  The make-up of the club has changed.  The overall direction has slightly shifted.  Perhaps a few formalities will morph into something more or less than they were previously.  Either way…we’re back.

A mate of mine – a filthy, devious, Irish mate of mine – got hold of me a few months back regarding Stephen King’s magnum opus ‘The Dark Tower’.  We had discussed the merits of this series when we gathered for the ‘Cell’ event a couple years ago.  Apparently the recommendation did not go unheeded.  As my hobo pal drew towards the end of this monstrous yarn, he called me and said that this was one that needed to be discussed.  A timeframe was soon agreed upon, and a few of us more masochistic souls began laboriously plodding through the seven canonical volumes, plus the apocryphal add-ons.  Finally, a month or so ago (August 8th, actually), we gathered and talked the shit outta this one over many a dram.  It turned out to be a great night that effectively became the launching point for this new iteration of Liquorature.

Prior to our untimely (though temporary) demise, there had been a couple of books lined up that we never got ’round to.  I guess only time will tell whether or not we ever come back to those tales.  Instead, we have moved forward with a new collective, a new rotation, new selections and a new outlook.  The coming months will bring the following:

“Star Maker” (Olaf Stapledon)
“The Stars My Destination” (Alfred Bester)
“The Old Man And The Sea” (Ernest Hemingway)
“A Christmas Carol” (Charles Dickens)

…and after that, leading off 2015, who know?

Feel free to pour yourself a drink and read along from your distant vantages and partake vicariously here via comments.

Keep watch for many updates to the site.  She’s a little rusty, but we’ll pretty ‘er up.

In the meantime…I look forward to sharing the journey.

 

‘Keep your lamp trimmed and burning, for this old world is almost gone’

– C

May 042010
 

It is no secret that I am an unabashed fanboi.  Let’s face it…whether you are a fan of the macabre or not…the man can write.  I own copies of all of King’s major books…go out of my way to collect his short stories when they appear in other sources…collect the comics…and constantly watch for news on the man and his writings.

King’s life is oftentimes as fascinating as his his novels.  Though he has yet to publish his memoirs in that bulky tome I’ve been waiting for, he has allowed insights into his life in many ways.  ‘Danse Macabre’ and ‘On Writing’ are two of the better examples of this.  King also provides brilliant forewards to his novels, and juicy tidbits accompany his short story anthologies.  Though the man appreciates his privacy, his forays into the spotlight are gems.  For those with less interest in the Wizard behind the curtain than the land he rules…

The volume of work King has turned out is astounding.  The thing that makes him so special in the contemporary canon is that the quality of his writing never seems to waver.  We all have our favorites of course, but even those that didn’t ring as loud for me as others still soar miles above the competition.

King’s strength has always been his characters.  Recent years have shown a tendency towards even deeper character-driven tales, though never at the expense of the chills from which his reputation was derived.  Early novels had a more…visceral and gritty approach.  Many of my favorites (‘Salem’s Lot’, ‘The Stand’, ‘Pet Semetary’) are from this era.  The short stories King gave us from this time are bloody brilliant as well.  Recent years have given us a mixed bag of mystery (‘The Colorado Kid’), zombie (‘Cell’), homage (‘Blaze’ – under the Bachman name) and classic King (‘Duma Key’).

The lesson?  Expect the unexpected.

…and really…how can you not love a guy who is himself a musician and music lover?

As one of our most prolific and influential contemporary authors (and an icon across several genres), I thought it only fitting to open up some dialogue on Stephen King.  Until someone picks one of his books for the club, this will be my outlet.

My King collection:

Current King:

‘Just After Sunset’ (2008) – Latest short story collection.

‘Under The Dome’ (2009) – Most recent doorstopper at >1000 pages.

‘Blockade Billy’ (2010) – A limited run.

‘Full Dark, No Stars’ (2010) – Four King novellas (a la ‘Four Past Midnight’ or ‘Different Seasons’)

Jan 162010
 

As an aside to Liquorature, but still the same idea…I am hoping to have at least a few commit to a long term one-off meeting.  Many months in the future.  I am hoping to get a few of the members to make it through all seven book of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (soon to be an eighth!!).  I want to make this strictly optional for those who devour books at a faster rate than our club dictates.  I am hoping for a long night of discussion over VERY fine whiskies and rums (start saving, boys).  There is an endless store of subject matter in these books, without any of it necessarily having to be tooooooo deep.

Just a thought…this would be the perfect opportunity for an ‘Occasional Traveler’ or two to join us if they have read, or want to read, such a bulky tale.

This meeting would not take place until all who commit have finished.  Likely towards the back end of the year.  I will host.

I know a few were interested, but before I start making my way through again I would like to know there are others equally committed.

Yay or nae will suffice.

Thoughts, gents?  Anyone want to follow Roland on his quest?