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Reader’s Den

June Reader's Den: 11/22/63 Week Three


Every once in a while, science fiction really resonates with the human experience. One of these moments for me, was in the TV series The 4400 when a woman walks into a polluted river and uses her powers to make it crystal clear and clean. Time travel fiction does this well, and 11/22/63 was full of these moments for me. Jake has several of these moments every time he goes through the Rabbit Hole, and this blogger summed many of them up quite well (spoiler alert). King uses phrases like "the heart wants what the heart wants" and "the past harmonizes with itself" partly to move the time travel plot along, but also, I believe, to illustrate the difficulty of change, even with a built-in "reset button."

Book Discussion Questions from Chunkster Reading Challenge

Biographies of Stephen King in Gale Biography in Context

The following books are not very similar to 11/22/63 (I'm not sure there are many novels that are similar), but they both deal with characters who muddle through realities which are far from ideal, or from what they expected. Can you think of other books where this is the case? Have they had an impact on you?

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
A woman whose husband is away fighting in WWII tries to make sense of the once-peaceful, now German-occupied, island of Grenada.

We Disappear by Scott Heim (ebook)
A drug-addicted son leaves New York to help his ailing mother in Kansas. He discovers that his mother's cancer has let loose a plethora of stories, many about missing children, that he and his sister must sort through to uncover the truth and to truly help her. Heim's first novel, Mysterious Skin, was made into an independent film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

We the Animals by Justin Torres
Three brothers try to find their way through a thrilling and chaotic childhood, growing up in Brooklyn with a Puerto Rican father and a white mother.


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I was looking for books

I was looking for books similar to 11/22/63 and I think the ones you've recommended really hit the nail on the head. Other posts recommend other time travel books, or other King books, or other horror books (which I wouldn't classify this books as). What King does best are his characters and how they respond. I actually seem to favor his books that aren't mostly concerned with the sci-fi events taking place in them (this book, The Green Mile, Shawshank, etc). I'm checking out your books recommendations here. Do you have further book recommendations that follow along these lines?

further recommendations

"Help for the Haunted" and "Strange But True", both by John Searles, also skirt the horror/sci-fi genre but focus on the characters overall, with a hefty dose of mystery. King's "Joyland" is another great mystery that reminded me of "11/22/63" in some ways. Thanks for the feedback!

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