I just finished my summer reading. OK, it's a few days after summer is officially over, but technically I started in the spring time.

I've never been a big reader of Stephen King's work. I don't care for horror, so a lot of his work is just lost on me. But there are some exceptions. I enjoyed The Stand the first time I read it back in the 1980's, so I bought it as an e-book earlier this year and read it on my Motorola XOOM. After I finished it, Jackie suggested I try Kings' Gunslinger series (a.k.a. The Dark Tower). He had written the first book in the 1970's and had developed the series over the next 30 years as a labor of love.

The first book caught my interest. The pace was good and it was an engaging tale. The next books added new characters and dimensions to the story. I found myself drawn into the storyline and enjoying them. During our 2 week road trip to Cape Canaveral and Orlando, I read two books, staying up late the night before the shuttle took off because I couldn't get enough of the story.

Then it happened. (Beware: minor spoilers)

Somewhere around the sixth book, he lost me. What had been a perfectly good knights errant tale, suddenly became something else entirely. Instead of going toward their eventual doom and defending the helpless along the way, the protagonists found themselves crossing into "our" world and running into characters from King's earlier books. It wasn't the crossing over that was the problem. It wasn't even running into people like Randall Flagg from The Stand or Father Callahan from Salem's Lot.

What disappointed me was when King inserted himself into the storyline as a character who influences the story. I knew he had a tendency to cameo himself in his books, but not like this. He tore down the fourth wall, poured petrol on it, and lit the damned thing on fire. He dropped self-deprecating jokes into the narrative and made his real life an element of the storyline. The reader was forced to read through his accident, where he was hit by a minivan on a country road while out walking. It's such a cheap device to use and I don't understand why he felt the need to use it, other than to punish the poor bastard who ran him over.

In the end, the series turned out alright. I liked the way he wrapped up the quest and he did his surviving characters some justice. For what it's worth, I also like the way the movie Inception ended and the last episode of The Sopranos.

I know he was ready to be done with the series. In fact, in his afterward, he says he not entirely happy with the way it ended. It's not the ending that I hated, it was the book and a half where I was forced to slog through his life instead of dealing with the characters and storylines that drew me into his world in the first place.

Now, onto my Autumn reading. I picked up an omnibus e-copy of the Hitchhikers Guide trilogy (all 5 books). That ought to keep me occupied through the chilly evenings.