• Nightmares and Dreamscapes, volumes 1,2, and 3 by Stephen King
• Audio: 23 cds
• Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio, 2009 (orig. publ. 1994)
• ISBN: 0453008445, 0453008739, 0453008917
• Genre: Horror; Non-fiction
• Recommended for: Anyone interested in an excellent audiobook; some creepy short stories, fun horror stories, a bit of crime fiction, and an essay on little league baseball.
 
Quick Review: A wide variety of short stories, mostly horror, that provide everything you’re looking for from Stephen King: creepiness, humor, the best characterization, and a good time. The audiobook is read by many celebrity readers who truly accent (or even improve on) the stories. Highly recommend for all, as there is something for everyone.
 

How I Got Here: This is one of the few Stephen King tomes that I haven’t read, and have been meaning to read it ever since I watched the TNT mini-series in 2006. This book also satisfies a task for the Fall Reading Challenge as well as the RIP challenge.

The Book: Goodreads’ synopsis:

Stephen King’s collection is a virtuoso demonstration of his astonishing narrative talent. Stories of vampires and lurking spirits, of inexplicable evil cloaked in the guise of childish innocence, of ordinary individuals driven to unthinkable extremes by the perversities of fate–they’re all here, told with King’s inimitable blend of dark humor and heart-clenching suspense. This audio edition […] contains several unabridged selections from the book–a profusion of Nightmares and Dreamscapes for an eager listening audience.

My Analysis and Critique: I had forgotten how much I love Stephen King’s short stories. I always think King is tops when it comes to characterization, but I forgot just how talented he is at weaving a top-notch short story. The majority of his short stories here are excellent. Only a few stories fell flat for me, and that might have been because King was experimenting with a genre I’m not into. However, to accent King’s storytelling, there are some amazing celebrity readers who bring a whole new feeling to some of the stories. If you’ve read the book before, I recommend you try it again with the audio version…it’s like a whole new book.

My Favorite Stories to Listen to:

“The End of the Whole Mess” read by Mathew Broderick: Broderick’s voice when reading this story simply gave me chills. I had read this story before, saw the mini-series version of it, but I don’t think the story was ever truly done justice until Broderick read it here. The best of the cd.

“Crouch End” read by Tim Curry: Curry’s use of different accents and tones of voice really brought this extremely scary story to life. Something about Tim Curry tends to make most things creepy.

“Chattery Teeth” read by Kathy Bates: Ms. Bates’ no-nonsense voice feels like a teacher reading a story to you on the carpet. You have to pay attention to each word, or you might get detention!

“You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” read by Grace Slick: Ahhh, the irony. Slick reads this story about Rock n’Roll Heaven, where many of her former colleagues reside and rock on forever. Janis Joplin is particularly terrifying in this tale…

“Introduction” read by Stephen King: I always read King’s introductions because they are usually hilarious! The longer the better. When he reads himself, it feels as if you’re finally having the tete-a-tete with him you always desired. Gotta love Uncle Stevie.

“Dolan’s Cadillac” read by Rob Lowe: Lowe does an excellent job of reading the 1st person narration of a character who is both sensitive and seriously pissed off.

“The Fifth Quarter” read by Gary Sinise: Sinise is the saving grace of this story. I didn’t care for the plot, but I love Sinise’s drawl. If you come across an audiobook read by Sinise, grab it! He (obviously) reads Of Mice and Men perfectly.

“Sorry, Right Number” read by a full cast: This one was just a fun teleplay. It felt like I was listening to one of the old Mercury Theater radio plays.

My Favorite Stories for King’s Writing:

“The End of the Whole Mess”: An end-of-the-world plot told by a man who is slowly losing his mind. He recounts how his genius brother brought the devastation on with a very altruistic plan.

“Crouch End”: An American couple going to visit a colleague in a London neighborhood wind up in a demonic twilight zone. A rip in the fabric between Crouch End and another dimension reveals mutated children and and an evil demon that terrorizes the couple as they try to make their way back to reality.

“Dolan’s Cadillac”: A man is obsessed with vengeance for the powerful criminal who murdered his wife many years back. He concocts a revenge plot that takes years of careful planning and luck.

“You Know They Got a Hell of a Band”: A vacationing couple get lost in the Oregon backcountry and wind up in Rock and Roll Heaven, Oregon. This small, seemingly idyllic town turns out to be dead rock star hell, where the drum solos never end…

“The Night Flier”: A fun read for fans of Dracula and a reappearance by a character from King’s The Dead Zone. A tabloid writer with a pilot’s license is hunting down a serial killer who flies into small airports and massacres the staff, all while wearing a cape.

“Rainy Season”: A fun, slightly creepy read. A couple moves into a house in small-town Maine for the summer. The only problem is that it’s rainy season. The forecast calls for heavy showers of killer frogs.

Links:

  1. Visit Stephen King’s website
  2. See Goodreads synopis and reviews
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