Lately my eyes get tired fairly easily and I can’t focus so well on the printed word (normal size) so I’ve been relying on audiobooks for my literary needs. As my Goodreads list will tell anyone, I’ve been working on Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin for what seems like years but which is more like months. Maybe 2 months. I’m on disc 22 or 23 of 30. The total audio time is 37 hours.
Oh. My. Goodness.
My ears want to bleed. The only reason I know what page I’m on is that I own the book so I’m able to find my spot. It’s easy to keep track because I mark my spot every couple chapters.
And now we’re getting Season 4 of Game of Thrones on Netflix. My brain is about ready to explode from the evil that is The Song of Ice and Fire.
There are times when, in an attempt to stay sane, I’ll break up my ear bleeding with another book. The latest book is actually another audiobook but it was a nice break for my brain all the same even if my ears didn’t get a break. It was short though, the very reason I got it.
Stationary Bike by Stephen King is a novella from around 2003. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward book and it only took 1.5 hours on audiobook. Yay! Love the short ones. They make me feel productive. And I’m already having a time trekking through a behemoth; I don’t need another to wade through.
I guess you could call Stationary Bike a horror story but there’s no real “horror” in it. But it is strange and the atmosphere it creates gives the reader a disturbed feeling. As the story progresses you know something bad is going to happen. The main character knows it and you know it.
It starts off with the main character going to the doctor to talk over the results of his recent health exam. As we all know, doctors don’t talk to their patients about those results unless something is wrong. In this case, the guy’s cholesterol is high. He’s in his late 30s, overweight, and a serious junk food eater. His bad eating habits probably started when his wife died years before but the story doesn’t really go into that. The book is about his attempt to get healthy once more.
He buys a stationary bike but instead of pointing it at a TV or reading a book or whatever, he points it at a blank wall and paints a picture on it (he’s an artist). Every day he uses the bike and, instead of getting bored, loves it so much that he has to set an alarm to remind himself to stop after 2 hours.
Then the weird, disturbing things start happening. I won’t tell you what they are because it would, I believe ruin things, but I will tell you that his reality warps.
The symbolism is pretty obvious, even for someone as obtuse as I am. I am the worst person to see symbolism and meaning behind the written word but even I could see the message in the story was “moderation in all things.”
If you like simple stories with a hint of the weird and creepy in them, I’d recommend this novella. It’s a quick read and entertaining.