Humorously, I read The Stand to take a break from King’s The Dark Tower series. I was about to start Wolves of the Calla but decided I should expand my reading horizons a bit. I was hankering for a long novel detailing the destruction and rebirth of society (i.e., post apocalyptic fiction) and came across this title. I was impressed that a book that was released almost 40 years ago was still gaining new fans and glowing reviews. I was shocked when I picked up the phone book like novel – weighing in at almost 1500 pages. How on earth would I make time for such a behemoth, I wondered. Well, make time I did. I did have to renew the book once, but I finished it in about five weeks. It was excellent. Ever since I read Swan Song by Robert McCammon I have a little yearning hole in my heart – thinking that would be the best book of the genre I have read. I enjoyed the realistic sci fi, fantasy elements and well written characters, it is a book I often remember and reflect upon in my daily life. (The Road by Cormac McCarthy is up there too – but I would argue it is a completely different genre due to its unflinchingly and brutal realism and lack of the supernatural). The Stand now resides next to these two novels, enriching my worldview through fiction. It has been about a month since I read it and I often think back to the characters, the settings and smile – or grimace. The horror in the novel is very real, but is balanced just enough with hope and magic. This keeps the story from going into nihilistic territory, and instead encouraged me to root for the characters, and keep turning pages, hoping for the best – even when it all seemed so impossible. I heartily recommend.