My Epic Reading Journey to The Dark Tower

My Epic Reading Journey to The Dark Tower photo

I once wrote about how videogames are my books. Well, now I'm writing about how books are my books.

In the wee hours of the morn on February 21, 2017, I finally completed an epic journey. T'was an epic journey I had att'wempted before. More than tw'once actually. Ok, that's enough t'wang.

The first attempt of this epic journey was made almost 15 years ago. The epic journey in question? Reading the entirety of Stephen King's magnum opus, The Dark Tower series, including all the novels, novellas and short stories that weave themselves throughout the main series.

To explain it in a run-on sentence that hardly does it justice, The Dark Tower is a series of seven (technically eight) books that incorporates themes from multiple genres, including dark fantasy, science-fantasy, horror and Westerns, following Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger in a world that has "moved on," and his quest toward the Dark Tower, the nature of which is both physical and metaphorical. Are you still here? Oh good.

Throughout Stephen King's decades-long career, there are many other bits of his writing that encompass this vast (Mid) world, directly and indirectly, to the main series, thus making The Dark Tower series not limited to the seven (technically eight) main books but rather a reading list comprised of 25 different items. While some would argue there are more connections (and at this point I'd agree), you will find my chosen list, in chronological reading order, at the end of this paragraph. I'll give you a moment to look at it.

THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE DARK TOWER READING LIST:

  1. The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (Revised Edition)
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
  3. The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition
  4. The Eyes of the Dragon
  5. The Talisman
  6. The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands
  7. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
  8. Salem's Lot
  9. The Mist (Novella)
  10. It
  11. Insomnia
  12. Rose Madder
  13. Desperation
  14. The Regulators
  15. Everything's Eventual (Short Story)
  16. Bag of Bones
  17. The Little Sisters of Eluria (Short Story)
  18. Hearts in Atlantis
  19. Black House
  20. From a Buick 8
  21. The Dark Tower: The Wind Through The Keyhole
  22. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla
  23. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
  24. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower
  25. The Gunslinger (Original Version)

Welcome back, constant Oy reader.

I originally set out in early May 2016 to read everything by February 17, 2017, as that was when The Dark Tower movie was originally going to be released. I say originally because in early November it was announced that the release date of the movie had been pushed back five months to late summer 2017, and at that point I was already halfway through my list and reading at a breakneck pace -- and you know a pace for reading is ridiculous when you break your neck doing it.

But even with that setback of the movie release date being set back, I continued forward at a not-nearly-as-breakneck speed. My chiropractor thanked me for that. That is, until I started The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla, at which point I finished the last three books of the core series in about three weeks.

With only a sort-of re-read of the original version of The Gunslinger remaining, I completed my epic journey only four days after when I intended to do so, a goal I had set almost 10 months prior. Anyway, the point is that it's saying something. That something it's saying is that I have been tortured for five months instead of negative four days to see the movie. But who am I to complain? There are some people who've been waiting decades for this, so I'll shut up with the complaining now.

Why tell you all this? Well for one, I had always wanted to read a lot more King and this whole adventure was an excellent reason to do so. And second, I read a great many pages throughout the course of a great many full moons and I wanted to brag just a little bit.

Joking aside, this epic journey has shown me one very important thing about myself: I can have a long-term goal with filled with short-term goals in which I actually accomplish the overall task. I had never (truly) committed to something so long like this before (not counting my bar mitzvah, since that wasn't actually voluntary) and I am incredibly pleased to see that I did it without any real hesitancy or lull in progression.

Although I had started this epic journey more than once before, I had never done so on this epic of a scale (I had only attempted to read the seven core Dark Tower books on previous attempts, getting as far as about 50 pages into The Drawing of the Three, which you don't need me to tell you is the second book because you memorized my epic reading list.

What I know now is that I can wholly trust myself to accomplish something I care enough about as long as I put continued daily effort into it and never lose sight of the final goal. Basically, I can hold myself more accountable because I've proven that this adulating thing is a little more under my control.

So with that, long days and pleasant nights to you all and thankee-sai for taking the time to read about my epic journey, even if it feels like you didn't mean to and I basically pulled you through some sort of unknown door to be here.

Some fun facts:

  • Overall breakdown: 22 Novels, 1 Novella, 2 Short Stories
  • Total Days: 295 days
  • Total Pages of the versions I read: 14,030 pages
  • Average Pages Read Per Day: 47.559 pages
  • Average Page Length Per Story: 561.2 Pages
  • Shortest Read: The Little Sisters of Eluria (85 pages)
  • Longest Read: The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition (1,439 pages)
  • 5 books between 400-500 pages
  • 7 books between 500-700 pages
  • 4 books between 700-850 pages
  • 2 books over 1,000 pages
  • This epic journey was finished on 2/21/2017, which is just about perfect since 21-2=19 and 2+0+17 = 19.

Adam "The Daniel" Miller
May 3, 2016 - February 21, 2017


Adam Daniel Miller photo 3
Originally from Chicago and well, still living in Chicago, is Adam Daniel Miller -- a lover of writing, a voiceover enthusiast and an overall funny guy, according to his mother. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa Undergraduate Writing Program where he ... Read More



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