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on 16 April 2003
I am a major Stephen King fan. I bought this book for £3 in a clearance and lucky I did. I was bestowed upon me my current favourite book, actually more like 4.
Different Seasons, to give the book it's proper title, is a collection of 4 novellas set in a different season of the year. The opener, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (Hope Springs Eternal) tells the well cinemised tale of Andy Dufrense, imprisoned for the murder of his wife 'and the guy she was banging'. The book sheds new light to the film, and makes it a more enjoyable watch.
The second novella, Apt Pupil (Summer of Corruption) tells us the story of Todd Bowden a young boy drawn in when he discovers a Nazi war criminal in his neighbourhood. Although the story sounds farfetched, this was my favourite novella in Different Seasons, a psychological thriller that will terrify you.
The third novella, The Body (Fall From Innoncence) I felt dragged. It is about four boys who discover find out about life and death in their own epic journey. It is a good story, but not close to the previous two.
Finally we have The Breathing Method (A Winter's Tale), a gruesome story about a club and the tales told there. This I felt was the most graphic novel in the collection, but once you see through the obvious you find a strange sense of the supernatural surrounding the club.
Stephen King said he didn't want these to be horror genred, except The Breathing Method, which he was requested to include. However, his sense of finding horror in anything chills your soul. A must have for everyone.
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on 6 August 2001
One of Stephen King's all time best novellas. It has only taken me about 5 years to finally get around to reading this story having had it sit on my bookshelf for years. Having also seen and enjoyed the film so many times it was so pleasing to know that the film stuck so closely to the novel that you can almost hear Morgan Freeman narrating it! One of the most beautifully written pieces of fiction I have read in a long time you just don't want it to end. Live through the injustice of Andy Dufryce's wrongful imprisonment and his revenge through the words of his friend, the ageing 'Irish'. A wonderful story that stands the test of time having originally been written in 1982. A story I could read time and time again and not get bored. I would give this 6 stars if I could!
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on 4 January 1999
These stories are some of my favourite i have ever read. The first story is exciting and very intersting. The second is scary. The third is so funny. And the fourth, well it's not that good in comparison to the three but still worth a look.
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on 13 February 2014
Couldn't help but mentally here Morgan Freeman's voice as the story progressed and yes that made it even more enjoyable....the book condition was as described .....used and in very good condition and was delivered quite a few days earlier than expected, thanks to all concerned.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2012
This 500+ page book is a collection of four short stories that are loosely based on the seasons. I'd say two are excellent, one good and one not so good but the collections is definitely worth a read. Two of these books have been made into films and they're all set, or conclude in the 1960's.

1) Hope Spring Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption - 4 stars
IF you've not seen the Morgan Freeman/Tim Robins film where have you been! But yes this is the book the film was based on. This is set in a prisons and centres on a man convicted of killing his wife (but did he?) and we follow his time in prison.

This is the rare occasion when I'd say the film is better than the book. Not to say the book is bad but the film is better at rounding the incidents up to a better whole. I was amused that I read it in Freeman's wonderful voice.

2) Summer of Corruption: Apt Pupil - 2 stars
This follows the story of a older kid in America who discovers and sort of befriends an ex Nazi war criminal living in his mists. I found the relationship very interesting to start with to see who really had the upper hand but for me the direction the story took wasn't satisfying. I guess my other main problem with the book is that I disliked both characters, your supposed to but it didn't make for pleasant reading. I wasn't keen on Rage either, which has a similar unlikable character, but others really like it so may be I'm in the minority.

3) Fall from Innocence: The Body - 5 Stars
This is the story the film Stand by Me with River Phoenix and Corey Feldman is based on. A group of 12 year old boys go on a quest to find a body that might be lying deep in the forest after one overhearing a private conversation. The kids are written extremely well and is a joy to read. It's told by one of them when they're older and this works well to give some perspective on what happened.

4) A Winter's Tale: The Breathing Method - 5 Stars
This story follows an old accountant who joins a gentlemen's club that's focused on telling stories. It's structure is a bit odd and the meat of this novella is one of the stories told about a doctor treating a pregnant women years earlier. I thought this might have a lot more meaning with the other stories but it doesn't really (unless I missed it) but it's really well told, a bit horrible and overall very good.
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on 23 December 2013
I first listened to this on Radio 4 extra for around an hour, for a whole week. The narrator sounds very similar to Morgan Freeman who starred and narrates in the film/movie, and it makes for really lovely listening. I'd say if you like audio books, this one really is a must.
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on 1 February 2015
Cover 3 / 5 If one knows the punchline the cover is quite effective.

This rating is just for the Rita Hayworth Shawshank Redemption. I have yet to work my way through the rest of the book.

Purchased as a contrast after Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North and on a more cheerful note. Purchased this on E-Bay as a used copy of Stephen King's collection of novella length stories including Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

As I read the novella of 113 pages memories of the film flooded back with the film being reasonably true to the book. I did not have to create new pictures as the film had already done this for me. I like the viewpoint of a story teller. Stephen King has expressed in various literary interviews and posts his like of the novella format but he is sad the format does not appear to sell well. The story here is well told tight and straight to the point without lots of padding. An excellent example for those writing to self publish. The story like The Narrow Road to the Deep North could have been expanded and told in 429 pages.

My Amazon review against my own reading criteria for a good read:-

*Engrossing and interesting - Despite knowing the story and punch line the book kept my interest as it is tightly written.

*Enjoyment and entertainment - An enjoyable read bringing back good memories of the film.

*Emotional - Reinforced my wish never to go to prison as confirmed in reading about 21st Century prison life in Jeffrey Archer's Prison Diaries and a hundred years earlier in Arthur and George by Julian Barnes.

*Educational - Nothing to add from the film.

*Ease of reading - The strong solid writing to fit the story into novella format has much to commend it. A refreshing change from King's other books where I often feel a full page of text could have been said in one sentence.

One for my book shelves and I read on the other novella length stories in the book as new material.

Incidentally I have another memory here of the amazing You Tube video of Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing to the Bee Gees Staying Alive. Something which often brightens up my days. My wife would love me to be able to dance like these two.

New comment added 25 2 15 Story two an Apt Pupil

Oh dear a great idea but the story drags on and on ... no encouragement to read more of Stephen King here.

I read on

Alexander of the Allrighters and Ywnwab!
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on 5 February 2004
One of the best books I have ever read, To get 3 great films (Shawshank Redemption, my favourite film, Apt Pupil, absolutely engrossing, and Stand by Me, one of the best movies from when I was a kid) is unbelievable, and the short stories these films come from are just as good. Having seen the 3 films first I had an idea how the books where going to go, but it also helped to have the characters who played the parts in the films to help with the visualisation of the book. The final story is good but not expanded far enoughto really make you remember it as one of Kings classics. You can also see why it was the other 3 that were made into films. Apart from that I would recommend this to anyone who just likes good stories.
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on 17 February 2014
Brilliant book, good quality. I always look forward to doing rereads on Kings books simply because I know so much more is going to come to the surface and I get to experience all those same familiar feelings, and once again become consumed by the contents written thereI

Highly recommended!
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on 3 August 2003
Although most Stephen King books end up under 'Horror' this book is hardly fit to be classed as one. Although its slow to start the pace picks up and the end not as hopeless as it seems and is actually quite surprising! Out of all the books I've read I would have to say that 'Shawshank Redemption' is probably most like 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' since it is similar in pace and style. But even those of you who have read TGWLTG and found it quite dull like myself, 'Shawshank Redemption' has that special King formula which keeps the reader hooked and anxious to read further. So although it seems slow, stick with it because it does get better!
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