Jake’s Picks: Have You Read Any Good Books Lately?

By Jake Myers

It’s no secret that, as college students, we rarely have time to read for enjoyment. Hopefully, whatever summer job you chose allowed for ample free time to dive into some entertaining books.

If not, might I suggest Stephen King’s “Joyland”? If you didn’t attain that cool summer, at least you can live vicariously through “Joyland’s” main character, Dev. At 283 pages, “Joyland” is the perfect length to get you hooked. It could be the book that reminds you why you love to read in the first place.

“Joyland” is about a college student named Devin who changes his summer plans after his girlfriend ditches him for a summer job in Boston, 70 miles away. He takes a job at Joyland, an amusement park on a beach in North Carolina.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the sort of “carny” subculture described in “Joyland.” This is a Stephen King novel, so expect superb writing, engaging characters, mystery, suspense and… seriously? Were you thinking I was going to spoil the book for you by telling all of the goodies inside? No.

In my humble opinion, Stephen King has hit his stride in the last few years. King’s latest novels including “Joyland,” remind me of his earliest works such as “Cujo,” “Carrie” or “The Dark Half.” They are not massive novels that encompass a plethora of characters that start out as separate stories who will eventually meet in a confrontation, such as “The Stand” or “It.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love that! Just not during a semester. In my opinion, King has gotten back to developing characters that you feel emotionally invested in. Instead of switching perspectives and contemplating which characters to get attached to, the characters are presented in such a way that you can’t help but fall in love with them.

You won’t want to put this book down. You will want to work at an amusement park next summer, however, so you can meet a kid like Dev, or carnies like Fat Wally and Madame Fortuna. Now, put down The Jambar and head to the nearest bookstore or library.


Originally, Joyland was only available in paperback. King had rejected publishing it as an e-book. According to his official website, stephenking.com, he wanted his readers to feel the same joy at reading a paperback as he did as a kid.

In spite of that, I know many of you commute to Youngstown State University. Have you considered listening to an audiobook? The audiobook for “Joyland” is phenomenal. The narrator is Michael Kelly, who you may know as Doug Stamper from the Netflix series “House of Cards.” The audiobook is 7 hours and 33 minutes long.


Joyland is available to borrow at the Mahoning County Library System and the Trumbull County Library System in print and audiobook. The Amazon price in paperback is $5.43; Kindle $7.99.


I would love to hear from you, so email jcmyers02@student.ysu.edu if you wish to opine.