Way before I was a babybat, I had a marked penchant for horror stories, be they on TV or in books, and yet for many years I found Stephen King books kind of filler, and not as distinctive as they are generally perceived to be by horror fans and the world at large.
At some point, something changed-either in me, or in terms of the type of work Mr. King was outputting, and now he is one of my favourite horror writers, and ticks all of my boxes for the detail, interest, length, and proliferation of this work. I am fairly sure now that I have read pretty much everything Stephen King has ever written (although that is something of an ambitious statement and I accept that I may be wrong) and so I sat down for a while last night and decided to review my absolute favourites of his work, and draw up a shortlist of five.
I understand that everyone will have their own views on this-for instance, Carrie and “IT” probably figure near the top of SK’s defining works for most, and yet, these are not among my favourites. Anyway, I’ma list mine off now, and we can argue about it later, k?
The Dark Tower Saga
I reckon there are as many people that got stuck on “The Gunslinger and gave up without finishing it as there are fans of the saga itself-I was among them. I rarely leave a book unfinished, but I did with The Gunslinger, it bored me so much. Until, that is, my then-boyfriend got it for me one Christmas and actually read it to me until I got into it, and then, I read the rest of the saga in a week flat.
Trust me, it’s worth it-persist past the first book, it’s only short.
From a Buick 8
From a Buick 8 is rarely mentioned as one of King’s most definitive or popular works, and I’m not really sure why I liked this so much. Basically, there’s this car (guess what kind?) and in its boot, there is a portal to another, weirder, realm.
Under the Dome
Under the Dome is of course being dragged out well beyond its natural shape in the form of the TV adaptation of it, but seriously, read the book-it’s better, and much less full of filler.
The Green Mile
The Green Mile is one of King’s most distinctive books, and also represents quite a divergence from his usual style in many ways. The story is beautiful, and will make you cry out giant blobs of snot. You have been warned.
Doctor Sleep is actually a sequel to The Shining, one of King’s best-known and most loved works. I actually prefer Doctor Sleep, which reintroduces Danny, now all grown up, into a unique and fascinating world of good versus evil.
If you want to find out more about Stephen King’s Gothic inspiration and how Gothic literature has influenced his work, check out this essay-thing. What is your favourite Stephen King book? Tell me in the comments.