What a great idea for this upcoming dreary, rainy, scary weekend....
Who doesn't love to curl up with a good scare-your-pants-off book? Here at The Manor we've got shelves of books by Stephen King.... it is a must-have for every Halloween Homemaker, you know.
And there's no one who does it better.... he is after all The KING....
So let's review the Top 5 Stephen King books, according to Richard Thomas at Buzz Feed Books.... Check out to see if your favorite made the list, or maybe there's one you haven't read yet! Take it away, Richard....
Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors in the world, with more than 50 books in print, and more coming out every year. He also happens to be one of my favorite storytellers, an author I’ve read more than any other. In fact, I’ve read every book he’s ever written, so that puts me in the unique position of being a “constant reader,” as he calls us in his introductions — not an expert, but certainly a passionate follower and devout fan, though not his “number one fan.”
When it comes to putting together an “essential” reading list, I’m sure many books will be left off, some of your favorites, perhaps. But I had to whittle this down to what I consider his best work, his most important books. These are the 10 (or so) books that I think are “must-reads.” I don’t think he’s written a terrible book, ever, but that’s just me. So many people criticize King, without even realizing that they enjoyed movies that were written by him: Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Stand By Me, for example. I mean, everyone knows Carrie, and The Shining, and It — the books and films that made him famous. But hopefully this list will not only give you a solid list of essential books, but maybe even turn you on to a title or two that you’ve never heard of. Good luck, and happy reading.
1. The Stand
While people often list The Stand, The Shining, or It as his best work, if I had to pick one as my favorite, it has to be The Stand. This story is a rollercoaster ride of tension and hope, a beautiful narrative that left me in tears.
2. The Shining
Due to the famous film by Stanley Kubrick, and the performance of Jack Nicholson, this may be King’s most well-known book. I recently re-read it for the first time in 30 years and it still holds up. And the ending, the father-son story — I can see why King hated Kubrick’s version; it lacked so much heart. Where The Stand holds tension over 1,100 pages, The Shining is an exploration of one man, Jack Torrance, falling apart, losing his mind to the Overlook Hotel, and the abuse and suffering that his family endures. I wondered, when I re-read this, if it would still scare me — and you know what, it did! And the same places, too — those damn hedge animals. This is really a classic King title, and one that puts the vulnerable Danny Torrance (REDRUM! REDRUM!) front and center, while also flipping back and forth between the quickly eroding mind of Jack, and the worrisome, helpless mother, Wendy. This is an iconic book, another essential King read.
Another massive book, also over 1,100 pages, It is another favorite King book of mine. It introduces us to the horror that lurks in the sewers of Derry, Maine, and a creepy clown known as Pennywise. We follow a cast of misfits, “The Losers Club,” first as children, and then later, as adults. What’s the line? “We all float down here.” Not only does King build on the vulnerability of a handful of kids trying to fight and defeat a terrible presence after the disappearance and eventual death of Georgie Denbrough, but King makes them come back to face the evil as adults. There has always been some controversy over the “bonding scene” between Beverly and the boys, with many fans saying it put them off the book altogether, but I never saw it that way — more like soldiers surviving a war, a blood oath and bond that could never be severed. It’s dark for sure, though.
4. The Dead Zone
I think what draws me to this book over many other King titles is the noble, but complicated, cause of Johnny Smith. Imagine if you were this man, or if you knew him, and he said that certain events were going to transpire? That the president, or some other politician, was going to cause the end of the world through his selfish acts? You’d say he was crazy, right? So we root for Johnny, because we know he’s telling the truth, we know the obstacles he’s up against, and we want to see him win. And of course anything involving luck, the occult, or any sort of supernatural powers is always a fascinating read. We feel for Johnny when his fiancée moves on; we see the sad, sordid life he’s living, and we feel sympathy, empathy. And in the end, he is the hero, and we’re one of the few who know about his secret. And that’s part of King’s appeal, sometimes, that he lets us peek behind the curtain, lets us know about what dark magic is happening in the shadows. It’s also one hell of a good movie, starring Christopher Walken.
5. The Long Walk
This is such an original book. Long before The Hunger Games, there was The Long Walk. Originally written under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman, King’s The Long Walk first came out in paperback but was later collected in The Bachman Books. Part reinstated draft, part lottery, much like in It, King uses the vulnerability of youth in 100 young boys to show us a dark and horrific story, where only one boy will survive. And that’s part of what makes it such a compelling read, right? From the very beginning, we know they are all going to die, all but one. Who do we root for? Who do we hate? There are so many kids to know, with Raymond Garraty as the protagonist. Over time, we get to know their stories, and everything changes. There are odds on the contestants; a heavy favorite is married; one may be the son of the Major, the man who runs the event; another, a loner, has alienated everyone but Ray; a group of the boys form “The Musketeers”— the plot getting more and more complicated, and heartbreaking, as the story unfolds. It’s a powerful book that’s sometimes overlooked when talking about Stephen King. And it’s a thin one, only a few hundred pages!
Click here for the rest of the list from Buzz Feed Books! Happy Frightful Friday!