14 July, 2011

I Want To Read Something By Stephen King. Got Any Suggestions?

I've never read a book by Stephen King and I want to find out what his writing is like. All I know for sure about his books is that a.) Full Dark, No Stars was published recently because I read posts on it b.) Carrie got a bunch of rejection letters when he first submitted it and c.) It is supposed to be rather scary.

Other than those three details, I have no idea. And since I know you bloggers are much more knowledgeable than I am:

If I want to read a book by him, where should I start? Have you ever read anything by Stephen King? If so, do you have a favorite novel? What do you think is his best work? Are there any books I should stay away from?

-----The Golden Eagle


Misha said...

I have just read one book of his - Salem's Lot. It freaked me out so much that I never tried any of his books again lol. But I did like it a lot.

Richard said...

Sorry, can't help you. I've never read any of his books, either.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've tried to read his books. Think he's better in short doses. Try Night Shift, his collection of short stories.

Rogue Mutt said...

Someone told me to start with "The Long Walk" originally published under his Richard Bachmann pen name. It was good, though a little rushed at the end. Not really a scary book, more of a thriller. Also, the complete novelization of "The Green Mile" was excellent. I'd go with those if you want something more mainstream.

If you want something more horror-y then someone I know says "The Stand" is the best book ever, so maybe try that.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I haven't read all of King's stuff, but The Stand is one of my favorite books. And if you want to read something of his that's non-horror, try The Gunslinger. Or if you're into misunderstood teen, Carrie. By the end of the book I was rooting for her.

....Petty Witter said...

I'm not a big fan but I have read a few of his books and the only one that really sticks in my mind is Needful Things, here's the Amazon link if you wish to read about it .....


Budd said...

Salem's lot is indeed very scary. Pet Semetary is also good. The Stand might be my favorite but you are commiting to 1,000 pages at that point. Night Shift is where I started and I agree with Alex that his short stories are better, with the above exceptions being just as good.

Gunslinger is interesting fantasy and some say that it is his best, but I like his horror stuff better.

Summer Frey said...

I really enjoyed The Shining, and little else. "The Regulators," which was published under his alternate name Richard Bachman, was also pretty good.

mooderino said...

The Shining is very good. Dead Zone is very tightly written, unlike a lot of his later stuff. Misery builds well. Carrie is very short, which isn't a bad thing. Salem's Lot is probably the scariest, for my money.

Moody Writing

Anonymous said...

The Shining would, in my opinion, be a good one to start with. Someone did mention his short stories earlier, and I would agree. He's got some neat stuff out there. "Children of the Corn" is where this writer first fell in love with him.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I would recommend The Stand. One summer I read every King book I could get my hands on and then they all started to seem the same. I only read Under the Dome last year because someone gave it to me as a gift.

David Powers King said...

The Dark Tower series. Easily my favorite of his.

Alleged Author said...

I have almost every one of King's books. My favorite is THE STAND, but if you want a book that is well-written (as in includes flashbacks, excellent plot development and characterization) then I would read IT (as in IT the clown...Pennywise). ROSE MADDER is also a favorite.

Beth said...

I haven't read his fiction since I was a teenager, but I loved On Writing. That's an excellent book about writing, no matter what genre you write in.

Charles Gramlich said...

His best novel, I thought, is also one of his shorter ones. It's called "Misery." I really found it a page turner.

Ben said...

If you're looking for a short novel, try "Carrie". If you have appetite for longer stuff, "Bag Of Bones" or "Dreamcatcher" are pretty satisfying. I've been over my Stephen King days for years now, but I kept a taste for those books.

John The Bookworm said...

I've read one of his books fully - Salem's Lot. I've read about halfway through IT and THE STAND.

Personally, I would recommend starting off with Salem's Lot, Carrie, or The Shining. What I read of IT and THE STAND were good, but he's the type of writer that you need to ease into, IMO. Even his short stories are pretty much short novels (around 200 pages each.)

Salems Lot was a good, traditional vampire story (as in killing and other things.) Carrie is short enough that it could provide a good jumping-off point without seeming too long, though!

KarenG said...

Some of his work is brilliant and others not so much. My personal favorite is Misery. I think it's the best thing he has written. It's about an author who is kidnapped and tortured by his "biggest fan." LOve it!

Laila Knight said...

Pet Sematary...sicko...I love him. I have tons of books at home. Will try and check them out and let you know of any new ones. I heard he came out with an instructional book, something that gives advice about writing. Just read it on a blog the other day. Dang, I can't remember the title.

Jessica Bell said...

I haven't read anything by him either. I actually asked a friend of mine this same question and she recommends I start with his 'On Writing" because not only will it make me interested to see what he's written, but it'll also make me feel more confident as a writer :o) So, I'm gonna give it a shot!

Deborah Walker said...

I'm going to recommend The Stand, an awesome book. Yet, it's all a matter of taste. I was really disappointed with Misery.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I read Under the Dome last year; it looks like a tome, but it's so "grab you right in from the first page" that you don't even realize you're reading so many pages. The "monsters" here are human, and it's absolutely amazing. Rogue Mutt's suggestion of "The Green Mile" is also excellent, as is The Stand, oh! and Pet Semetary .. but that's really a horror novel. If you like fantasy, his Dark Tower series is great, too. (can you tell I really kind of love some Stephen King?) :)

Rob-bear said...

I can't take too much "dramatic tension," so I've not read King. The reviews are troubling enough.

Christine Rains said...

I greatly admire King. I've read most of his stories. He's a genius with suspense, characterization and world creation. The Dark Tower series is great dark fantasy. IT and Tommyknockers are my two favorite horror novels. The Stand is brilliant. I love post-apocalyptic worlds.

Sarah Pearson said...

I can recommend a whole bunch from the '70's and 80's: Pet Sematary, Misery, The Dead Zone, Carrie, Firestarter, The Running Man (written as Richard Bachman)and Thinner (which has a great concept).

In the 90's and beyond I moved away from King as they started to get a bit 'samey'. I did read 'Under the Dome' recently which I loved, right up until the 'reveal' of how the situation occurred. Then it was 'oh I've been here before' but it didn't matter, because as someone else said, the real villains in that one are the people King populates the story with. For that reason alone I would say it's worth a read if you like longer books.

Also, for what it's worth, I think 'On Writing' is a must-read for writers and non-writers alike. I've lost count of how many times I've read it.

Old Kitty said...

Salem's Lot. That scared the bejesus out of me. I had to read in small chunks cos I remember being that scared. Mind you I was about 12/13 and very impressionable! LOL!! Take care

Michael Di Gesu said...

I've read four of his books and THE SHINING was definitely my favorite.

Sananora said...

I haven't read any of his books, and I don't really want to. My brother was reading them, and he left one around and the cover was rather gruesome...

Michael Offutt said...

The Shining!

Beth said...

Ironically enough the only King book I've ever read is On Writing.

Rusty Webb said...

I have read his Dark Tower books, which were fine, except that you kind of need to just past the first one, which I don't think is very good.

I read IT, which I thought was brilliant until the end, when it got too bizarre for my tastes.

I agree with Alex that his short fiction is almost always excellent. I'd recommend any of his collections of short stories. A person whom I respect mightily said 100 years from now his short fiction will be what people remember, not his novels.

All that said, Stephen King himself has stated that the opinion of his fandom, taken as a whole, thinks The Stand is his best work. It's on my bookshelf but I've not read it, so take it for what it's worth.

JEFritz said...

I'm a big King fan. My personal favorite is Christine, which has one of the most haunting final lines I know of. Or Pet Sematary, which is frightening as well as tragic. From his more recent work, I really enjoy The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. It's less horror, more suspense, about a nine-year-old girl who loses her way in the woods. Very intense.

Nisa said...

By the number of comments, I'm hoping you have gotten a lot of suggestions! I'm no help. My best friend LOVES his books, but I'm not courageous enough for the horror genre. *grin*

Mel Fowler said...

The one book of his that is not scary is "The Eye of the Dragon" It is a pretty good read.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Misery is pretty good, but I also read 'The Darker Half' and loved it. :) If dark isn't your thing, don't read the titles he wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman - bad guys sometimes win in those ones. :(

ali said...

I would totally recommend THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON (http://www.stephenking.com/library/novel/girl_who_loved_tom_gordon_the.html)

I've read several of his books, lots that I loved and lots that I liked. THE DARK TOWER books have really stuck with me over the years.

But for YOU, I'd recommend you start with the one I listed--it's not gory like many of his books are, but it does have a lot of intense adrenaline pumping moments!

cherie said...

I haven't read a lot of Stephen King's books. I do remember reading The Stand in high school and I was pretty freaked out.Nowadays, I like horror stories more than i did when I was younger. I guess you can see what your local library has. ;) Goodluck!

Angelina C. Hansen said...

The Shining.
Looks like you've got quite a list to have to choose from.

LynNerd said...

I can't handle super scary stuff, so I haven't read a lot of Stephen King, but a few years ago my boss (a male) told me the best book he's ever read was Insomnia. It's long, about 800 pgs., but it's not too scary, more paranormal and pretty darn cool. Great story. Not the best I've ever read, but definitely a good read. Let us know which one you choose.

Lynda R Young said...

I've read a couple of his books but it's not a style I like. I suggest you read his "On Writing" ;)

Phil Hall said...

My suggestion is "The Green Mile," not scary at all, plus it was made into a very good movie a while back.

Misha said...

I'd also love to read something by Stephen King, so I'm really interested to see the suggestions.


Sangu said...

I love THE SHINING but my favourite Stephen King ever is THE EYES OF THE DRAGON - it's fantasy and more creepy than outright horror.

Javid Suleymanli said...

"The Body" is a good start for Stephen King books :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Misha: Glad to hear it--and I'll have to write down that title. :)

Richard: Well, if you're ever looking for recommendations, I hope this thread come in handy. :P

Alex: Thanks for the suggestion! I'll keep that in mind.

Rogue: I don't mind thriller, as long as it's good overall. They can be enjoyable reads.

I was actually thinking more of horror when I wrote this post--I didn't know he had written books in other genres. :P

B.E.: LOL. Misunderstood teen isn't really my favorite category, but Carrie is one of the few books by King I've heard of.

Tracy: Thank you! :) I'll look into that one.

Budd: I'll have to think about reading Salem's Lot, then; I don't mind a little bit of the creep factor, but a lot I don't really like. :P

Summer: Will keep that in mind! I hadn't known he'd written under a pen name before, actually.

Mooderino: Five more titles to add to the list I'm putting together--great! Thanks for the recommendations.

Now I'm just curious to find out what's so scary about Salem's Lot.

Bryce: I guess I'll have to find some of his short stories, then!

Susan: Wow. Every King book? That must have been a lot of reading! :)

Thanks for the recommendation!

David: I've heard of that series; for some reason I thought it was by someone else. :P

Alleged Author: Several people have recommended The Stand--it seems to be a winner with the commentors here. :)

Beth: Ah, now that one I've heard of before! A lot of writers have mentioned in their posts and rave about it. :D

Charles: Thanks!

I didn't know King even wrote short stories, but they sound good.

Ben: Thanks for the titles! :)

Dreamcatcher rings a bell; I've heard of that one before.

John: I'm not planning to read that much horror, anyway; I could probably count the number of horror books I've read on my fingers. :P

200 pages does seem like a short novel--I've read many books only a little longer than that.

Thanks for the recommendations!

The Golden Eagle said...

KarenG: Well . . . that's an interesting idea. :P I'm not sure I'd want to be tortured by my biggest fan!

Laila: I think it's called "On Writing"? :)

Jessica: I hope you like it! :) I want to read that one--it sounds really good, from what I've read on it around the blogosphere.

Deborah: It's too bad Misery disappointed you. :( It's saddening to pick up a book and not enjoy it, when you had expected to.

Julie: Talk about Stephen King as much as you like. This is what the post's about, after all. ;)

Thanks for the titles!

Rob-bear: LOL.

I haven't read many reviews of his work; I'm just curious to find out what makes his novels so popular.

Christine: Hmmm . . . so that's what it's about! Thanks for the recommendations; The Stand seems to be getting a lot of votes here. :)

Sarah: Thanks for those titles! You mentioned a couple I hadn't heard of before.

I have to say, it intrigues me. I want to know what's up with the people. :P

I really want to read that one! I've heard a lot about it, and it seems like a great writing resource.

Old Kitty: I usually do the opposite when I come across a scary book--read it all in one sitting so it's over with, FAST. ;)

Er, if you were young and impressionable at that age, I'll probably be terrified. I'm not so far away from that age. :P

Michael: Will remember that one! :)

Sananora: I want to know what makes his books popular; some authors I've read who a lot of people seem to really like I don't at all.

Michael: Thanks! :)

Beth: It sounds like a really good book, from what I've heard. A lot of bloggers/writers I follow have raved about On Writing.

The Golden Eagle said...

Rusty: I've come across series like that, where I enjoyed later books much more than I did the earlier ones.

Bizarre endings can detract from the overall story, can't they?

I'll have to find some of his short stories; they sound interesting.

I'd never even heard of it before this post. :P

JEFritz: I read a pop-up book of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. LOL. Not exactly the original fiction, but now I know how it ends.

Nisa: I have! :)

Horror can be pretty . . . horrifying. I've read some books that creeped me out for while. That's probably why I don't read more horror.

Mel: Thanks for the suggestion!

Bethany: I'm not a fan of bad guys winning, but they can be interesting; I'll have to look into those books.

Ali: I actually read a pop-up book of that novel--I'm interesting in reading the original story. :)

Thanks for the recommendation!

Cherie: LOL. That's what I plan to do; I can't very well take something out that they don't have, can I? :P

Angelina: Yup! I'm writing them down here as I reply to comments; the list seems to be ever-expanding.

LynNerd: I'll have to check out that one. I like a good read. :)

Lynda: I plan to! Many writers seem to highly recommend it.

Phil: I like it when books are make into good movies . . . I'll keep that one in mind!

Misha: I hope this thread helps you find a book to read, then. :) I'll probably write a post and announce which one I'll read, and thank the people who came by later today or tomorrow.

Sangu: Creepy can be better than horror, sometimes!

Javid: Thanks for the recommendation--I've never heard of that one before.

Anonymous said...

Like many authors with a ton of published books, some are excellent and some are dull. Personally, I found Cujo extremely boring with hundreds of pages of filler material and no action. A total waste of time. Conversely, Pet Cemetery and the Stand are awesome!!!

S.J.Kincaid said...

I highly recommend 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon'. It wasn't what I expected in a S. King novel, but it's just as frightening as any horror novel, and it's scary in a completely -realistic- way. It's basically about a ten-year-old? girl who wanders off the path when she's walking with her mother and brother in the woods. Seriously, it's fantastic.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Firestarter and The Shining, if any. Firestarter is cool, sad, and mildly scary. The Shining made me afraid to sit by myself in my house in the middle of the day . . . but then, I usually don't read horror or watch it.

Anonymous said...

I gonna go the nonfiction route with Stephen King and recommend his book "On Writing." It's awesome and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I tried reading Cujo as a kid: the beginning and the end were the best parts (not saying they were good, mind you, just that they were the best part of the book). The middle was a big SNOOZEFEST.

Because of Cujo, I didn't touch another Stephen King book until he wrote On Writing. I think that book is excellent, and recommend it to writers ALL THE TIME. It's written so elegantly, and contains a great balance of memoir and writing tips/advice.

The Golden Eagle said...

Stephen: I'll be wary of that one, then!

Thanks for the recommendations--both of those titles seem to be quite popular. :)

S.J.: I read a pop-up version (I know, pop-up, of all things) of that story; I loved the plot for that one.

Tyrean: I don't, either. I just want to find out why Stephen King is so popular. :P

Natasha: A lot of writers have recommended that one! I want to read it; it sounds like a good book.

Liza: It's frustrating (not to mention downright boring) when an author has a lot of things happening at the beginning and end of a story. Another commentor also said Cujo wasn't very good; I'll avoid that one.

I need to get my hands on On Writing. :)