10. Salem’s Lot
The first vampire story I ever read (even before Dracula). And still one of the best, in my opinion. I’d be interested to see, if King ever wanted to write a vampire series, what he’d do with it.
9. Different Seasons
Four novellas in one book, including Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption and The Body (which later became the movie Stand By Me).
8. Thinner (written as Richard Bachman)
Imagine a gypsy puts a curse on you to make you thinner. Awesome, right? Until you shoot right past your goal weight and turn into a skeleton, that is.
You already know that Annie Wilkes is one my favorite villains, ever.
A lot of people didn’t like this book (King being one of them) but I loved the characters. He writes old people as well as he writes children, and I cheered for elderly Ralph Roberts to triumph over the evil Crimson King. Plus his budding romance with long-time neighbor Lois was surprisingly sweet.
5. The Talisman (co-written with Peter Straub)
This book just got to me – that’s the only way I think of to explain it. The isolation of the 12-year-old main character Jack from his family, and his unlikely friendship with a 16-year-old werewolf named Wolf… I actually cried a couple times.
4. The Eyes of the Dragon
This is a fairy tale that King wrote for his children. Filled with corrupt kings, evil magicians and, yes, dragons, this is usually the first book I recommend to someone who doesn’t normally like King, because it’s so different from his other work.
3. On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft
I wouldn’t necessarily say that King’s book is the best and most educational book I’ve ever read about writing and publishing, but as a budding writer myself, it was fascinating to see how one of the most famous writers of all time became a writer.
2. Pet Sematary
The first Stephen King book I ever read. Gave me nightmares for two weeks. Anything you bury in the pet cemetery comes back to life, including people. Including Louis’s wife.
The last three lines of the book:
A cold hand fell on Louis’s shoulder. Rachel’s voice was grating, full of dirt.
“Darling,” she said.
One of the most satisfying Stephen King endings ever.
A controversial number one I’m sure… but I loved this book. I already mentioned this is my FAQ section, but I’ll repost here:
It’s a thousand-plus pages long, has seven protagonists who are all eleven years old, and they have to defeat a monster who can change into their worst nightmare whenever It feels like it. I first read this book when I was eleven years old, and every word felt authentic to me. I’ve read IT a dozen times since, and every time I get something different out of it.
I bet one or two of you are wondering where The Stand is. I did read it a long time ago, but I can’t remember it! So obviously it doesn’t qualify as one of my favorites, although I believe most King fans would wholeheartedly disagree with me.
Have you read Stephen King? Which of his books did you love?