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Thread: Stephen King

  1. #401
    figuring it all out Sketti's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed the Dark Tower series but yes, book 1, The Gunslinger, is the best, though I think slogging through the lesser ones is worth it in the end.

    The Dead Zone is good, Carrie, Pet Sematary, Insomnia, Duma Key, 'Salem's Lot, I really enjoyed too.

    His short stories are generally speaking better overall than his novels, IMO.

  2. #402
    practical experience, FTW Laurasaurus's Avatar
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    I'm not normally drawn to reading short stories, but his are magnificent.

    I'm not sure which collections they are in, but The Jaunt and The Long Walk are two of the most disturbing things I've ever read, and two of the best pieces of fiction I've ever read.

    (The Long Walk might actually be more of a short novel.)
    Last edited by Laurasaurus; 01-31-2017 at 03:36 PM.
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  3. #403
    Sparkling dust. Fairies wear bOOts:)'s Avatar
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    Cool, I might check out his short stories then....

  4. #404
    practical experience, FTW anakhouri79's Avatar
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    I am not a huge fan of King's novels (his short stories are excellent) but I absolutely adored The Dark Tower. I read all seven books in about three months. It's not strictly horror although it has many elements.

  5. #405
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marissa D View Post
    Ditto on The Shining, 'Salem's Lot, and Night Shift for good starting places...

    Ones to avoid? Pet Sematary didn't impress me. Nor Cujo.
    Aww man gonna completely disagree with you there on Pet Semetary, I thought it was one of his best-mainly because of the themes he presented in there about death and the nature of grief. So to the original poster-reason why I liked it? Certainly those of us who've lost a love one maybe have at one time or another wished we had whoever we lost back and Pet Semetary asks us whether that's a good thing or not?

    I will agree though with 'Salem's Lot. He did a damn good job with vampires in that one, and The Shinning's theme deals around alcoholism and how it destroys families and lives, with a nice setting to express that. King himself dealt with alcoholism for years so that's reflected there.

    I'm an old Stephen King fan from years back, some of his work tends towards fantastically out there others are grounded in eerie realism. It depends on how fantastic and whimsical you like your reading? The Gunslinger works for me and is told much like an old myth, the way it's phrased and how it plays out. Very well done, but the Dark Tower series references a lot of other works by him, some very important to the stories. Others not so much, so if you're someone who hates walking into a series in the middle of it I'd say try his other books out first that connect to it before you go further.

    Misery is good, nothing terribly supernatural just a hard core psychotic villain. One of his best in my opinion. Desperation was a good classic horror novel, some people perfer The Regulators a companion novel to it but I personally couldn't get into it, it's far more fantastic than Desperation. The Stand is great but damn is it epic, long and involved. Depending on how fast you read and devour books this one might be a (only book I tackle this summer) type reading? The themes are about the end of the world and Revelation and all that with some serious Christian themes, tackled in a way this jaded former Christian can stand. But if religious apocalypse isn't your thing I'd definitely stay away then.

    Gerald's Game is well written but almost psychedelic I'd say. Not my favorite, the plot is thin. Delores Claiborne is a rambling stream of consciousness novel that I wasn't fond of (the style anyway). Rose Madder, again a good book but a departure from his usual fare. This one could have been written as an exploratory style writing by a romance novelist. Thin connections to the Dark Tower series but nothing concrete.
    Insomnia is a damn good novel where the protagonistis an elderly man. I've yet to read a novel where the main character is elderly and it's done so believably.

    Cujo
    is a good suspense novel. Wasn't fond of The Dark Half this was Stephen King at his most meta to me and I disliked it. I agree with Nighttimer on Carrie, I found it to be a little rough and this is one where I think the movie (the original) smoothed the rough edges and was a little better than the novel.

    Blackhouse is a direct sequel to The Talisman, so if you pick those up I'd read The Talisman first. It was written in conjunction with Peter Straub.

    I could keep going but I've rambled on long enough. LOL, I definitely recommend his short stories first (Four Past Midnight...Night Shift especially), to get a good idea of his style and see if you like it. Hope you enjoy!




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  6. #406
    Sparkling dust. Fairies wear bOOts:)'s Avatar
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    Very well done, but the Dark Tower series references a lot of other works by him, some very important to the stories. Others not so much, so if you're someone who hates walking into a series in the middle of it I'd say try his other books out first that connect to it before you go further.

    Thanks for the advice. That would not bother me though, and so far I am thinking I'll start with either The Dark Tower Series or IT. We'll see...



  7. #407
    figuring it all out
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    The Dark Tower Series was about the biggest let down from a book i ever got. Not to give anything away, but as i got closer to book 7 i had a feeling that i knew how the story was going to end and i did not like it. One day i just looked up the ending on wikipedia, turns out i was right. :/

    That, and i really did not like the rewrite of The Gunslinger it seemed to rip out a lot of what i liked about the first one.
    "If you have a little voice in your head that talks to you, don't worry your human. If you have three or four voices that argue with each other, don't worry your a writer!"

  8. #408
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    I just want to say I really appreciate this thread. Funnily enough the only work I've ever read by him is On Writing, and I kind of feel like I should at least read one of his novels too. But he has so many it's hard to know where to start. From reading this thread I think I put 'Salem's Lot on the TBR mountain, myself.
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  9. #409
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    I am all about Misery, one of Stephen King's best. How he manages to create a disturbingly realistic villain in the form of Annie Wilkes and tell a suspenseful story that's confined mostly to a single bedroom of a house. It does have the big set pieces like when Annie cuts off his foot with an axe, but it's the scenes showing the subtler nature of her abuse that stay with me more. Like when she gets mad, throws a bowl of stew against the wall, is like "Oh look what you made me do!", then makes Paul wait in agony for his pain meds, as she very slowly cleans up the mess, knowing full well that he is addicted to those pain meds. The book does such a good job conveying the power she has over Paul. He refers to her several times as a goddess, because she has damn near absolute power over him and can make his life miserable for no other reason than because she feels like it. The only power he has, is in the sequel she's making him write for her. That's another thing that stays with me from that book: all the soliloquys and meditations on the power of literature and the effect it has. Ultimately that's what saves Paul; the written word.

    I also like 11/22/63, even if I'm like, "Stephen couldn't you shave a few years off, instead of having the time hole take him to 1958, thus giving him five years to kill while waiting for Lee Harvey Oswald?" He just captures that era so well, how the people dressed and talked, the music they were listening to and the issues they were debating.

    I did like The Stand even though it is kind of obvious that he was spinning his wheels for a while in the middle. King talked about this in On Writing, how he was stuck and could not think of a way out of it, until he came up with the bomb in the closet. Again, it is kind of obvious, because after the cool survey of the post-Captain Tripps-world and getting everyone to Boulder, it does pretty much stall until the bomb in the closet goes off.

  10. #410
    Sparkling dust. Fairies wear bOOts:)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom000 View Post
    The Dark Tower Series was about the biggest let down from a book i ever got. Not to give anything away, but as i got closer to book 7 i had a feeling that i knew how the story was going to end and i did not like it. One day i just looked up the ending on wikipedia, turns out i was right. :/
    I got that warning, which is why I was only planning on reading the first/maybe the second.

    That's another vote for Misery... I'll put it on the list.


    RUNNING TOTAL:

    -- It
    -- The Stand (which was debatable :/)
    -- Misery
    -- The Shinning
    -- Salem's Lot
    -- The Dark Tower Series
    -- Carrie
    -- On Writing

    In no particular order.....
    Last edited by Fairies wear bOOts:); 02-02-2017 at 07:30 AM.

  11. #411
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairies wear bOOts:) View Post
    I got that warning, which is why I was only planning on reading the first/maybe the second.

    That's another vote for Misery... I'll put it on the list.


    RUNNING TOTAL:

    -- It
    -- The Stand (which was debatable :/)
    -- Misery
    -- The Shinning
    -- Salem's Lot
    -- The Dark Tower Series
    -- Carrie
    -- On Writing

    In no particular order.....
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  12. #412
    practical experience, FTW Laurasaurus's Avatar
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    I love Misery, The Shining, Gerald's Game and Thinner.

    I actually really enjoyed Cell too, as one of his more recent books. I usually prefer his much older ones.
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  13. #413
    Dead Men Tell No Tales Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairies wear bOOts:) View Post
    I got that warning, which is why I was only planning on reading the first/maybe the second.

    That's another vote for Misery... I'll put it on the list.


    RUNNING TOTAL:

    -- It
    -- The Stand (which was debatable :/)
    -- Misery
    -- The Shinning
    -- Salem's Lot
    -- The Dark Tower Series
    -- Carrie
    -- On Writing

    In no particular order.....
    It, 'Salem's Lot, and Carrie would be the three to start with off that list. You'll get a lot more out of On Writing if you've already read some of his novels, as it's partially an autobiography and his writing advice is also much more useful once you know where he's coming from (not to mention at times amusing, king of adverbs and adjectives that he is).

    I didn't care for Misery. Too much introspection and not enough action. Didn't think The Shining was among his best either, mostly because the voice (both dialogue and internal thoughts) for the child MC seemed really off. Or maybe I just don't like books with the theme of addiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmig View Post
    It's THE SHINING.
    Thank you for posting this so I didn't have to, lol. But it could use a quote and repeat.
    “Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. Not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs, but what a ship is, what the Black Pearl really is ... is freedom.” ~ Jack Sparrow

    “Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, and piracy itself can be the right course.” ~ Governor Swann




  14. #414
    Sparkling dust. Fairies wear bOOts:)'s Avatar
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    I gave the user a rep for the catch. :/

  15. #415
    practical experience, FTW Matt T.'s Avatar
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    Since I haven't seen it recommended yet, I'd suggest Bag of Bones. It's on the lengthier side, but isn't nearly as long as some of his other novels, and I think it's is one of the best things he's ever written. It's an absolutely fantastic mix of horror and drama that ranks up there as one of my top 3 King novels. It was the second novel I'd ever read by him and hooked me on his work.

    Also, I'd recommend at least giving the Dark Tower books a chance. 1-4 are superb, and while 5-7 aren't as good, they're still good reads. They tie in with a lot of his other novels, but you don't have to read the others to have a good experience with the Dark Tower novels.
    Last edited by Matt T.; 02-03-2017 at 03:25 AM.

  16. #416
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My opinion used to reflect much of that of those here, regarding the Dark Tower series. But given time and a reread, I found that the Gunslinger may be my least favourite of the series; but probably the best as a stand-alone book, if you're only going to read one. It has a self contained arc, which is aided by the fact that the characters are fairly archetypal, and the hero has a standard Arthurian flaw. My personal favourite, these days, is the Wasteland, followed closely by the Dark Tower; a very enjoyable, very fresh take on the fantasy series.

    As far as his more recent books go, I'd have to say Doctor Sleep is worth reading for anyone who has read the Shining. I started reading the Bill Hodges trilogy, but it just didn't click for me.

  17. #417
    Ferret Herder JulianneQJohnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairies wear bOOts:) View Post
    OK... so pretty much the same. I'm starting to have a feeling I would not like The Stand though... (yet I hate to be presumptuous about books I have not read). It sounds like one of those books that gets word of mouth because it's well written rather than engaging? and I like page turners.

    In my opinion, it's the opposite. Folks like The Stand because it is engaging, not because it is well written. Now, that comes from a place of book love. I love The Stand, but it's a giant book written before his voice was fully fleshed out, and it shows.

    I considered It to be the best thing King ever wrote, until I got to the last three pages or so, then I wanted to throw it across the room. Never read it again.

    In classic King, I recommend The Shining, Dead Zone, and Firestarter.
    In later work, Tommyknockers, and Needful Things.

    And all the short story books. All of them.

  18. #418
    Player of the Year nighttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairies wear bOOts:) View Post
    + as some have pointed out are there ones I should avoid? You can still give recommendations but I guess you can include bewares as well... or is anyone of the opinion all his books are good?
    Nobody who has written over 60 books is lucky enough or good enough for all of them to be winners and King is no exception. I didn't care for Gerald's Game, Insomnia or The Tommyknockers and I absolutely hated with the fury of a thousand suns, Cell. It took a cool premise and shat it out into a lame reworking of a zombie apocalypse. Only these are flying telepathic zombies and the ending of the book was so awful I had to keep checking to see if I was missing a few pages.

    King himself knows he's written some real duds.

    The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I’ve thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, “There’s really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.” The book is about 700 pages long, and I’m thinking, ‘There’s probably a good 350-page novel in there.’

    I don’t like Dreamcatcher very much. Dreamcatcher was written after the accident. I was using a lot of Oxycontin for pain. And I couldn’t work on a computer back then because it hurt too much to sit in that position. So I wrote the whole thing longhand. And I was pretty stoned when I wrote it, because of the Oxy, and that’s another book that shows the drugs at work.”
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  19. #419
    Sparkling dust. Fairies wear bOOts:)'s Avatar
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    Okay I've added a few more to the list of where to start, thanks for all the feedback. I will post more updates once I have read them!

  20. #420
    Even the sphinx has eyes O_O Spooky's Avatar
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    Reckon I've read almost three quarters of Sai King's wondrous offerings now, constantly re-reading many titles, only a handful I've not felt much for. The Tommyknockers I agree isn't anywhere near the quality of his better ones but there are parts where I think damn that is on the border of nuts/impressive, there are redeemable elements to the tale for me even though it goes waffling and meandering far too often to be effective.

  21. #421
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    I've read almost all of King's work. The ones I like the most are the ones that are really out there and fantastical, and especially the ones tied to Derry, Maine. I'm sure I'll forget some but here are a few of my favorites, in no order:
    Firestarter
    The Shining
    The Stand
    IT
    The Langoliers
    11/22/63
    Pet Sematary
    Christine
    From a Buick 8

    I know there's more I love, but off the top of my head, these.

  22. #422
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    After reading Thinner, I didn't eat pie for months.

    After reading The Shining, to this day hotel hallways make me queasy.

    After reading Misery, I did not like driving alone for a LONG time.

    After reading It, clowns kinda freaked me out.

    After reading On Writing, I decided to put my big boy pants on and take writing more seriously
    2017 Goals
    Read 50 of these books
    Come up with a good book idea and actually write it!

  23. #423
    Even the sphinx has eyes O_O Spooky's Avatar
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    I'll always say that Pet Sematary is King's grimmest tale, there is no light, reading it is utterly fascinating every time, charred and rotting are the primal translations that accompany me in each revisit, it's very desolate but there is meaning, the meaning is dead is better lol. I fathom why some say it goes too far but there is a beautiful glinting forged in all that he makes occur, it is simply what happens in the story, King tells it effectively. No matter how disturbing and unfortunate the fate that befalls the family is, it is a piece of art which I treasure and have in my top 5 of his, it is like a slide going all the way down into a dirty cup full of ugly.

  24. #424
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spooky View Post
    I'll always say that Pet Sematary is King's grimmest tale, there is no light, reading it is utterly fascinating every time, charred and rotting are the primal translations that accompany me in each revisit, it's very desolate but there is meaning, the meaning is dead is better lol. I fathom why some say it goes too far but there is a beautiful glinting forged in all that he makes occur, it is simply what happens in the story, King tells it effectively. No matter how disturbing and unfortunate the fate that befalls the family is, it is a piece of art which I treasure and have in my top 5 of his, it is like a slide going all the way down into a dirty cup full of ugly.
    Also the best ending he's managed.

  25. #425
    figuring it all out HaHs's Avatar
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    Apologies if this has already been asked, but what book(s) would you recommend to someone entirely new to King and his works?

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