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Thread: Stephen King

  1. #426
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaEChapman View Post
    Apologies if this has already been asked, but what book(s) would you recommend to someone entirely new to King and his works?
    That depends entirely on your tastes; King's written so many novels and shorts that it's unlikely you'll get agreement, here. I'd say find a book whose subject intrigues you and give it a try.

    Personally, I tend to prefer what I've read of his short stories. I also enjoyed 11/22/63, which is a bit of a doorstop and a slow builder but does such a good job drawing me into the MC's life while building the tension that I hardly noticed the length. But I didn't care for The Gunslinger at all, and the one other novel of his I've read - The Eyes of the Dragon - was kinda meh, IMHO.
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  2. #427
    cutsie-pie Curlz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaEChapman View Post
    Apologies if this has already been asked, but what book(s) would you recommend to someone entirely new to King and his works?
    Pick a short story collection first, for a taster, "Night Shift" or "Skeleton Crew" is essential King. Perhaps "The Dead Zone", which is also easy to read and not too bizarre.

    He's a diverse author and the choice would depend on what types of books you like to read.
    If you are looking for entertainment:
    "Carrie" is a short and quick read, has a bit of supernatural, bit of school kids story.
    "Salem's Lot" is a fun vampire story with some gruesome detail, "Pet Sematary" is similar but a bit sad
    "Cell" is about unusual zombies
    "It" is a good scare to read at night
    "Misery" has a lot of suspense
    "The Tommyknockers" is a bizarre story involving aliens and people being weird
    "The Green Mile" is a sad story about prison and injustice
    "Christine" is about a creepy car
    If you have a taste for fantasy, try "The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three" - that's the second part of the series but you won't miss the first part, it's also partially happening in the modern world, so you get to sample King's "usual" storytelling, too.

    The more "thinking man's books":
    "Dolores Clayborne" is pure crime drama
    "Insomnia" is a beautifully written story with an elderly protagonist and bizarre creatures
    "11/22/33" is a rather detailed historical drama about Lee Harvey Oswald with time travel elements

    If you're not much into the supernatural and enjoy good narrative,
    "Cujo" is about family threatened by a rabid dog
    "Joyland" is a simple summer story with a little mystery thrown in
    "Mr Mercedes"/"Finders Keepers"/"End of Watch" can be read on their own or in a sequence, light crime stories and light human stories, not remarkable but smooth reads
    "Rage" and "The Long Walk" are for kids who hate school )

  3. #428
    Even the sphinx has eyes O_O Spooky's Avatar
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    I started many years ago with The Shining and have been blessed ever since. I began reading The Gunslinger straight afterwards and left it until a couple years on when I'd explored more of his work then returned and plowed right on through the whole damn series, I always regard The Dark Tower as the main trunk of Sai King's offerings, you'd think just writing those seven books (wind thru keyhole is in a pile somewhere pending reading, unsure if I can slot it between them yet) would take a man's whole life to craft, it's truly absurd what King has managed to create in his life.
    Last edited by Spooky; 06-10-2017 at 08:53 AM.

  4. #429
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ReignaFTW's Avatar
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    The Gunslinger has been on my shelf for years. This thread is certainly motivating me to start it!

    Been a little while since I've read any King (I think the last one was The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon), so I picked up On Writing. Enjoying it so far! Also interested in checking out more of his short stories.

  5. #430
    AW's resident Velociraptor ShaunHorton's Avatar
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    On Writing is a great book, and essential reading for just about any writer I think.

    He has such a wide range, and his style has changed over the years, it's hard to make any recommendations without knowing what you like or are looking for.

    If you're looking for Horror or you like real vampires, definitely grab Salem's Lot. Otherwise, IT is the only book that's ever gotten to me.
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  6. #431
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaEChapman View Post
    Apologies if this has already been asked, but what book(s) would you recommend to someone entirely new to King and his works?
    As has been said previously, he's written a lot of books in different styles.

    My personal favourites (and I'm a big fan of King*) are Misery and The Shining. With honourable mentions to Dolores Clayborne, The Langoliers (novella) and the Dark Half. And there are a few more that I liked. And some that I just couldn't get into at all (which happen to be King books that other people love and list as their favourites). And there are quite a few that I haven't read (yet) in spite of coming highly recommended. Also, bear in mind that some that I've read and felt a bit underwhelmed by, it's more the case that they don't meet the very, very high bar set by Misery, and had they been written by anyone else I'd be saying "hey this book's pretty good."

    *not his Number One Fan, though!!! (read Misery for more details...)

    If you try one or two of his books and don't like them, it doesn't mean you won't find any that you like. His books are very much not all the same. The Mr Mercedes series IMO is more crime thriller/detective novel than straight up horror (albeit that it has scenes that contain horror and the third book in the series is a bit more like a horror novel - but still different). I'm not an expert on genre and sub-genre so apologies if I'm using the wrong terms.

    I'm currently reading Doctor Sleep which is sort of a sequel to the Shining but it's very different to The Shining in a lot of ways, hence "sort of a sequel".
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 06-10-2017 at 03:46 PM.
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  7. #432
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    I just mentioned this in another thread, but as there are King fans here...

    I go off and on him, thus skip around. I get back into him, read a bunch that's usually pulled from the period I've not been reading him, get enough of his rambling and drop him for several years. Last thing I read was 11-22-63; I was in a bookstore last night, picked up Mr. Mercedes, thought the blurb was interesting (hey, I like mysteries/detective fiction), tried reading a couple pages and found it offputting and couldn't concentrate at all.

    I figured out after a few that it was because the damn thing was written in present tense. I thought I was going nuts, so checked a bunch of backlist and found everything I randomly pulled was in past, but most on the shelf was older big name stuff, so...

    Is this a new thing? Has he switched to present, or was it for that particular book and he's regained hold of his senses?

  8. #433
    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    I am reading King's latest novel called Gwendy's Button Box. It is written in the present tense.
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  9. #434
    practical experience, FTW HarvesterOfSorrow's Avatar
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    Yeah, I still gotta order my copy. I wish it was available in stores---not that it matters, since there are no bookstores in Grand Falls-Windsor, goddamnit.

    Looking forward to Sleeping Beauties, though. That comes out in late September.
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  10. #435
    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarvesterOfSorrow View Post
    Yeah, I still gotta order my copy. I wish it was available in stores---not that it matters, since there are no bookstores in Grand Falls-Windsor, goddamnit.
    I bought mine at the bookstore.
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  11. #436
    This & That Esmae Tyler's Avatar
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    I'll duck in here to hang a flag for Duma Key. It's definitely a door stop (600 and some pages in the hard cover) and in true King fashion takes the scenic route in getting where it's going, but maaaaaaan. I just finished my third reading of it and it was like watching a snowball go down a hill. Slow at first, then faster and faster and faster as it gained momentum.

    One thing to be mindful of while reading his works, especially things set in the old Maine stomping grounds (Derry, Castle Rock, etc) is that he has a self-contained universe and the man does not believe in spoiler warnings. It can be interesting to see how everything interacts, but you can also know how something's going to end already because he talked about it in another book.

  12. #437
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post

    Is this a new thing? Has he switched to present, or was it for that particular book and he's regained hold of his senses?
    The Mr Mercedes series is the only books I've read of his that were in present tense*. It didn't bother me. I enjoyed the series. It's not the best thing he ever wrote, but he set the bar on that one very high. I particularly like the three main characters in the series and the 2nd book in the series (Finders Keepers). IMO the 2nd book has a better antagonist than the main antagonist in the series.

    *the second book even shifts tense between flashbacks in past tense and present day chapters in present tense, and the first one-third of the book is all past tense flashback, if I recall correctly. It finally catches up to the present day, then switches to present tense. I can't remember if the other two do this as well because they were from the library so I can't check.

    I've had this theory in the back of my mind that King's got a bet going with himself (or someone else, who knows?) that he's going to do all the things that people in writer's forums say you should never ever do. I keep on seeing things that are blatant examples of the "never do this" kind of advice in his recent books. In Mr Mercedes, he introduces some lovely characters, you start to get attached to them, then he kills them off at the end of the first chapter (or was it the prologue?) and continues with a new character as the POV character. Also, the 3rd book in the series has what I'd consider to be a genre shift. He does a whole bunch of stuff that that you're supposed to never, ever do. I probably have an overactive imagination regarding the bet thing but it sometimes comes across like he's come across some internet writing advice to not do something and said to himself "hell yeah I'm going to do that!"

    Also he's never been afraid to experiment and do new and different stuff.
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 06-11-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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  13. #438
    Not Throwing Away My Shot Markiemoo's Avatar
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    I wonder if Stephen has had any rejections in the past 10-15 years. I know he did in the beginning. Who would dare reject a Stephen King novel/story nowadays

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