(And Still Another) Ten Good Stephen King Books (#41-50)

It is mid-July as I write this, and summer is in full swing. What better author for summertime beach reading than Stephen King? The prolific Maine writer of more than 70 novels, hundreds of short stories, several screenplays, and even a few non-fiction pieces has no shortage of material from which to choose.

There are several different types of King books – genres within genres. Take his short stories. These range anywhere from 5 pages to 50, let’s say. Most are all-out horror, but not all have “horrifying” endings. Or novels. Some, like “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,” are just over 200 pages, while others – “The Stand: For the First Time Complete & Uncut” comes to mind – exceed the 1,000 page mark. Some, like “Pet Sematary,” are quick-turning and gory. Others, such as the terrific “11/22/63,” are dense and thought-provoking.

The list you are about to read includes a good variety of King works. His first published novel, “Carrie,” makes the cut, as does his most recent collection of short stories, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.” The first volume of his massive “Dark Tower” mega-novel, “The Gunslinger,” is on here, as is his personal favorite piece of his own writing, “Lisey’s Story.” Of these, my favorites are listed in rank order, as decided by my admittedly-amateur entertainment critic-self.

So with that, here are (still) another ten good Stephen King books:

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(Yet Another) Ten Good Stephen King Books (#31-40)

2017 is forecast to be a good year for Stephen King. Last month saw the release of his latest Castle Rock novella, “Gwendy’s Button Box,” co-written by Cemetery Dance magazine editor Richard Chizmar. The April posting of the latest “It Part One” theatrical trailer set an online record for the most views, and before the year is out the big screen will also see the release of the long-gestating “Dark Tower” movie. The trailer for that also looks great, albeit very, very different from the 4,000-page anthology. If that isn’t enough, later this year Spike TV will host a 10-episode mini-series remake of “The Mist.” Here, too, is the trailer for that.  Enjoy!

As I sit here, about to read “The Stand” for the third time, I want to note that few authors merit a top ten list, let alone four top ten lists! But then, few authors have the cumulative body of work that Mr. King has, with roughly 75 novels, collections, collaborations, screenplays, and non-fiction pieces. There may be a few pieces of rotten meat in that literary smorgasbord, but the list you are about to read takes us to number 40 and the books on said list are still good, perhaps even great.

So with that, here are yet another ten good Stephen King books:

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Another Ten Great Stephen King Books (#21-30)

reading sk

The sheer number of page views for my Top Ten Stephen King Books and my Ten More Great Stephen King Books blog posts from January, 2015 and April, 2015, respectively, surely say more about my readership’s love for King’s writing than for my own.

I recently breezed through Mr. King’s most recent novel, “Finders Keepers,” as well as his latest short story collection, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.”  Good reads both.  I am currently reading, for the third time, King’s third novel, “The Shining,” and will likely follow that up with its stellar 2013 sequel, “Doctor Sleep.”  In other words: I simply can’t get enough of SK’s writing.

I thought I would continue my literary ranking of his body of work with the next ten best Stephen King books.  To whit:

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Ten More Great Stephen King Books (11-20)

Reading SK 2

I love top ten lists. This past January, I published my ranking of what I believe to be the Top Ten Stephen King Books. Over just a few months, that blog entry has become one of my most-read posts.

Mr. King continues to produce new material at a rate that is almost as scary as some of his most frightening novels. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, he published six books – two each year – while regularly visiting the television set of the CBS mini-series “Under the Dome” (2013-present) and simultaneously drafting the screenplay for “A Good Marriage” (2014). He is also one of the most prolific celebrity presences on Twitter, and can often be seen in the stands at Fenway Park, home of his beloved Boston Red Sox.

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Top Ten Stephen King Books

Reading SK

As you may know, I do not currently have the financial wherewithal to do the kind of travel that I yearn to do. Although I am working on changing that, in the meantime, the head-in-the-clouds dreamer that I am often passes the time by reading.

I frequently go through genre/author phases when I read. Five or so years ago I went on an “American classics” kick (think J.D. Salinger and John Kennedy Toole). One summer I devoured those dystopian sci-fi masterpieces from the mid-20th century (“Brave New World,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “1984” – my favorite novel of all time). I read all seven “Harry Potter” books in just 12 days. During my late teens I raced through several political yarns by the late Tom Clancy. I even convinced myself a few years ago that Russian literature should be my next foray into classical literature…but I failed after just one book – Boris Pasternak’s snail-paced “Doctor Zhivago.”

My favorite author is – and always has been – Stephen King. I first discovered his writing in the late 1980’s when, as a teenager, I went through a serious horror phase. I subscribed to Fangoria and Cinefantastique magazine and I rented every grade-D slasher movie that I could get my hands on – never mind the fact that I was under 17. In fact, I was only 13 when I first saw Mr. King’s “Pet Sematary” on an end cap at the local Waldenbooks. The cover art – which showed an angry cat and the silhouette of a man carry a dead body towards a cemetery – spoke to me. I figured that the word “sematary” was deliberately misspelled, but why? I parted with five dollars of my hard-earned paper route money, bought the book, and was hooked.

Continue reading “Top Ten Stephen King Books”