I’ve been wanting to read something spooky for a while, and it’s tough to come across books and authors who actually can creep me out with a tale of the supernatural.
So I decided to go back to my youth.
Like most folks, I read a lot of Stephen King in my teen and high school years. They were awesome books.
And they still are.
So I’ve started reading King again, in no particular order as well. I’ll read a novel, then a collection of short stories, and I have to say I am having a great time. The novels I’ve read (or reread as the case may be) so far are 11/22/63 (quite possibly my favorite King book of all time, replacing It), Cell, The Dark Tower series (except for the most recent one – which is an amazing epic, worlds-spanning fantasy western series that has no equal), Tommyknockers, The Shining and It. The collections have been Night Shift, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, and Everything’s Eventual.
The man has a gift, whether the genre is your preferred corner of fiction or not, most will admit to that. Yes, there are times when the story can seem overly long, I noticed that in It, but even then, when you take it for what it really is, building and expanding the mythology of the worlds he creates, then it really is enjoyable.
And oh the connections!
It’s easy enough to simply google them, or use wikipedia, but there’s a singular enjoyment when revisiting material you haven’t read in decades, and you see the little threads tying his universes together.
I love that Jake in 11/22/64 passes briefly through Derry, and meets Richie Tozier and Beverly Marsh from It a short time after the epic events of that tale, and that Dick Halloran the psychically gifted cook of the Overlook hotel in The Shining shows up in one of the tales about Derry in It.
Haven, of course gets mentioned a couple of times, Tommyknockers takes place inside that little burg, but it’s not recognizable as the television show that shares the same name and is loosely based on Mr.King’s The Colorado Kid.
There are some undeniable creepy and iconic images in his books, and I tend to like his supernatural tales, as opposed to something like Tommyknockers. The idea of the kind of evil seen in things like The Shining or It just engage me more. I like It, I think because of the fact that part of it is told from an adult’s point of view, and the rest is from the viewpoint of the same characters but as children.
The nostalgia that is so prevalent in 11/22/63 is also right there in It, and I think that’s part of the appeal. That and the fact that a kid’s life can be like that, seemingly facing great evil during your summer days, but still needing to be back at home for dinner and chores. I also love the fact that It, or Pennywise the clown as he is more commonly known (masterfully played in the small screen adaptation by Tim Curry) could appear as one of your greatest fears. The book is filmed with frightening moments and images, the idea of pictures coming to life has stayed with me so long that I worked it into my horror novel.
I do believe my next book may be The Talisman, which I remember starting when I was younger, but never finishing. I’d like to amend that, and of course read the sequel. I’m also looking forward to revisiting Salem’s Lot, because I love a good vampire story.
What are some of your favorite King books or short stories? What one should I read next?