He’s one of the greats of the literary world – at some point in their life, everyone should have read at least one book by Stephen King.
Whether it’s a short story or a full length novel, King never fails to amaze with his incredible imagination and his ability to write horror.
If you’ve never read Stephen King of course it can be hard to figure out where to get started. There are so many great novels by King out there with vastly different stories and themes to them.
I’ve thought long and hard about this and came up with what I feel are the best Stephen King books. It can be tough to really separate a lot of them from the movie or television shows that spawned from them. For example I don’t think Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is a worthy story on its own but the movie is one of my favourites, so I always think of that favourably.
So here are my Top 5 Stephen King books trying to take them just as they were.
#5: The Long Walk:
This might be a surprising one considering most lists you see online about the best Stephen King books, but I think it’s deserving and highly underrated. This one was actually the very first novel King wrote, and was initially published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He wrote it back in university and it’s even more amazing thinking of how young he was when he accomplished this.
There’s an annual walking contest called The Walk where 100 teenage boys basically have to walk until there is only one left. What happens to the other 99? If they give up or collapse they’re promptly killed. This is an amazing journey and you’ll feel like you are taking every step with Raymond Davis Garrity, the protagonist in the book. An amazing psychological horror book.
Psychological horror is where King really shines and Misery is one great example of that. In this one a famous writer has killed off the popular protagonist in a book series that he writes. He almost dies in a car accident but is rescued by a woman who is more than what she seems. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she says she is his #1 fan. She also refuses to let him leave her house until he writes a new novel bringing the character back. Annie may be one of the most deeply disturbed characters that King has ever written and both the book and the movie are amazing.
It is a tricky book because it’s so incredibly long and sometimes the detail King goes into are insane. However it’s one of those books that if you finish it – wow – the impact it will have on your life. You’ll never forget it and this is one of the best books in the horror genre.
#2: The Shining
The Shining is the type of book that’ll make you wonder if you’re going crazy – you get so invested in the character Jack that you’re right there with him. In this book, Jack and Wendy Torrance and their son Danny move into the Overlook Hotel during the off-season with Jack as the caretaker. They are the only three people there to look after the place but all isn’t what it seems. I mean I don’t want to say too much but every time I’m at a hotel I make sure they don’t give me Room 217. Just a really fascinating book and the pacing of it is incredible. You will feel yourself going crazy along with Jack.
#1: The Stand
In any “Top Stephen King Books” list you’ll no doubt see this within the top 5. It’s Kings vision of the world – the world that has been blasted by plague and has a struggle between good and evil. Do yourself a favour and get the Complete and Uncut Edition. I mean you’re talking about 150,000 words that were missing. It’s a long one but one that you’ll be so glad you read.