1.11/22/63. I lasted about 24 hours of withdrawal after finishing it for the first time before I had to go back and start it over.
This man has written a TON, and has sharped his ability to a level of competence and skill that most of us will never achieve in anything in our lives, and it shows.
It’s funny that I’m a huge horror fan, that horror is what made me a Stephen King fan in the first place, but the book of his that stuck with me the most is the one least like what he’s known for. Though, make no mistake, the DNA of a horror writer is absolutely in that book as well.
2. Pet Sematary. I love a lot of his stuff but I keep going back to it, it’s so deliciously creepy, I sometimes have to put it down for a bit because of how creepy it is.
3. The Long Walk. It’s so benign-yet-not on the outside, and then you get into it. Hoo boy.
4.The Institute. One of the most gripping reads ever. Deals with some of the worst child abuse I’ve read and due to King’s ability to turn characters into relatable people, you experience everything. I don’t consider myself to have a weak stomach, but the abuse and corruption of the truly innocent (children and animals, mainly) is something that is hard to get through in any medium. In It you at least have the children becoming adults to confront their terrors again. In The Institute, most never get that chance.
5. The Green Mile. It is one of the few novels I have read multiple times. It stayed with me for weeks. It is the most beautifully written book I have ever read.
6. The Dead Zone. Absolutely amazingly creepy. And considering the plot…the book everyone should read in 2020 if they haven’t yet.
7.Salem’s Lot. That book scared the shit out of me as a teenager, but I couldn’t put it down.
8. The Talisman is amazing. I might have developed an obsession with alternative reality stories from reading that book in my early teens.
9. Misery was excellent, and in my opinion, the best movie or TV version of his books, too.
10.Carrie. Finished it in a night because I couldn’t stop reading.
11. The Jaunt is the scariest story, book or movie, that I’ve ever read it watched. Probably because it’s about a fear I have whereas most horror stories do jack for me.
12. Lisey’s Story. A beautiful story about grief and recovery of a woman who lost her love. All others saw the celebrity, not the human being he was. Covers mental illness, terror and fear, and pure love. Written for Tammy, fucking gorgeous book.
13.The Stand. This was the first book that made me really realize how dangerous it would be to have an accident when no doctors exist in the world.
14.The Shining was the only book that made me want to keep my bedside lamp on at night. Scared the crap out of me!
15. Cujo is very good. How can someone write 600+ pages on a woman trapped in a car with a rabid dog outside?
16.Got to be Under the Dome, I loved how it went into detail about the different character’s lives and all the individual problems they were dealing with.
17.Doctor Sleep is possibly my favorite but if not then it definitely ranks in the top 5. But I freaking hated the movie.
18.The Mist is great, but I wish King had written it with the movie ending. So brutal.
19. Desperation is the one that sticks with me the most… the sounds from the book tripped me out.
20. Christine. It was about a car that came to life and it was incredibly scary. That takes talent.
21. On Writing changed my life as a writer and is easily his best work in my humble opinion.
I also liked all the computer references that a basement-dwelling wannabe hacker would have: all the computers, but of course, they’re all just for show with only one getting any use. A smaller detail those in IT would get (and I’m sure his son suggested he add).
23.The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. One of my favorites and really under-appreciated. It’s creepy because it can happen to anyone. Well, except for the implied supernatural parts, anyway.
28. Needful Things. Stephen King’s manipulative character writing at his finest. The way he pins people against each other in this book is just too good.
29.Wizard and Glass. It’s one of the only novels that’s ever brought me to tears. 3 amazing books came before it in the Dark Tower series, we’d barely learned a thing about Roland at this point, and the first major thing we learn about him is the epic, heartbreaking tale he tells in this novel.
30. Insomnia. This is one of the few I’ve read over and over. I used to have about 75% of his books and was planning to make it a full collection and keep up as new ones came out, but life got in the way of that. Most I owned got re-read once or twice, but Insomnia would get picked up about every 2-4 months for a read.
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About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.
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