Despite many able to argue that attempting to rank the talents of Stephen King in a ‘Best Stephen King un curso de milagros‘ type-article is a foolish battle, I am going to give it a go as it’s a great excuse to get my King collection out. First time King-readers will also hopefully benefit from this, as let us remember that the great Stephen King has published over 60 books by the age of 64, and with the inconsistency that inevitably brings – reading the wrong novel first might put you off King forever. And oh what a crime that would be! Here goes – My personal 13 best Stephen King books.
The following best Stephen King books list is based on a broad number of criteria, including the number of sleepless nights caused from the nightmares that swiftly followed reading the books…
Misery was one of the first King stories that I got my hands on, and I remember reading it from start to finish over the span of no more than three nights. It makes for a fantastic introduction to Stephen King’s writing and I thoroughly recommend it as a potential first King novel to read. Misery is the chilling story of an author named ‘Paul Sheldon’ who has spawned a series of popular stories about a woman known as only ‘Misery’. Paul Sheldon decides he wants to write about something new, so he kills off the character known as Misery. On his way back home he has a car accident which overturns his car, leaving him knocked out. He then awakes to find he has was saved and being looked after by a strange woman named ‘Annie Wilkes’, who also happens to be his number one fan. Annie is not impressed with Paul’s decision to kill off Misery, and so Paul, who once wrote to make a living, is now writing for his life. A truly fantastic story, which admittedly should be avoided if you are weak at heart, as there are some tremendously vivid and terrifying gory scenes.
12- The Green Mile
The Green Mile is a highly acclaimed novel that was originally published over six short separate instalments, each being released a month after the other and ending in a nail-biting cliffhanger. Those were the days…
Many have you have probably seen the movie-adaptation in which Tom Hanks stars, need I really say more? Unlike many other movies based on books, the movie is a loyal and strong interpretation of the book accompanied by remarkable acting. However, despite being a great movie, the book is still king (pun unintended) thanks to the many twists and sub-plots that did not make it into the movie. The story is set in the 30′s and tells the emotional tale of the experiences of prisoners on death row and the guards. The green mile is wonderfully well-written – you feel part of the fictitious world that is full of oppression and segregation that leads to multiple memorable thought-provoking and moving moments. Who said Stephen King can only write horror gems?
11- Bag Of Bones
Bag of Bones is possibly King’s most ambitious attempt at having a love story. Similar to The Green Mile this is another of Stephen King’s novels that doesn’t strictly follow his early horror style of writing, and as such is not as popular as some of his other work. Which is a shame, because if given the chance, this is another truly wonderful ghost story full of twists and vivid characters. The main character is, as you’ve come to expect with King, a writer called Mike Noonan. Mike’s wife suddenly dies and causes him to have a severe case of ‘writer’s block’. In order to get over his writer’s block he returns to his summer house, where he discovers that his wife was on the trail of something highly sinister. With countless twists and turns concluding to a haunting ending, you will undoubtedly be left as breathless and mentally exhausted as I was. Great read…
Firestarter is perhaps one of Stephen King’s lesser known novels and doesn’t often feature in lists of the Best Stephen King Books. It might have something to do with the underwhelming reaction people had after seeing the movie-adaptation – many people see films and then read the book if the movie was any good. Whatever the reason is, a lot of King fans are missing out on a very good story which they would surely love. Firestarter is the tale of a father and his young daughter with pyrokinetic powers, who have to constantly be on the run from a government agency trying to capture the young girl to use her powers for their own gain. The plots are cleverly connected and the likeable characters make you genuinely care for their well-being. Recommended.
9- The Dark Tower Series
The Gunslinger is the first entry of King’s The Dark Tower series and follows the protagonist, Roland, on his quest to the Dark Tower, but before he can get there he must locate his enigmatic antagonist that he kindly calls ‘The Man in Black’. King took twelve years to write this book, but came up with the epic first line while still at University: ‘The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed’, gripping start for sure and there’s a great deal more of it as you discover how Roland is capable of extreme violence, yet somehow still manages to come across as kind. A great start to a great series and a must-read for any Fantasy/Western book-lover.