Did you like movies It or The Shining? In fact, these and many more other movies are adapted versions of novels written by Stephen King. So there is a huge possibility that the top rated horror or thriller movies you watched and liked is most likely to be created by Stephen King, or he was at least a co-author. Thus, for sure, you might like the best Stephen King’s books list that is carefully selected and prepared by BooKKooks in this article to tell you how good they are.
Top 10 Stephen Books (Novels) to Read
The Dark Tower: 8-Book Boxed Set
The first and the most famous novel that you should start your acquaintanceship with Stephen King’s works with is the highly recommended The Dark Tower. This novel consists of eight books, the story about the Gunslinger and his adventures that lead them to deal with the mysterious Dark Tower.
This work comprises numerous genres that make it more popular among readers, even if you are not familiar with King’s work. Moreover, the fans of Tolkien’s world might adore this fantasy world, too. In other words, this would be a perfect novel, even for beginners. This mixture allows enjoying and finding something new that was missed in King’s other works and even links them together, creating a huge universe. Furthermore, the genuine fans definitely won’t stop reading until the end. By the way, the story is spread over 4,720 pages.
The inspiration was drawn from an English poet who wrote Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came in 1855, and with gratitude, it was included in the final chapter. The Dark Tower wouldn’t have been written without this poem – it’s like a cherry on a pie.
The set comes in a box with rigid sides. There are eight books inside, each of them in paperback cover.
- The combination of multiple genres that may suit various readers
- The plot is so haunting that you can’t stop reading until its end
- Wonderful as a gift
- There are some insignificant mistakes and inconsistencies
- There are some printing issues
It: a Novel
The clown with a terrifying smile must be a brand already – everybody recognizes this world renown eerie clown from King’s novel It. The plot takes place in Derry, Maine, which is quite familiar to fans who follow King’s writing. This is a fictional town that serves as the main place where other stories happen within King’s universe.
The story itself is about a mysterious creature that looks like a clown and kills children. In fact, It is not the main character, it is the teenagers who experienced fear with a cold sweat. All of them are potential victims of It, so they have to make everything possible in order to get rid of the source of their fear. The chance will be given again in 28 years.
Despite the evident ability of this book to rattle the potential readers’ nerves, the book became number 1 among best sellers recommended by The New York Times. Moreover, nobody can stay indifferent once the readers decide to read this book. That is why it is safe to say that It is a must read and can’t be the worst book ever.
The books represent the nightmare, since the hardcover design shows the spooky, bloody red smile and nose on a white background. Be brave to handle reading up to the end this blood-curdling 1,168-page horror.
- There are no mere words in the story
- The author delivers proper ambiance to a reader that makes him believe that he is a part of the story
- This story helps you believe in your abilities and power
- Excessive precision
- The novel takes quite a long time to read
Beloved pets always bring their families happiness. But what happens when they pass away and pets’ bodies have to be buried? Unfortunately, the new doctor, Dr. Louis Creed, and his family, had to find out by themselves, moving to a new place that was too close to the cemetery for pets.
It’s quite clear that the novel is another horror book, but this one is considered to be one of the most terrifying novels written by King according to a number of reviews. The book itself is one of the best selling books of all time that are highly ranked, and definitely shouldn’t be read by those who take everything personally.
The book is bound in a hardcover, the design depicts the cemetery and a cat. The story spreads over 416 pages.
- The story is quite distinguished among other horror works made by S. King
- The story totally submerges a reader
- The publisher’s paper may be not of a good quality
Who wanted to have a cool whip in their adolescence? For sure, everyone would like to have at least any car! Thus, when a regular teenager, Arnie, had a chance to buy his neighbor’s 1958 Plymouth Fury for 250 backs, he was over the moon. However, Arnie’s friend Dennis watched his friend along, with his friend’s Plymouth’s unusual upgrade. In a while, Dennis couldn’t believe how Arnie resembles his dead neighbour – the Plymouth’s previous owner. That was just the beginning of uncanny changes.
The novel itself was released in 1983 and comprises 482 pages. All of them are bound in hardcover. The design shows the logo of the Plymouth with the skull and its name Christine.
- The plot is written in a style uncommon to King
- Many plot twists
- The book is quite long
The Stand has a strong link to King’s earlier works. Actually, The Stand is designed to develop the plot that was already described in Night Surf. The plot is about the post apocalyptic world and the survivors who now represent just by 1% from the total amount of people who lived before.
The world’s perception was unbelievable, even considering that this work was the fourth and the longest in 1978. The next year, this novel was nominated for the one of the most prestgious awards at that time – World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
The book is arranged in hardcover with black title page and it comprises 1,152 pages.
- Wonderful character descriptions
- The binding might not be secure enough
- It’s quite a long reading
11/22/63 is dedicated to fans of fiction about time traveling and everything related to changing the course of history. The novel is about a young man who receives the ability to change the destiny of John. F. Kennedy, particularly to find a potential killer and prevent the assassination.
The reception of this book is considered to be one of the best ever received, mostly thanks to The New York Times’ positive review and selecting it as one among the greatest novels of the year. The plot is quite fascinating and doesn’t make you feel scared or overthink. It’s quite alluring and could be a perfect fit even for teens who are already exhausted by reading classic books – this might entertain them. In addition, it’s quite good novel to start with reading King’s works.
The novel was released in September 2011 and comprises 849 pages. It is bound in a hard cover.
- The plot distinguishes among the alternative stories about time traveling
- All the tiny details make you believe that you are a part of the scenario
- There is lots of historical information that might be boring to read
If you are beginning to read Stephen King’s novels but you are still not a major fan, then you probably have never heard that King participated in creating comics. Unfortunately, he was not the only one author, but he worked on the first five issues creating short stories about vampires. So you are invited to learn more about his experiment.
American Vampire is a series of comics that introduce you a generation of vampires that have been living for centuries among people. Moreover, a new type of vampire appeared who were significantly different compared to the others. That’s where a stumbling block occurs, since the original vampires now have to compete with the new vampires.
The books are not big so it will be easy and quick to read them. The printed novel is arranged in a hardcover.
- There are wonderful illustrations
- The vampires are not as “sweetie pie” as the ones who are quite common nowadays
- There is a lot of dialogue and time transitions that can confuse the reader
Storm of the Century
Storm of the century is considered a unique novel, since it was not originally a novel, but a screenplay that was created by S. King.
The plot takes place in a small town situated on a small island that is in the center of the strongest snowstorm ever. This storm left all the residents cut off from the mainland. Meanwhile, one man, who knows all the citizens’ secrets, kills a man, without any evident motive except his strange statement to give him something that he wants and he will leave them. He was temporarily imprisoned, and that’s when weird incidents start to happen in the town.
The screenplay has been arranged in a whole novel and was then was published as a book in hardcover, containing 376 pages.
- From the very beginning, a reader is trapped in a whirlpool of events that don’t release you until the end
- There are King’s unrepeatable writing and language approaches
- The book contains some historical inconsistency
Desperation can be considered both: as a desperate situation of the main characters, or the fictional name of the town where the actions take place. The main characters were driving through the highway in Nevada, when suddenly, they were stopped by a police car. And despite weird signs they have seen before, they had a suspicion that this stop will lead them to dreadful consequences.
King has drawn the inspiration from when he went to a small town that seemed completely empty. That’s how the idea of people murdered by a local sheriff appeared.
Desperation comes in a paperback, there are 624 pages.
- There is a layering meaning, that can be discovered gradually, step by step
- There is an amazing mixture of horror, despair and other emotions that appear from time to time. This makes you to feel uncomfortable without reading the whole story
- There is a strong taste of King’s political views
Everyone, at least once in life, has tried to diet and lose weight. But how would you act if you lost weight everyday without any evident reasons. It happened to King’s character Scott depicted in Elevation. However, despite his weird weight loss, there are some bizarre details that also makes Scott worry, so he decides to share his concerns with his doctor.
Elevation repeatedly became one of the best selling books, according to various publishers. Consequently, it received lots of positive reviews. Thus, if you are wondering what should be the best 10 books to be read – then Elevation should be among them.
Besides, its edition is bound in a hardcover, so you don’t need to worry about something happened to it if you decide to reread it.
- There is a delicate mixture of genres that makes it heartwarming and kind of exceptional among King’s works
- This novel is quite short, thus it’s most likely that you will finish it quite soon after starting to read it
- Some chunks of text are not lexically appropriate
Greatest Collections of Short Stories and Novellas by Stephen King
When it’s quite challenging to choose only one book that should cover your need to read something unique and with uncommon plot, then the most appropriate way is to choose a collection of stories. Each story can be a wonderful completion of each other or as a separate story that is suitable for a particular mood or a season. That is why Stephen King has released a collection that comprises four novellas, as there are four seasons. Thus, if you intend to have something from King’s works and read them in order to continue your acquaintance through other works, then Different Seasons must be a perfect fit.
The first story is The Shawshank Redemption that has brought astonishing success to the author. It’s about a man who was unfairly judged and jailed because of his wife’s murder.
The second one is Apt Pupil. This novella will reveal the dark past of a man who was involved in the Nazi army.
The third is The Body, which tells the story of four friends looking for the body of a missing boy.
And the last one is a shocking and fantastic story that is good read on a winter night, The Breathing Method. It’s about a woman who gave birth to a boy despite getting into a deadly crash.
All of these four stories are beautiful in their own way, maybe because of these their ranking according to their uniqueness is impossible.
- All the stories are easy to read
- They won’t release you even after reading
- Because of the different styles and ideas of the stories, some of them might not be interesting for particular people
Night Shift is the first collection of stories written by Stephen King. It comprises six short stories that are separated by the idea and other factors. However, some of them may be familiar, such as Night Surf, which is considered as a base story for The Stand, and Children of the Corn – the basis of a movie.
Besides, there are: Graveyard Shift, The Lawnmower Man, Quitters, Inc and Gray Matter. Each of these stories has received the highest scores in critics’ reviews and are still mesmerizing page turners. Having this collection will give you more than just familiarity with Stephen King’s works.
- There is an introduction by John MacDonald and prologue by King included
- The perfect length of these stories
- This is a mixture of genres, which is why it might be a little challenging to read all of the stories if you are a fan of a particular genre
If you are looking for a King collection of stories that are in all their glory and nothing can make you doubt that they are King’s, then you should pay attention to Skeleton Crew. This is an amazing selection of short stories that will definitely absorb anyone and make you read more.
Thus, this lot is highly recommended for those who are looking for a gift for a friend or a wonderful set in order to get acquainted with King’s style. Moreover, it is the number one best seller according to The New York Times. Thus, you won’t regret having this in your library.
- The stories are easy and entertaining to read
- There is a huge variety of plots and genres
- The majority of stories lack King’s horror style and precision
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Unlike the previous lot, this might be intriguing and attractive for those who are a big fans of horror and nightmares. Especially when it concerns the inimitable style of writing created by Stephen King. Nightmares and Dreamscapes is a spine-tingling collection of short stories that won’t let you sleep, thus be careful with night reading. There are 816 pages of pleasant horror.
- There are lots of stories
- It would be nice gift
- All the stories resemble a style that is similar to pulp fiction
Everything’s Eventual is another set of scary tales. And as usual, some of the stories also got the attention of top rated reviewer’s such as The New York Times, along with millions of fans who admire them.
Some of the stories became prequels or nods to The Dark Tower universe, so those who are familiar with this novel will be grateful for this side development of the huge story.
In total, there are 14 short stories that might attract any reader with their precise details, amazing descriptions of characters and twisted plots. This set is all in one, and for sure, you will find something that suits you.
- Each story has its own individuality
- Terrific word-play and wit
- Some stories lack King’s original style
Full Dark, No Stars
Searching for dark and terrifying stories? Then take a look at this collection, Full Dark, No Stars. Although it might be thought that it’s not dark enough and not usual for King, the stories might appear quite familiar for readers.
In fact, they have probably been created in order to link the most famous long novels and expand the history of their characters. Thus, reading these stories might make you think that you have read something similar somewhere already.
- The stories make you imagine a lot
- Well developed characters
- The dialogue is quite dry and boring
Hearts in Atlantis
Hearts in Atlantis is another relatively small collection of stories, that comprises only four. The common thing in these stories are linked characters and places where the action happens. The stories take place in the 1960s and are related to the war in Vietnam. In addition, some storylines are also connected to stories from King’s universe, especially The Dark Tower.
As always, King’s style of writing is pretty unique, bit his novels also can be perceived as a chameleon. Thus reading them twice or three times will make you notice details that weren’t seen before and associate them with works written by other authors.
- The stories are linked together and with some other King novels
- Some stories might look contradictory to King’s common style
Four Past Midnight
Four Past Midnight is the second collection of novellas, after Different Seasons. Unlike the previous collection, this contains four novellas that are selected by the genre – horror with supernatural elements.
In 1990, Four Past Midnight won the Bram Stoker Award which attracted more lovers of horror. Thus, this set would be a nice gift or a table book for anyone who adores such genres and stories.
- The length of these stories is just the right: not too short, and not too long
- There are twisted plots
- The stories lack the spirit of long novels
Just After Sunset
Every King fan might have noticed that short novellas are not his strong suit, compared to his long novels with tremulous approach that allows us to enjoy them. However, King has mentioned that his first stories, particularly novellas, are like a diamond in the rough, as they come directly from the heart to a paper.
However, all these factors make them unique and different from the main stories. This is a key thing that makes them so popular. Thus, the next collection of short stories, Just Another Sunset, comprises a number of novellas that are worthy of being read, especially if you want both stories and only one book that is ready to be opened and read any time.
- Wonderful interaction with the reader’s emotions
- The stories are page-turners
- The stories might be considered less scary compared to other novellas by Stephen King
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
The last collection by Stephen King also has something to entertain and startle a reader. Thus, if you are afraid of being fooled by the quality of short fiction stories – it’s definitely not about The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
Here you will get acquainted with spine-tingling Ur, mysterious The Dune or with twisted plot of Batman and Robin Have an Altercation. All of them have inimitable plots that became Stephen King’s trademark among fiction and horror novels. Besides, there are plenty of short stories, you certainly will find something that suits your mood and taste.
- The stories may be read separately from the novels by Stephen King
- Unfortunately, some of the short stories might be less interesting among the supplied variety
Most Popular Stephen King Nonfiction Books
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Most of fans and competitors would like to know all the secrets of King’s style of writing and his habits that lead him to his great results. Luckily, he is an open-minded author and he is ready to share his hints and prompts to be a successful writer.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is an autobiographical book that shares all King’s secrets and recommendation on how to become a successful writer, what a newbie should expect in the cruel world of critics and how to become less sensitive.
This book is something different from King’s other books that genuine fans are familiar with. Despite his fiction works, this comes from his heart.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginning writer or a person who would like to know more about Stephen King – this book is the best way to know an alternative version of Mr. King.
In addition, it may also be considered as another fiction novel created by King, but this time the plot is his real life.
- The text is like a sincere letter to friend – the reader
- There are recommendation of do’s and don’t do’s for a beginning writers
- For those who are only interested in valuable advice on how to be a more successful writer, the first part of the book might be quite boring
Unlike the previous autobiographical book, Danse Macabre can be considered the first book that makes all the things clear about genre horror and everything related to it. This unprecedented book sheds light onto the mysterious industry of creating literature that makes everyone feel uncommon emotions.
Here you will find reviews of the popular horror books and what made them successful, each of them are detailed reviewed by Stephen King. Among the observed books are Frankenstein, Dracula, The Exorcist and others.
So Danse Macabre is another gem among literature that should be on the shelf of every writer, especially if this author desires to become a successful horror writer. All the secrets and recommendations of how to create super horror are here.
- There is a great selection of famous horror books
- There are hints on which approaches should be applied to a successful horror story
- The book was written when he was 33. At that time, he had only five bestsellers – not enough writing experience
Nightmares in the Sky
Have you ever thought to make a collection of photos and then release a book with the comments below each photo? Stephen King has released such book, but the photos are not about his family or anything outstanding. The photos are of gargoyles.
The whole book is dedicated to mysterious creatures in the photos taken by f-stop fitzgerald. The text was written by Stephen King.
Thus, if you are looking for something outstanding among King’s works, then this collection of gargoyles is one of the best things ever.
- King’s prose is a wonderful combination that sets the tone of the whole book
- This work is unusual among his regular horror stories
- There is not much text and facts about gargoyles
Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing
Another non-fiction book written by Stephen King is one more autobiographical story. However, unlike On Writing: A memoir of the Craft, this has lots of insertions from various newspapers, early and unknown works, tips, etc. In other words, this is a mixture of information that might be useful for anyone who wants to dedicate his life to writing horror.
Thus, if you are one of those, then it’s worth of being on your shelf.
- There are many useful approaches that can help improve your draft writing
- There are some stories that weren’t published before
- Some of the recommendations can be difficult to understand
Big fans of Stephen King are familiar with Mr. King’s preferences, especially his political views and favorite baseball team, the Red Sox. Thus, in association with Stewart O’Nan, King has written a book that shows what means to be a baseball fan.
In addition, when the favorite baseball team hit the peak of their success in 2004, two authors started observing all their games and took notes. As a result, they wrote a book with detailed reviews of the team’s play.
- It’s a good example how to be a good parent and combining hobbies simultaneously
- There might appear a strong feeling of tuition on how to become a big fan of baseball
Good Audio Books by Stephen King
The recent discovery of million readers is reading books while you are not holding it in your hands, but listening. In fact, audio books that are widely spread now and are quite popular. Thus, you might be also be interested in Stephen King’s audio books that are comfortable to listen when you are going to work. Moreover, you might be astonished by the fact that some of them are voiced personally by Stephen King. He voiced Abraham Lincoln in his Assassination Vacation.
- After the dangerous car crash that injured Stephen, he decided to buy that car. However, it was bought in order to beat it with a sledgehammer.
- The possible reason for King’s specific imagination is his own experience. In fact, when he was a child, he watched his friend killed by train. Later, that would be the base for his short story The Body.
- Stephen King tried writing a musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.
- Stephen King was a member of a band with other famous writers: Matt Groening, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Barbara Kingsolver, Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. King played rhythm guitar.
- The most obvious reason for why the towns in Maine always appear in King’s novels is that he has been living in Maine for his whole life. However, the majority of towns described by him are fictional.
- Stephen began a writing dynasty. His wife and the oldest son are also writers. Moreover, the latter is one of the most successful horror writers.
- The first version of the novel Carrie was almost destroyed by Stephen. However, his wife persuaded him to save it. Later, Carrie became one of the first novels that brought him wealth and fame.
- His series of books, The Dark Tower, has received positive but quite weird feedback. It said that his fantasy has something in common with spaghetti western.
- King’s pseudonym, Richard Bachman, was taken in order to make sure that his fame was not accidental. Thus, when Stephen saw that sales were equal, he gave up writing under the Bachman pseudonym.
- Stephen’s interest in writing horror appeared after his discovery of The Thing from the Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft.
- King started submitting short stories at the age of 16. Until he was 19, he had been receiving rejections all the time, so he was about to give up writing. However, after submitting The Glass Floor, he has received his first $35.
Huge support and experience stand behind every famous person, and all of these things make this person stronger. Thus, can you imagine that Stephen King has never released any of his books because of his mood? Probably, in alternative universe, the world stands still, since King’s works make everyone think differently and discover the newer worlds that are not even partially described by other writers. Thus, a potential reader should not ever neglect having a chance to widen your scope of knowledge and learn something new. And Stephen King is one of the best writers who will help you to do so.
Stay with BooKKooks if you are interested in getting more information about people who will definitely help you to see invisible things.
- Official Website for the author Stephen King – https://www.stephenking.com/
- Stephen King – https://www.reddit.com/
- News About Stephen King – https://www.nytimes.com/
- The “Hidden Circumstances” That Influenced Stephen King’s Success – https://medium.com/
- What Is Stephen King’s Best Book? – https://www.quora.com/
- Chilling Facts About Stephen King, the Master of Horror – https://www.factinate.com/