Anyone who likes horror stories, whether in literature or cinema, must know the books by Stephen King. Nicknamed the Master of Horror, the North American writer is one of the most popular authors today - he has already reached the mark of 400 million copies sold.
His success became even greater when his works were adapted into films, attracting a legion of fans. With that in mind, we at MONEDEROsmart have prepared this article dedicated to one of the greatest horror references of this generation.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The best Stephen King's Book: Our Picks
- 4 Buying Guide
- 5 Purchase Criteria: Factors to compare Stephen King's books
- Stephen King is a creative writer. He has written 54 novels, five books of non-fiction, eight books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and 11 collections that amount to over 200 short stories.
- His books have been translated into numerous languages, published in more than 40 countries and have reached the 400 million copies sold mark. His books have been adapted for film and television.
- In addition to his books of suspense and horror, Stephen King has released works in other literary genres, such as science fiction and drama.
The best Stephen King's Book: Our Picks
In the spotlight in recent years because of the film and television adaptations, Stephen King's books have won over a legion of admirers of his frightening stories.
The consecration is the result of many years of dedication of the writer, especially to works of suspense and terror, which earned him the well-deserved title of Master of Horror. To help you find the best Stephen King books, we have prepared this Buying Guide.
Who is Stephen King?
In his youth, he studied literature at the University of Maine and kept a column in the student newspaper. Many of his experiences on campus would serve as inspiration for his stories.
After finishing his studies, he wrote his first novel, and never stopped. Today, he is recognised as one of the most outstanding fiction writers of his generation. Although his specialty is horror books, he has written notable works in the drama and science fiction genres.
Where to start reading Stephen King's books?
An example of this is that characters and events from one book are quoted in others - some references are minimal, but others are major spoilers.
Therefore, you should read Stephen King's books in the order they were published. If you do not want to read them in chronological order, that is fine, however, one book aids in the understanding of another.
For example, reading November '63 after IT, The Thing will complement your experience, because at a certain point the protagonist of November '63 visits Derry (the city where the events of IT take place), in one of the best crossovers in the multiverse. There's even some dialogue about Pennywise (the killer clown from It).
Reading Misery before The Enlightened One will deliver spoilers about the former, as the Torrence family and the events at the hotel are mentioned in Misery. The same goes if you read Outsiders before the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, prepare yourself for a major spoiler from the saga.
If you feel like reading the fifth volume of The Dark Tower (Calla's Night) get ready for a flurry of Salem spoilers, because one of the characters - Father Calla - is the protagonist in both narratives.
How many books has Stephen King written?
Of these books, he wrote a series called The Dark Tower which has eight volumes released between 1982 and 2012. King has also written screenplays and adaptations.
Which books by Stephen King have been adapted for film and television?
Stephen King's first book Carrie (1974) has gained the most film adaptations, the first in 1976, the second in 2002 and a remake in 2013.
The Enlightened was adapted in 1980. The Graveyard was adapted in 1989 and got a remake in 2019. Misery served as the screenplay for the film Mad Obsession in 1990, which was recognized at the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards.
In 2007, the short stories The Fog and 1408 were adapted for cinema. Netflix bought the rights to adapt the short story 1922 and the book Dangerous Game and released such films in 2017.
Another adapted short story was The Children of the Cornfield, which spawned a series of films entitled Cursed Harvest - Stephen King did not like that the screenwriters created continuations for the tale.
Under the Dome was adapted as a TV series by CBS, with three seasons. The Dead Zone spawned a series of the same name that ran for six seasons.
What themes are covered in Stephen King's books?
The inspiration for writing about such themes came from his own life. Stephen King was abandoned by his father as a child and became an alcoholic after losing his mother to cancer.
Purchase Criteria: Factors to compare Stephen King's books
Stephen King's books stand out for their literary quality and originality. Anyone who has never read one of his books, or can't choose their next read, should look at the following characteristics:
- Novel or short story?
- Number of pages
We will detail each of the topics throughout this section.
Although Stephen King is recognized as the Master of Horror, the author has written books in other genres, such as the dramas Waiting for a Miracle and A Dream of Freedom.
Stephen King has also written science fiction books such as The Fog, The Strangers and Under the Dome.
Stephen King's books can be classified into different categories: suspense, horror and horror in different sub-genres.
In the psychological suspense plot, the protagonist presents some mental disorder that diminishes his ability to distinguish the real from the imaginary. Suggestions: Carrie, The Enlightened, Misery and The Graveyard.
Some books also fall into the category of police thriller, as they deal with a crime or a sequence of them, narrated from one or more points of view - either the victim, the investigator or the criminal. Suggestion: Mr. Mercedes.
Another subgenre present in Stephen King's books is the supernatural horror, which brings the stories of evil entities. In these books, the author explores the unknown. Suggestion: It, The Thing.
Novel or short story?
Among Stephen King's books, you can find short stories. There are 11 titles: Shadows of the Night, Four Seasons, Crew of Skeletons, After Midnight, Nightmares and Nightscapes volumes 1 and 2, Six Stories, Hearts in Atlantis, Everything is eventual, At Nightfall, Total Darkness and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
Total Darkness Without Stars features four short stories, 1922 being a psychological thriller, The Giant at the Wheel which is a thriller, Fair Extension a supernatural tale and A Good Marriage, which is also a thriller.
Another option is Everything is Eventual, which features 14 short stories in sub-genres. One of the main short stories in this book is Room 1408, which has yielded a film adaptation.
Number of pages
You can find Stephen King's books in different sizes. When choosing a title it is worth checking the number of pages, after all, while some books feature less than 200, others exceed 1,000 pages.
- Up to 200 pages: Carrie, The Hour of the Werewolf, The Colorado Boy, Gwendy's Buttom Box and Elevation.
- Up to 300 pages: The Dark Tower I, Total Eclipse, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Joyland.
- Upto 400 pages: Mad Dog, Cursed Cemetery, Dragon's Eye, Anguish, Dark Tower II, Dangerous Game, Waiting for a Miracle, Buick 8, Cellular, Dark Tower VIII, Mr. Mercedes, Revival and Lost and Found.
- Up to 500 pages: Salem, The Enlightened One, The Dead Zone, The Arsonist, The Dark Half, Rose Madder, The Dark Tower VI and Last Shift.
- Upto 600 pages: Christine, The Strangers, The Dark Tower III, Bag of Bones, LOVE Lisey's Story, Duma Key, Doctor Sleep, Outsider and The Institute.
- Up to 700 pages: The Talisman, Macabre Exchanges, Despair, The Dreamcatcher, The Dark House and Sleeping Beauties.
- Up to 800 pages: Insomnia, The Dark Tower IV and The Dark Tower V.
- Up to900 pages: Dance of Death, The Dark Tower VII and November 63.
- Over 1000 pages: It and The Thing, Under the Dome.
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