My First Stephen King Read

Is Summer the best season to read books? Because I’m kind of on a reading kick. So I was wondering what books I’d like to read next. One of the most popular and prolific authors of our time is Stephen King. Yet I’ve never read a single one of his books! Shouldn’t I read such a widely known writer as King? Otherwise, I feel like less of an acculturated reader.

Scary Proposition

If I’m going to read a King book, the obvious question is, “Which one?” It should be known that I’m not much into horror and related unsavory fare. So the story should be one of King’s shorter works. I might need to muscle through a book that’s less than palatable.

I’ve seen some movies based on Stephen King stories, so maybe one of those books should be a top choice. Or maybe not.

One idea that strikes me is the fact that I tend to enjoy what my wife calls “miserable” movies. These often have the main character suffer a tragedy. Or if not, they are the victim of a lot of bad choices, either their own or that of others. (Let’s not get into the psychology of why I like these stories…)

With that, one of King’s best known books stands out: Misery.

I watched the movie decades ago, so I kinda know the gist. I’m intrigued by it because it’s about an author – writing! Should I put this on my to-read list? If not, is there a Stephen King book that is generally recommended as a first?

My Fear

I’m afraid that I would end up disliking any King book. In fact, I’m not interested in reading King for his stories or characters. What I want is to see how he writes, to get a full sample of the level of his writing skill as a fiction author.

I thoroughly enjoyed King’s non-fiction book, On Writing. It’s the only King book I’ve ever read. I want to experience first-hand his penned fiction.

What are King’s strengths in his storytelling? Is it his characterization? Are his plots simple yet with twist endings? What’s the pacing? How well does the master of fiction set a scene? Does he have killer dialogue!?

Those questions are driving my curiosity to read a King novel. But maybe I shouldn’t dare to read one. Do you have any recommendations? I will consider the risk. Thanks!

6 thoughts on “My First Stephen King Read

  1. Hi Jason. I would recommend “The Body.” Despite the title, it is not a horror story at all. It’s short (was originally in a collection of novellas that included “The Shawshank Redemption — another great one). It’s been decades since I read it but it’s very good.

    I used to read all of King’s books when I was in high school and college. I don’t really go for horror any more, so it’s been a long time since I’ve read any of his work, but I always felt that his style, characters, and storytelling were the best.

    If you really get into his work, then I also suggest “The Stand.” It’s very (very) long, but it’s a masterpiece.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Rob! I’ve never heard of The Body so I’ll check that out.
      The Stand is something I’d have to work up to. I’m still trying to finish Dune. One day I might go back and finish The Count of Monte Cristo!
      I considered the novella for Shawshank…but I dunno.🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Body is a great recommendation. King also wrote an excellent non-horror story, The Shawshank Redemption. Misery and Carrie are two classic King horror novels that showcase his writing style well. The Stand is epic dystopian fiction. King has a good breadth in his writing. He even wrote a fantasy novel for his daughter: The Eye of the Dragon.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s