K is for King (Stephen, that is)

KI refused to read Stephen King for years because I don’t do horror. However, I love the way he writes about writing. And it was because of that love that I finally gave his actual novels a try. I’m glad I did, because while horror still isn’t my genre, I ended up really enjoying the books I read.

Here are three of my favorite books of his, which I would recommend to just about anyone:

Firestarter

We studied the opening page of this book in my novel writing class in college, and that alone was enough to get me to want to read the book. I loved the way the opening chase was the most slow-paced thing in the world—a man and his daughter walking along the sidewalk as quickly as they could, and a sinister car slowly crawling up the road behind them—but it was still instantly tense.

I pretty much devoured Firestarter in one day. I had been expecting horror, but what I got was more along the lines of a science fiction thriller. The whole thing was about the extraordinary powers people had been given thanks to a scientific experiment, and how desperate one man was to keep his daughter from falling into their hands. For people who have never read King before, I would say Firestarter is a good place to start.

The Waste Lands

The third book in King’s Dark Tower series, this one is also my favorite of said series. I love both the storylines in it: the first one about getting Jake back into the ka-tet, and the second about their first real adventure as a group. The relationship that built between Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Susannah (and Oy!) was such a big part of why I loved the Dark Tower books, and this book is where that relationship started.

The only downside? Make sure you have book four (Wizard and Glass) on hand, because The Waste Lands ends on a hell of a cliffhanger.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Remember how I said I love when King writes about writing? On Writing is my favorite book of his and one of my absolute favorite books about writing. I’ve read it something like five or six times.

It’s not so much for the writing advice (although that’s definitely good), but rather for his “curriculum vitae,” the autobiography that fills the first half of the book. Here you see how one writer—one absurdly successful writer—was molded, the ups and downs of his life and how those influenced his writing. It’s one of the most inspirational writing books I’ve ever read, and I love going back and rereading it.

Have you read any of Stephen King’s books? What are your favorites? Are you a fan of the Dark Tower series?

All links are Amazon links, but not affiliate links.

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8 thoughts on “K is for King (Stephen, that is)

  1. Like you, I’d never read any of King’s books because I just don’t like horror, but I fell in love with his book “On Writing” about a year ago. Since then I’ve been wanting to try some of his fiction but wasn’t sure where to start. Now, I may just have to pick up a copy of “FIrestarter”!
    I’ve been posting about bookish topics all month for the A-Z Challenge–stop by if you like!

    • Firestarter was really, really good. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and I would say it definitely falls more on the “thriller” edge of the spectrum than “horror,” which made it easier for me to digest. If you read it, let me know what you think!

    • I read the Dark Tower series because a friend of mine assured me it was more fantasy than horror. It is, but it’s definitely dark fantasy, with some western thrown in there for good measure. (When the series starts off with a book called The Gunslinger, it’s kind of difficult to avoid western, to be realistic.)

      Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of it, particularly the first four books. If you give it a read, let me know what you think!

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