Anonymous

Hi! What do you recommend for someone who has never read any of King's books? I've checked out some descriptions of a few of his books, but I'm very indecisive and he has so many I just don't know which one to pick haha. Any suggestions?

Hello! 

Well, if you are looking for horror, I would say start with The Shining, Pet Sematary, or Misery

If you are looking for any genre or combinations, I would say Lisey’s Story, Bag of Bones, or 11/22/63

Short Stories? Night Shift or Skeleton Crew

Fantasy/Sci-fi/Western/Awesome? The Dark Tower Series

I have a hard time picking just one.

The works of Edward Albee, of Steinbeck, Camus, Faulkner—they deal with fear and death, sometimes with horror, but usually these mainstream writers deal with it in a more normal, real-life way. Their work is set in the frame of a rational world; they are stories that “could happen.” They are on that subway line that runs through the external world. There are other writers—James Joyce, Faulkner again, poets such as T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton—whose work is set in the land of the symbolic unconsciousness. They are on the subway line running into the internal landscape. But the horror writer is almost always at the terminal joining of the two, at least if he is on the mark. When he is at his best we often have that weird sensation of being not quite asleep or awake, when time stretches and skews, when we can hear voices but cannot make out the words or the intent, when the dream seems real and the reality dreamlike.

That is a strange and wonderful terminal. Hill House is there, in that place where the trains run both ways, with its doors that swing sensibly shut; the woman in the room with the yellow wallpaper is there, crawling along the floor with her head pressed against that faint grease mark; the barrow-wights that menaced Frodo and Sam are there; and Pickman’s model; and the wendigo; Norman Bates and his terrible mother. No waking or dreaming in this terminal, but only the voice of the writer, low and rational, talking about the way the good fabric of things sometimes has a way of unraveling with shocking suddenness. He’s telling you that you want to see the car accident, and yes, he’s right—you do. There’s a dead voice on the phone … something behind the walls of the old house that sounds bigger than a rat … movement at the foot of the cellar stairs. He wants you to see all of those things, and more; he wants you to put your hands on the shape under the sheet. And you want to put your hands there. Yes.

Stephen King, Foreword to Night Shift

Fear is the emotion that makes us blind. How many things are we afraid of? We’re afraid to turn off the lights when our hands are wet. We’re afraid to stick a knife into the toaster to get the stuck English muffin without unplugging it first. We’re afraid of what the doctor may tell us when the physical exam is over; when the airplane suddenly takes a great unearthly lurch in midair. We’re afraid that the oil may run out, that the good air will run out, the good water, the good life. When the daughter promised to be in by eleven and it’s now quarter past twelve and sleet is spatting against the window like dry sand, we sit and pretend to watch Johnny Carson and look occasionally at the mute telephone and we feel the emotion that makes us blind, the emotion that makes a stealthy ruin of the thinking process.

Stephen King, Foreword to Night Shift

playerprophet:

I’ve started reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower and I’m dying to find a list of cross-literary references in the series. I’m sure it must exist… right? Someone help

I’m just curious about identifying these NPCs for lack of a better term to see if they come from cool things.

In some cases the “Other works by Stephen King” page in the front of his books can tell you. The Dark Tower related books are in bold. Otherwise, I would say the Dark Tower Wiki is probable your best bet.

It makes me sad when people try to shove Stephen King into a specific genre (horror) and are then disappointed in everything he writes. SK’s genre is Stephen King. He is a story teller. If you are reading SK and expecting something genre specific, you are missing out.