Stephen King's books, ranked.

Matteo

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In recent years - actually more like 15 - the phrase "inside every fat person there's a skinny person trying to get out" comes to mind when I read one of his books, only I think of it as "inside every Stephen King novel, there's a short story trying to get out". His books have become so bloated.

Under the Dome is a prime example of this. Sleeping Beauties is a more recent example (one I just read last month - along with Finder's Keepers and Last Watch which were tighter (and better)).

It on the other hand is his longest novel but I never feel like there's "filler" in it, never scan-read it or skip pages, and feel it's length is justified.

Have several disagreements with the list; the Dark Tower books have a very dedicated following but the last four did nothing for me, and I can't understand the love for 11.22.63.

Since that list includes short stories, I would put Skeleton Crew in the top three as it contains some of his strongest stuff. The Shining, It and The Stand (original - the additional 400 pages are not an improvement) would be high up, and I have a soft spot for Christine.

Speaking as a fan who has read all but his last three/four books.
 

paranoid marvin

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In recent years - actually more like 15 - the phrase "inside every fat person there's a skinny person trying to get out" comes to mind when I read one of his books, only I think of it as "inside every Stephen King novel, there's a short story trying to get out". His books have become so bloated.

Under the Dome is a prime example of this. Sleeping Beauties is a more recent example (one I just read last month - along with Finder's Keepers and Last Watch which were tighter (and better)).

It on the other hand is his longest novel but I never feel like there's "filler" in it, never scan-read it or skip pages, and feel it's length is justified.

Have several disagreements with the list; the Dark Tower books have a very dedicated following but the last four did nothing for me, and I can't understand the love for 11.22.63.

Since that list includes short stories, I would put Skeleton Crew in the top three as it contains some of his strongest stuff. The Shining, It and The Stand (original - the additional 400 pages are not an improvement) would be high up, and I have a soft spot for Christine.

Speaking as a fan who has read all but his last three/four books.


I'd agree that many of his later stories appear 'bloated'. Lots of characters with backstories, but the stories could easily be told without the need for this. Which is why nearly all his best tales are his short stories; Four Past Midnight is brilliant. Imho Cell is like a less bloated version of The Stand, and is so much better for it.

I do have a soft spot for 11/22/63, and although it comes in as one of his longest stories, it captivated me from start to finish.

It seems to me the longer the story, the less satisfactory is the ending. The Stand, Tommyknockers and Under The Dome being three of the worst. Although I enjoy reading King's novels, most of his endings disappoint - they just don't live up to the first three quarters of the novel. I think that The Stand is one of the worst culprits, because the ending makes almost the entire rest of the story redundant - if that could have happened, then what was the point of all the main protagonist's struggles?
 

Danny McG

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Agreed Jo, I've read both versions and last year I read both back to back, the uncut edition has a lot of padding that doesn't add to the story at all
And now the compulsion is upon me so I've started The Stand on my tablet.
Heavy going because I've also got IT underway on my smartphone!
 

BT Jones

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I just finished reading Under the Dome, having previously read It. I wouldn't say they were chalk and cheese, but UTD felt a lot longer than It, and was nowhere near as satisfying in terms of a conclusion. In fact, I found the ending a massive disappointment. It was just a damp squib for me, and the central issue of the dome became almost a shrug-worthy backdrop to the main factionary in-fighting and scheming.
 

Dave

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I'm not sure quite how many of his books that I've read, but very clearly not enough. I've seem many of the films such as The Shawshank Redemption and Misery, but not read the books. I have read the Richard Bachman collection, and I read the long version of The Stand last year. This year, I've also read The Institute and Billy Summers. I just read Carrie for the first time, a few days ago.

I've decided that I like Stephen King and will work my way through some of his back catalogue. I can pick up some quite easily in second hand charity shops and at NT houses.

This list is good as I was going to work through them in order of publication, but now I think I should probably begin with IT since it is number one.
 

paranoid marvin

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I'm not sure quite how many of his books that I've read, but very clearly not enough. I've seem many of the films such as The Shawshank Redemption and Misery, but not read the books. I have read the Richard Bachman collection, and I read the long version of The Stand last year. This year, I've also read The Institute and Billy Summers. I just read Carrie for the first time, a few days ago.

I've decided that I like Stephen King and will work my way through some of his back catalogue. I can pick up some quite easily in second hand charity shops and at NT houses.

This list is good as I was going to work through them in order of publication, but now I think I should probably begin with IT since it is number one.


If you like the prison drama of Shawshank, you should check out The Green Mile (if you haven't already). An his Bachman version of 'The Running Man' is altogether different from the movie.
 

Dave

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If you like the prison drama of Shawshank, you should check out The Green Mile (if you haven't already). An his Bachman version of 'The Running Man' is altogether different from the movie.
Yes, I have read The Running Man, (and The Long Walk is good too.) I haven't read The Green Mile (or seen the film either) so that should be on my pile. Thanks for that suggestion.

I hadn't realised how many of his books concerned telekinesis or psychic powers until you see them all listed.
 

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