A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

The Stand 6
Carrie 1
It 1
The Talisman 1
Different Seasons 1
The Eyes of the Dragon 1
The Green Mile 1
The Dead Zone 1

A Bad Place To Start

Carrie 1
The Colorado Kid 1
On Writing 1
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1
The Green Mile 1
Nightmares and Dreamscapes 1


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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Stephen King

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

genghisjahn January 31st, 2006 07:41 AM PST

I suggest starting with one of the following: The Shining, The Stand (long book), Bag of Bones (long book) or The Dead Zone. If you like these then you'll like most of Mr. King's work.

Kawika February 8th, 2006 02:51 AM PST

For some of you who may be afraid to try King's work because of its broad appeal and horror-type themes (you know who you are) I would recomend the Dark Tower Series. Its combination of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Western elements is unique, fun to read and accessible.

LucyStoner December 29th, 2006 02:43 PM PST

Eyes of the Dragon is a King must-read, but do it after The Stand.

Marian January 7th, 2007 04:29 AM PST

A message for those who CANNOT HANDLE THE HORROR:
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (movie) is based on King's story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," one of four long stories published together as DIFFERENT SEASONS. ("Apt Pupil" is also there.) These are not horror stories. In my opinion, the SHAWSHANK movie is much better than the story; reading the story adds nothing. But if you want to avoid horror, there you go.

BLOOD AND SMOKE is a collection of three horror stories, written exclusively for audio. Listening to "1408" convinced me that I, for one, cannot handle King's horror writing. It gave me great respect for his ability to write horror, but I'm going to respect it from a distance, thank you!

musicalvamp May 20th, 2007 08:04 AM PST

I was recently at Barnes and Noble and came across "1408" in the paperback version of "Everything's Eventual". I didn't recall it being in there, but it's been a long time since I read it. If you prefer not to listen, you might pick that up instead. I've only recently joined the audio book world myself, and it's proving to be an interesting experience thus far.

musicalvamp April 2nd, 2007 08:56 PM PST

I have to agree that I think the Stand is the best place to start. I myself tried to start with Nightmares and Dreamscapes but couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. About six years later, I picked up the Stand after seeing the movie and realized that I had missed a great deal of excellent reading. While it is a very long book, it's very much worth the time.

emac52 December 13th, 2007 10:01 AM PST

I've read most of the early work and some of the later work - but I have to admit that it did seem to loose it's way a little in the late 90s/early 2000s. Hopefully it will pick up again! Still The Stand and It are classics!


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Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947. After his parents separated when Stephen was a toddler, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought them to Durham, Maine, for good.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and then Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level.

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