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The Stephen King thread

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JudasMyGuide, Jul 28, 2017.

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Favourite book? (as of 2017)

  1. Carrie (1974)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 'Salem's Lot (1975)

    18.2%
  3. The Shining (1977)

    36.4%
  4. Rage (1977 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. The Stand (1978)

    36.4%
  6. The Night Shift (1978, collection)

    9.1%
  7. The Dead Zone (1979)

    9.1%
  8. The Long Walk (1979 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Firestarter (1980)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Cujo (1981)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Danse Macabre (1981, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Roadwork (1981 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  13. The Gunslinger (1982, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  14. Different Seasons (1982, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  15. The Running Man (1982 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  16. Creepshow (1982, comic book)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  17. Christine (1983)

    9.1%
  18. Pet Sematary (1983)

    18.2%
  19. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  20. The Talisman (1984, with P. Straub)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  21. Thinner (1984 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  22. Skeleton Crew (1985, collection)

    9.1%
  23. It (1986)

    36.4%
  24. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)

    9.1%
  25. The Drawing of the Three (1987, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  26. Misery (1987)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  27. The Tommyknockers (1987)

    9.1%
  28. Nightmares in the Sky (1988, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  29. The Dark Half (1989)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  30. Four Past Midnight (1990, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  31. Needful Things (1991)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  32. The Waste Lands (1991, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  33. Gerald's Game (1992)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  34. Dolores Caiborne (1992)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  35. Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  36. Insomnia (1994)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  37. Rose Madder (1995)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  38. The Green Mile (1996)

    9.1%
  39. Desperation (1996)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  40. The Regulators (1996 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  41. Wizard and Glass (1997, Dark Tower)

    18.2%
  42. Bag of Bones (1998)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  43. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  44. Hearts in Atlantis (1999, collection)

    9.1%
  45. On Writing (2000, non-fiction)

    9.1%
  46. Secret Windows (2000, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  47. Dreamcatcher (2001)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  48. Black House (2001, with P. Straub)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  49. From a Buick 8 (2002)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  50. Everything's Eventual (2002, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  51. Wolves of the Calla (2003, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  52. Song of Susannah (2004, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  53. The Dark Tower (2004, Dark Tower)

    18.2%
  54. Faithful (2004, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  55. The Colorado Kid (2005)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  56. Cell (2006)

    9.1%
  57. Lisey's Story (2006)

    9.1%
  58. Blaze (2007 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  59. Duma Key (2008)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  60. Just After Sunset (2008, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  61. Under the Dome (2009)

    18.2%
  62. Full Dark, No Stars (2010, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  63. 11/22/63 (2011)

    18.2%
  64. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  65. Joyland (2013)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  66. Doctor Sleep (2013)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  67. Mr. Mercedes (2014, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  68. Revival (2014)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  69. Finders Keepers (2015, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  70. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  71. End of Watch (2016, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  72. Gwendy's Button Box (2017, with R. Chizmar)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  73. Sleeping Beauties (2017, to be released)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    So I've decided to start this thread because me and my wife have now decided to go through all his books, adaptations and other connected works. Don't know whether we'll ever finish the gargantuan task at hand, but let me dream for a while.

    So, @Ariana and everyone who wants to participate - feel free to discuss his books, screenplays, adaptations of his works etc.

    I have just finished

    Carrie (1974)
    [​IMG]

    My wife's currently reading it and afterwards we'll check out all the adaptations (I must admit to never having seen even the original DePalma one, classic it may be).

    I must say (to paraphrase Mr Ex-Garfunkel) I'm still not crazy after all these years - I find the story a tad simplistic, somewhat undercooked. Also, not really that scary or transgressive, though it just might be my preferences (on the other hand, my wife feels the same, so it's probably not just me). I actually think that he managed to capture all the female characters rather vividly and realistically for such an early point in a writer's career (of course, sometimes the writing style is still a bit heavy-handed, but that's probably expected). Yet I just don't get why this one's such a classic. Sure, it's his first (published) novel and I probably shouldn't expect much, but it was a huge success and it was already the book that put him on the map and I still can't really see why. Good, sure, but currently I'm 100 pages deep in Salem's Lot and it's already so much better I can't believe the novels were originally published only a year apart. Almost feels like an altogether different writer.

    [Though considering his situation at the time (more elaborated on in his book On Writing - still one of my most-read-ever books) I am glad it was such a success and it helped me to appreciate the book itself a bit more, but that's cheating, isn't it?]

    Anyway, I'll post some more on the adaptations or Salem, if I manage to finish it first (wife doesn't have that much time at the moment, so we'll see).
     
    Cornfed Hick and Ariana like this.
  2. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    Excellent thread, Judas!
    Sorry I couldn't be bothered to start it. -_- I will post the heck out of it though.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  3. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    And vote! Do you know how much fucking work did the poll take? :D I still wonder whether to keep it there or to delete it.
     
  4. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    But I voted! Thing is, when I voted, there were only 5 options available! :lol:
     
  5. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    It should be possible to change votes, though, so I'll probably vote now too and see how it changes throughout the bibliography :D
     
  6. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    I was thinking about doing a similar project after finishing Dark Tower. Read Carrie, I mostly agree with your take on it. Interesting story but undercooked and the pacing seemed off to me. There are some interesting characters though and the story is delivered in a unique way.

    I'll try to follow along and get started on Salems Lot soon.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  7. Magnus

    Magnus Ancient Mariner

    Patience is the key, Ariana. I voted when all were available.
     
  8. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    Okay, let's see. It's very difficult to vote, because if I pick the Dark Tower books, I can't choose anything else. Anyway, my number 1 certainly will be The Dark Tower, but I can't pick out any specific one.
    Other books I love include The Stand, The Long Walk, Rose Madder, Bag of Bones, 11/22/1963, Duma Key, Lisey's Story...
     
  9. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    Patience is not a virtue of mine. -_-

    I think that, understandably perhaps, I have a soft spot for King's female protagonists. They are extremely easy to relate to and very realistically made-up, which is not that common for a male writer. For example, I absolutely felt everything that Lisey in Lisey's story was going through, in a slightly scary way. It really touched me.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  10. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    Yeah, I agree that I really like the way he handles his female characters in general. Sometimes with that touch of old-school misogyny (Bev from It, anyone?), but I find it rather realistic and enjoyable anyway. In fact, along with Woody Allen he just might be my go-to writer regarding well-written female characters.

    My favourite parts in Carrie were mostly those insights into that high school girl circle and the whole bullying mindset in general. Though that Chris-Billy Nolan storyline was a bit too over the top to my likings (Nolan being way too over-the-top sociopathic for the setting and the novel itself, Chris Hargensen being way too over-the-top Alpha-Bitch-Queen-Bee-budding-sociopath as well). But again, it might be just me.

    My favourites, as of now, before I will have re-read everything:

    The Shining
    (I strongly suspect this will remain my No 1 anyway)
    The Stand
    It
    (though it might be just habit - I remember the last time I read it, I was already thinking it doesn't thill me as much as it used to)
    The Tommyknockers
    Hearts in Atlantis

    I guess that only the last two picks might be seen as controversial, that must be some kind of record for Judas :p :D Anyway, the runner-ups were The Night Shift, On Writing, Bag of Bones, Misery and Desperation. I wonder how it will change throughout the project.

    From my previous experience, I mostly dread re-reading Firestarter, Rose Madder and Dreamcatcher (and From a Buick 8, though less so) - those were the biggest wastes of time the last time I came across them, but it's been a long time since, so we'll see.
     
  11. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Judas, this is going to take you a LONG time! King is a prolific writer, and not a very expert editor, so he has written a LOT of books and, especially for his later works, they are LONG. Many of his books tend to be about 50% longer than they should be: 11/22/63 is a particularly egregious culprit in that regard.

    I've read most of King's most famous books, and I particularly recommend The Stand and The Shining. The Stand is widely considered his masterpiece. Don't skip reading The Shining just because you've seen the movie, the book is quite different, and Kubric completely changed the ending when he made the film. The book is better. I also voted for It, which starts very strongly, including a phenomenal opening section in which we are introduced to Pennywise, but the ending is a bit weird and unsatisfying. I cast a vote for Skeleton Crew, a collection of short stories, which I read a long, long time ago -- I can't say all the stories are memorable, but I'll never forget "The Mist" and "Survivor Type." King is, in some ways, a better writer of short stories than novels.

    I recently finished The Dark Tower series, so I'll comment on that now, as it's fresh in my mind. [A few very minor spoilers are included, nothing you wouldn't get in a press review, though.] Got the box set as a Christmas gift, and finished it over July 4 weekend. It kept me entertained, and I did find myself caring about what happens to Roland and his quest. But the story was annoying in several respects, including the almost haphazard, making-this-shit-up-as-he-goes plot devices. At various times in the series, King overtly acknowledges his liberal overuse of deus ex machina to get the story out of dead ends, even making that its own plot point. He also references many of his other books (and the odd ending of It makes slightly more sense after reading these books), from passing allusions to major characters. That is nothing new to King (he briefly references the events of It in 11/22/63, for example). That self-referential stuff is overdone in The Dark Tower, and it got a little too cute and distracting for me. I think he did that as an attempt to reward his most loyal fans, but it spoiled the escapist pleasure I would otherwise have had from getting engrossed in the story, which I would have preferred to be more self-contained--but I'm sure many readers may feel differently. Basically, the whole series reads like a strange acid trip that could go any direction and, at various times, goes in very strange directions. (An evil pink monorail? WTF??) The first book, though not my favorite and quite different in style from the others, does have one of the best opening lines in all of literature. The ending of the series in the last book will satisfy some but enrage others, so be warned. By far my favorite book of the series is Wizard and Glass, which is mostly a long flashback to Roland's youth, in which we get his backstory. The events in Meijis (basically, an alternate-universe Mexico) would make a great movie in their own right. So would the events of The Wolves of the Calla--in fact, they already made that movie, it's called The Magnificent Seven, which King explicitly references in the book itself as his inspiration. I'll be interested to see how the film adaptation of The Dark Tower turns out -- we only have a week to wait -- as it's obviously going to be very different from the books in many respects.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    Maturin and JudasMyGuide like this.
  12. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    I actually kinda liked it. There was a surreal quality to the book, dealing with high school drama that most people experienced but with the supernatural element thrown in. Chris and Billy's story didn't have a supernatural component but it was so over the top that it fit the surreal vibe of the book.
     
  13. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    When you put it that way... I think I see your point.
     
  14. Lampwick 43

    Lampwick 43 Arriving Somewhere But Not Here

    I've read The Stand, the first 4 Dark Tower books, Hearts In Atlantis, Dreamcatcher, and Under the Dome. I own a lot more of his books that I just haven't gotten around to yet. I would like to finish the Dark Tower sometime soon, but up next I really want to read 11/22/63.

    For what it's worth, I think The Stand might be my favorite book of all time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  15. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Oh boy, I read a ton of King in my teens and 20s, not so much since.
    I think I've read maybe a little over 20 of the books listed, and considering most were 25 years ago, it's surprising -and a compliment to King - how many I remember.

    I recently re-read the Gunslinger and the Drawing of the Three. The imagination, pacing and the vividly painted scenes of the latter are amazing and it is among my favourites for sure.
     
  16. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    I've also made notes on the musical references in Carrie, it might help with the "full immersion" experience. :D

    The songs mentioned were:









    Might have missed some, but anyway... I don't know if I'll manage to do this for every book, might be too crazy :D
     
  17. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    You have probably noticed, King makes a lot of musical references in his books. I like checking out the songs occasionally, but most frequently, they're just not my cup of coffee. Tea, I mean. I need coffee.

    Meanwhile, I looked through the poll options and realized there are more books I hadn't read than I thought. For instance, I haven't read any of his non-fiction. The others are The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Joyland, and the last three. I'll fix that asap.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  18. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    Oh, and something else I wanted to say. I don't usually have a problem with the length of King's books. Even though I could agree that objectively some of them are bloated, the only book I really felt was suffering from that is Under The Dome. The first 200 and last 2oo pages were fantastic, but the whole thing in between gave me a harder time than I would have expected. In all other books, I enjoy the slow build-up, the various dimensions of character development, and the side-stories.
     
  19. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    It would seem you did not read Dreamcatcher, or, at least don't remember it all that much :D That's a really tedious bore. I usually don't mind the length and sometimes it actually helps the book - It, The Stand ... in fact, The Shining could be longer, IMHO. But yeah, sometimes it's all GRAPHOMANIA ATTAXX!!!! and we get tens of pages of nothing in particular (Needful Things, Rose Madder, yes, Dome, Christine could all use some trimming, IIRC). But I still think it's not as bad as it's often presented.

    Music-wise, he definitely has a soft spot for "Dad rock", which is where our tastes overlap (yeah, I remember reading about him listening to the Eagles on the radio when he first heard/read about Donald DeFreeze and the Symbionese Liberation Army and I'm not all that crazy about the Eagles in particular, but still). That's where the Blue Öyster Cult, Neil Young or Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show references come from. Also, for quote-mining, Dylan is a great choice (from King to Watchmen), so that's a small wonder.

    BTW I think it was in On Writing where he said he really enjoys stuff like AC/DC or Metallica, but I guess the actual references in the books are often limited to the "realistic" ones, considering the characters and the setting in question - for example the Tennessee Ernie Ford example above is naturally mentioned in Carrie, because her Mum's a religious nut. Makes sense in the context, that's all. Also, the "50's baby boomer kids" can hardly be listening to anything else than Richard Penniman, Freddy Cannon, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran etc. - there was hardly anything else then, rock-wise! :D
     
  20. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    Oh, I love Dreamcatcher! In fact, I like it so much I own two copies of it (don't ask). :D
     

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