What are your thoughts on Stephen King?

A blogging friend of mine read her first Stephen King — the book, “From a Buick 8.” In her blog post about it, she called it terrible and asked for other recommendations from King, if anyone had any.

I’ve never read “From a Buick 8,” mostly because I didn’t find the concept described intriguing.

But I have a weird relationship with Stephen King.

I, personally, think Stephen King is one of the greatest writers of our generation, and one of the only ones who gets talked about a couple hundred years from now.

Unfortunately, he writes horror, and I don’t like much of his stuff. Too haunting, gross, etc.

But, having said that, I thought his book “Under the Dome” was a masterpiece. And “The Stand” is epic. (And clearly “The Green Mile” rocked big time, as well.)

I’d love to know everyone else’s thoughts on King. Do you love him or hate him? And what’s your favorite work of his?

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

28 thoughts on “What are your thoughts on Stephen King?

  1. Mark Terry 10/01/2012 / 9:21 am

    First, I think “From A Buick 8” sucked dead bears. This is King at his worst, when he has a silly idea and pursues it to its silliest, creepiest conclusion.

    That said, I’m a writer because of Stephen King, a nonfiction essay he wrote once called “On Becoming A Brand Name” or something like that.

    Anyway, my recommendation for your friend, especially if she’s not exactly into horror, are “Bag Of Bones” and “11/22/63.”

    Both of these have been – accurately, I think – described as haunted love stories. I think they’re Stephen King at his most mainstream and accessible, and in many ways at his best overall, although I agree that “The Stand” is epic and “The Green Mile” does everything right.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 11:01 am

      Great insight. And have you read “Under the Dome” yet? I think it’s pretty mainstream.

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      • Mark Terry 10/02/2012 / 3:37 pm

        No. I’m a little daunted by the size. I haven’t been a really active reader of King for six or seven years, but I heard such good things about 11/22/63 that I got it and loved it. I’ve heard good things about “Under The Dome” though.

        And I would note that I have the exact same issues with The Dark Tower series as your friend Angie. I’ve “read” several of them, primarily in that for years I had a long commute and listened to most of them as audiobooks (“Wolves of the Cala” frankly is awesome that way), but I’ve never been able to make it through them by actually reading them.

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        • Stan R. Mitchell 10/02/2012 / 3:44 pm

          I don’t think you’ll regret picking up “Under the Dome.”

          And interesting that there’s such a difference between reading and audio. I would have never guessed that.

          And one of these days I’m going to pick up your next book. I think I’ve figured out what your biggest problem is an auhtor… Seriously, your shit is too scary. That first book of yours taht I read — can’t remember the title off the top of my head, but remember the cover — was so realistic and painfully frightening that I’ve got to build up my nerve to pick up the next one…

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  2. Angie Gilmore 10/01/2012 / 12:33 pm

    Eeks. Unfortunately your friend picked one of the worst books he has written. The Stand, The Shining, and Carrie are the best ever. I am a huge fan of Mr. King. I literally own every book he has ever written. Buick was, sadly, pretty bad. His Dark Tower books were excruciating for me. I couldn’t even get through the first one. With those few exceptions I think the guy is a genius! I love Koontz but if I read his book after reading a King novel I am always let down. I feel like I’ve read a novel written by a junior high student. I read other horror authors when I need a simple fast read. I read Stephen King when I have enough time to get lost in another world. I get so involved in his books that its dangerous for people to try to talk to me if I’m reading. Other horror writers lack his depth. He truly will be talked about long after he is gone. Please tell your friend not to give up on him.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 2:22 pm

      I shared it with her, and thanks for commenting, gf! : )

      I had forgotten you loved King. Thanks a million, again, for making my night by coming out to my birthday dinner! Wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be there…

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  3. Julio Ibanez 10/01/2012 / 1:13 pm

    He’s hit or miss. When he’s on, he produces some amazing reads, but when he’s off, man it’s rotten! Never read “From a Buick 8” but “Dreamcatcher” was pretty awful, too.

    Honestly, though, my favorite Stephen King book is actually his autobiography “On Writing.”

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  4. Kate Davis 10/01/2012 / 3:02 pm

    I Loved The Stand. I’m a huge fan of post apocalypics. Need to read Under the Dome. I love love loved The Gunslinger series. Enjoyed the hotel one that has the movie too because when I was reading it I worked at a place that reminded me of it a whole bunch. Was fun. I have not read any other of his books but hear they are very hit and miss and that’s ok. Ever read H.P. Lovecraft lol and people are still talking about him.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 9:14 pm

      Haven’t read Lovecraft, and I’ve heard some say The Gunslinger is his best. I read the first one, but it just wasn’t my thing…

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  5. T. W. Dittmer 10/01/2012 / 3:28 pm

    Liked “Under the Dome” too. I think it’s his characters that make his work so good, though his story lines are pretty awesome too. Heck, he’s just good. My oldest daughter got me to read some of his stuff, and I’ve become a fan of sorts. The weirdness appeals to me. Go figure, huh?

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 9:16 pm

      Hey Tim. Great to hear from you. Agree that characters are the driving force behind “Under the Dome.” And the mayor/church guy is one of the most frightening characters ever…

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  6. beatbox32 10/01/2012 / 4:11 pm

    I’ve only read three books by King – The Stand, It and The Shining. King knows how to create compelling characters and his ideas/pacing are excellent. The one thing he seems to flub on are the endings, although The Shining wasn’t bad.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 9:23 pm

      Haven’t read “The Shining.”

      And endings are brutal. I’ll be lucky if I ever nail an ending like I did with my first “Little Man” novel. That was pure freakin’ luck…

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/01/2012 / 9:23 pm

      Haven’t read “The Shining.”

      And endings are brutal. I’ll be lucky if I ever nail an ending like I did with my first “Little Man” novel. That was pure freakin’ luck…

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  7. Gus Sanchez 10/04/2012 / 3:49 pm

    I admire King’s dedication to the craft of writing, and if you haven’t read it, his memoir, “On Writing” is simply one of the greatest books ever written on the subject of writing. If you haven’t read it, you must do so. It’s inspiring, blunt, honest, and very affirming. I’d go as far as to say it’s pretty much the only Stephen King that’s really essential, even though I’m a fan of his early works.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/04/2012 / 4:16 pm

      Hey, Gus. First, thanks for the follow. I’ve followed you back. Second, you’re absolutely correct about “On Writing.” I had a burning desire to be an author before ever reading that shortly after it was published, but it poured gallons and gallons of fuel on me to get moving and make it happen. And I regularly re-read parts I’ve underlined.

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      • Gus Sanchez 10/04/2012 / 10:48 pm

        I recently bought a new copy, because my original is so worn.

        Thanks for following me back!

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  8. Carrie Rubin 10/08/2012 / 10:28 am

    I think he’s a brilliant storyteller–one of the best. He sucks you in within the first couple sentences. I don’t read all of his works–I prefer his horror to his fantasy novels–but I admire his talent and his character as a man.

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    • Stan R. Mitchell 10/08/2012 / 10:30 am

      Agreed, and he nails his characters as well as anyone I can name. They just seem so real…

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      • Carrie Rubin 10/08/2012 / 10:38 am

        “They just seem so real…”—-Like they could show up on my doorstep at any time. But I hope they don’t…

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        • Stan R. Mitchell 10/08/2012 / 10:43 am

          So true…

          And I should have given him props for being able to scare the bejeezus out of you.

          I’ll never forget when reading “The Stand” that one Monday morning I showed up at the University of Tennessee and this one normally packed area was nearly completely empty. (I assume it was a huge coincidence and folks were in class.) Anyway, walking down that empty hall I got completely creeped out and thought, “Holy shit. What if some disease has killed off everyone but me?”

          The thought was ridiculous, but his book seriously had me on edge for a while…

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          • Carrie Rubin 10/08/2012 / 10:47 am

            He is the only author that can consistently scare me. Which is a good thing. 🙂

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              • Carrie Rubin 10/08/2012 / 11:06 am

                I did. Wasn’t my favorite (The Shining gets that honor), but it was a great story with vivid characters.

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                • Stan R. Mitchell 10/08/2012 / 11:14 am

                  Yeah, I think that preacher/sheriff dude was one of the most terrifying characters I can think of off the top of my head. Wow…

                  Like

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