Stephen King Books: How to Choose the Best Titles in 2021
Anyone who likes horror stories, whether in literature or cinema, should know Stephen King’s books. Nicknamed the Master of Terror, the American writer is one of the most popular authors today – he has already reached the mark of 400 million copies sold.
The success became even greater when his works won cinematographic adaptations, adding a legion of fans. With that in mind, we have prepared this article dedicated to one of the greatest references of terror of this generation.
First, the most important
- Stephen King is a creative writer. He has written 54 novels, five nonfiction books, eight books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and 11 collections that add up to more than 200 short stories.
- His books have been translated into numerous languages, published in more than 40 countries and have reached the mark of 400 million copies sold. The books yielded dozens of film and television adaptations.
- In addition to the suspense and horror books, Stephen King has released works in other literary genres, such as science fiction and drama.
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Stephen King’s best books: Public favorites
To select the best books by Stephen King, we used the ranking of the author’s most popular books – according to reviews and number of copies sold – published by Amazon. Check out the suggestions.
- A scary story
- A horror classic
- For those who like supernatural stories
In great evidence in recent years, because of the adaptations for film and television, Stephen King’s books win over a legion of admirers of his scary stories.
The consecration is the result of many years of dedication of the writer, especially to the works of suspense and terror, which have earned the deserved title of Master of Terror. To help you find the best Stephen King books, we have prepared this Buying Guide.
Who is Stephen King?
Stephen Edwin King was born in 1947 in Portland, Oregon. Since he was a child, he liked to read horror comics, which stimulated his interest in the genre. As a child, he wrote short stories based on films and sold them to friends.
As a youth, he studied literature at the University of Maine and maintained a column in the student newspaper. Many of their experiences on campus would serve as inspiration for their stories.
After completing his studies, he wrote his first novel, and he never stopped. Today, he is recognized as one of the most notable fiction writers of his generation. Although his specialty is horror books, he wrote notable works in the genres drama and science fiction.
Where to start reading Stephen King’s books?
This question may intrigue some readers, but the truth is that there is a “correct order” to read Stephen King’s books, as the author created a multiverse in which his works are interconnected.
Stephen King’s books are intertwined in a multiverse created by the author.
An example of this is that characters and events in one book are mentioned in others – some references are minimal, but others are big spoilers.
Therefore, you should read Stephen King’s books in the order they were published. If you do not want to read the works in chronological order, there is no problem, however, one book helps to understand another.
For example, reading the book November 63 after IT, A Thing will complement your experience, because at one point the protagonist of November 63 visits Derry (the city where IT events occur), in one of the best crossovers of the multiverse . There are even some dialogues about Pennywise (It’s killer clown).
Reading Misery before The Shining, will deliver spoilers about the first, as the Torrence family and events at the hotel are mentioned in Misery. The same is true if you read Outsiders before the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, get ready for a big spoiler of the saga.
If you feel like reading the fifth volume of The Dark Tower (Calla’s Night) get ready for a barrage of spoilers from Salem, because one of the characters – Father Calla – is the protagonist in both narratives.
- Stephen King’s books are horror, drama and science fiction
- You also find psychological, police and supernatural thriller books
- Some novels and short stories have been adapted for film and television
- You find books from 200 to 1200 pages
- Books should be read in chronological order to avoid spoilers
How many books has Stephen King written?
Stephen King has a solid career. The author has written 54 novels, five nonfiction books, eight books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and 11 collections that add up to more than 200 short stories.
Of these books, he wrote a series called The Dark Tower that has eight volumes released between 1982 and 2012. King has also written scripts and adaptations.
Which Stephen King books have been adapted for film and television?
You find 45 adaptations of Stephen King’s books. In addition to the films, Stephen King’s books were adapted as a series and miniseries script – in all there are 23 adaptations.
Stephen King’s first book, Carrie (1974) was the one that won the most film adaptations, the first in 1976, the second in 2002 and a remake in 2013.
The Illuminated was adapted in 1980. The Cemetery was adapted in 1989 and won a remake in 2019. Misery served as the script for the film Louca Obsession in 1990, recognized at the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards.
Did you know that Stephen King did not like most adaptations of his books? The film The Shining is the most detested by the author, who said he hated the choice of Jack Nicholson as the protagonist of the film.
In 2007, the tales O Nevoeiro and 1408 were adapted for cinema. Netflix bought the rights to adapt the 1922 short story and the Dangerous Game book and released those films in 2017.
Another adapted short story was The Children of the Cornfield, which yielded a series of films entitled Colheita Maldita – Stephen King did not like that the writers have created sequels for the tale.
Under Redoma it was adapted as a TV series by CBS, with three seasons. The Dead Zone spawned a series with the same name that yielded six seasons.
Find out more about the film adaptations of Stephen King’s books with Carol Moreira on his YouTube channel, which has almost 800 thousand subscribers:
What themes are covered in Stephen King’s books?
Stephen King’s books deal with various subjects of social relevance such as bullying, religious fanaticism, alcoholism, addiction to painkillers, abandonment, loss of loved ones and bereavement.
The inspiration for writing on such topics came from his own life. Stephen King was abandoned by his father as a child, became an alcoholic after losing his mother to cancer.
Purchase Criteria: Factors for comparing Stephen King’s books
Stephen King’s books stand out for their literary quality and originality. Whoever has never read one of his books, or is unable to choose the next reading, should analyze the following characteristics:
- Romance or short story?
- Number of pages
We will detail each of the topics throughout this section.
Although Stephen King is recognized as the Master of Terror, the author has already written books in other genres, such as the dramas The Waiting for a Miracle and A Dream of Freedom.
Stephen King also wrote science fiction books like The Fog, The Strangers and Under the Dome.
Stephen King’s books can be classified into different categories: Suspense, horror and horror in different subgenres.
In the psychological suspense plot , the protagonist presents some mental disorder that reduces his ability to distinguish the real from the imaginary. Suggestions: Carrie, The Shining, Misery and The Cemetery.
Some books also fall under the category of police suspense , for addressing a crime or a sequence of them, narrated in one or more points of view – be it the victim, investigator or criminal. Suggestion: Mr. Mercedes.
Another subgenre present in Stephen King’s books is supernatural terror, which brings the stories of evil entities. In these books, the author explores the unknown. Suggestion: It, The thing.
Romance or short story?
Among Stephen King’s books, you find tales. There are 11 titles: Shadows of the Night, Four Seasons, Skeleton Crew, After midnight, Nightmares and night landscapes volumes 1 and 2, Six stories, Hearts in Atlantis, Everything is possible, At nightfall, Total darkness and O bad dream bazaar.
Total Darkness without stars presents four short stories, 1922 being a psychological thriller, The giant in the wheel that is a thriller, Extension Just a supernatural tale and A good marriage, which is also a thriller.
Another option is Tudo é Eventual, which features 14 stories in subgenres. One of the main stories in this book is Quarto 1408, which yielded a cinematic adaptation.
Number of pages
You can find Stephen King’s books in different sizes. When choosing a title it is worth checking the number of pages, after all, while some books have less than 200, others exceed 1,000 pages.
- Up to 200 pages: Carrie, The Werewolf Hour, The Colorado Boy, Gwendy’s Buttom Box and Elevation.
- Up to 300 pages: The Dark Tower I, Total Eclipse, The girl who loved Tom Gordon and Joyland.
- Up to 400 pages: Rabid Dog, Cursed Cemetery, The Dragon’s Eyes, Anguish, The Dark Tower II, Dangerous Game, The Waiting for a Miracle, Buick 8, Mobile, The Dark Tower VIII, Mr. Mercedes, Revival and Lost and Found .
- Up to 500 pages: Salem, The Shining, The Dead Zone, The Incendiary, The Dark Half, Rose Madder, The Dark Tower VI and Last Turn.
- Up to 600 pages: Christine, The Strangers, The Dark Tower III, Bag of Bones, LOVE The story of Lisey, Duma Key, Doctor Sleep, Outsider and The Institute.
- Up to 700 pages: The talisman, Macabre Exchanges, Despair, The Dreamcatcher, The Black House and Sleeping Beauty.
- Up to 800 pages: Insomnia, The Dark Tower IV and The Dark Tower V.
- Up to 900 pages: The dance of death, The Dark Tower VII and November 63.
- Above 1000 pages: It and The thing, Under the Dome.
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