My Favorite Writer: Stephen King
THE Master of Horror
Yes, an Author is an Entertainer
When I saw this topic, I had to think. There are so many movie stars and musicians that I think are talented, but do I have a favorite? I love movies, but I knew I couldn't narrow it down to a few movies, let alone a single favorite. Same thing goes for music. So, what is a movie loving, music loving, trivia buff to do?
I turned to my other love, reading, and of course, to my favorite author; the one, the only, Stephen King! Yes, authors can be entertainers, as well. Are you not entertained when you read a good book? I know I am. Besides, he often appears in cameo roles in his movies, so he's an actor, too, though I doubt he would claim to be a good one.
Don't You Want a Balloon?
Why Stephen King?
I am not going to go into a long, drawn out biography of his life. All you really need to know about Stephen King, he tells you himself. Instead, I am going to tell you what I like about him, some of my favorite (and least favorite books), my favorite (and least favorite) movie adaptations of his works, and that sort of thing. A fan's homage to a great writer. And, yes, I am his number one fan...a joke a Stephen King fan would understand.
Stephen King has written a lot of books, and I mean a lot!! His first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974, and his most recent, Dr. Sleep, is set to come out September 24th, 2013. He has published about 60 books under his own name, along with seven novels under his pen name of Richard Bachman.
The greatest thing about Stephen King is his connection to his fans. Between his comfortable writing style, his references to great music in his writing, and his notes to the "constant reader", he makes a strong connection to his fans in a way most other writers never do, or don't take the time to do. You feel that he genuinely loves to write, and feels connected to his readers. He understands that his success lies with the fans who love him.
Stephen King is a writer who is constantly expanding his own, and the reader's horizons. He tries new things. He has written a novel in serial form, The Green Mile, has written e-books, that later were published in books, such as The Mist. He is even venturing into the world of comic books, or graphic novels, depending on the term you prefer. There is currently a graphic novel of The Dark Tower and The Stand in progress, parts having already been published. He has written screenplays, short stories, and translated his own stories into screenplays, and his screenplays into novels. He has also ventured into the areas of non-fiction, Danse Macabre and On Writing, and pulp crime novels with, The Colorado Kid and Joyland. Every novel, or short story by Stephen King is a trip into a new world, and they are all of his making. Some of them are dark, scary places filled with monsters, and others are even worse, taking a look at the dark side of humanity, and the monsters that are inside of us.
Stephen King Interview
Some of My Favorites
I love Stephen King, but even I must admit, I do have books that are personal favorites, and others that I read once, and that will probably remain on my bookshelf for all of eternity. The ones I love have been read, and re-read, until the pages have become dog-eared, and the spines have broken. Old books are replaced, and I am constantly on the search for the ever elusive hard-cover, first editions.
It all started with It. It was the first book I ever read. I was twelve years old. I found the book in my parent's garage. I read the whole thing. I now hate clowns. They scare the ever-living crap out of me. I poke fun at myself because of it. Truth is, if I ever ran into Pennywise, I would probably end up pooping my pants while running and screaming, or be found dead in a sewer somewhere. He is really scary. It remains a favorite book of mine, though. Mostly because of the scare it gave me and the way the book has stuck with me after all these years. I still have that copy of It, even though it was water damaged when I found it in the garage during the clean-up after the roof leaked all over everything in the garage. Thus, the water damage. I carefully dried all the pages, so that they didn't stick together, and I read that book slowly and carefully. I was hooked ever since then.
The Stand is also a favorite book. It is a very long book. The movie alone was something like eight hours long, and it left a lot out. I poured through the thousands of pages of both the original version, and the unabridged version. The story is a simple, good-vs-evil story, but at the same time, it is very complex. The characters are almost real enough to reach out and touch you. You read The Stand and you get enveloped into the story. It reaches out, and pulls you right in. You almost feel like you are there with the characters as they trek across the country to seek out the figure in their dreams. Another thing I love, and what scares me, about The Stand, is how realistic it is. A plague of that magnitude is entirely possible in this country, and it plays into the very real fears of secret government labs, viral weaponry, and biological warfare. Just turn on the news, and you will be bombarded with news about Syria and chemical weapons.
Favorite BooksClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Not So Favorite Books
Like I said, there are a few, and only a few books that Stephen King has written that I didn't really like. Most fans have a few books that they don't care for. Maybe it had something to do with the time in my life that I had originally read the book, and maybe I should give them another shot, or maybe it was a different time in King's life, and it just didn't translate well to his avid fans. Either way, here is my short list of books I really didn't like.
First, From a Buick 8. This book wasn't bad. I am not saying that. I just didn't get into it as I was reading it. I struggled through it, and it has remained on my bookshelf ever since. While the take on the evil car was different from Christine, it was still another story about an evil car, and I felt that Christine was a far better attempt at the concept. Like I said, the books were very different, and the stories are not similar in any other respect than that they both dealt with a car as a central figure. I just feel that with the success and greatness of Christine, From a Buick 8 just fell short of that standard.
Dreamcatcher was another book that I didn't care for all that much. Again, I struggled through it, and had a very hard time getting into the story. I barely remember what it was about. I know it was about aliens, and a group of boys, and then men, after they had grown up. The movie was worse. Mostly due to poor casting, I think. Morgan Freeman is a great actor, but he was totally wrong for the part he was cast in. Strangely enough, Dreamcatcher and From a Buick 8 came out about a year apart from each other. I have grown to like Dreamcatcher a bit more. I read it again, and it has grown on me a bit, kind of like a weird fungus...
The last book on my short list of least favorites is Blaze. Blaze is a newer book written under his pen name of Richard Bachman. The story just didn't grab me. It is the story of a couple of small time criminals, and a kidnapping. It was a sad story, and I just didn't connect with it. It was my least favorite book so far. I am glad I only got the paperback copy. I may get it in hardcover someday, but only to add to my collection, and only if I can find it for a great price.
Not So MuchClick thumbnail to view full-size
Off to the Movies with Stephen King
Many of Stephen King's books have been made into movies. Some of these he had a part in, and some he didn't. Some were great, others were less stellar.
My favorite Stephen King movies usually fall close in with my favorite books. The Stand was a great movie, all eight hours of it. I have it on DVD and watch it every now and then. It was another scary movie that I love! Both were made as TV mini-series. The Shining, Carrie and Pet Sematary top my list of big screen releases. A few other favorites include Needful Things(which also happens to be the name of a fellow Hubber!), The Mist (a newer theatrical release), Stand By Me (based on The Body), The Shawshank Redemption, and Rose Red (also a TV mini-series).
I like all of these movies for various reasons. Sometimes it has to do with the closeness to the original book, some for the uniqueness of the story itself, and sometimes it's just because they scared the crap out of me. I love being scared!!
Now, there have also been some movies that just were not that good. Sometimes the budget was low, sometimes the story just didn't translate well, but whatever the reason, there have been some pretty awful movies made from Stephen King books. A few are Sleepwalkers, about a mother and son who are strange demonic creatures who fear cats, any sequel to Children of the Corn or Pet Sematary, and Cat's Eye. For some reason, even the best author has some books that don't translate well to film, or some screen writer wrote a really bad screenplay out of a great story.
Stephen King Movies
Questions & Answers
© 2009 Anna Marie Bowman