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11 Essential Stephen King Books


Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors in the world, with more than 50 books in print, and more coming out every year. He also happens to be one of my favorite storytellers, an author I've read more than any other. In fact, I've read every book he's ever written, so that puts me in the unique position of being a "constant reader," as he calls us in his introductions — not an expert, but certainly a passionate follower and devout fan, though not his "number one fan."

When it comes to putting together an "essential" reading list, I'm sure many books will be left off, some of your favorites, perhaps. But I had to whittle this down to what I consider his best work, his most important books. These are the 10 (or so) books that I think are "must-reads." I don't think he's written a terrible book, ever, but that's just me. So many people criticize King, without even realizing that they enjoyed movies that were written by him: Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Stand By Me, for example. I mean, everyone knows Carrie, and The Shining, and It — the books and films that made him famous. But hopefully this list will not only give you a solid list of essential books, but maybe even turn you on to a title or two that you've never heard of. Good luck, and happy reading.

1. The Stand

2. The Shining

3. It

4. The Dead Zone

5. The Long Walk

6. Pet Sematary

7. Salem’s Lot

8. Needful Things

9. Night Shift

10. Different Seasons

11. The Dark Tower


Richard Thomas is the author of three books — Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots, and Staring Into the Abyss. He is also the editor of three anthologies out in 2014: The New Black, The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Authors, and Burnt Tongues with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for The Nervous Breakdown, LitReactor, and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. For more information visit Follow him on Twitter.