Reading Stephen King

Last week I wrote about my general experience with Stephen King books and a few days ago I posted my review of his latest novel, 11/22/63. Sometime in the fall of 2009 I started reading Stephen King again after not having read his books for several years. I decided I would start from the beginning and read all of his stuff in roughly¬†chronological order. Since then I’ve done this in various bursts, as I imagine most people do. I’ll read four or five book in a row, then get burned out and not read anything for a while–and then another burst will strike.

After reading 11/22/63, I feel another burst coming on. Here is what I can see as the complete Stephen King, including short story collections. Items crossed our are items that I have read so far:

  1. Carrie (1974)
  2. ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
  3. The Shining (1977)
  4. Rage (Bachman) (1977)
  5. Night Shift (1978)
  6. The Dead Zone (1979)
  7. The Long Walk (Bachman) (1979)
  8. Firestarter (1980)
  9. Cujo (1981)
  10. Roadwork (Bachman) (1981)
  11. Danse Macabre (1981)
  12. Different Seasons (1982)
  13. The Running Man (Bachman) (1982)
  14. Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
  15. Pet Sematary (1983)
  16. Christine (1983)
  17. The Talisman (1984)
  18. Thinner (Bachman) (1984)
  19. Skeleton Crew (1985)
  20. Cycle of the Werewolf (1985)
  21. It (1986)
  22. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
  23. Misery (1987)
  24. Dark Tower: The Drawing of Three (1987)
  25. The Tommyknockers (1987)
  26. The Dark Half (1989)
  27. The Stand (1990)
  28. Four Past Midnight (1990)
  29. Needful Things (1991)
  30. The Dark Tower: The Wastelands (1991)
  31. Gerald’s Game (1992)
  32. Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)
  33. Dolores Clairborne (1993)
  34. Insomnia (1994)
  35. Rose Madder (1995)
  36. Desperation (1996)
  37. The Regulators (Bachman) (1996)
  38. The Green Mile (1996)
  39. The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass (1997)
  40. Bag of Bones (1998)
  41. Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
  42. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
  43. Plant (2000)
  44. On Writing (2000)
  45. Dreamcatcher (2001)
  46. Black House (2001)
  47. From A Buick 8 (2002)
  48. Everything’s Eventual (2002)
  49. Dark Tower: Wolves of Calla (2003)
  50. Dark Tower: Song of Susannah (2004)
  51. Dark Tower: The Dark Tower (2004)
  52. The Colorado Kid (2005)
  53. Cell (2006)
  54. Lisey’s Story (2006)
  55. Blaze (Bachman) (2007)
  56. Duma Key (2008)
  57. Just After Sunset (2008)
  58. Under the Dome (2009)
  59. Blockade Billy (2009)
  60. Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
  61. 11/22/63 (2011)

The exact order in which I’ve read the books (for those curious) is as follows:

  1. ‘Salem’s Lot (9/16/2001)
  2. Needful Things (2/25/2004)
  3. On Writing (9/16/2009)
  4. Carrie (9/21/2009)
  5. The Shining (9/28/2009)
  6. It (10/28/2009)
  7. Night Shift (11/3/2009)
  8. Under the Dome (11/30/2009)
  9. Different Seasons (12/9/2009)
  10. The Stand (6/2/2010)
  11. The Dead Zone (6/11/2010)
  12. Firestarter (6/25/2010)
  13. Pet Sematary (6/29/2010)
  14. Blockade Billy (6/9/2011)
  15. 11/22/63 (11/18/2011)

Logically, the next book in my list (if you exclude the Bachman books), is Cujo. But I know myself and right now, while I’m in the mood to read more Stephen King, I’m not in the mood for straight horror. So I’m deviating from the strict chronology once again and jumping ahead to the full novel version of The Green Mile. I’m starting that book (the version of which I have on my Kindle contains a forward by the late RalphVincinanza). After that, we’ll see. I may move back to the normal chronology because I’m eager to read the first Dark Tower book. But from what I understand, those books are best read when having read everything that came previous to it–because it ties so much of King’s worlds together.

Okay, gotta run now. I have some reading to attend to.

6 thoughts on “Reading Stephen King

  1. The Talisman – with all the attendant hoopla – was was started me on Steve back in 1984. Over the next couple of years, I read through his backlist and have been since one of his legion of “constant readers”.

    Upon reflection, there are weaker works in his catalog, but it doesn’t matter since while I read each new novel, I am utterly mesmerized by his sheer storytelling mastery.

  2. FYI you have the year 1990 beside the first instance of The Stand, and it was first published in 1978, and re-released in 1990.

    You had me questioning reality as I read that book in 1980, ten years before you indicate it was published.

    1. Yes, I should probably clarify that I read the “uncut” version which was a 1990 edition. That is why I had it listed under 1990. Thanks for the clarification. But I think it’s kind of cool that I had you questioning reality.

  3. For anyone who is interested in similarly reading King’s books through starting from the beginning of his career, I have a suggestion:

    Rather than reading “Carrie” (his first published novel) first, first read “Rage,” “The Long Walk,” and “The Running Man.” All three of these were written by King prior to the writing of “Carrie,” though they were not published until much later.

    I think you can definitely see a major progression in King’s writing that way, and “Carrie” seems even better as a result.

    Additionally, you can do these tricks (assuming you don’t mind being a complete nerd, which, obviously, I am):

    Between “Salem’s Lot” and “The Shining,” read “The Body” (from “Different Seasons”) and “Roadwork,” both of which were written following the writing of “Salem’s Lot.”

    Between “The Shining” and “The Stand,” read “Apt Pupil” from “Different Seasons” (it was written immediately after King finished “The Shining”).

    Between “The Dead Zone” and “Firestarter,” read both “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (from “Different Seasons”) and “The Mist” (from “Skeleton Crew).

    And finally, between “Firestarter” and “Cujo,” read “The Breathing Method” (from “Different Seasons”), which was written immediately after completion of “Firestarter.”

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