70’s Stephen King…the beginning

Because reading 100 books set in France wasn’t enough to keep me busy (ha ha), I’m also reading Stephen King’s works in chronological order. I actually started this last fall, so it pre-dates the French project.

I’m a huge Stephen King fan since my first read – The Dead Zone – when I was 13. After that, every trip to the library began with a dash to the “Ki” shelf to see if they had anything I hadn’t read.

So many of his early works are on my “favorites” shelf – The Shining and The Stand for sure, although this was my first read of the original edited version of The Stand. It holds up, but I still prefer the uncut version that came out in the 90s. And despite the amusing t-shirt pictured above, I’ll take the book of The Shining over the movie any day. Was Jack Nicholson great? Sure. But the book is so much scarier.

Salem’s Lot, however, was the book in the 70’s collection that scared me the most. I must have read it at some point in my teenage years but didn’t remember much of it. Holy moly is that a terrifying book. We did sit down and watch the movie, and that too was pretty creepy, but it didn’t live up to my imagination. Months after reading this, I’m still having the occasional vampire nightmare. No joke – I had one two nights ago.

Carrie, obviously, is a classic, simply by virtue of being his first book. I actually listened to this one, narrated by none other than Sissy Spacek herself. How could I resist?

I’ve never been a huge fan of short stories, but as collections go, Night Shift is a pretty good one. If nothing else, it spawned a whole lot of movies and TV that I’ve added to my watch list.

And then there are the Bachman books – Rage and The Long Walk. Both horrifying in their own way. Rage is about a teenage school shooter. It’s no longer published, mainly due to the rash of school shootings in recent years. The Long Walk tells the story of a dystopian future in which 100 young men start walking at the border of Canada and Maine…and keep walking until there’s only one left. It’s vague on what the winner gets, but really, by the time you’ve out-walked 99 other guys…are you really a winner?

And so I’ve finished my journey through the 70’s books of Stephen King. Thoroughly creeped out and sufficiently entertained. Moving on to the 80’s…Firestarter is up next.

What’s your favorite early Stephen King?

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