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8 Must-Read Stephen King Books: Where to Start

We recommend starting with one of these eight excellent books.

8 Must-Read Stephen King Books Where to Start Reading

Stephen King has been an icon of the horror genre since the 1970s.  His books have thrilled and terrified generations, earning him a reputation as one of the greatest writers of modern times.  If you’re interested in reading Stephen King, these eight must-read Stephen King books are a great place to start.

But first, who is Stephen King?

Stephen King is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.  He has published over 60 novels and over 200 short stories throughout his career, many of which have been adapted into films or TV series.  Stephen King’s books often focus on themes such as alienation, violence, and the struggle between good and evil.

What is Stephen King’s most successful novel?

One of Stephen King’s most successful and celebrated novels is The Shining, first published in 1977.  This horror novel follows Jack Torrance and his family as they become caretakers of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, only to find themselves terrorized by supernatural entities.  The Shining was later adapted into a movie of the same name in 1980.

What is considered the scariest Stephen King novel?

The Stephen King novel, widely considered the scariest, is IT, first published in 1986.  The horror-fantasy tells the story of seven children who are terrorized by an evil creature known as “IT,” which feeds on their fears.  IT was adapted into a movie in 2017 and has since become one of Stephen King’s most popular books.

Another scary Stephen King novel is Pet Sematary, first published in 1983.  This horror novel follows a doctor who discovers an ancient burial ground behind his home and the dark consequences of using it to resurrect his deceased son.

What Stephen King books should beginners read?

For Stephen King newcomers, we recommend starting with: Salem’s Lot.

If you are new to Stephen King, we recommend starting with Salem’s Lot.  Salem’s Lot follows the story of a small town in Maine named Jerusalem’s Lot that vampires are terrorizing.  Once the town’s citizens realize what is happening, it is up to a group of brave individuals to save the town and restore peace.  This is Stephen King’s bestselling vampire novel and one of his earliest works with all the elements that King is known for today.

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What are Stephen King’s must-read books?

The eight must-read Stephen King books are:

8 Must-Read Stephen King Books

Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

If you are new to Stephen King, we recommend starting with Salem’s Lot.  Salem’s Lot follows the story of a small town in Maine named Jerusalem’s Lot that vampires are terrorizing.  Once the town’s citizens realize what is happening, it is up to a group of brave individuals to save the town and restore peace.  This is Stephen King’s bestselling vampire novel and one of his earliest works with all the elements that King is known for today.

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The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand is Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic tale of good versus evil.  The novel follows a group of survivors of a deadly airborne super-virus that wipes out 99% of the world’s population.  We follow them as they fight against the dark forces led by Randall Flagg, the leader of an army of those infected with the virus.  As two factions emerge on a collision course, the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.

In 1990 The Stand was reprinted as an “uncut” edition with an extra 400 pages that was cut from the book’s first publication.  This massive work (it clocks in at over 1000 pages) is Stephen King’s longest novel and one of his most popular.

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Misery by Stephen King

Misery by Stephen King

Misery is Stephen King’s classic psychological thriller that follows novelist Paul Sheldon and his captor, Annie Wilkes, the deranged fan who will do anything to keep him from leaving her home.  As Wilkes forces Sheldon to write her a novel, the two become locked in an intense battle of wills.  The book was adapted into a movie in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates in the lead roles.

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11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63 is Stephen King’s time-traveling thriller.  The novel follows the story of Jake Epping, an English teacher who goes back in time to try and prevent the JFK assassination.  Through his journey, Jake discovers secrets about the past and its impact on the present.  This thrilling novel is Stephen King at his most inventive, blending science fiction and history into a powerful narrative.  It was also adapted into a Hulu series in 2016.

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The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower series, is an epic eight-book series that is a gripping blend of fantasy, western, and science fiction.  The journey of gunslinger Roland Deschain as he searches for the mysterious Dark Tower is Stephen King at his creative peak.  The series was adapted into a movie in 2017, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as the leads.

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Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

Stephen King is known as an author who writes very long books, but if you’re looking for a fantastic story collection, King has you covered too.  Skeleton Crew is Stephen King’s 1985 collection of short stories.  It contains some of Stephen King’s most famous stories, including “The Mist,” “Children of the Corn,” and “The Raft.”  The collection reveals Stephen King as a master storyteller and includes many different genres, from horror to fantasy to science fiction.

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IT by Stephen King

IT by Stephen King

IT is a Stephen King classic horror novel.  IT follows a group of seven children as they battle an evil supernatural force in the small town of Derry, Maine.  This is Stephen King’s masterpiece and is considered to be one of the greatest horror novels ever written.  Not to mention that Pennywise the Clown is an iconic Stephen King creation with a solid place in the horror pantheon.  In this book, Stephen King masterfully blends childhood imagination, nostalgia, and friendship with suspense and terror to create a masterpiece of the genre.  IT was adapted into a movie in 2017.

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Needful Things by Stephen King

Needful Things by Stephen King

A lesser-known Stephen King book that is worth the read is Needful Things.  Stephen King’s 1991 novel tells the tale of Castle Rock’s small town and the evil shopkeeper, Leland Gaunt, who sets up a store and sells mysterious and cursed items to the townspeople.  As people in the town buy these items at low prices, their lives begin to unravel as dark secrets are revealed.  Stephen King creates an atmosphere of dread and unease in this classic novel.  He expertly weaves horror, suspense, and comedy into an unforgettable narrative that stands as Stephen King’s underrated classic.

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So there you have it. If you’re interested in exploring Stephen King’s work, the eight must-read Stephen King books are an excellent place to start.  Stephen King’s books are always a great read and will leave you wanting more.  So go ahead, pick up one of Stephen King’s books, curl up in a comfortable chair and enjoy!

What do you think about these Stephen King books?

Have you read any books by Stephen King?  Are any of these books or his other works on your TBR?   What book by Stephen King is your favorite?  What Stephen King books would you add to this list?  Let us know in the comments below.

Book List 8 Must-Read Stephen King Books Where to Start Reading

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