The first writer that I remember seriously getting into at the age of 15 was Stephen King. I read everything and anything I could find and all the money from my babysitting job was spent on books. Other kids my age were buying CDs, beer, weed etc, but I just wanted to read, and I wanted to read anything he’d written.
I was so enamored with ‘Steve’ (as he’s known), that I wrote to him when I was 16 years old, back in 1989. Imagine my immense pleasure and surprise when a big, thick, fat envelope arrived from America, with embossed spideweb gates on the top left hand corner!! It wasn’t a personal letter from the man himself, but a fab letter from his secretary, complete with a short story, some articles and stuff that kept me entertained for hours. And it had come from him own Maine address! I was in heaven.
In the envelope was also a complete book list. This was before the Internet, you understand. Certain books only printed certain titles, so how could I be sure I got them all? I used that list to buy every book I could get and when my collection was complete, I then played the waiting game. I bought every book as soon as it came out. I was part of the contingent that widely acknowledged that some books were okay, some were good, some were great and some were works of completely incredible story telling and were called The Stand. Stephen King has the ability to frighten me, but also to take me away into another world so completely and utterly, that sometimes I’d hear a noise and blink back into consciousness, surprised to find myself in Nottingham, England and not in Jerusalem’s Lot. Or Derry, Maine. Or travelling with Larry through the Lincoln Tunnel in New York…
Generally, every story was magic. Some were sheer brilliance. Some people are still surprised to find that he penned the novellas, novels and short stories behind the movies Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Everyone knows that The Shining, Firestarter and Carrie are his though!
Around about Gerald’s game, he lost me a little. I just wasn’t enjoying his books as much and something was missing for me. In fact, I started to miss books out and just not bother. Then, the accident happened. Steve was hit by a drunk driver and was so close to death that we very nearly did lose him. Once that fear was out of the way, it was then a case of him nearly losing a leg and fighting to keep it and enduring all the subsequent surgeries.
Around this time., something inside him seemed to changed. After he gave us the great On Writing, he went to a darker place and gave us the masterpiece Duma Key. Up until the release of this book, my favourite King novel, hands down had been Firestarter. Duma Key knocked it off the top spot. I read it during the Christmas of 2008 which we spent in the Florida sunshine in a bid to help my mum recover from her intensive Chemotherapy. The novel really spoke to me, really frightened me and I loved it. After that, he was back on track. He gave us the brilliant 11.22.63 and then the sequel to the Shining, my runner up book of the year, Doctor Sleep.
There is no stopping this man, his urge to write and the brilliant works he produces, but then, Constant Reader, why would we want to?
My top 5 King books:
- Duma Key
- The Stand
- ‘Salem’s Lot
- The Eyes of the Dragon
Also, the entire Dark Tower series.
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