Author of the day – Stephen King

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

  1. Duma Key
  2. Firestarter
  3. The Stand
  4. ‘Salem’s Lot
  5. The Eyes of the Dragon

Also, the entire Dark Tower series.

Recommended links:

Official website UK

Official website Worldwide

Stephen on Wikipedia

Stephen King interactive office

Steve on goodreads

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Runner up book of the year

This book felt very much like sitting down with an old friend I hadn’t seen for years and years, but was very pleased to see once more. I wish I hadn’t read it on Kindle because it ruined the mood somewhat and wasn’t the same as sitting down with a new hardback book like I did back in the day.  Still, it didn’t ruin this most excellent book for me.  I’m talking about (of course) Doctor Sleep, by arguably the greatest writer of our time, Stephen King. First off, it’s time literary snobs stopped looking down on Mr King and his works.  Yes, I know he created Pet Semetary…..but he also crafted the stories behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Stand by me.  He is the master of his craft and although he did seem to lose his way a little around Gerald’s Game (argh!), he came back fighting with Duma Key and every work since then has been back on form – the form of the old days.

Doctor Sleep in no exception.

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We are back with that little boy Danny Torrance from The Shining, but now he’s all grown up and disappointingly, he’s a bit of an asshole.  His father would be so proud…..

With a huge drinking problem (he drinks to dull the ‘Shining’), a drifter existence and not a lot going for him, the book catches up with Danny at a pivotal moment in his life, as a young girl Abra reaches out to him.  She has the Shining so bright it makes Danny’s Shining look dull.  She first connects with him when she’s a baby. They continue to have dialogue through various forms during the following years, until one day she is much older and then she’s suddenly reaching out to Danny for help.

Rose & her crew are ancient beings.  They survive by consuming ‘The Shining’ from kids – they extract it from them by torturing them to death.  Abra has just hit their radar as the meal of all meals and now Abra needs Danny’s help.  Except Danny is now ‘Dan’, drunk drifter……can he help her?  And why does he have this special connection with Abra?

You’ll have to read to find out, and if you’re a King fan it’s one you will not want to miss! There’s an excellent twist and a couple of great cameo appearances 😉

View Stephen King’s fantastic online library here. A great part of his website and a good chance to cross off all the books you’ve read and read up on the ones you’ve missed.

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