Billy Summers by Stephen King laying in the grass

Stephen King’s Top Books, According to Stephen King

Aimee Boyer
September 21 2021
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Happy birthday, Stephen King! The prolific writer celebrates his birthday today and what better way to join the festivities than by reading a Stephen King book? If you’re new to this author, it may be a daunting task to select the first Stephen King book to read; after all, he has written more than 60! And if you’re a Constant Reader, this may serve as a reminder of the stories you love and may want to pick up again. As a recent guest of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stephen King talked about his 5 favorite reads, plus one bonus, and I’ve rounded them up here. These books show his great range as a writer and any reader is sure to find one to fit their reading tastes.

For more Stephen King fun, check out Simon & Schuster’s page!

Lisey's Story
by Stephen King

LISEY’S STORY is a moving reflection of love, marriage, and family, with a dose of scare for good measure. Many Stephen King tales have been made into movies, TV shows, or series, and LISEY’S STORY has just joined the ranks. Plus, Stephen King wrote the screenplay for the Apple+ series starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen.

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Lisey's Story
Stephen King

*Soon to be an Apple TV+ limited series starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen*

The “haunting…tender, intimate book that makes an epic interior journey” (The New York Times), Lisey’s Story is a literary masterpiece—an extraordinarily moving and haunting portrait of a marriage and its aftermath.

Lisey lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five year marriage of profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey knew there was a place Scott went—a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons, to go to that terrifying place known as Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited.

“Intricate...exhilarating” (The New Yorker), perhaps Stephen King’s most personal and powerful novel ever, Lisey’s Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love. It is a beautiful, “rich portrait of a marriage, and the complicated affection that outlives death” (The Washington Post).

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MENTIONED IN:

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Skeleton Crew
by Stephen King

“Survivor Type,” a short story from the book SKELETON CREW, is a stranded-on-a-desert-island story turned on its head—as if being stranded wasn’t nightmare enough. SKELETON CREW is full of other tales, including “The Mist,” which has been made into a TV movie and series, and for fans of Castle Rock, stories set in his fictional Maine town include “Uncle Otto’s Truck” and “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut.”

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Skeleton Crew
Stephen King

Includes the stories “Uncle Otto’s Truck” and “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut”—set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

Features “The Mist” now a TV series event on Spike

The #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 1986 Locus Award for Best Collection, Skeleton Crew is “Stephen King at his best” (The Denver Post)—a terrifying, mesmerizing collection of stories from the outer limits of one of the greatest imaginations of our time.

“Wildly imaginative, delightfully diabolical…King once again proves to be the consummate storyteller” (The Associated Press).

A supermarket becomes the place where humanity makes its last stand against destruction. A trip to the attic becomes a journey to hell. A woman driving a Jaguar finds a scary shortcut to paradise. An idyllic lake harbors a bottomless evil. And a desert island is the scene of the most terrifying struggle for survival ever waged. This “wonderfully gruesome” collection (The New York Times Book Review) includes:

-“The Mist”
-“Here There Be Tygers”
-“The Monkey”
-“Cain Rose Up”
-“Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut”
-“The Jaunt”
-“The Wedding Gig”
-“Paranoid: A Chant”
-“The Raft”- “Word Processor of the Gods”
-“The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands”
-“Beachworld”
-“The Reaper’s Image”
-“Nona”
-“For Owen”
-“Survivor Type”
-“Uncle Otto’s Truck”
-“Morning Deliveries (Milkman No. 1)”
-“Big Wheels: a Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman No. 2)”
-“Gramma”
-“The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet”
-“The Reach”

King is best known for his iconic, immersive long novels, but he is also a master of the short story, and this is a magnificent collection.

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Misery
by Stephen King

Stephen King loves to write about writers and, really, who does it better? When Annie Wilkes meets her favorite author, it leads to truly horrific obsessions, and perhaps this book gives us some insight into what keeps Stephen King awake at night. This novel was also made it to a movie starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar for her role as Annie Wilkes. Whether you read before you watch or watch before you read, I just recommend you read it!

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Misery
Stephen King

The #1 New York Times bestseller about a famous novelist held hostage in a remote location by his “number one fan.” One of “Stephen King’s best…genuinely scary” (USA TODAY).

Bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon thinks he’s finally free of Misery Chastain. In a controversial career move, he’s just killed off the popular protagonist of his beloved romance series in favor of expanding his creative horizons. But such a change doesn’t come without consequences. After a near-fatal car accident in rural Colorado leaves his body broken, Paul finds himself at the mercy of the terrifying rescuer who’s nursing him back to health—his self-proclaimed number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Annie is very upset over what Paul did to Misery and demands that he find a way to bring her back by writing a new novel—his best yet, and one that’s all for her. After all, Paul has all the time in the world to do so as a prisoner in her isolated house...and Annie has some very persuasive and violent methods to get exactly what she wants...

“King at his best…a winner!” —The New York Times
“Unadulteratedly terrifying…frightening.” —Publishers Weekly
“Classic King…full of twists and turns and mounting suspense.” —The Boston Globe

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MENTIONED IN:

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The Stand
by Stephen King

At 1,200 pages, this is a read you can really sink your teeth into but trust me, you won’t be able to stop turning the pages to find out what happens as two leaders (one good, another evil) emerge during a deadly pandemic. Recently made into a series starring Whoopi Goldberg and Alexander Skarsgard on Paramount+, THE STAND is one of Stephen King’s classics.

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The Stand
Stephen King

An apocalyptic classic, Stephen King’s novel is a vision of a world ravaged by plague and caught in a bitter struggle between good and evil. When a patient escapes from a biological testing facility, carrying with him a strain of super-flu that destroys a majority of the population, two surviving leaders emerge. Whoever is chosen will lead—and change—humanity forever.

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MENTIONED IN:

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10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

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By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
The Body
by Stephen King

Keep the tissues handy for this poignant coming-of-age story, set in the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock. This novella is also featured in DIFFERENT SEASONS and became the movie Stand by Me.

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The Body
Stephen King

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MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

By Alice Martin | October 13, 2021

10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
Billy Summers
by Stephen King

Stephen King’s most recent book, BILLY SUMMERS, is also a favorite of his. This is an unputdownable thriller. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, and you may just think twice about your new neighbor.

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Billy Summers
Stephen King

From legendary storyteller and #1 bestseller Stephen King, whose “restless imagination is a power that cannot be contained,” (The New York Times Book Review) comes a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can’t-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.

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MENTIONED IN:

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Photo credit: Simon & Schuster

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