Stephen King is known as one of the kings of the horror genre. His countless novels and movie adaptations have become iconic for thriller/scary movie/book lovers everywhere. This spooky season, as the weather begins to cool and the coronavirus pandemic continues to force us to remain indoors, curl up next to the fire with one of these iconic novels by King, and make sure to keep a light on so you don’t get too scared.
Christine: This 1983 novel follows a haunted candy apple red 1958 Plymouth Fury that has a mind of its own. Not only can this car heal itself from damage, but it also has a deep love of doo-wop music and revenge. Christine discusses themes of toxic masculinity and obsession during a time where high school hierarchies ruled the world and is one of King’s most popular novels.
11.23.63: This time travel narrative follows school teacher Jake Epping as he attempts to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. However, the portal he uses to time travel only will drop him at the same spot in history in 1958; five years before Kennedy was shot. Jake begins to learn about all the intricacies of the time-travel process as he makes his way to the watershed moment in American history.
Needful Things: This is one of King’s worst reviewed novels, however, his fans view it as a story that was ahead of its time. The 1991 novel takes place in the community of Castle Rock as it slowly and violently begins to turn against itself. As the citizens begin to turn into creatures that exploit their low-grade rivalries and resentments towards one another, residents begin to realize that they really don’t know anything about their neighbors.
The Long Walk: This 1979 novel takes place in a dystopian future in which society’s Super Bowl has turned into a sadistic race in which 100 men compete in a nonstop walking contest. The first prize winner will never want anything again, and the second prize winner gets killed. Walkers are given three warnings for slowing down and then are executed by the military. The entire walk is a last man standing type competition.
Lisey’s Story: This novel is cited to be King’s favorite, which is a little ironic considering it’s one of his lesser known works. This is likely because the type of thrills in this novel are more delicate and subtle as opposed to the in your face horrors he’s more known for. The title character of this story is the widow of a Pulitzer Prize winning author who continues to think of his wife Tabitha in his everyday life. She follows him as he deals with a crazed stalker and the confusing elements of alternate dimensions.
The Dead Zone: Johnny Smith is a young man who wakes up from a coma one day with the ability to read people’s past, present and futures through touch. He deals with a serial killer, devastating accident and the heartbreak of a lost love who moved on without him easily. Eventually, Smith finds that his powers are necessary for saving the world after he shakes a powerful politician’s hand and sees a devastating nuclear war in the future.
The Stand: This novel is not for the faint of heart especially in 2020. Originally published in 1978, this story explores what rises within the survivors of a world-killing pandemic. After all of society vanishes, a select few are left surviving in a world with no laws, order, or authority.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.