Best Stephen King Books

Best Stephen King Books

The Dark Tower Series Complete 8 Books By Stephen King - Young Adult - Paperback

The Dark Tower Series Complete 8 Books By Stephen King – Young Adult – Paperback

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Best Stephen King Books

The Shining (1977).

  • Goodreads: 4.2/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4.2/5
  • 4.6/5

While many people might find it hard to agree on which of the Stephen King books is the worst, or their rankings in a top ten list of his books, everybody agrees that The Shining is outrightly his best effort.

Influenced by the author’s personal experiences, The Shining centers on the life of an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic named Jack Torrance, who works as the off-season caretaker of a historic hotel that is inhabited by supernatural forces. The “shining” psychic ability of his young son allows him to view the horrors of the past and helps him maintain his sanity.

Political Views And Activism

King supported Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign. [127]

In April 2008, King spoke out against HB 1423, a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislature that would restrict or ban the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. King claimed that laws like this allow legislators ignore the income gap between rich and poor, and prohibit the sale of violent video games to anyone under 18. He believed these were the real causes of violence. [128]

During the 2008 presidential election, King voiced his support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama. [129] King was quoted as calling conservative commentator Glenn Beck “Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother”. [130]

On March 8, 2011, King spoke at a political rally in Sarasota aimed against Governor Rick Scott (R-FL), voicing his opposition to the Tea Party movement. [131]

King wrote an article for The Daily Beast on April 30 2012 calling for more tax payments by rich Americans. He cited it as a “practical necessity and moral imperative” that all those who have received a lot should pay the same amount. [132]

On January 25, 2013, King published an essay titled “Guns” via’s Kindle single feature, which discusses the gun debate in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. King asked gun owners to oppose automatic and semiautomatic weapon bans, writing: “Autos, semi-autos, and other weapons are weapons of mass destruction. When lunatics wish to wage war against the unarmed, unprepared, they are these weapons.” “[133][134] The essay became the fifth-bestselling non-fiction title for the Kindle. [135]

King has criticized Donald Trump and Rep. Steve King, deeming them racists. [136][137][138]

In June 2018, King called for the release of the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed in Russia. [139]

In the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, King endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. [140] Warren ended up suspending her campaign and King later supported Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. [141]

King supported Ukraine during the Russian invasion in 2022. King shared a picture on Twitter wearing a “I Stand with Ukraine” T-shirt[142][143]. He later said that he would not cooperate with Russian publishers. [144][145]

Best Stephen King Books

Hearts In Atlantis

How does it all work?

A series of five interconnected stories weave a tale about the Vietnam War, and a young boy who befriends an older man fleeing a mysterious group.

Why should you read it?

Words can’t describe how much I love this 1999 book. I’d probably put it in my top five King stories of all time, and that is a hotly contested list, let me tell you. Although you might think that five stories set in the 1960s are not very connected may actually be a difficult sell. Although the stories are quite different in theme, “Low Men in Yellow Coats”, and “Hearts in Atlantis” are both very poignant and original. They also have some great overlapping characters. I can’t do this one justice, but I’d 100 percent recommend it to anyone.

The Dark Tower Books

In the late 1970s, King began what became a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, who pursues the “Man in Black” in an alternate-reality universe that is a cross between J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and the American Wild West as depicted by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone in their spaghetti Westerns. The first of these stories, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, was initially published in five installments by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Edward L. Ferman, from 1977 to 1981. The Gunslinger continued in The Dark Tower as an epic eight-book series. King’s books were published very rarely over the past four decades. [citation needed]

Best Stephen King Books


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, King published a handful of short novels–Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984)–under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The idea behind this was to test whether he could replicate his success again and to allay his fears that his popularity was an accident. An alternate explanation was that publishing standards at the time allowed only a single book a year. [53] He picked up the name from the hard rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, of which he is a fan. [54]

Richard Bachman was exposed as King’s pseudonym by a persistent Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, who noticed similarities between the works and later located publisher’s records at the Library of Congress that named King as the author of one of Bachman’s novels. The press release that Bachman died from cancer of the pseudonym led to the publication of this news. King’s 1989 novel The Dark Half was about a pseudonym attacking a writer. The companion book, The Regulators, also featured the name “Bachman” in 1996 when it was published.

King announced that he discovered another Bachman novel in 2006 during a London press conference. It was titled Blaze. The book was published in June 2007. In fact, the original manuscript had been held at King’s Alma mater, the University of Maine in Orono, for many years and had been covered by numerous King experts. King rewrote the original 1973 manuscript for its publication. [57]

King used various pseudonyms. The short story “The Fifth Quarter” was published under the pseudonym John Swithen (the name of a character in the novel Carrie), by Cavalier in April 1972. [58] The story was reprinted in King’s collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993 under his own name. In the introduction to the Bachman novel Blaze, King claims, with tongue-in-cheek, that “Bachman” was the person using the Swithen pseudonym.

The children’s book Charlie the Choo-Choo from the World of The Dark Tower, published under the pseudonym Beryl Evans in 2016. It was illustrated by Ned Dameron and Allison Davies. It is adapted from a fictional book central to the plot of King’s previous novel The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands. [60]

The Stand (1978)

  • Goodreads: 4.3/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4.3/7
  • 4.6/5

The Stand was one of his earlier stories, and he added to it from a previously published short story. The book is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel that initially appears to be a plague story but later transforms into a biblical battle between good and evil. The story is about a society’s total collapse after an accidental release of an infected strain that can be used for biological warfare. Superflu kills over 99% off the planet’s population, causing an apocalyptic epidemic.

Best Stephen King Books

“Salem’S Lot”

King is well-known for his work in horror and has tackled many of the most controversial elements or subjects within this genre. For example, he’s written about zombies (Cell), killer animals (Cujo), werewolves (Cycle of the Werewolf), killer clowns (It), hellish demons (The Stand and The Dark Tower series), and supernatural ghost stories (The Shining).

King’s second novel was about the mythos and vampires. He set out to create a contemporary Dracula with Kurt Barlow as a character. King moves to New England to find a peaceful town that will cause more people to become vampires. This is a very simple story, but it’s effective. One of the better vampire books in recent fiction made for a genuinely spooky novel and a wonderfully modern spin on the classic Bram Stoker book.

Pick up ‘Salem’s Lot today.


It all boils down to:

Childhood friends return to the town they grew up in to take on an evil being that stalked them when they were young.

It is worth reading.

This one could have been placed in either the “epic” or the “page-turner sections, but it was decided to be here as it is one of my first thoughts when King’s name is mentioned. It was published in 1986 and is one of King’s most beloved novels. It is quite long, at more than 1,000 pages. But once you get started, you will be happy about it. You won’t want it to end. You’ll see clowns differently when it ends. Oder turtles.

Best Stephen King Books


It all boils down to:

A student who investigates the legend of a murdered girl during a summer job at an amusement park.

Why should you read it?

This one could comfortably have gone in the “hidden gem” section further down. Published in 2013, it’s not one of King’s best known stories, but it should be — it has that mixture of nostalgia, mystery, and coming-of-age angst that he does so well in his writing. Although the crime theme is there (Joyland has a whodunnit element and some amateur detective work), this novel is really a blend of several genres. And in this case, it’s all the better for it.

Stephen King’s ‘The Green Mile,’ Published by Orion Publishing Co

Fans of The Green Mile film adaptation are often surprised to learn that King wrote its source material, which was originally published in six monthly volumes. This is not horror as such – the tragedy that occurred in a Louisiana prison during Great Depression 1930s does not come from an outside source. Instead, the horror comes from people.

John Coffey, a tall and powerful man with extraordinary healing powers, is gentle. For the murders and rapes of two teenage girls, he’s on death row. He was born in 1932 and is black, which King made to make sure his innocence would not affect the final outcome.

Best Stephen King Books

The Outsider

Is it all about the people?

Police arrest a coach of baseball for murdering an 11-year old boy. The police have a solid forensic case. The coach, however, has an equally strong alibi.

Why should you read it?

King continues to come up with new “Why didn’t you think of that first?” concepts. The Outsider, published in 2018, is an excellent example. There’s a horrible sense of injustice in the novel’s first section, as we watch coach Terry Maitland being flayed for a crime he didn’t commit — and it’s that injustice, coupled with the overarching mystery of why he appears to have been in two places at the same time, that makes this one so compelling.

The Cabin at the End Of The World by Paul Tremblay

Wen, seven years old, and Eric, her parents are on vacation at a cabin in a peaceful New Hampshire lake. Nothing is ever as it seems though. Wen was catching grasshoppers outside in his front yard one afternoon when someone unexpected appeared in their driveway. His name is Leonard and he’s very nice, that is until he apologizes to Wen and tells her that what happens next is not her fault. Wen and her fathers are not able to see the coming of three more strangers. Terrifyingly suspenseful, this is a tale of paranoia and survival that will shatter your fairy tale endings.

Check out these favorite LGBTQA+ thriller cross-genre books>>

Best Stephen King Books

Rose Madder (1996)

  • Goodreads: 3.7/5
  • Audible: 4.5
  • 4.2

King admits in his memoir On Writing that he tried too hard to write Rose Madder. He also admitted that the storyline felt stiff because it was a combination of two stories. It is no surprise that the novel ended up being one of his least well-received efforts.

Rose Madder explores domestic violence and tells the tale of a woman who flees her abusive husband. She enters a magical painting to help her escape from the abuser to make certain she never returns.

Night Shift

King took a step back from full-length horror novels for his fifth published work, publishing instead a collection of short stories titled Night Shift. However acclaimed his first four novels were, King managed to translate similar acclaim to his short story work, producing a collection of stories just as scary as his novels, if not more so.

Frequently referred to as King’s best short story collection to date, Night Shift contains numerous memorable stories, including “Children of the Corn,” “Jerusalem’s Lot,” which acts as a sort of prologue to ‘Salem’s Lot, and “Night Surf,” which takes place in the same post-apocalyptic universe as The Stand.

It was not surprising, then, that King could write stories so terrifying that readers loved them, considering that his first job publishing short fiction in magazines. This book helped expose readers to some of King’s more hard-to-find stories in a single collection, paving the way for future volumes of King’s short fiction like Skeleton Crew and Different Seasons (both of which nearly made it on this list). For those looking for a quick read, we highly recommend the bite-sized stories contained in this book.

Best Stephen King Books


King sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor”, to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. [1]

King graduated from the University of Maine with a teacher’s certificate. However, King was unable to immediately find teaching positions so he sold short stories to Cavalier, which was a men’s magazine. Night Shift has republished many of the stories from these days. Adam magazine published the short story, “The Raft”, which was written by Adam. He was arrested after stealing traffic cones. King was upset that one of them had knocked out his muffler. King was able to cash the check and paid the fine when a check arrived for “The Raft”, which was then called “The Float”. King, who was then a teacher at Hampden Academy, Hampden, Maine, in 1971. King continued writing short stories for magazines, and he worked on novel ideas. He wrote two drafts about his dystopian novel The Long Walk[28] during 1966-1970. The antiwar novel Sword in the Darkness[29] was also written by him. However, neither one of these works were published. Only The Long Walk was released in 1979.

King has a hell of a lot of well-known books, but he also has a hell of a lot of books, full-stop (over 75, if you can believe it). Not all books are as well-known as IT and The Shining. The ones I’ve picked out below are up there with my all-time favourite King stories, even if they haven’t quite reached that same level of fame yet.

Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption – ‘Written By Stephen King? Really?’

Both novella and film are beautiful, engaging works. The most fascinating thing for me is how, once you have seen the film, you will always hear Morgan Freeman’s voice as you read Red’s narrative in King’s source work.

Who can forget Mrs Carmody, the religious zealot who sees the mist as a sign from God, a sign that he requires sacrifice as atonement for humanity’s most heinous sins? Or the tension as group after dwindling group make a break for freedom, with no idea what awaits them beyond the supermarket’s doors?

You’ll enjoy The Mist if you liked it. . .

Best Stephen King Books


Thinner, another shorter novel is a perfect story for The X-Files and The Twilight Zone. This story is very simple. The story is simple: Man becomes bad, cursed and man attempts to rescue himself. Though the descriptions of Billy’s torment are gruesome, Thinner feels…half-hearted.

Car Accident And Aftermath

King and his lawyer purchased Smith’s van from two other people for $1,500. This was apparently to stop it appearing on eBay. King was disappointed to find that the van had been crushed in a junkyard. He had dreamed about smashing it. [175][176]

Best Stephen King Books

Pet Sematary

But the nearby woods are hiding a blood-chilling truth that is more terrifying and powerful than death itself. Terror lurks around the corner of their perfect home, and the Creeds will soon learn that sometimes dead is better.


A disabled criminal and George, his partner-in-crime, decide to pull off their most important heist – to kidnap a millionaire’s baby for ransom money. Problem is George was dead for a while and police tighten their net.

Blaze, a novel entry from King’s collection of works, is a unique one for several reasons. Though King has written on different genres, crime is not his usual oeuvre. While there are horror elements, the novel is still small in scope and high quality.

Best Stephen King Books

The Drawing Of The Three

This is the second novel in The Dark Tower series.

While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into the life of a different person living in contemporary New York.

Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean and the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.

The Best Stephen King Books to Read for Halloween

As great as some of King’s novels most assuredly are, some of his novels are certainly better than others. We are approaching October, a month of scary stories. So we decided to take a look at King’s greatest work and recommend which of his books we should read this autumn season.

Best Stephen King Books


They can’t withstand the unfathomable force driving them to Derry. Once they are back within town lines they must once again face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

Needful Things

It’s one of King’s worst reviewed novels, but the critics were wrong. Needful Things was ahead of its time. This sinister 1991 novel is a study of how a society turns violently against itself. in this case, it’s the community of Castle Rock, which was the backdrop of several other King novels. As their low-level rivalries and resentments become exploited by Leland Gaunt, a new owner of curio shops, the Norman Rockwell-like citizens are transformed into Hieronymus Bosch-like creatures.

Billy Summers

Billy Summers

The first edition of a brilliant new book by award-winning journalist and historian, Michael Eric Dyson.

The Black Threat: Reflections on the Emergence of a New American Culture of Fear

Few Americans are more qualified to comment on the current culture of fear than journalist, author, and historian Michael Eric Dyson. In this brilliantly written book, Dyson offers a sweeping, provocative, and deeply personal exploration of the roots of the Black Threat, and of the ways that it is changing America.

Drawing on his own experiences as a black American, as well as on the work of thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and James Baldwin, Dyson offers a passionate and provocative account of the ways that white Americans are responding to what they see as the increasing threat of black America.

The Black Threat is a book that will not only provoke discussion, but also challenge readers to rethink the way that they see America and the world.

  • Hardcover First Edition First Printing 2021.

Billy Summers is an exciting new young adult novel by acclaimed author, J.D. Robb. Set in the future, Billy Summers tells the story of a young woman who must choose between a life of luxury and a life of service to others. This hardcover, first edition, first printing book is a must-have for fans of science fiction and young adult novels.

11/22/63: A Novel

11/22/63: A Novel

Joshua Ferris’s 11/22/63 is a novel that tells the story of a high school English teacher who is forced to travel back in time to 1963 to stop John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

  • Winner Of The Los Angeles Times Book Prize For Best Mystery/Thriller

11/22/63 is a novel by Stephen King, which was published on November 22, 2011. The novel is about a man, Jake Epping, who travels back in time to November 22, 1963, to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Misery: A Novel

Misery: A Novel

When a family moves from the city to a small town, they’re excited to start a new life. But the kids soon realize that the town is a dark and scary place. No one seems to be happy, and the kids are constantly being watched. The parents don’t seem to care, and the only person who seems to be alive is the evil old lady who lives in the abandoned house. The kids start to get scared, and they know that they don’t belong in this world.

  • Scribner

Looking for a dark and twisted read? Look no further than Misery! This novel is sure to keep you entertained from start to finish.

The Shining

The Shining

A publishing house founded by horror author Stephen King. The Shining is their most famous book.

  • Anchor Books

Looking for a unique gift for the reader in your life? The Shining Anchor Books have just what you’re looking for! These unique books are perfect for the reader in your life who loves to escape into a world of their own. With beautiful artwork and gripping stories, these books will have them captivated from the first page. Don’t miss out on this unique gift!

Best Stephen King Books

All 61 Stephen King Books Ranked From Worst To Best

Stephen King wrote 61 novels and 200 short stories over his long career. So how are his books compared?

Stephen King

A master of literary terror, his 61 books transcend the realms of belief. They contain tales of the paranormal and the unimaginable. He was instantly recognizable as one of the best-known horror authors when he wrote Carrie a novel in 1974. Director Brian De Palma immediately picked Carrie up to be made into a movie featuring SissySpacek as Carrie White. Since then, King has been a powerhouse with new stories coming from the mind of horror’s most cherished author every single year, but how do they compare to one another?

Over his nearly 50 years of writing, King has authored over 200 short stories and novellas as well as 61 full-length novels. Carrie was his debut movie adaptation. It was however not his last. Stanley Kubrick created The Shining, starring Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson.

Movie adaptations of Stephen King books are released at the same frequency as his literary tales, with at least one making its debut every single year since 1980. There are currently 14 King stories in development and ready to be made into movies or series. King often collaborates with other authors; his screenplays have been written with Joe Hill, Locke & Key and NOS4A2 fame, as well as a novel he co-authored with Owen King.

With a reputation that can make King the ultimate king of literary terror, his name could become the last word in the history of the genre. King has written 61 novels, although some of his writings are collections of short stories, such as 2020’s If It Bleeds. King plans to publish his next full length story in 2021. It will be titled Later and published by the Hard Case Crime Company. Each of King’s novels are impeccable in their own right, but some are certainly better than others. Without further ado, here is every Stephen King novel excluding short story collections ranked from worst to best.

61. The Gunslinger (Dark Tower Book 1); The Gunslinger marks the beginning of King’s The Dark Tower trilogy. Roland Deschain was introduced in this novel. He is one of only a few remaining gunslingers and must navigate an amazing world full demons, monstrous animals, and many other creatures. This novel is not the worst in King’s bibliography, however it is still a good read. King is well known for his horror novels. The Gunslinger, however, is much more fantasy-oriented then anything King has done before the 1982 release. It was an entirely new genre for the author, which was also reflected in his writing.

best stephen king books

The 13 Best Stephen King Books To Horrify You Or Warm Your Heart

A list of Stephen King’s favorite songs can reveal a lot about people and their fears.

All products featured on Vanity Fair are independently selected by our editors. Affiliate commissions may apply to purchases made through retail links.

Ranking the best Stephen King books becomes a kind of Rorschach test. What people reveal as their favorites inevitably shows you something about who they are and what they fear most. It is the road map of our beliefs and values that we are most concerned with, as well as what scares us or worries us.

After four decades of publishing, King’s stories have been a rite of passage for generations. These stories are part of growing-up, so stealing from King’s books at a young age can feel like a brave and courageous act. The stories that were part of that coming-of-age tend to rank a little higher.

One of the challenges in quantifying King is the fact that both the best- and worst-performing are easy to predict. The Stand, It, as well as The Shining, are competing for the number one spot, alongside Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Batman. The clunky ones are also evident, even to King, who seems to hold his nose when Dreamcatcher or The Tommyknockers comes up.

The real debate over the Best of King begins once you move past those classic novels, his near-perfect memoir On Writing, and the serialized Dark Tower books, the best of which (The Drawing of the Three and The Waste Land) frankly feel inscrutable without the others. It’s important to forget about the collaborations he had with Peter Straub: The Talisman & Black House, Sleeping Beauties (with his son Owen King), and Gwendy’s Button Box w/ Richard Chizmar. The short story collections will also be removed, while the novellas are retained.

These ground rules may infuriate some Constant Readers, but I want to focus on the longer-form King tales, where his imagination runs so far away that we race to keep up despite the fear of what awaits the next page.

B&N Blogs

Children Teen Sci-fi and Fantasy B&N Reads search take a stand. A definitive ranking of every Stephen King novel ever Jeff Somers Stephen King has been called a literary legend. This is due to his a) creating a new genre, b) brilliant writing, and c) prolific output. Stephen King has written many brilliant novels, as well as short stories and essays. He also wrote a number of novels, including 51, which will be followed by 52.

Notice, however, that the phrase “some” was used up there. We would argue King never wrote a bad book, but there is a wide range between the excellent and the outstanding. Stephen King is not just a beloved author. But we enjoy reading them again, debating their merits, and comparing them. So without further ado, here’s our list of Stephen King books ranked starting with the ones we respect, and ending with the ones we adore. Note: King’s short stories collections have been ranked separately.

The Institute

Hardcover $23.99

King’s next novel is due out in September 2019, but it sounds like it has the potential to rank very highly on this list. The story involves a bizarre and dark institution in which “special” children are held captive. Luke Ellis is one of the children. His parents have been murdered. Mrs. Sigsby watches the children and is determined to discover the secret of harnessing their gifts. The Institute’s life is difficult but not as hard as the anxiety the kids have at the thought of “graduating” to the experimental’s “Back Half.” No one has ever been back. This one sounds just like King’s 1980s hit Firestarter, and It. The Institute will be our next stop.

$19.99 Add to Bag Add to Bag See All Formats & Editions > The Tommyknockers King has been open about his past drug abuse and other issues, and admits he wrote this book while high as a kite. It does. This is amazing. There’s an intriguing germ under all the self-pitying and heart-pounding self-loathing. It seems that alien artifacts including an entire spaceship are being compulsively discovered by people in a small community. The only word that fits the product is “hot chaos.”

Paperback $1.20, $1.50 All Formats & Editions> Rage A writer’s early work can be called juvenilia. King was the author of this novel. He later went on to publish it under the Bachman pseudonym. It’s about a teenager who takes hostage a school class and murders two teachers. However, this book pales in comparison to the rest. After a rash of shootings at schools, King pulled this book from distribution, and it’s hard to find these days and not worth chasing down, save out of curiosity or super-fandom.

Best Stephen King Books

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