15 December 2013

my Stephen King library

Title Published Audio
Book
Book Film
(IMDB
Rating)
Carrie Apr-74    
Salem's Lot Oct-75    
6.6
The Shining Jan-77    
8.5
Rage Sep-77    
Night Shift (20 short stories) Feb-78  
The Stand Sep-78  
 
7.1
The Long Walk Jul-79    
The Dead Zone Aug-79    
Firestarter Sep-80  
Roadwork Mar-81    
Danse Macabre Apr-81    
Cujo Sep-81  
 
5.9
The Running Man May-82    
Different Seasons: Apt Pupil Aug-82    
Different Seasons: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redeption Aug-82    
9.3
Different Seasons: The Body (aka Stand By Me) Aug-82    
8.1
Different Seasons: The Breathing Method Aug-82    
Christine Apr-83    
6.5
Cycle of the Werewolf Nov-83  
Pet Sematary Nov-83    
Thinner Nov-84    
Skeleton Crew (22 short stories) Jun-85  
IT Sep-86    
6.8
Misery Jun-87  
 
7.8
The Tommyknockers Nov-87    
The Dark Half Oct-89    
Four Past Midnight: 1 The Langoliers Sep-90
 
5.9
Four Past Midnight: 2 Secret Window Secret Garden Sep-90    
6.5
Four Past Midnight: 3 The Library Policeman Sep-90  
Four Past Midnight: 4 The Sun Dog Sep-90  
Needful Things Oct-91    
Geralds Game May-92    
Dolores Claiborne Nov-92    
7.2
Nightmares & Dreamscapes (24 short stories) Sep-93  
Insomnia Sep-94    
Rose Madder Jun-95    
Desperation Sep-96    
5.2
The Regulators Sep-96  
Green Mile, The Aug-98  
8.5
Bag of Bones Sep-98  
5.7
Storm of the Century [SCREENPLAY] Feb-99
7.2
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Apr-99    
Hearts in Atlantis: 1 Low Men in Yellow Coats Sep-99    
Hearts in Atlantis: 2 Hearts in Atlantis Sep-99    
6.8
Hearts in Atlantis: 3 Bind Willie Sep-99    
Hearts in Atlantis: 4 Why We're in Vietnam Sep-99    
Hearts in Atlantis: 5 Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling Sep-99    
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Oct-00    
Dreamcatcher Mar-01  
5.4
Everything's Eventual (14 short stories) Mar-02
From a Buick 8 Sep-02
The Gunslinger Jul-03  
The Colorado Kid Oct-05  
Cell Jan-06
Lisey's Story Jan-06  
Blaze Jun-07  
Duma Key Jan-08    
Just After Sunset (13 short stories) Nov-08    
The Gingerbread Girl Nov-08  
UR Feb-09  
Under the Dome Nov-09    
Blockade Billy Apr-10  
Full Dark No Stars: 1922 Nov-10    
Full Dark No Stars: A Good Marriage Nov-10    
Full Dark No Stars: Big Driver Nov-10    
Full Dark No Stars: Fair Extension Nov-10    
Mile 81 Sep-11
11/22/63 Nov-11  
The Wind Through the Keyhole Feb-12  
Joyland Apr-13  
Doctor Sleep Sep-13  
Mr. Mercedes Jun-14

My name is Paul and I am a Stephen King fan. (There. It's out!) And this is my story...
 
I started reading Stephen King the year I left school (1976) and he immediately became my new author of choice. I went on to hungrily devour each new book, my enthusiasm only waning as the end of the century loomed. Odd really, because at the time I missed out on his acclaimed book on the craft of writing, only receiving it years later as a gift.
 
Stephen King is often dismissed as a "horror" writer, catering to the market for cheap thrills. How woefully wrong. Yes he made his name writing scary fiction, lending new slants on the supernatural, the paranormal and the gory, but his body of work contains so much more. Starting with 'Hearts in Atlantis' and before that to a degree, notably in 'The Green Mile', SK's stories, and he is at core a storyteller, shifted subtlely toward the mainstream. Examine his novels with a critical eye on subsequent readings and many themes, metaphors and motifs emerge. Consider his seemingly effortlessly chosen names, then consider their symbolism.
 
He has always had a knack for bringing his characters to life, and making you root for them. Now that his premises are closer to reality I find myself caring even more. Lisey's Story is entirely character driven, Duma Key is too, although the latter suffers from a recurring difficulty, that slightly unsatisfying ending.
 
This isn't meant to be a critique of his work or even a reminder of his real literary status (I'm sure to address both those issues in due course) but an acknowledgement by me that King remains the single biggest influence on my own writing. His masterly turn of phrase, his vivid creation of scenes, his realistic dialogue and his unswerving accuracy concerning human nature are the reasons why he occupies substantial shelf space with me, figuratively and literally.
 
My chart above lists the novels, novellas and collected short stories and indicates whether I have the book, the audio book, the film, or indeed all three. I have excluded his fantasy work, a genre which just doesn't float my boat. The blue annotations in the book column indicate that I recently gave my copies to my eldest son. If I have the film I've shown the IMDB rating, which confirms that Stephen King seldom translates well to the big screen. Outstanding exceptions are of course Shawshank (No. 1 on IMDB), The Green Mile and The Shining.
 
In later years I have been absorbing most literature on audio book and have been steadily re-collecting Stephen King in that format. I now have most of his novels on audio book and am working on plugging the few remaining gaps in my list. The results easily rip to mp3 and are available for my iPod for going-to-sleep listening. Tonight on the pillow I will be returning to the very beginning.
 
Some  early recordings are out of production, but serviceable copies can be found on YouTube. I downloaded them, converted them to mp3, chopped the whopping files into convenient hour long chunks (hundreds of them), cleaned them up significantly using Audacity (to remove tape hiss, echo, clicks, pops and occasional sweet reminders of analogue days - "this ends side fifteen. Insert cassette eight to continue")!

3 comments:

Russell Duffy said...

Hi, my name is Russell and when I grow up I want to know as much as you do about this great American author. Unlike you I don't have half as many of his books although I do have the casebound copy of the Richard Bachman books, you know the one where he makes mention of his writing incognito and then comparing that to the Beatles turning up to a gig as Ruddy and the red Noses but as soon as George played the first note you'd know it was them. same with him. rage (my all time favourite King story) is like that. It is also remarkable in the way he defies convention and write a chapter that is in fact a sentence or paragraph but which has the same impact as if he'd written 6,000 words.
As I say, I have less than half your collection and gave up reading the man just after 'the Green Mile' series. Anyway, good stuff.

Perfect Virgo said...

Russell - so, a reformed addict. Welcome to the rooms! I stopped after Hearts in Atlantis even though I rate that very highly. It's only in the last couple of years that I have gone back to mop up the publications since then.

Yes, his novels as Bachman, though different, are easy to attribute to King after the fact. I do remember the Beatles reference. It now appears in his foreword which accompanies every single Bachman reissue.

Rage has long been withdrawn at King's request, for obvious reasons, but at least I have an audio copy which is great. I've just finished Apt Pupil which I missed at the time and it's stunning. The boy who uncovers a Nazi war criminal with unexpected consequences.

Russell Duffy said...

Sad about Rage although completely understandable. Odd how those whose evil acts are allowed to warp and twist our creativity. We rightly condemn them and yet have to bend to their vile acts by consequence. Gives them some warped sense of victory
Still, as I said, understandable. King is one of the greats of American lit.