300 million copies sold worldwide are proof that Stephen King is the most famous author of horror books on the scene today, although his career dates back to the 1970s, when he published his first novels.
A reference to written horror, King’s work is popular for knowing how to masterfully manage the elements of the genre, among which stand out, due to their recurrent use, the childhood traumas of its protagonists, the obsessions and fears that condition their existence without letting them advance and the confrontation with the personal demons of each one.
- You can also read: 14 Stephen King movies (based on his books).
20 books by Stephen King that you have to read
Stephen King has more than 50 novels published in different languages, but we have selected 20 that deserve a special mention, both for their plot and for also being among the most acclaimed by critics and the public:
20 The store (1991)
A peculiar character arrives in a town called X to open his own business. The peculiarity of this new store is that it has everything its inhabitants need , as rare as it may be. The problem is that the owner will demand a very high payment for his products.
19. 11/22/1963 (2011)
An English teacher must travel to the past, to the date indicated in the title, to try to prevent the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Unfortunately for him, someone tried to stop him.
- Perhaps you may be interested: Truman Capote: the writer who empathized with the murderers.
18. A Bag of Bones (1998)
A moving narrative about a man devoted to his late wife. To try to cope with the loss of him, Mike Noonan seeks refuge in the country house where the couple used to go on vacation. However, his depression and his nightmares do not leave him ; to which he will have to add strange ghostly visions.
17. Cujo (1981)
The furry protagonist of this novel is Cujo, an adorable Saint Bernard dog . After being bitten by a bat that transmits his rabies, Cujo becomes aggressive and will become a locomotive capable of taking the lives of those who are needed.
16. Eyes of Fire (1980)
A girl develops pyrokinetic powers thanks to an experiment her parents underwent before she was born. The secret organization of the United States government that carried them out, intends to use them as secret weapons, without knowing the small’s potential for destruction.
15. Hex (1984)
A lawyer without too many scruples is the victim of a gypsy curse. From that moment, he will begin a drastic loss of kilos and will become thinner and thinner ; so he must find a way to break the curse.
14. Christine (1983)
This is the name given to a 1950s Plymouth Fury that is gathering dust and rusting in the backyard of a curmudgeonly old man’s house untilArnie, the most unpopular young man in his high school , becomes obsessed with the vehicle and decides to get hold of it by all means, despite the opposition of his parents.
After acquiring Christine, Arnie’s behavior begins to change and he becomes more arrogant. In turn, it seems that the car is capable of coming to life , circulating without the need to have anyone behind the wheel; and has decided to go against those who one day made life impossible for Arnie.
13. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
This is a short but intense novel, whose premise is as simple as it is attractive: a girl, a great fan of baseball star Tom Gordon, gets lost in the woods. ButThe little girl is calm, because she has her radio set through which she listens to the game that her idol is playing . Unbeknownst to her, she is being stalked by an evil force and the radio that accompanies her will be her only hope of surviving from it.
12. Everything is eventual (2004)
In addition to long stories, Stephen King also has books in which he collects short stories, many of which manage to immerse the reader over a few pages in narratives that make the hair stand on end.
Some titles that are included in Everything is eventual and that we highlight: Autopsy room number 4, The man in the gray suit, The virus of the highway travels north, Lunch at the Gotham cafe or Mounted on the bullet.
11. Death Row (1996)
Also known as The Green Mile, this is one of Stephen King’s titles that abandons terror in favor of a more dramatic narrative, although without completely discarding a certain supernatural component.
John Coffey is a gigantic African-American man with a strange gift and a slight mental disability who is imprisoned accused of the terrible murder of two twin sisters. In prison, the officials, led by Paul Edgecomb, will be surprised by John’s behavior, which contrasts with that of the rest of the inmates and will serve to show them that he is a man with a kind personality.
10. Animal Graveyard (1983)
When the Creeds’ cat is run over, the family’s youngest daughter is devastated. Her father, Dr. Creed, knows that not far from the house where they have settled there is an animal cemetery. However, he has also heard mention that behind this place there is an ancient Indian cemetery that, according to legend, can bring whoever is buried there back to life. What will happen if you bury your pet there
As a curiosity, the punk-rock group The Ramones composed the song Pet Sematary for the adaptation of the novel to film.
9. The Dark Tower (1982 – 2012)
Stephen King also has this literary saga that began in the eighties. The Dark Tower is a compendium of genres (especially western, science fiction and fantasy) that tells how in an alternate world, a lone character tries to reach this building , located somewhere in a desolate wasteland, before the Forces of Evil get her first.
For the most fanatical of King’s work, The Dark Tower includes references that connect the literary saga with others in his individual titles. Finding out what the connections are and with which books by the author is almost an art.
8. The threshold of the night (1978)
We are facing another compilation of short stories, each one more terrifying than the previous one. Night’s Threshold is King’s first novel in which he collects short stories; specifically 20, among which we can highlight: The Mysteries of the Worm, Night Tide, The Man with the Lawnmower or The Boys of the Corn.
A word of warning: You don’t want to turn off the light before you go to sleep if you read some of them.
7. Carrie (1974)
One of King’s first works and also one of the most successful. Carrie tells how a young teenager discovers that she has telekinetic powers, while she is harassed and humiliated by her high school classmates. Unfortunately, she does not find the peace that she needs in her house, due to a mother who tries to instill a strict religious education in her and tries to prevent her from the sinful outside world.
6. The Dead Zone (1979)
This is one of Stephen King’s novels with fewer pages, and yet it is one of the most exciting. In the dead zone, a man awakens from a four-year coma with the ability to predict the future. This new gift for clairvoyance makes him realize that he must assassinate the future president of the United States if he is to prevent a global tragedy.
5. The Shining (1977)
The Torrance family moves to spend the winter at the Overlook Hotel, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, to care for the building and see that it is ready for the high season. There, Jack, the patriarch, hopes to find the lost inspiration to finish his new novel. What the Torrances don’t know is that a former worker murdered his family years ago and then killed himself , suffering from a sudden attack of madness.
Stephen King based himself on his experience at Hotel I Can’t Remember to write The Shining, after going through a crisis of creativity that prevented him from writing.
4. Apocalypse / The Dance of Death (1978 / 1990)
After a deadly virus has devastated much of the planet’s population, the remaining survivors are grouped into two groups after dreaming of Mama Abigail, a venerable old woman who encourages them to embark on a journey to Nebraska to fight for Good against an evil character; or dream of Randall Flagg, the archenemy of Mama Abigail and leader of the forces of Evil, who has set out to end the rest of human life.
First published as The Dance of Death (1978), the writer decided to expand this first version with more pages and details about its intricate plot , which he ended up naming Apocalypse, the name by which the work is known.
3. Misery (1987)
We commented at the beginning that one of the central themes in Stephen King’s work is obsessions, something that the writer portrays especially in this novel. The writer Paul Sheldon has culminated his literary saga on Misery Chastain by having his main heroine die in the last volume. With this, he hopes to be able to retire from writing.
When he returns to the city in his car through a snowy mountain road, he suffers an accident that leaves both his legs broken and almost kills him. Fortunately or unluckily for him, his rescuer is Annie Wilkes, a sick woman fascinated with his work and her main character , who welcomes him in her cabin located in a remote wooded area. The problem is that this woman did not like the way Paul has decided to end his series…
2. The mystery of Salem’s Lot (1975)
A dark and very interesting proposal about a small town in which there begin to be inexplicable disappearances of children, coinciding with the arrival of two strange characters who have settled to live in the decrepit house in the top of the hill that crowns the town.
At the same time, best-selling writer Ben Mears returns to Salem’s Lot to try and confront his personal ghosts. There, he spent his childhood and lived an unpleasant experience that left a mark on him when he was little.
- Perhaps you may be interested: The 5 best Edgar Allan Poe stories and their impact.
1. It (1986)
One of King’s magnum opuses, not only because of its number of pages (1,500), but because of the complexity of the plot, which becomes more convoluted as it progresses.
In a town called Derry, the mutilated bodies of several boys and girls whose trace had been lost for months begin to appear. Nobody knows what is happening, but a group of children, one of whom is the brother of one of the victims, think they know who or what is behind these murders: a creature that takes the form of a clown.