When I was in 6th grade, my teacher did something that probably could’ve gotten her fired if enough parents freaked out. She, after finding the book in our book alcove, challenged those willing to read Stephen King’s The Stand within the final three weeks of the school year. In case you didn’t notice, I’m a competitive kiss-ass/book nerd, so naturally my hand shot up. Due to parents more concerned than mine finding out, the only other kid who wanted to try it as well had to drop out of our little competition, leaving me alone at the starting gate.
So began my initiation into the world and works of Stephen King. The first cuss word I ever read in a book was in The Stand’s introduction, and it was some colorful phrase involving “motherfucker”. The book was the dirtiest, most graphic, violent book I’ve read to this day. And (not counting The Bible) at around 2,000 pages, is the longest book I’ve ever read.
I wasn’t sure how to feel when I was done (within two weeks, booyah), but I knew I wasn’t done with this author. Since then I’ve read Desperation, It, Rose Madder, Carrie, The Dark Half, Cujo, The Tommyknockers, Insomnia, the personally vital On Writing and I’m currently working on/will be yammering about a more recent one, titled Under the Dome. (P.S. I like Wikipedia.) Not sure why I haven’t read The Shining, but it’ll happen. I’ve also never touched the Dark Tower series, mostly because I seem to have every book in the set (garage sale find) except book 1 in my possession.
People have actually made fun of me for considering myself serious about English and listing King as one of my favorite authors. Of course, these are the people who have never read King’s work and so compare it to teen slasher films. I think Stephen King is a genius, and y’all are missing out.
His books usually take place somewhere in Maine and the characters are as human as it gets. Except when they’re not, of course. Even though his novels usually have something otherworldly going on, one realistic/exciting element is that people and places from different books sometimes bump into one another or are mentioned in passing, as if they’re real! But forget for a moment the (awesome, always somewhat gruesome) plot, I still don’t understand how he can think up and develop so many characters. So. Many. And the theme is rarely grandiose and the speech is always in vernacular. What can I say? I love the man. Look at me! I’m so rich!