Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stephen King Reviews

I've previously featured a series of mini-reviews for books I've read by John Grisham and James Patterson.  They didn't comprise every single book by those authors, but nonetheless provided an overview of many popular ones.  And now for something not completely different :D

With the Stephen King challenge underway (1 down, 5 to go so far for my current challenge level of participation) and having a few backlog reviews of Stephen King books to write, I've decided to post some mini-reviews here collectively.  Links to previously written reviews of King books are available as well.  Books are organized chronologically by publication date.  Enjoy!

Review (A+)

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1977
Length:  464 pages
ISBN:  0451193881
Genre:  Horror

Start Date:  Sometime in 2003-4
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2003-4

Where Found:  Sears book sale
Why:  Stephen King!

Summary:  A recovering alcoholic writer with a short fuse brings his wife and young son, who has seizures and unrealized ethereal visions, to an isolated mountain hotel where he soon develops cabin fever and mayhem ensues.


Lots of suspenseful buildup leading to a series of haunting, climactic scenes.  Up there with Carrie as King's scariest, most well-written novel.  The 1980 Stanley Kubrick-directed movie with a brilliant, unconventional performance by Jack Nicholson had a different ending than the book but was just as skin-crawling.

Rank:  (A+)- A must-read! One of King’s best

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Published:  1979
Pages:  402
ISBN:  045155750
Genre:  Horror

Start Date:  Sometime in 2005-6
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2005-6

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  Stephen King!

Summary:  Awakened from a 5-year coma, John Smith develops a sixth sense that allows him to see futuristic consequences often stemming from people’s dirty secrets, including a murder in the area, a tragic accident in the making, and a crooked politician with Presidential ambitions.


With this novel, King took a break from the all-out gore of his previous work to explore ESP, an offshoot theme from Carrie, in more of a science-fiction vein.  Not that The Dead Zone is completely exempt from horror scenes, but is more about human intent & the possible outcomes stemming from these intentions, visible through a scary "gift" that could spell tragedy.  A terrific David Cronenberg movie adaptation with Christopher Walken was made, as was a TV series running from 2002-7 with Anthony Michael Hall.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Review (A+)

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1996 (originally in serial form)
Length:  536 pages
ISBN:  0671041789
Genre:  Mystery/Fantasy

Start Date:  Sometime in 2006-7
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2006-7

Where Found:  Originally an X-mas gift for my dad, it found its way back to me
Why Read:  Stephen King!

Summary:  A retired prison guard recalls the summer of 1932 on death row with an ensemble including a giant inmate capable of healing powers, a group of murderous (some remorseful) prisoners, a cocky, masochistic guard with political connections, and the commissioner’s wife dying from an inoperable brain tumour.


This book is fantastical, horrific, dark, and beautiful all at once.  The ensemble cast of characters provides a multitude of storylines that somehow intertwine seamlessly.  At times there is even comic relief to ease the deep exploration of difficult themes, such as capital punishment, human healing, and longevity.  The 1999 movie starred a phenomenal ensemble:  Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Harry Dean Stanton.  King publicly stated that the movie is a vast improvement over his novel, and while I do feel that the movie greatly enhances many aspects of the novel, there is a special quality that makes it one of my all-time favourite books.

Rank:  (A+)- One of my all-time favourite novels

Review (A+)

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2006
Length:  355 pages
ISBN:  0743292332
Genre:  Sci-Fi/Horror

Start Date:  Sometime in 2008-9
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2008-9

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  Stephen King’s latest (at the time)

Summary:  A graphic artist, accompanied by a diminutive sidekick and two young children, attempts to reunite with his son in the midst of a widespread virus transmitted via cell phone signals that cause users to morph into zombies.


I remember snagging a copy of this very shortly after it came out in paperback, and while it was an exciting, suspensful read, reminiscient of George A. Romero zombie movies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc.), it came across as a Stephen King knockoff rather than an original King novel.  I also felt that the ending was a bit inconclusive.  It's worth reading, but hopefully anyone reading this novel as their first by King won't expect this to be any kind of benchmark, and any fan of King's will like it but probably won't be bowled over by it.

Rank:  (B)- Good, Recommend, just not his best

Review (A)

Review (A)

Review (A)


  1. I really enjoy the few that I've read by him. The Shining was great as well as the Stand. Definitely need to read more..The Dead Zone sounds interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I have not read a single book by this author. Thanks for the review. I think I will pick up 'The Shining' as my first one. Hope I find it at our Used bookstore!

  3. I have Under the Dome sitting here on my shelf waiting on me to read a few other authors first. I'm afraid I'll never read any of the wonderful novels out there if I don't make myself wait to read a King book :)

    I just fall in love with all his characters, even the bad ones. I've got my daughter reading The Shining now.

  4. I also loved "The Green Mile' and "The Shining". I didn't like "Carrie" as much as you did.

    My all-time favourite King is 'Misery'. Have you read that one?

  5. I loved The Green Mile, Carrie, and The Shining. I also enjoyed their movie adaptations actually. I didn't like Under the Dome very much though. And I have to agree Cell is good, but not King's best.

  6. I love when you do this for an author. It gives me a great idea of where to start with their work or what to read next. I've only read Different Seasons, Carrie and On Writing. I think I'll have to try Green Mile next.