I love old school Stephen King. The Stand, Firestarter, Needful Things, The Dead Zone, Cujo, and etc. The Stand is my all time favorite. The detail and intricate way he interweaves all of the characters makes this novel highly believable, and that's what I love about it. Reading books is kind of like visiting friends. Sometimes you just think "Wow. It's been a long time since I've talked to so and so," and then you drop in for a visit. I've probably "revisited" The Stand ten or twelve times.
Also my favorite author. I'm returning to a few books I haven't read in forever, including The Colorado Kid, Firestarter, and The Tommyknockers. I read my first King book at age 10. I read It, and was terrified for the rest of my life. Probably shouldn't have read it when I was 10, but I'm glad I did. I read everything I could get my hands on after that, and I've never stopped! I've studied and taught literature all my life, but I keep returning to King. His grasp of human nature, and his ability to apply that beyond the bounds of everyday life astonishes me. I also find it sad every time one of his stories is ruined by the film version....ugh. Some notable exceptions of course: The Shining, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and Stand by Me (based on the short story "The Body"). Yes, he's written some less-than-great stories...Dreamcatcher and Cell come to mind. But his most recent, Under the Dome, was an incredibly scary look at what might happen if a present-day town was cut off from all outside influence. Considering the ever-escalating sense of radicalism in the country today, I think he absolutely nailed reality on this one. And of course, there's some supernatural elements thrown in.
I truly think that The Dark Tower series is a contemporary American epic, stretching the bounds of meta-fiction in unimagined ways. I can remember waiting years in between the 3rd and 4th books, and the 4th and 5th books, imagining what could possibly come next. There's something about a non-linear narrative that maintains a sense of groundedness while traversing worlds-Each time I come to the end of the series, I feel myself once again transformed. I hope to one day write a paper on it...but I'm not sure academia would accept Stephen King yet. Perhaps someday....For now, I have to content myself with re-reading the books, and admiring my Dark Tower inspired tattoos. All in all, I believe his talent is underestimated. Yes, he's probably the best selling author in the world, but most people turn their nose at him. They see him as a peddler of cheap frights. Or, they're turned off by the violence and horror evident in his writing. Valid points. But read a novel like Lisey's Story, and you'll witness his versatility and the simple beauty of his prose. Suffice to say, the man can weave a tale.
One last note...I really learned a lot by reading Stephen King. It sounds weird, I know, but much of my pop-culture knowledge and some of my vocabulary directly results from his works. I know I never heard the word "talisman" until I read his and Straub's (another amazing author in his own right) novel....probably at age 12 or so. I know reading King at such a young age would shock some (it kind of shocks me, looking back), but I am a well-adjusted, happy, contributing member of society. I promise! His writing was and is a core foundation for my love of literature.
I can't read Stephen King's fiction - not a horror fan - but I LOVED On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I found it to be one of my favorite books about writing. (It almost made me interested in reading his fiction.) He has a deep, dark, twisted, brilliant mind.
I just finished the Colorado Kid. It was not very long at all and I wish that the story had kept going. It was a murder mystery told through two elder journalists to their newly hired colleague. It’s a really interesting story, but seemed to stray from the typical Stephen King story. If you wat to beat yourself up over tons of possiblities and an impossible death, then this is definatly the book for you!