Halloween might be behind us, but I like to think you can experience a little bit of horror year-round. I have never been a big fan of scary movies. Jump scares and ominous music stress me out, so I tend to avoid all horror movies and other related content. But over the last year or so, I have started to expand my horizons and try to explore the horror genre. I still don’t watch scary movies (I do watch spoiler videos on TikTok though), but I have started reading horror — mostly Stephen King books.
I decided to start reading King’s books because BookTok showed me a video about collecting his books. I enjoy reading but also enjoy collecting, so I was immediately interested in the video. I love finding fun editions or limited releases of books I like to keep in my collection. That’s why I own seven different copies of the first Harry Potter book. Once I learned about all the different editions of Stephen King’s books, I wanted to add some to my collection. I had also always had a desire to read one of his books so now seemed like a good time to start.
TikTok eventually started showing me other Stephen King-related videos, and all of a sudden, I was watching people rank their favorite books from his collection. His collection contains over 65 novels, so these rankings contain a lot of different books. I was able to learn a little about some of the plots, and I made a short list of ones I wanted to read.
But first, I had to get over my fear of scary things.
I did some research about the best way to start reading King’s books and decided to start at the beginning of his collection. Carrie was the first book he ever published, and I knew a lot of the plot, so it seemed like a book that wouldn’t make me want to sleep with the lights on.
The plot is easy to follow. It doesn’t lean toward the spooky side of horror but more toward the paranormal. It doesn’t rely on jump scares or ominous moments; King simply tells a story of a girl with powers and what happens to her because of these powers. It was a quick read, and it actually became one of my favorite books of his.
I really liked the idea of starting at the beginning of his collection, so I turned to the next two books he published as my next reads. Salem’s Lot, the second book he ever published, was a little more difficult to get through. It scared me at times (most of the time) so I would put it down for weeks at a time. If you’re looking for a book to give you the same feeling as a scary movie, this one is it! I didn’t know a book could have jump scares, but King was able to do it. This book is also being made into a movie, so if you like scary movies, this would be a good one to pick up. You could read it before it premieres and be ready for all the scary moments.
I took a little break after reading Salem’s Lot since I had such a hard time getting through it. Eventually, I jumped back in and picked up The Shining. If you’re looking for a classic horror novel to read and want to get into Stephen King, I can’t recommend this novel enough. It has the perfect balance of plot-driven story and scary elements. I found myself scared, but I didn’t need to sleep with the lights on (I’m looking at you, Salem’s Lot).
King was able to depict the main character’s descent into madness so well that at times I found myself rereading portions to make sure I was reading them right. You almost feel like you are going mad while you’re reading about this family at the Overlook Hotel. This book also has a movie to go with it so if you’re like me, you can read the book and watch the movie to see how good of an adaptation it is.
These are just three of Stephen King’s novels. There are so many books covering so many topics and types of horror that I am sure you can find one for you. I’ve barely made a dent in his collection, and my list of books I want to read is constantly growing. I am so glad I got over some of my fear of scary things because now I have a whole new genre of books I can read and enjoy. Now I get to extend some of the spooky feelings that come with Halloween to the rest of my year!