Thursday, 18 June 2020

Top Tens: Jake from Sunliner's Top Ten Stephen King Books


Hi! I’m Jake from SUNLINER. We just released our new EP ‘Structure/Average At Best’ on Lockjaw Records and Paper + Plastick Records. I have read far too many Stephen King books, here are my top 10 – enjoy!

1. 11/22/63

This was my ‘Desert Island’ book and one of the few books I’ve read more than once – SK’s time travel, political romp is one of my favourite books ever. In this he does what he does best and entwines ‘small town’ America with a big overarching plot AND lands the ending. The attention to detail of late 60s, early 70s America is incredible and, honestly, I could’ve even just stayed reading about Jake (the character, not me) being a teacher in the small town ‘Jodie’ for 700 pages. I read it just after my parents got me the first 8 Bob Dylan albums in mono for Christmas, and read the entire book listening to them – the perfect soundtrack to a perfect book, I’d recommend it!

2. The Shining

This is a really close second as it was the book that got me back into reading again. I got it in the first few months of my first year of Uni when I was having a really shit time and needed some escapism, I sat in my room for 2 days reading and making cups of tea when it got too scary and I needed a break. It kick started my love of reading again and, in turn, my love of Stephen King. If you’ve only ever watched the film, I really, really recommend reading the book as the film misses some of the book’s best scenes and the character development of Jack Torrance, who the film and Jack Nicholson make crazy from the get-go.

3. Misery

The weird thing about ‘Misery’ is that when you start reading you really don’t care about the book the in-story is writing, and by the end of it you’re just as interested in ‘Misery’s Return’ as the story itself. It’s intense and claustrophobic and genuinely great, more of a ‘thriller’ than a lot of his work and I think I’ve just convinced myself to reread it.

4. IT

IT is an everything book. It’s a horror, a comedy, a thriller and a coming of age book all in one. The character development throughout is incredible and, as much as I actually quite liked the recent adaptation, the films will just never be able to recreate that as well as a 1000+ page book can. It’s so much more than just a book about a clown.

5. The Stand

I took The Stand everywhere with me for months. I think it went on about 3 tours with me, went to my jobs, on holiday, to visit friends, it was just in my bag for ages. My copy is absolutely knackered. I’ve always been a slow reader and this is a maaaassive book that spans a whole bunch of time and a whole host of characters and stories. It’s a post-apocalyptic epic tale of good vs evil and isn’t shy of killing off your favourite characters.

6. Joyland

This is a short book published by ‘Hard Case Crime’ (opposed to his usual Scribner). I love this book. It’s a coming of age style story set in the early 70s of an early 20s student working at theme park during the summer break. It has some classic King supernatural ideas, but is far more about the story and the characters. Like Jake in 11/22/63, I could’ve just read about Devin’s summer there day by day. It’s the sorta of book that makes you feel like you’ve lost a friend once you finished it.

7. Under The Dome

Under The Dome got made into a dreadful TV show. Don’t be put off by how shit that was, the book is an awesome mix of Breaking Bad craziness and Gilmore Girls small town politics and goings on. The ending is a bit of cop out, but it’s totally worth the read for the journey. You’ll be invested in the town, trust me!

8. Pet Semetary

Another SK book with an awful adaptation. I put off reading this for ages because I thought it sounds stupid. Well, I was wrong. Probably one of SK’s scariest/most disturbing books, it has an eerie feel to the whole thing, I recommend reading at night or when it’s pissing down and grey outside for the best experience.

9. The Outsider

One of the most recent books in this list, I think two thirds of this book is some of the most effective and best things SK has ever written. The final third is still good but is far more regular King fare and therefore feels a bit King-by-numbers. Still great though, you’ll be hooked.

10. Revival

Revival is just loads of fun – a proper airport or holiday book, with classic Frankenstein-esque overtones. It’s cheesy and you can tell King had a bunch of fun writing this. And, well, I enjoyed reading it.

I chose to leave out short stories for this but a shout out to – Rita Haworth and The Shawshank Redemption, An Apt Pupil and The Body!

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