I read a Stephen King novel every Halloween. And I have for the past five years. It’s a tradition that started out when I was first getting back into reading a lot. I remembered enjoying Stephen King when I was younger (particularly The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon) and, since I am definitely a seasonal mood reader, I thought it would be an ideal author to pick up for the spooky season. And it just became a tradition. I thought it would be fun to look back on the past five years of Stephen King Halloween reads before I jump into this year’s book (I am being overly-ambitious and reading It – which I have actually read before, but I was twelve and immediately blocked out everything).
2014 – Full Dark, No Stars
The book that started this tradition. This is a collection of four stories (three of which have been adapted into films or TV shows – Big Driver, 1922, and A Good Marriage). All of the stories in this book are just so creepy in different ways. And that’s one of the things I love about King – he can make you deeply uncomfortable and completely terrified (and, as another book on this list can attest, he can also make you cry). I just really enjoyed this short story collection, and I would definitely reread it.
2015 – The Shining
Here’s where we get controversial: in general, I tend to like King’s more famous novels the least, and The Shining is no exception (I also read Carrie a few months later and didn’t love that one, either). I don’t know, maybe it’s because it’s just so prevalent in pop culture, but this just felt meh for me. And it wasn’t because the movie spoiled it, because I still haven’t watched that in full, either (go ahead and judge me, I’ll watch it someday, just not now).
2016 – Misery
Here’s a book I had already seen the adaptation of and loved. Seriously, Kathy Bates and James Caan are ICONIC. And the book did not disappoint. This is definitely one of my favorites on this list, and probably one of my top three King novels in general. It’s just such a creepy novel. As I read more non-King thrillers, I’m learning that I enjoy scary stories that have more of a psychological element, and this book definitely does. Five out of five stars. Would read again.
2017 – The Dark Half
This year, I definitely had trouble choosing which book to read, so I decided to just go with whichever book King had published the year I was born. And The Dark Half came out in 1989 (yes, I was born the same year as Taylor Swift, and yes, I’m still annoyed she tried to copyright my birth year – I was born first!) so that’s what I read. And I actually really liked it! It’s about a writer who kills off his most famous character so he can move on in his career. But that character isn’t exactly happy about it, and tries to take revenge. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a lesser-known King to read.
2018 – The Dead Zone (and The Green Mile)
This was a weird year, because my official Halloween read was The Dead Zone. And I should have known I wouldn’t love it, because it was recommended by someone I don’t like. It took me forever to get through it, and I ended up finishing it in November. It wasn’t bad, but it’s probably my least favorite on this list. BUT, I did end up reading another King in October: The Green Mile. So it kind of counts, right? It’s one of the very first books I purchased when I got my driver’s license (so it’s been on my shelves for a while) and I’m so glad I got around to reading it, because I loved it! I mean, I knew I would because I’ve seen the movie multiple times. But it’s just so good. I mean, only Stephen King could write a horror novel that would make me cry over a fictional mouse.
It was so much fun to look back on the Stephen King novels I’ve read in the past five years, especially as I get ready to start It – which will hopefully happen before this is posted. I really enjoy reading Stephen King, especially around Halloween, and I can’t wait to read more. This is definitely a reading tradition I have no intention of stopping.
What’s your favorite Stephen King novel? Which one do you think I should read next?