There’s more to Stephen King than Horror

Oh boy. After reading many of yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday posts, I feel the need to speak up for one of my favorite authors – Stephen King. Now I’ve heard people complain before about his works – those who have actually read some of them – he’s too verbose, people don’t like his writing style, etc. That’s okay, we don’t all enjoy the same authors. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But yesterday, here’s what I saw floating around on some of the TTT’s (not an exact quote from anyone, but just a general consensus from some lists):

I will never read anything by Stephen King because I don’t like horror.

I will never read anything by Stephen King because I don’t like horror.

Wait. Really?

I get the not liking horror part. But to say you’ll never read anything by Stephen King? When you’ve never given him a chance? I know he is known as the master of horror, but don’t people know he writes other stuff too? Specifically, stuff that is non-horror? He is a wonderful storyteller. For example:

  • 11/22/63


    One of my absolute, favorite books I’ve read is 11/22/63. Where Jake finds a wormhole to the past (1958) and must live there for five years in an attempt to prevent John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on that fateful day in November 1963. You start out thinking it’s a book about time travel and changing history. (Which it is, don’t get me wrong.) But really it becomes a book about living life.

  • How about The Eyes of the Dragon? This was my first Stephen King book. My dad was reading Mr. King’s horror novels and I was still a bit too young for them. My mom brought home his newly published The Eyes of the Dragon, which is actually a fantasy book he wrote for his daughter to read.
  • Have you ever seen the movie Stand By Me? What about The Shawshank Redemption? (If not, go watch them right now. I’ll wait.) Those fabulous films are both based on novellas from his Different Seasons collection.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

  • I have several unread Stephen King books sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me to pick them up and start them. One of them is definitely horror (Dr. Sleep). One of them is epic, and is probably horror – frankly I’m not sure (Under the Dome). But the other two?
    • Joyland, which my husband just finished. He assured me it is not horror.
    • Mr. Mercedes, which is Mr. King’s foray into the world of mystery. His first detective novel. You know me and mysteries – this will be the next Stephen King that I pick up.

Stephen King can also be funny. One of my favorite pieces from him is this article he wrote for EW a few years ago: Stephen King’s Guide to Movie Snacks.

I know you’ve heard the phrase don’t judge a book by it’s cover. For those of you refusing to read anything by Mr. King, I ask you don’t judge an author by his horror. I know not every author is a match for everyone, but at least give one of his non-horror’s a chance. If he’s not your cuppa, that’s okay. But you might just find that, in fact, he is.

26 thoughts on “There’s more to Stephen King than Horror

  1. I’ve actually never read any of Stephen King’s work, but I do often associate him with horror, a genre I don’t particularly care for. I was going to give him a chance anyway though. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to be upfront here – I am not a fan of Mr. King. I just don’t like the way he writes. There’s something about his actual style that I can’t get down with. However, I have to admit The Eye of the Dragon was excellent. I’ve actually read it twice.
    The Stand almost made my never read list. Not because of the genre but because of the size. I’m not an e-reader, and this book is so physically heavy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I totally get that Stephen King isn’t for everyone. (Is there any author who is? I could argue for J.K. Rowling, but I’m sure there are people out there somewhere who don’t like her either.)

      I don’t mind a long tome, but I know others just don’t have time to invest in huge books. This is the reason I haven’t yet started Under the Dome, that thing is massive!


  3. I’m actually really glad that you educated me on this. I only knew Stephen King from his horror books and because of that didn’t look much further into what books he’s written. Now that I know, I’ll definitely be trying some of his other books. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll be honest, it’s not the horror that put me off King – it’s the tedium of his writing style. Maybe I picked the wrong books to try, but I swore an oath after struggling through Revival that I’d never read another. But I do agree he’s clearly one of these authors that divides people, so always best to try for oneself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! I have not read Revival. I have heard complaints about his writing style from others as well. You either like it or you don’t. A lot of what he says really resonates with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love Stephen King. He’s an extremely versatile writer. Even when he writes horror, its less about “the thing in the sewer” and more about the people and their issues/interactions/pasts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he has excellent characters. I haven’t read Tom Gordon, I will have to check that one out. Thanks!! If you haven’t read 11/22/63, give it a try. It is so wonderful. It’s long but worth the read.


  6. I am one of the people that put him on my list. I was not aware that he wrote non-horror books! I own two of his books including Dr. Sleep and Under The Dome and I was thinking I might pick them up but for me, I put him on my life not to bash him as an author but because I don’t think I would in the end get to any of his books! It’s good to hear someone speak out about this, because i may think of picking up one of his non-horror books or maybe even one of the ones I own! (when I stop being a scaredy cat).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Sleep is definitely horror – that is The Shining Part 2. Some of his books are ENORMOUS and it is daunting to try and find time to start them. And he has one series (Dark Tower) which he has been writing slowly for like 25 years and he still hasn’t concluded it yet. (I haven’t read that one.) I would start with one of his novellas. They are short and then you can get a taste for his writing. Shawshank and The Body (Stand By Me) are great. I also think he wrote The Green Mile which became a film with Tom Hanks.

      Thanks for putting him on your list. 🙂 It helped me think of writing this post. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome post. I feel the same way when people dismiss Stephen King as just a horror writer. I love his writing (horror and otherwise) and although I read most of his works years ago and and have not yet read some of his later output, he is still a favourite of mine. One of my favourites is The Dead Zone – and that is more thriller than outright horror.

    I am so glad you posted this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love Stephen King. There are so many intricacies to his writing style and he really has an amazing way of making things come together through the little things instead of the big ones. I really enjoyed your post and the educational versus accusational tone. Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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