Stephen King’s new book is better than a casserole

Stephen King has a new book out called Full Dark No Stars and I haven’t read it. I don’t like the fact that Stephen King has a new book out which I haven’t read. As soon as I can get my hands on the new book that Stephen King has out I will read it and then be able to proclaim that Stephen King has a new book out and I have read it. Not having read the new book which Stephen King has out irks me because… well, I like Stephen King books.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I don’t like all Stephen King books. I’m not too keen on the Stephen King books which lean towards gross out horror. To me, gross out horror isn’t really horror; it’s just gross. Not being a fan of nausea (don’t ever ask me to go on the Waltzers) I don’t go for gross. If you do like gross then I’m sure Stephen King’s gross out horror books would be right up your street (what’s that one where some creature comes out of the toilet?!). Stephen King knows exactly how he wants a reader to feel and if he wants to gross you out, he grosses you out. But, to me,true horror is a subtler moment of realisation that requires a more unexpected and unpredictable source than a bloke getting his eyes gouged out (although a bloke getting his eyes gouged out has a pretty good pedigree as a horror stimulus; just look at King Lear !!)

The Stephen King books I prefer are those in which the emphasis is on characters. In these, I think he is untouchable. In particular I love his depiction of small town life. I’ve never been to America let alone Maine where many of King’s books are set but when I read his characterisation something rings out as universally true. I also love the Stephen King books where there’s a small number of characters (I know most people love his five inch thick blockbusters with 228 characaters but I’m a bit odd) such as Misery or, my all time favourite The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. He just seems to know what makes people tick and be able to put it down on paper so perfectly.

The annoying thing about Stephen King though for me, as someone who tries to do a bit of writing of my own, is that he’s one of those people who you read and just think to yourself; ‘Bugger! I’ll never be that good!’ That’s not healthy for me. It’s like an aspiring chef trying to make a casserole and straight away running up against Gordon Ramsey’s Coq au Vin. So maybe I won’t rush out and buy new Stephen King book Full Dark No Stars after all. Maybe instead I’ll go out and pick up a lovely Jeffrey Archer. No threat to my casserole there.



6 thoughts on “Stephen King’s new book is better than a casserole

  1. Likewise ambivalent about the King’s works myself. I have his collections of short stories, which I can read and reread. Of his doorsteps I’ve read The Dead Zone several times – the others start to fade at about the three-quarter mark, and though there’s usually a killer finish by the last page the impact is weaker than it could have been.
    I saw his latest, Under The Dome, at the local bookstore. It’s huge. I’d need a course of steroids before I even attempted to pick it up.

    PS – Don’t listen to the fears of inadequacy. King would have had his literary heroes too.


    1. Its just a personal preference but I’m not as keen on the gigantic, epic stories. I think he’s at his best when dealing with small situations e.g. the emotions between two people. That’s why I like Misery and Tom Gordon (only one character in that last one). I believe Gerald’s Game is the same but I haven’t read that yet.

      Who are your literary faves?


  2. Charles Bukowski; William S Burroughs; Dashiell Hammett; Stephen King; Knut Hamsun; Len Deighton.
    These are the names that appear most often on my bookshelves, but I’d also recommend Japanese writer Kobo Abe, and The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan. That’s a brilliantly written story that manages to combine surrealism and science fiction in the frame of a Western.
    As for Australian writers, my favourites are non-fiction authors. Geoffrey Blainey’s Black Kettle And Full Moon describes everyday life in the colonial era. Russell Braddon’s Images of Australia is a history of the Great South Land that might have been written by Joseph Heller and Lewis Carroll. (Joseph Heller! Catch-22 is good, but Picture This is his masterpiece.) And Cultural Amnesia by colonial-turned-Londoner Clive James is definitely worth your time and money.


    1. There’s some great names there. Thanks Gregory. The story that combines surrealism and sci-fi in the frame of a Western sounds right up my street. I also like Clive James; his Unreliable Memoirs are laugh out loud funny. Thanks for the recommendations.


  3. Unfortunately, I must disagree with you. That is, on the gross-out horror. Horror is a genre which has many types of branches; splatter horror, psychological horror, suspense, tension, and etc. Gore horror is fantastic fun that lets the reader/movie-goer slip away into a fantasy world yet at a safe distance of harm’s way. It can be categorized under Horror because that’s what it instills inside the mind. Different people are affected by horror in different ways; it would be no fun if gore horror didn’t exist.

    Also, I am a big Stephen King fan and have read Full Dark, No Stars as well as most of King’s works, including the “gross out” books. Full Dark is very very good and I highly recommend it. But I must warn you, there is much classic King emanating in these stories. Perhaps you could read them during the day? =)

    Sweet dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

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