Top Ten Stephen King Books

The Top Ten

1 It

Please don't judge this book by the movie. "It" is from start to finish one of the creepiest, coolest, scariest and most intriguing books you'll ever read. Even though it is 1,300 pages and I only read it before going to sleep at night, I finished it in under two weeks because I couldn't put it down at night until I reached a part where I thought I'd be able to sleep without nightmares.

I honestly think that the miniseries adaptation of this is good, but the book is amazing! This was one of the few Stephen King books that I felt as if I had a connection with the characters. King wonderfully sculpted the characters as kids and as adults. I couldn't put this book down. It's very scary and has tons of moments when my jaw dropped.

IT is wonderful! IT is terrific! IT is terrifying. IT is everything. Before I read It, I used to think horror books were over rated. Could read a whole roll of them over bars of chocolate and even chuckle at the supposed gory scenes. But in IT, there is absolutely nothing to laugh about! Like, it gets you and holds you and your whole world is spell bound. It takes courage to read that book. At a point, if you don't have balls, you'd drop it. The town Derry itself evokes a scary image in your mind, Penny wise, formidable or is it the timelines or the omnipresent nature of the demon behind it all. It is horror at its best!

The 1990 movie isn’t that good but the 2017 IT is fantastic

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2 The Shining

Until Stephen King brings out a second book, I won't stop reading this, It is so scary and intense

YAY! Doctor Sleep is here. Or at least it has been for the past 2 years. - GaretTheCarrot

This book is outstanding there's a reason on all the top 10 lists you find it the stand and this one which is my favorite but if you have seen the movie and hope it's like that then don't read completely different the mini series on the other hand was pretty good so if you see. That this book is more like it. But it's a must read for any king fan or a great starting for his books

This is the first king book I read. It's so scary and intense. I stayed up late reading every night, trembling in my bed.

Just started this book, it's the first book by Stephen King that I have ever read. It's great so far, already one of my favorite books - SirSheep

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3 The Stand

One of the best, if not THE best apocalyptic novels of all time. Well-written from start to finish; with a sobering and unsettling description of the collapse of humanity by a man made virus, memorable characters and a deliciously evil villain. For anyone who wants to start reading books by Stephen King, this is must read; along with "The Shining" and "It"

My fave King book by far - I literally couldn't put this down and didn't want it to finish whereas when I read It which is a similar length book, I was pretty glad when I'd got to the end. The characters, the twists and turns, the happiness and the sadness were all just perfectly knitted together - loved it

Such a well-written novel with an intense storyline and in-depth characters that keeps the pages turning. This is a book that will keep you thinking long after you've finished it.

Held me hardcore the whole time. Bless up

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4 'Salem's Lot

The best place and time to read this book is when you are alone at home in a stormy winter night and you just know what true horror is. The terror oozes from the pages and collects at your lap, spiralling down to your legs to cover you and hold you breathless. The best vampire book ever.

This and pet cemetery are my favorites from King, a great horror story that gradually builds in creepiness and intensity, until you are engrossed in the darkness of Salem's lot, get the illustrated edition if you can as it has some great bonus story's.

This was the first Stephen King book I read years ago, and it scared me to death. It also made me a life long fan of King's writing. I've read most of what he's written, and this is still my favorite.

My favorite novel from anyone - read it so many times over the years (starting when I was 17 and read again last year at 58)...

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5 The Green Mile

This book has great character development and a fantastic story line. It makes the reader realise that capital punishment has no place in modern society.

I love this book because it is so different from his other novels. This one isn't horror, it's a masterpiece. The ending is sad though. John coffey:(

It was just awesome and just because it is Stephen King doesn't mean it has to be all horror and that's why I think this book should be in the top ten!!

A well-written, touching story. My favourite Stephen King book.

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6 Misery

This book is just plain fantastic... 5/5 stars! - jprg12

This book is great and, along with the Shining, had the best film adaption. Stephen King is definitely the best horror writer of all time.

This book is outstanding if you were looking for realistic King book that's scary this book is for you it sent shivers down my spine

By far his strongest work - NightmareCinema

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7 Pet Sematary

This is literally the best Stephen King book I've ever read! I couldn't put it down, and the ending was so unexpected and incredible! A lot of people think that The Stand is his best, but I think it's boring, probably because I'm 12, but this was my favourite. I haven't watched the movie, but I heard it's bad, so don't judge the book by the movie. This book almost made me cry, and I was literally chanting Louis not to do what he did. It wasn't really scary until the last 30 pages, and in those 30 pages, I was trembling. This book was close to Misery, but I think this is better, please read it. My favourite book by Stephen King. I've only read 6 and 1/2 f his books, but so far, this is my favourite!

This novel is just plain creepy. It deals with religious, belief issues, with which about anyone can relate. It is definitely worth reading, just not right before bedtime. Wink.

His most underrated book. Various horrific side stories make that tie to the main story make this a must read.

Darkest one of all - Not_A_Weeaboo

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8 11/22/63

I started reading this book when I was 13 and never ended up finishing it. I picked it up once again but now 18 and I couldn't put it down. This book's central plot is Jake going back in time to stop Kennedy's assassination, however I found that the side plots (killing Frank Dunning, George/Jake and Sadie) just as intriguing and felt compelled to continue on reading. This book got me through 2 weeks of work and I never wanted it to end. By far King's best work!

Perfect from start to finish. I hesitated buying it originally having heard it wasn't his typical format. Didn't I feel stupid! I made the mistake of "typecasting" one of the greatest story tellers of my generation. 11/22/63 = edge of your seat, heart wrenching, and thought provoking ride you will not want to get off of.

I started reading King not to long ago. I read The Stand first and followed with the Dark Tower Series, It and a couple other. The Stand was my favorite book by King, up until now. Like many of the other comments I couldn't put this book down. Excellent characters and story. This is a must read.

This is, not only Stephen King's, but one of the best novels ever written. Should be number one on the list, of course :) 11/22/63 is a masterpiece of a craftsman, and once you get into the story (which takes about five pages) it's hard to put it down. And there's a good chance that you, after finishing, will regard the 800 pages or so, far too few.

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9 Cujo

Genius, sad and unique. It takes some time to get rolling but when it does you are in the story completely. One of the best books I ever read. Highly recommended.

It was a great book and really scary but if you don't have patience then I wouldn't read it but it's still a great book

This book should be under the top 2! It's the best book I have ever read!

I love this novel!

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10 Carrie

A novel about a friendless girl with telekinesis who takes her final revenge upon the world. Stephen King's first book! - TuckNasty

Why is this not in the top 7 at least, it really tells me how the world is today when it was made in the 70s, it taught me 2 things, 1, you can only push someone so far, 2, it's always the quiet ones that you need to worry about

I have been bullied and this book really helped me with it (I didn't kill anyone) it just showed me I wasn't alone.

Dark and morbid, I love it. - Not_A_Weeaboo

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The Contenders

11 The Shawshank Redemption

Not many people know that this was a short story written by him in Different Seasons. One of the most beautiful stories (and movies) ever written.

Well the novella from Different Seasons was called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. - Beatlesboy9

The movie is better.

11?! Come on! This one’s a classic. - Smash64

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12 The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

I can't believe TDT I is 12. It's the beginning of a legend, it should be, at least, at 5, or even 1. The Gunsliger introduce us to the most amazing adventures of our lifes, and more important than that, introduce us to our beloved Roland Deschain, the guy that we all want to have as a friend. It's awesome, it's perfect.

The Gunslinger has to be higher. I'm only sixteen, and I've read all seven dark tower books. I have to say that the first is the best. Nothing can beat that end palaver between Roland and Walter. The entire book is just so enlightening.

The gunslinger is a little different from other stephen king books but its still probably his best book. Even King admitted that. Also this book "ties in" with other stephen king books like the avengers movies which is pretty cool.

This is considered to be King's magnum opus. Why is it only number 12?

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13 The Long Walk

It's a bloody shame that more people don't know about this masterpiece. This book will leave you thinking long after you've finished the last page. Though she may not admit it, the author of the Hunger Games took inspiration from this book (as well as King's "The Running Man" and the notorious, but incredible, "Battle Royale"). It makes me wonder why the Hunger Games is so poorly written. But I digress. This book is an incredible psychological thriller. The characters were flawless. My favorites were Stebbins and McVries. Best of all is the inherent knowledge that no matter how much the boys try to socialize and hide from the truth, they are essentially competing for their lives, and 99 of them will inevitably die. This factor adds so much tension. Please, even if you are not a fan of Mr. King's works, give the Long Walk a chance. It has made me a more insightful person and I hope that it will have the same effect on you.

Seriously underrated. One of my top three favorite king novels. It really made me think and feel for all the characters and even though death was inevitable it shocked and saddened me when another would die. This book keeps you thinking. Don't knock it till you try it, I really is amazing. And like the previous comment I also felt the hunger games was a cheaper warped version of the long walk and battle Royale

This is a fantastic read. Only King (under the name Bachman) could provide such a stirring tale about walking. It serves as a horrific foray into future competitions with deadly intentions. A must.

Very moving story line.

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14 The Dead Zone

The first Stephen King book I ever read, and possibly my pick for the best for sentimental reasons. I love "It" and "The Stand" and so many others, but there is a true tragic arc to this novel that makes the reader truly care about what happens, even though it's practically foreordained.

It is a great book and it really made me think. I think it should be at least top 10

One of the most valuable and memorable boks I have ever read. Not only an emotional rollercoaster, but the science fiction takes you on a crazy ride that captivates your attention. Definitely my favorite by King

Best King book I've read

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15 Under the Dome

The best book ever written. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Perfect characters, and perfect pacing. This needs to be number one.

This book is horror

The best book of him in my opinion.


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16 Christine

This was the first King book I ever read. My favorite King trait is that he makes you fall in love with one of his characters and then they die.

Me too, I read it in 4th grade and went on a Stephen King book spree for the next few years. - GuitarGodSam

It should not be as low as this; its both hilarious and horrifying in turn. King's skills are so good that after a while you see Christine as a breathing evil thing that has every right to live on this damn earth, not a simple car. There is a scene where Leigh wakes up in the middle of the night just to see Christing granting outside the windows on the snowy night and if this does not horrify you, you are a zombie...

I would have chosen Christine above Leigh too...

My favorite Stephen King book.

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17 The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

The ending contains the most glorious moment I've ever read in a book (Although it goes on to a completely frustrating ending). I highly recommend it. - higgsboson2142

The final battle was really anticlimactic, but the ending itself? That was mind blowing, and fit the series perfectly. - Yoshilord

I couldn't let there be a stephen king list without have at least one dark tower book on it - slbrown

Best series, most captivating characters I have ever met and grew to love. The movie is sacrilegious and an insult to this masterpiece.

18 The Running Man

Amazing book that I can't put it down if I start it again! Hunger games holds nothing against this book, I cry, scream and laugh while reading this I love it

I just finished reading this a few days ago and really putting it 28 is drastically under ratting The Running Man! It might become one of my all time favorite books.

I CHALLENGE Hunger Games fans to read this. Then again, they're so easily satisfied by poor writing, they probably won't be able to appreciate it, let alone comprehend its quality. This book is THE ORIGINAL dangerous reality T.V. show story. Even though The Long Walk is my favorite book by Mr. King, I love it to the end.

Unexpected reality and unbelievable story... that become real... now

19 Insomnia

Quite possibly King's most imaginative plot. Creepy and effective.

A book that is very interesting. One of King's bestnovels

The best

This book kicks ass.should be in the top 5.

20 The Mist

My single favorite horror story of all time, and in the running for my favorite story of any genre. I'm a big Stephen King fan, although I read across a variety of authors and genres. But after reading dozens and dozens of horror/thrillers, nothing got my blood pumping like 'The Mist'.
As great as King's novels and series are (The Dark Tower is superb) he's underrated as a short story/novella writer (The Long Walk, The Raft, Shawshank Redemptions, etc etc)

21 Desperation

Great story/movie. Creepy too, which is half the reason it's so great. Good work, Stephen King!

Weird, weird story. But I recommend that you read it.

Without doubt the best book

Great book crap movie

22 Firestarter

A novel about a corrupt government agency and its pursuit of an unwilling family. - TuckNasty

Charlie McGee survives her photokinesis power.

It's heartbreaking.

I wish I had pyrokinesis.

23 The Dark Half
24 Dreamcatcher

Please don't judge by the film this book is incredible! The friendship side (which king is a master of writing) the horror of being taken over by a strange being, bravery on all levels! First king book I ever read and I still go back to reading it all the time.

This is the only Stephen King book that I didn't like. It didn't make sense, and I stopped reading 100 before the end because I stopped caring about the story line. This happens very rarely for me.

Ridiculously underrated, don't judge it on the awful film. Duddits has to be one of King's best characters, along with Beaver. Funny, disturbing, gripping and genuinely bizarre and original. Couldn't ask for more! Brilliant writing.

25 The Tommyknockers

I admit this story is strange, but it's also different and interesting. Stephen King is creative and definitely deserves the title " Master of Horror".

One of my personal favorites. The surreal feel of the entire book is magnetizing and interesting. For a book written by King when he was high, it's pretty damn good.

26 Cell

Not the best, but it still is scary and intense, that is why King is my favourite author

27 Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

"From start to finish I didn't know where this book was going, it was a hell of a ride and I enjoyed every part. A completely different and refreshing book, not only by King, but of the genre also."

A very enjoyable read, and not the typical horror story of King's earlier novels. Along with 11/22/63, it just proves that King has not lost his touch after all these years.

I love this book! Stephen king made this book amazingly start to finish an amazing mystery detective book written by him

OH how I love Mr. King!

28 Needful Things

Getting into the book now. I'm really into. It has a great plot and great characters.

One of the longest king books, needful things is epic, sad, dark, scary, smart, and simply Fun read. The characters are sad and creepy, but extremely loveable. The horror here found not in a monster or inhoumen beast (don't worry, the book has this things to), but in the humen soul darkness and weakness. The first king book I have read, and very Well may be my favorite.

Loved the book... Couldn't put it down...

Great characters! I have read so many books from Stephen King but this is my favorite!

29 Finders Keepers

I finished Finders Keepers today and I thought it had some spooky yet extremely humorous moments which I loved.

This was the first King book that truly captivated me from start to finish. - prestongyates

This book should be higher! Its one of my favorites - YOUnique253

30 The Langoliers
31 Revival

Although it's one of his newer ones, it's an utterly terrifying ending. With a great plot that is so addicting to follow.

Just finished it today, and it's just so horrifying, so well written and the ending is so dark that will make you fear the afterlife

The first act in this book brought me to tears.

I finished 'Revival' a couple of weeks ago and I've found myself so overwhelmed and captivated by it and it's ending, I can't stop thinking about it!

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32 Gerald's Game

Love the sick and twisted plot
It's a good book, not the best but really good

33 Black House

The story of a grown up Jack Sawyer (The Talisman).

34 End of Watch

Gotta love Holly and the strange yet tender relationship between her and Hodges. Best novel of the series.

35 Full Dark, No Stars
36 The Talisman

One of the scariest books I ever read!

I loved this book and the depth of the characters. King takes you to another world that somehow feels familiar. I read this many years ago and still feel it drawing me back.

The best fantasy book I have ever read. King's description of food in the territories rivals Dickens. I am thunderstruck that this book isn't further up the list.

Read it!

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37 Duma Key

The most underrated King book ever.

One of kings best! Loved it! Definitely top 5 muchacho!

First King book I ever read and I still come back to it. Haunting and hauntingly beautiful. A real sense of place and the weirdness ramps up and up.

His best book in like 15 years

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38 The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

Fantastic. Blaine was a treat.

39 The Body

This is my favorite of Stephen's works. It is truly amazing and the characters are great. It's so under rated and should be way higher on this list. The movie adaption, Stand by Me, is my favorite movie of all time, might I add.

This book was just WOW. I finished it in 16 hours I just could not put it down. The chapters are amazing and the plot is awesome. I know it's not one of his scary ones but you learn how 4 boys on a journey to find a dead body find friendship.

This was made into a movie called Stand By Me, that is a must- watch because it is absolutely fantastic.

Don’t get me wrong... I love a good, classic, horror story. But I also love this story better than any other Steven king story.

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40 The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

Just an absolutely insane introduction to the metaphysical quality that is woven through the dark tower novels. This book is a gem because it takes everything to a whole another level after "The Gunslinger".

I'll always love this one. Even though I loved the first DT book, this was the one that got me hooked. It introduces such awesome characters, and such insane situations...

Da da chum, da da chin! Watch out for lobstrosities!

41 The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

Who knew that the Master of Horror could write such a poetic, heart-felt, tragic love story? One of the very few books that I cried (remember Susan's death) and the best Dark Tower for me...I randomly pick up this and read passages from. Incredible...

I'm going to throw a "Ka, like a wind" and a "ROLAND! I LOVE the! " and while you cry, you're going to press that vote button.

The best of The Dark Tower series and another novel that should be in the top ten, have people that voted even read these novels?

I think this is the best of the Dark Tower books, and probably in the top 3 of all his works. This needs to move up the charts!

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42 Blaze

One of his lesser known works. written under the name of richard bachman. its not as known but still a great read

So sad. I was depressed for like a week after reading this one. Definitely one of Stephen Kings best books. - Fjunegull

Makes me cry every time.

43 Different Seasons

Apt Pupil, The Body (Stand By Me) and Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption in one book. My god, it doesn't get any better than that.

The body while forever be a fave of mine. So many memories. Also apt pupil makes my hair stand on edge evil man evil boy fab story

Has forever left an impact on me. It will forever be one of my favourite books and I will always read it once every summer.

The fact that this is 42 right now tells me many people have not read this fantastic collection. EASILY worthy of being in the top FIVE of this list.

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44 Joyland

The name of the amusement park is adorable... But despite the childrens knowledge something is lurking within this park which wants them to be dead... It is revealed that some innocent children who visits the park dies in different various grotesque death... Now the protagonist learns that there is someone in this park who is wrapped over with its sadistic insanity and he has to find it, before it kills his friends, this park isn't a joyland it is a terrible bloodyland... I love the way king named the park the park adorably that will fear the reader of its darkest secrets...

I would'nt be surprised if this book is down here low... Because joyland is one of stephen kings newest novel... It is only released this 2013 and only few people had read the particular novel... But then according to my opinion this book is one of stephen kings novel which equips such a disturbing story... I had my chest heavy while reading the book, just like I felt when I happened to read his top rating book the "IT", still I knew that IT is his most disturbing novel, but the joyland has a different style which happened to catch my fear... Espesially that the characters struggle is in the amusment park along with the heavy storm that no one will hear them screaming...

Story of a college kid's summer job experiences in an amusement park ('73). No horrors but a ghost is there and so is a boy with premonition. If you do not know life as a carny (or a person working in amusement parks, carnivals), then this is a story to read.. enjoyed the fluent flow

45 Night Shift

This has multiple stories in one book, which is totally awesome. Stephen King is so creative, one reason I like him so much!

The best book I've ever read - Rusty665

No weakness

46 Dolores Claiborne

And another thing I love about it is there is no undead or rabid dogs or other MONSTERS, it could really happen, and last of all it shows us that the real monsters in this world are people... - Stoshie

It's great because it could happen and it ties in with another great story of his

This is a really good read. The movie is also fantastic.

Dolores is one of Stephen King's best characters.

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47 Hearts In Atlantis

One of Stephen King's greatest books - a collection of connected stories, some of them exceptionally weird, but what has rattled around in my brain all these years after reading it is that it felt as if it was a meditation on the origins of violence.

This book has my favorite King story of all time, "Low Men in Yellow Coats". Nothing can beat that story!

48 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

This was the first Stephen King novel I ever read and it was amazing. I had never gotten a taste of King's literary mastery, so when I read this, it gave me a whole different perspective on writing. Amazing

Wonderful story that makes full use of ones imagination.

Loved this book

I love this book! I think IT is overrated. IT is such a horrible book and 100% Stephen Kings worst book, and one of by least favorite books altogether (too inappropriate)
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is amazing! I loved the book, should be higher rated on this list. My 13 year old son read this book before he went to Phil Mont and I got a phone call from him CRYING because he was so scared that what happened to Trisha would happen to him. Its amazing how one book could have such a big impact on him! Loved it!

49 Bag of Bones

I've only just started getting into Stephen King - and this novel has a very interesting style and perspective. It very slowly draws you into the rather weird, subjective point of view of the protagonist, and his acceptance of the real/supernatural events occurring to him. However it DID hook me in! Sad and very perceptive of human nature as well as a darn good read.

Criminally underrated

50 Rage

A novel that is both psychological in depth and in our mind.King wrote this I'm high school, and will and has brought dangerous consequences on the most realistic story he has ever written. If you read this novel, you will have entered the mind of almost every potential high school shooter that can't be read. "Books aren't the reason for crimes, but they--as movies, songs, etc.--can be used as accelarators." You have that with Rage.

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List Stats

3,000 votes
65 listings
12 years, 310 days old

Top Remixes (24)

1. 'Salem's Lot
2. The Long Walk
3. The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
1. The Stand
2. 'Salem's Lot
3. Misery
1. The Shining
2. Firestarter
3. Pet Sematary

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