A few years ago, I inherited all* of Stephen King’s books. They came from a family member who was moving and didn’t have room to keep them. Because there are a whole slew of ’em. Most of these books are hardcover. Some of the dust jackets are snagged and bent; by now, all are dusty. If you’ve ever seen a Stephen King book, you know these are not wee books, guys. These are gigantic, hulking, topple-all-your-bookshelves tomes.
*When I say I now have all of his books, I mean all of King’s fiction novels published as of this date. Some are old AF and a few are shinier and newish. They date back 35+ years.
And I’m going to read them.
All of them.
In order… ish.
Are you insane?
Well, what the heck else am I supposed to do with these creepazing (creepy + amazing) blockbusters? Just keep relocating them from room to room—and shelf to shelf—every time we move? (NOT that we plan on moving for a looooooong time.) If I’m going to own them, though, they may as well take up some space in my brain as well as the top shelf in the walk-in closet.
So, this is my accountability announcement: I’m going to read all of Stephen King’s novels, and I’m going to do it MOSTLY in order. I say mostly, because I’ve already read a few: Carrie, Misery, and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Incidentally, “On Writing” is in my top favorite books of all time. I’ve read it a couple times and have listened to it on audiotape twice, too. King narrates it himself and I highly recommend giving it a whirl. It makes a great commute partner for those of you who, like me, are still trudging to and from a day job in hopes to publish a bestseller soon. 😉
As for the rest, though, while I initially thought it’d be most intriguing to read all the books in order, I do feel like I need to get truly hooked by King before I dive into some of the lesser known/loved works. Most everyone I’ve talked to says The Stand should come first (and there were some votes for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Firestarter, and the Tallisman, too). So I think I’ll do The Stand, and then see where it goes from there.
OK, so you’re insane. How long will this take?
I haven’t the foggiest idea as to how long it’ll take me to read all of these. (Maybe a few years? Is that too over-ambitious? Or under-ambitious?)
According to Wikipedia, as of early 2018, King has 54 fiction novels under his belt (including seven written under his “Richard Bachman” pen name). He’s also written hundreds of short stories and a handful of nonfiction novels. But for this fun reading experiment, I’m just going to focus on the primary fiction novels. All 54 of them. I’ll be reading them the old-fashioned way, but I’ll probably listen to some on audiotape, too.
Which leads me to my next question: How quickly do I read—and what year (decade?) can I expect to be done with this goal?
So, here’s the plan of attack. I will:
- Determine my reading speed for fiction novels
- Reading speeds differ for mundane or scholarly content vs. enjoyable prose
- This is a fun experiment, anyway!
- Use all the maths
- Determine how many minutes it’ll take me to read every Stephen King fiction book published through today, and divide that by one hour per day
- Won’t include potential audiotapes in the calculations, because who knows if I’ll want my ears involved in these shenanigans, too
- Include some sporadic days off to give my noggin a break
- Include some Jane Austen and Liane Moriarty-esque feminine respites in there, also to give my noggin a break
- Drink the coffee
- Read the books
- Write the reviews (and share with you!)
Aren’t you afraid you might become a psychopath?
One fear I have nibbling at my noggin is that, after reading nothing but Stephen King nonstop, my brain may be filled with so many literary horror elements and I may become a psychopath. There is very little chance that will happen, but I’m just putting it out there. But Stevie’s not a crazy person; he’s just an incredible author who writes his terrifying ideas down on paper for the rest of us to gobble up.
Reading the same author all the time, though? I’m confident that writing style will surely seep into my pscyhe. Cool! I’m down. I’ll soak up all those King-ish authorial vibes and let them splash all over my keyboard. Let ’em battle my tendency to be flowery and witty. Let it roll. I cannot wait.