You’ve likely heard of Stephen King, but if you haven’t, here are some quick facts.
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, and he currently lives between Maine and Florida with his wife, Tabitha. Known as the “king of horror,” Stephen King writes horror, supernatural fiction, science fiction, dark fantasy, thrillers, suspense, and crime novels. He’s written over 50 novel and over 200 short stories, and many of his stories have been made into movies and TV shows. To the delight of fans, King has also appeared on screen in several adaptions of his works. Collectively, his books have sold more than 350 million copies and dominated bestseller lists, and in 2015, he was awarded a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature.
His first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974 and became a bestseller, allowing King to become a full-time writer.
Most Popular Books
The list below is pretty overwhelming, so if you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few of Stephen King’s most popular books. They can all be read as standalones.
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
The Shining is also available as a movie!
Unpopular at school and subjected to her mother’s religious fanaticism at home, Carrie White does not have it easy. But while she may be picked on by her classmates, she has a gift she’s kept secret since she was a little girl: she can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. Her ability has been both a power and a problem. And when she finds herself the recipient of a sudden act of kindness, Carrie feels like she’s finally been given a chance to be normal. She hopes that the nightmare of her classmates’ vicious taunts is over . . . But an unexpected and cruel prank turns her gift into a weapon of horror so destructive that the town may never recover.
Bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon thinks he’s finally free of Misery Chastain. In a controversial career move, he’s just killed off the popular protagonist of his beloved romance series in favor of expanding his creative horizons. But such a change doesn’t come without consequences. After a near-fatal car accident in rural Colorado leaves his body broken, Paul finds himself at the mercy of the terrifying rescuer who’s nursing him back to health—his self-proclaimed number one fan, Annie Wilkes.
Annie is very upset over what Paul did to Misery and demands that he find a way to bring her back by writing a new novel—his best yet, and one that’s all for her. After all, Paul has all the time in the world to do so as a prisoner in her isolated house . . . and Annie has some very persuasive and violent methods to get exactly what she wants.
Misery is also available as a movie!
Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.
But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work.
In fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.
A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers once more.
IT is also available as a movie!
When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing . . . as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes, dead is better . . .
Pet Sematary is also available as a movie!
Stephen King Books in Order by Series and Types
Now it’s time to dive into the list of books! We’ve broken Stephen King’s books into major categories: novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and nonfiction. We’ve also further broken down the fiction categories into series lists, so help readers better identify what book to read next!
Note: We have not included any of King’s essays, screenplays, or unpublished works.
‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
The Stand (1978)
The Dead Zone (1979)
Pet Sematary (1983)
The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
The Tommyknockers (1987)
The Dark Half (1989)
Needful Things (1991)
Gerald’s Game (1992)
Dolores Claiborne (1993)
Rose Madder (1995)
Bag of Bones (1998)
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
From A Buick 8 (2002)
The Colorado Kid (2005)
Lisey’s Story (2006)
Duma Key (2008)
Under the Dome (2009)
Sleeping Beauties (2017)
The Institute (2019)
Billy Summers (2021)
Fairy Tale (2022)
Holly (Expected: September 5, 2023)
Written under the Pen Name Richard Bachman
The Long Walk (1978)
The Running Man (1981)
The Regulators (1995)
The Shining Books
The Shining (1977)
Doctor Sleep (2013)
The Plant Limited Edition
The Plant (Installment One) (1982)
The Plant (Installment Two) (1982)
The Plant (Installment Three) (1984)
The Dark Tower Books
The Gunslinger (1982)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Wolves of the Calla (2003)
Song of Susannah (2004)
The Dark Tower (2004)
The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
The Talisman (1984)
Black House (2001)
Green Mile Books
The Two Dead Girls (1996)
The Mouse on the Mile (1996)
Coffey’s Hands (1996)
The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix (1996)
Night Journey (1996)
Coffey on the Mile (1996)
Secretary of Dreams Books
The Secretary of Dreams, Vol. 1 (2006) (Short Story Collection)
The Secretary of Dreams, Vol. 2 (2010) (Short Story Collection)
Bill Hodges Books
Mr. Mercedes (2014)
Finders Keepers (2015)
End of Watch (2016)
Button Box Books
Gwendy’s Button Box (2017)
Gwendy’s Magic Feather (2020)
Gwendy’s Final Task (2022)
The Outsider Books
The Outsider (2018)
If It Bleeds (2020) (Short Story Collection)
The Mist (1980)
The Reach (originally published as Do the Dead Sing?) (1981)
The Body (1982)
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982)
Apt Pupil (1982)
Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
Silver Bullet (1983)
The Breathing Method (1982)
The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet (1985)
The Monkey (1985)
Dolan’s Cadillac (1988)
The Langoliers (1989)
The Library Policeman (1990)
The Sun Dog (1990)
Secret Window, Secret Garden (1990)
The End of the Whole Mess (1993)
Blind Willie (Novella; October 1994)
Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling (1999)
Why We’re in Vietnam (1999)
Low Men In Yellow Coats (1999)
The Things They Left Behind (2008)
Stationary Bike (2008)
Harvey’s Dream (2008)
A Very Tight Place (2008)
Blockade Billy (2010)
The Life of Chuck (2020)
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2020)
Standalone Short Stories
Children of the Corn (1977)
Quitters, Inc. (1977)
Night Shift (1978)
Different Seasons (1982)
Skeleton Crew (1985)
The Night Flier (1988)
Four Past Midnight (1990)
Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993)
Crouch End (1993)
Umney’s Last Case (1993)
My Pretty Pony (1993)
The Little Sisters of Eluria (1998)
Everything’s Eventual (2002)
The Man in the Black Suit: 4 Dark Tales (2002)
Riding the Bullet (2000)
LT’s Theory of Pets (2002)
Autopsy Room Four (2002)
In the Deathroom (2002)
Lunch at the Gotham Café (2002)
Six Stories (1996)
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
Blood and Smoke (1999)
Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales (2002)
Just After Sunset (2008)
The Gingerbread Girl (2008)
Throttle (With: Joe Hill) (2009)
Stephen King Goes to the Movies (2009)
Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
Big Driver (2010)
A Good Marriage (2010)
Road Rage (With: Joe Hill,Richard Matheson) (2012)
In the Tall Grass (With: Joe Hill) (2012)
A Face in the Crowd (With: Stewart O’Nan) (2012)
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015)
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive (2015)
Drunken Fireworks (2015)
Mile 81 (2015)
The Talisman: Road of Trials (With: Peter Straub) (2009)
The Dark Man: An Illustrated Poem (2013)
Sleeping Beauties, Vol. 1 (2020)
Danse Macabre (1981)
Nightmares in the Sky (1988)
Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America With Three Chords and an Attitude (1993)
Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing (1999)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (1999)
Hearts in Suspension (2016)
What is your favorite Stephen King book? Or, which one will you be reading next? Let us know in the comments below!