Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Which Stephen King book should you read first?

I like quizzes, especially if I happen to have an opinion about the topic, so this one caught my eye: WHICH STEPHEN KING BOOK SHOULD YOU READ FIRST? TAKE THE QUIZ!

1. Pick a Hallowe’en costume: choices a, b, c, d, e

2. What are you most afraid of?

3. How do you deal with adversity?

4. What’s your favorite genre?

5. How familiar are you with Stephen King’s work?

(I will add that I am apparently never going to be familiar enough with Stephen King to remember how he spells his name without looking. But that’s just me.)

6. How do you feel about 1000-age books?

Here is what the quiz recommended for me:

Go for one of King’s newer works. 11/22/63 is an alternate history sci-fi time travel novel about a man trying to go back in time to prevent JFK’s assassination.

My response: Amazingly enough, I have never heard of that book. Here it is on Amazon.

Here is what Amazon says about it:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

As it happens, I don’t much care for time travel as a plot element. In general my kneejerk reaction is to look away from a book in which time travel is a thing. Then sometimes I overcome that reaction and read the book and like it a lot, or at least pretty well. That’s just my first reaction.

On top of not really liking time travel very much, I am specifically not interested in the JFK assassination thing. So, nope, this quiz was a failure for me.

As it happens, I liked some of King’s classics best, including It despite a very weak ending. I mostly dislike his more recent work, in which he seems to invariably insert a likable female character for the purpose of jerking the reader’s tears by killing her, no matter how he has to contort the plot to insert that death.

I liked Rose Maddar. That may be the most recent of King’s books I actually liked. That one first came out back in 1995. Let me look at his bibliography — oh, I forgot about The Green Mile. I liked that one a lot. It was published nearly at the same time — 1996.

I read Duma Key. Dead female character, contorted plot to make that happen. I haven’t read anything by King since.

Looking at that bibliography, though, there sure are a lot of his books I haven’t read. Wow.

My least favorite was Cujo. I wonder if you could take that quiz in such a way as to kick that up as a recommendation? Or maybe everyone dislikes it, including the people who wrote the quiz. For me, it’s not that the antagonist is a rabid dog, though naturally that is not my favorite idea ever. It’s that the protagonist is such a dimwitted, ineffectual lightweight twit. I could perfectly well kill a rabid St Bernard, and I am neither young nor big. I kept thinking of ways she could do it, and she kept not doing it.

Twit.

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