Lists, Reviews

The Stephen King Book Club

The Stephen King Book Club?

That should be a thing. And I want to be a member. My guess? It’s already a thing somewhere, I just haven’t found it (or been invited) yet. Soon.

This week’s top ten list is book club picks. There are so many books, both old and new, that would make for great discussions in group settings – Jane Eyre, The Other Typist, The Stand, How To Build a Girl, Wild – but where’s the fun in that? More than likely, you already know that these are great book club picks. Oprah told you so.

So I decided to take a different route, thus the Stephen King Book Club. Since I’m already attempting to read my way through his entire bibliography, I’d like to go beyond that to the ways the books are tied together. I’d like to put together a series of books to read in such a way that we can read and discuss what a small world Stephen King writes.

Stephen King Collage

Let’s start with a classic: (01.) The Shining. Dick Halloran shares a psychic connection with Jack’s son Danny. You know who else Dick Halloran knew? Mike Hanlon’s father, they served together in the military. Mike Hanlon is one of the founding members of the Losers Club in (02.) IT. Mike is the only member of the group who stayed in their hometown of Derry, Maine, where he became the town’s librarian. One of the first group members to leave town was Bill Denborough, whose little brother George had been killed by a being calling himself Mr. Bob Gray (also Pennywise, etc.). A (different, yet likely related) Mr. Gray comes back to Derry in (03.) Dreamcatcher.

Derry, Maine is a bad place, at least one might assume from the amount of terrible shit that happens there. Also a longtime resident of Derry? Ralph Roberts, who with the help of his neighbor and future wife Lois, defeats…evil (let’s leave it at that) in (o4.) Insomnia. After a wicked snow storm, Ralph ventures out to a diner and shares a coffee with fellow Derry resident and novelist Mike Noonan from (05.) Bag of Bones. Bag of Bones also updates us on fellow writer Thad Beaumont, who we got to know oh so well in (06.) The Dark Half. Now Mike also has a summer place out in the lakes region of Maine, or The TR, as locals call it. It’s the ’90s before Mike permanently takes up residence in the region, but his family has roots in the area, as do the Bannermans – Nehemiah Bannerman was sheriff of the area in 1901.

By 1972, the Bannermans had migrated towards Castle Rock, Maine, where George Bannerman was the sheriff.  Castle Rock rivals Derry for the ‘bad things happens here’ title. In (07.) The Dead Zone, we learn the town is the home of the Castle Rock Strangler as well as psychic Johnny Smith, who helps the sheriff solve the crime. Unfortunately for George, he meets an untimely end when he is mauled by the rabid (08.) Cujo.  Not only does George meet his demise, but the entire town of Castle Rock does too (essentially) in (09.) Needful Things. And which town does Castle Rock share a border with? Chester Mills, which is near catastrophically trapped under glass in (10.) Under the Dome.

In short, the list is as follows:
01. The Shining
02. IT
03. Dreamcatcher
04. Insomnia
05. Bag of Bones
06. The Dark Half
07. The Dead Zone
08. Cujo
09. Needful Things
10. Under the Dome

For more book club suggestions, visit The Broke and The Bookish. Also, it’s worth noting that there are people out there who take the Stephen King connections way more seriously than I do. Some even make gorgeous flow charts.

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  • Alison Doherty

    Very fun idea to do a book group around one author … although Stephen King owuld be way too scary for me!

    • Rory O’Connor

      There are some non-scary options if you are ever interested!

  • girlxoxo

    Books with Cass is doing a King yearlong reading challenge – so yup, it’s a thing. And oh my gosh – thanks for summing up some of these connections. I love reading King’s books and seeing a link to another one of his books – it’s like a secret club and I got the password 🙂

    Tanya Patrice

    • Rory O’Connor

      I’m trying to work my way through his entire collection, so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

  • Meg

    Isn’t that the book club that Juliet hosted in Lost? ^_^ I love the idea of a Stephen King book club. I would be all in on this. I’d even watch the movies to accompany each, the good and the bad.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I have no idea. Is it…? Now I’m curious.

      • Meg

        Juliet read a lot of Stephen King, and Ben made comments to her about how it wasn’t worthy of being discussed at a book club. She’s hosting a book club for King’s Carrie when she’s introduced in the series.

  • ebookclassics

    Wow, that flow chart should be framed and placed on a wall! The cross-overs and connections between stories and characters is pretty awesome. I love the idea of Stephen King book club and I would also watch all of the movies.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It should. I’ve actually thought about it!

  • Helen @ My Novel Opinion

    I love figuring out the connections when reading an SK novel for the first time. It’s fascinating!

    • Rory O’Connor

      There are so many, I still miss quite a few, even on my rereads.

  • Zizzy Book Babble

    I read Under the Dome it was soooo good!!! Great List! Check out my Top Ten Tuesday!

    • Rory O’Connor

      That was one of my recent favorites. I loved it.

  • mariahelena

    Definitely the best book club list I’ve seen. I had no idea that Stephen King’s world is so small. Now I’m even more motivated to try and read these (I’ve actually read Under the Dome – guess I started the list at the wrong end…)

    • Rory O’Connor

      Reading the list backwards can work!

  • Marisa @The Daily Dosage

    Sounds like a book club I need to belong to. I’m a novice King reader so this would be awesome. I think you should start an online one! 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      Haha, maybe someday when my TBR stack is shorter….?

  • Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby

    Not exactly a book club, but another blogger and I are hosting a year-long Stephen King reading challenge! This post is actually perfect for me: I’m still something of a newbie when it comes to his stuff!

    • Rory O’Connor

      How fun! His world is so interconnected.

  • BearAllen

    As a huge SK fan, I LOVE this. Don’t have the capacity to join a book club right now… but know that I’ll be cheering you on!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks! I don’t either – wishful thinking!

  • Words for Worms

    I love this so much! “Derry, Maine is a bad place, at least one might assume from the amount of terrible shit that happens there.” PERFECTION.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Why do the people still live there? Why not run far, far away? My survival instinct must be better than most of the people there.

  • Ciska van der Lans

    Love this list. Am trying to sneak in some more SK reading too. Maybe we should just start that book club!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Me too. I’m still appalled with myself for not finishing Revival yet.

  • kerri

    I would love to join that book club! I just finished Needful Things and have started The Dead Zone. I wish I could find a read a long or something.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I really like The Dead Zone (movie, show, and book – I had a little crush on Anthony Michael Hall for a long time). Needful Things was…okay.

      • kerri

        Just finished and I loved it! The only problem I have is that when I read King, I want to read another of his books immediately. Any suggestions for my next one? I haven’t read It yet.

  • The Book Wheel

    This should totally be a thing (for people who read him, that is)!

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