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.
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
05. Bag of Bones
06. The Dark Half
07. The Dead Zone
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.