9 Stephen King Books You Should Read Before Halloween

Stephen King is horror. Starting with "The Glass Floor" in 1967, King has built a career on engaging horror stories and supernatural fiction. He's a household name, synonymous with bone-chilling, weird tales of telekinesis, psychic abilities, and creepy children.

I've been a King fan since high school, and I'm amazed to meet readers who aren't familiar with his work. Or rather, are as unfamiliar with it as one can manage to be, given American pop culture's saturation with his creations. What I've found is that one can know of The Shining without actually understanding it. "Jack Nicholson with an axe" is a fabulous descriptor, but it doesn't do anything to unpack what's really going on at the Overlook Hotel.

If you haven't read many of King's novels, don't think I'm judging you for it. I just want you to read these books, because I think you're missing out if you haven't. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with the author, or who just want to find something scary to read before Halloween, these nine Stephen King books are just what you need to get you in the mood for the year's spookiest holiday.

The Shining

Thinking it will give him plenty of time to work, an unsuccessful writer takes the job of off-season caretaker at a snowed-in hotel and moves his family in. But the hotel has a frightening history, and all three family members are soon in mortal — and eternal — peril.

Carrie

Carrie White has a terrible life. Her mother is an abusive fanatic, and all of her classmates are bullies. After the very public onset of her first period, Carrie discovers she has telekinetic abilities, and begins exacting her revenge on those who have mistreated her.

'Salem's Lot

A series of coincidences brings a small group of people together in Jerusalem's Lot, just as a mysterious buyer purchases the town's most haunted house. When people slowly begin to die and disappear, the new allies are forced to fight for survival against an ancient evil.

Cell

When The Pulse turns cell phone users vicious and animalistic, an artist and his newfound friends must fight to survive against the phoners as they journey back home to find what has become of their families.

Pet Sematary

Shortly after moving into a new home, a kindly neighbor takes a man and his family to the "pet sematary," where the town's children have gone for a number of years to bury their pets. But the graveyard has a deeper, darker purpose, and a family tragedy soon pushes one member to do the unthinkable.

It

When an unspeakable, cyclic evil comes back to their hometown, seven former friends are called back together to fight the terror they faced as children. If you only know this book as "Tim Curry as a clown," trust me: it's so much more.

Skeleton Crew

Several of the short stories in this collection have been adapted for the screen, including "Gramma" and "The Mist." If you don't have room on your TBR for a full-length novel, consider adding one of these short fiction pieces to it instead.

The Tommyknockers

When a writer uncovers an ancient alien artifact on her property, she notices that the aging process has reversed in both herself and her dog. That's the only benevolent thing this structure has in store for her town, however, as it slowly begins bending the populace to its will.

Dreamcatcher

Four psychically-connected friends take a fateful hunting trip that lands them smack in the middle of an alien invasion. When the fight proves too much for them, they must seek the aid of a fifth ally to defeat the evil that threatens to destroy humankind.

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