Book Club Author Suggestion: Stephen King

“Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Black and white portrait of Stephen King from the waist up, with his hands behind his back, wearing an dark long-sleeved t-shirt and rectangular wire rimed vision correction glasses.
Stephen King, The Storyteller From Maine
Photo Credit : François Sechet/Leemage/Corbis/AP Images

Brief Bio:

Stephen Edward King (born 1947) is a prolific American author known for his mastery of horror, supernatural fiction, and suspense. Born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine, King has published over 60 novels, including iconic works such as “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and “It,” many of which have been adapted into successful films and TV series. His storytelling prowess, characterized by vivid characterizations and immersive world-building, has earned him numerous awards and a dedicated global fanbase. Beyond his contributions to literature, King is also an advocate for literacy and freedom of expression.

Available Works in the Colorado Book Club Resource

The Book Club Resource has 8+ copies of each title available for 8 weeks at a time to reading groups across the state. The descriptions below were taken from

The Stand (1978) | Discussion Questions

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.(This edition includes all of the new and restored material first published in The Stand: The Complete And Uncut Edition.)

The Green Mile (1996) | Discussion Questions

Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk “the Green Mile,” the lime-colored linoleum corridor leading to a final meeting with Old Sparky, Cold Mountain’s electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities over the years working the Mile, but he’s never seen anything like John Coffey—a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. And in this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about John Coffey—a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefs….

The Colorado Kid (2005) | Discussion Questions

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified. And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?


11/22/63 (2011) | Discussion Questions

It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

Fairly Tale (2022) | Discussion Questions

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a horrific accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it. Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

A Few Notable Facts

  • King has written under the pseudonyms Richard Bachman and John Swithen. He used these pen names to explore different genres and to test if his success was due to talent or luck.
  • In 1999, King was seriously injured when he was hit by a van while walking. His injuries were severe and required multiple surgeries. This experience inspired parts of his novel “On Writing.”
  • King has a remarkable work ethic. He typically writes every day, even on holidays, and aims to produce at least 2,000 words per day.
  • King struggled with alcohol and drug addiction earlier in his career. He has been sober since the late 1980s and has been an advocate for addiction recovery and sobriety.
  • Many of King’s works have been adapted into films or television series. Some of the most famous adaptations include “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Shining,” “It,” and “Misery.”
  • King often sets his stories in the state of Maine, where he was born and has spent most of his life. The fictional town of Derry, featured in “It,” is based on Bangor, Maine, where King resides.
  • While King is best known for his horror novels, he has also written in various other genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and crime fiction.
  • King is an avid music lover and has even played rhythm guitar in a band called The Rock Bottom Remainders, which included other famous authors like Amy Tan and Dave Barry.
  • King is known for his philanthropic efforts. He has donated millions of dollars to libraries, schools, and literacy programs, and he often advocates for causes related to freedom of expression and the arts. (Thank you, Stephen King!)

Selected quotations

  • “So okay― there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”
  • “The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.”
  • “You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or despair … Come to it any way but lightly.”
  • “Boredom can be a very good thing for someone in a creative jam.”
  • “A story should entertain the writer, too.”
  • “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
  • “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”
  • “Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
  • “I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”
  • “Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
  • “When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
  • Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
  • “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
  • “I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”
  • “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
  • “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.”
  • “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot if difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”
  • “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”


Stephen King has received numerous awards throughout his prolific career. Here’s a list highlighting some of his most notable awards. For a complete list – see Wikipedia.

  • Bram Stoker Awards: King has won multiple Bram Stoker Awards, presented by the Horror Writers Association, for outstanding contributions to the horror genre.
  • World Fantasy Awards: King has been honored with multiple World Fantasy Awards for his exceptional work in fantasy literature.
  • Hugo Awards: King’s contributions to science fiction and fantasy have earned him several Hugo Awards.
  • British Fantasy Awards: King has received recognition from the British Fantasy Society with multiple British Fantasy Awards.
  • Edgar Awards: King has been honored by the Mystery Writers of America with several Edgar Awards for his contributions to mystery and crime fiction.
  • National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters: In 2003, King was awarded this prestigious honor for his significant impact on American literature.
  • O. Henry Award: King has received the O. Henry Award for his short stories, recognizing excellence in the genre.
  • Goodreads Choice Awards: King’s books have won multiple Goodreads Choice Awards, as voted on by readers.
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards: King has been presented with various lifetime achievement awards by literary organizations and institutions worldwide, recognizing his enduring influence and contributions to literature.

See also


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