At first, this blog post was solely meant to be written about Joyland by Stephen King. With that in mind, it quickly turned into a blog post containing mostly Joyland thoughts and observations, but then soon after transformed into a passionate conversation in my head concerning Stephen King's newer books being compared to his older books.
Thus making this new and improved topic (and my sole focus of this blog post), "Are Stephen King's Books Getting Better?"
In my opinion, and after reading Doctor Sleep (dear God, was that an incredible book), 11/22/63 (ditto to my previous sentiments), Duma Key, and Joyland (which were all published during the 2000s to the mid 2010s), yes. Stephen King has gotten better. Now, I may be a bit biased having read these particular books before I read some of his classics like The Shining and It (minus Carrie, since that actually was the first book I had ever read by Stephen King), but am I really? Could my opinion be swayed by the order in which I read them? Or did Stephen King really get good over these past years. I mean REALLY good.
This may be an unpopular opinion (but this is MY blog, so...), but I feel almost as if his older work is missing the magic his new books posses. The Shining captivated me, but Doctor Sleep had me in awe (and in tears). It (the book) was wonderful, but 11/22/63 was extraordinary. (As in, "OMG, *insert friend's name here* read these books right now or you will never know the true meaning of life," extraordinary.)
I once heard an author say, "I don't want to hear that my newer books are nothing compared to my older books. I want to know that I'm getting better, not worse." I'm hoping Stephen King agrees with this. If not, I'm hoping I don't become a character that gets killed off in one of his upcoming novels.
I read some of Stephen King's older books, his classics, and I'm just not as in awe as I should be. Of course his books are magnificent, because he wouldn't be a world famous master of horror if they weren't, but I feel as if they pale in comparison to his new work. (Which is actually good news, because the more books he comes out with, the more extraordinary stories we have to read--YAY!)
This isn't saying that all of his new stuff is impeccable, nor is it saying that his older stuff is missing magic. I just read Bag Of Bones by the master of horror himself (which dates back to 1998), and I felt that it contained the same magic as Duma Key (which I LOVED). Plus, many readers may read Doctor Sleep, or 11/22/63, or Joyland, and dislike them. (This is where I shrug.) But to each his or her own.
I may be completely out there with this entire post...I may be completely wrong. (Although, come to think of it, a bookworm is never wrong, it's just a matter of differing opinions in the end.) But if you want my opinion, here it is. These are the books that held onto me until the very end, and then some.
From another angle of this ongoing ramble of thoughts inside the mind of Rebecca, The Literary Connoisseur, I'm currently reading The Stand (circa 1978), and I've heard that it holds that certain magic that I search for in Stephen King novels. So in the end, this whole debate may not center around when the book was published, but center around what was going on in Stephen King's life as he wrote the book, instead. Or perhaps it had to do with what he was eating at the time, or where he was writing, or what the weather was like, etc. We may never know.
But I do know one thing...whether it's true that Stephen King DID get better with storytelling, or whether it's just these certain OMG books that stand out for me (and only me, as different books stand out to different readers), one thing's for sure, that most of you know already.
Stephen King is a bloody genius.
My Favorite Stephen King books (so far) in order...
BAG OF BONES