The first Stephen King book I read was Eyes of the Dragon, which my mother – a huge King fan herself – gave to me when I was about eight. I don’t really remember the story, but I remember being pretty freaked out about it.
I didn’t read another Stephen King book for a good few years. The books sat on shelves in our dining room, shiny and appealing. But I was always a bit nervous of reading horror books. I’m a total wuss when it comes to horror films, and the prospect of spending many hours of terror reading a book didn’t sit well.
Then I was looking for a reading challenge, and Mum recommended The Stand. It was epically huge, a brick of a novel. I decided to give it a go, and instantly fell in love with King’s prose and story telling style. It scared the crap out of me, but not in an overt horror movie way – it was a slow burn sort of scare, the kind that could easily keep you up at night thinking, but not sweating with terror.
After The Stand, I started working my way through King’s back catalogue. There are still a lot that I still haven’t read, but every single one I’ve read I’ve enjoyed. Most recently, I read Under the Dome, which was my favourite book of 2013. It’s terrifying – not because of what happens in the story, in fact the whole story of the dome is pretty by the by. It’s the utter realism of the nasty characters, their terrible charisma and awful crimes that make it the frightening read that it is, and one that stayed with me long after I closed the pages.