The Stand and Stephen King by Josh Boone
Stephen King was a god to me when I was a kid. I was raised by Bible-thumping Baptists in Virginia Beach, VA. Stephen King was a big no no. When procured, hardcovers were hidden under my bed on top of the wooden slats that supported my box springs, and paperbacks were stripped of their covers and glued inside the stripped covers of Christian books so I could get away with reading them without discovery. My life bore some disturbing similarities to “Fahrenheit 451,” and there was indeed a bonfire in our fireplace when a stash of King books was discovered at one point. Tears were shed and it wasn’t the smoke in my eyes from the blackened pile of ashes that used to be “The Stand” and “It.”
When I was twelve, I mailed King a package containing the first three books in his “Dark Tower” series to sign along with a letter professing my love for his books and my desire to be a writer when I grew up. I didn’t know King’s address, only that he lived in Bangor, Maine, and I sent the package out into the universe hoping it would reach him. And it did.
A box arrived in the mail several weeks later from King. Inside were my “Dark Tower” books, each inscribed with a lengthy note from “god” himself, who encouraged me in my writing and thanked me for being a fan. He also threw in an expensive limited edition of one of his books, “My Pretty Pony,” as a gift. My parents, genuinely moved by King’s kindness and generosity, lifted the ban on his books that very day.
King has been a towering figure in my life since the mid 80’s, years before my parents were “born again” and limits were set on what I could read, I would spend hours exploring the bookshelves in my father’s study. On the bottom shelf were paperbacks of a number of King’s earliest novels. The first one I actually read was “Firestarter” when I was eight. I’ve read everything he’s published since, some many times over. I still vividly remember reading “The Stand” in secret under my bed the summer I was twelve.
King has long been my literary drug of choice and my passion for his storytelling has never wavered. I wrote a critical role for him in my first film and was deeply moved he was willing to be a part of it. Having the opportunity to meet my hero, hug him, and express the impact his work had on my life meant the world to me.
I am incredibly excited to be working on “The Stand.” Like all of King’s work, it is grounded and populated with living, breathing human beings that every single one of us can relate to. One of King’s greatest talents is investing us so much in his characters that we swallow the supernatural elements without a second thought. He earns it.
What follows is a list of my favorite King novels and shorter works. These are the stories that have had the biggest impact on me.
Note: I haven’t read “Revival” at the time of this writing but there’s a copy sitting nearby waiting for me.
The Dark Tower*
Hearts in Atlantis
The Dead Zone
The Green Mile
* The entire series, with my favorites being The Waste Lands and Wizard and Glass.
* Firestarter is the first King book I read at the age of eight. It was borrowed from the Kempsville Public Library in Virginia Beach, VA.
The Sun Dog
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
The End of the Whole Mess
The Man in the Black Suit
The Woman in the Room
Children of the Corn
That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French
The complete list of the books to be read can be found on the Stephen King Books In Chronological Order For Stephen King Revisited Reading Lists page. To be notified of new posts and updates via email, please sign-up using the box on the right side or the bottom of this site.
Josh Boone is the director of “The Fault in Our Stars.” He wrote and directed “Stuck in Love,” which features the vocal talents of Mr. King. Boone is currently working on The Stand for Warner Brothers and Clive Barker’s Imajica with MRC and Seraphim Films.