Book Chick City’s 2011 Stephen King Challenge – and Why I’ve Signed Up

Some days my Google Reader is like the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia: it seems innocent enough, but hiding within it is a portal to a strange and wondrous land. There I was, catching up on posts from the fantabulous High Heels and Book Deals, when a click through led me to Julie Cohen’s flowery and fabulous blog (where I discovered this Post-It planning thing I am DYING to try – just need to finish the first draft first) where I then discovered Book Chick City and their 2011 Stephen King Challenge.

From their website:

“Welcome to The 2011 Stephen King Challenge! I love horror, and I’ve loved every Stephen King book I’ve read. Unfortunately that’s not that many. I really want to read more books written by this amazing author, which is why I created this challenge. So, if like me you want to delve further into the dark imagination of Stephen King, then join me in my quest!”

Read more Stephen King has had a spot on my To Do in Some Far Off Day list forever. While literati snobs may smirk at his work, most of the writers I know list his wonderful On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft as one of the top “How To…” books out there. (Ironically, some of the people worshipping On Writing are the same crowd who put his work on a par with the James Pattersons of the publishing world. Go figure.)

What I do find with King is that he can be terribly uneven, hardly surprising given the sheer amount of books he writes. The Stand is one of my favorite books ever, but I was left disappointed (not to mention completely nauseated) with Dreamcatcher, and unimpressed with From a Buick 8, one of the last King books I read. But I know that for every not-so-good book of his, there’s at least five or six great ones. And I’d like to get around to reading them.

Just last week one of the guests on Sky Arts’ The Book Show picked King’s The Long Walk for his choice as the book everyone should read before they’re 21, and I thought to myself, I must read that. Then I saw Book Chick City’s post and said to myself, ‘This is a sign! Sign-up!’ So I am. My aim is to get around to reading some of the titles below in 2011; to pass the challenge, you must read at least six.

  • The Shining (Seen the movie, never read the book)
  • Misery (Seen the movie and the stage play, never read the book)
  • It (Too scared to watch it, but have seen bits)
  • Cell (Boy, there’s a lot of blood on the cover)
  • Dolores Claiborne (Seen the movie, never read the book)
  • Rage (as Richard Bachman)
  • The Long Walk (as Richard Bachman)
  • Duma Key (already own a copy)
  • Under the Dome (already own a copy)
  • Salem’s Lot (on the insistence of my brother)
  • Rose Madder (recommended by Evelyn, below)
  • Running Man (also recommended by Evelyn).

Find out more about The 2011 Stephen King Challenge and sign-up here.

Are you up for it? Let me know if you’re signing up so we can commiserate with each other when we’re unable to sleep without the light on, or close our eyes without seeing Pennywise on the back of them…

12 thoughts on “Book Chick City’s 2011 Stephen King Challenge – and Why I’ve Signed Up

  1. Leanne says:

    I’ve signed up for this too – I’ve just finished my first ever Stephen King book (bit late I know) and can’t wait to read more. The Shining and Misery are top of my list as well, and after that I’ll just see what takes my fancy as I go along. Good luck with it!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      I’m really look forward to actually READING The Shining & Misery – after seeing the movies so many times though, I wonder what it’ll be like! (Presumably there’s differences… hopefully!)

      Good luck to you too! Hope we discover some new favorite books. 🙂

  2. Book Chick City says:

    Hi, welcome to my Stephen King challenge – thanks so much for signing up! I loved reading your post – you have many books on your list that will probably end up on mine, especially Under The Dome, IT and The Stand. I hope you enjoy the challenge 🙂

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      I think it’s such a great idea – and the push I needed to actually get around to reading the books, instead of daydreaming about doing it some day! The Stand is just brilliant – I read it years ago and absolutely loved it. I think there’s the original version, and then a full length version (it was so long they made him take out thousands of words, apparently). Enjoy!

  3. Evelyn Walsh says:

    Add Rose Madder, Carrie and Running Man -better characterization in them I think. Salem’s Lot too – interesting to see vampires were like before Twilight to that list – I’d leave out IT and Cell and I think Under the Dome could have done with a ruthless editor! But then – he sells millions I can’t even sell one!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      I’ve already read Carrie, but I’ll add Rose Madder and Running Man. (Did they make a movie of that one too? Sounds familiar.) I was talking to my brother about this last night and he said I simply couldn’t do this without adding in Salem’s Lot, that it was really scary and King at his best. I have to read Under the Dome because I spent a small fortune on the hardback a few months back and never got round to reading it, and I want to read IT to see what all the fuss about a scary clown is about, but I might well leave out Cell. Is it really bad?

  4. Novroz says:

    I also join this challenge, how could I not join this challenge when in fact King is my number one author.

    From your list, I have read The Shining, It, Cell (the story is as bloody as the cover), Under The Dome (I love this book), Rose Madder (not so good tho) and Salem’s Lot.

    I want to read Misery too, great movie.

    By the way,I love the color of your blog,it looks so calm

  5. *lynne* says:

    Hi! I just signed up for the 2011 Stephen King Challenge too (I’m #68!), and am dropping by to visit other participants.

    “Uneven” is an apt description for SK’s work, I agree. I too found ‘From A Buick 8’ disappointing, and ‘Dreamcatcher’ a waste of time. And his more recent works like ‘Cell’ and ‘Lisey’s Story’ were terrible, IMO. And yet, IT, The Stand, and the Dark tower series in general are outstanding (IMO).

    My focus for this challenge will be rereading the Dark Tower series. All the best to you; looking forward to your reviews!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Hi Lynne,

      Wow – I can’t believe so many people have signed up. Brilliant!

      I think I’m definitely going to give Cell a miss because you’re the second person who told me it was terrible! The Dark Tower books aren’t really for me but I am looking forward to actually READING The Shining, It, Salem’s Lot, etc. as opposed to just watching them. I hope I even get some time to re-read The Stand..!

      Good luck with the challenge and thanks so much for stopping by – and on Christmas Day, too! 🙂

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