The Scene

Holly Engel

Arts & Entertainment Editor


Some non-chilling tales from the “King of Horror”

Many people looking for a good scare in the safety of their own home, like me, will leave the lights on and curl up with a thrillingly  spooky book by Stephen King. King may be best known for The Shining, which is about a haunted hotel in Colorado (if you have only seen the movie, the book was better), and right now It has received a lot of the limelight because of its appearance in movie theaters all over the world (the movie, that is, not Pennywise the Clown). Of  course, there’s also my personal  favorite, Pet Sematary, which is  easily the scariest and most disturbing book I have ever read. But what about something for the people who do not want to be scared silly? Never fear, you have not been forgotten! King has written several equally fascinating page-turners that depart from the genre of horror, perfect for anyone who likes somewhat dark books with complex plots and fleshed-out characters, but who does not want
to have nightmares for a week.

11/22/63: For any history buffs out there, you probably know that the title of this book is the date when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This story is an artful mixture of history, sci-fi and romance that follows a time traveler as he tries to stop the Kennedy  assassination. The idea might seem cliché, but the book is full of  unexpected twists and turns, with characters as dynamic as the plot. The romance, which is important but not overdone, adds an even  deeper layer of emotion and meaning to the story. One of the things that I liked most about this book was its depiction of time travel and its focus on the weight of making decisions, and how even small,  seemingly insignificant choices can cause unimaginable change.

The Stand: This one is for anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction and has a thirst for battles between good and evil. But be warned: it is not light reading. Over 1000 pages, The Stand just outdoes the 800 or so pages of 11/22/63, but it is well worth every moment. I found it hard to put down as I got pulled into the lives of its many characters, whose stories converge when a government-created superflu  accidentally wipes out nearly all life on earth. In the aftermath, an
evil, dark force takes root in the form of a man named Randall Flagg, and the remaining population must decide whether to follow him or the old and wizened Mother Abagail. The choice, as are all choices, is not as simple as it sounds. It astounded me how deeply this book explored the gray areas of morality, as well as how easily, almost willingly, humanity takes part in its own destruction.

The Green Mile: Much shorter than the first two books, The Green  Mile was originally published as a serial novel, and I have no idea how to classify it. It is realistic, but not overly so, taking place in history and apart from it all at once. It is written from the perspective of a prison guard who worked on death row in 1930s North Carolina, and it starts when a man named John Coffey is brought  in on the charge of a terrible crime. This book is surprisingly moving and addresses issues such as racism and capital punishment, while also delving into the possibility of miracles and the need for empathy in a world that is so often defined by darkness.

These are only three of King’s many books that will grab you when you least expect it and arrest your thoughts relentlessly until you finish the final page. Lose yourself in one of them for a while and you will see what I mean. Do not worry, nothing will jump out and scare you … yet.

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