The Horror Honeys: The Hardcover Honey Hearts Stephen King (and Family)!

The Hardcover Honey Hearts Stephen King (and Family)!

A Hardcover Honey History

Our adorable Hardcover Honey
at 13!
I believe I have amply detailed my love of Stephen King books, but I wouldn't call myself a super-fan.  I enjoy his essays for Entertainment Weekly as much as some of his books – I love that he loves pop culture and I think he is one of the few authors who can truly capture the feelings and thoughts of a child narrator.  That being said, our road hasn't always been a smooth one.

I came to Stephen King's works late in middle school, and lucky for me, he had already written a bunch of books by then.  Isn't it a great feeling to find an author you love and then discover a deep, dark catalog of work you can dive into?  As a reader, nothing gives me as much pleasure.

So I started with the gateway stuff: Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining.  On through The Stand, The Dead Zone, Firestarter (and oh, how I loved little Drew Barrymore in her two Stephen King outings, Firestarter and Cat's Eye).  Cujo, Christine, Pet Sematary – I immersed myself in the pages of these works and, for the most part, loved the movie adaptations.  In 1986, the King-directed movie Maximum Overdrive was my absolute favorite and I was a popular hallway fixture for a day or two when it became clear that a friend of mine had briefly dated the kid in the movie (or said she did, anyway!).  

The Hardcover Honey's original collection of
Stephen King paperbacks!
As I grew up, so too it seemed did King's works.  The Talisman (co-written with Peter Straub) held my interest for several weeks one glorious summer back when I didn't have to pay any bills and could while away hours in the hammock with a stack of dog-eared paperbacks and a huge glass of red Kool-Aid, condensation dripping down its sides.  I searched out some of the hard-to-find stuff like The Bachman Books (still my favorite, and all too prescient with its stories of school shootings in Rage and reality shows taken to their inevitable conclusion in The Long Walk).

As I got older and boys took up more time than books, I opted out of a few of King's works, telling myself I had clearly outgrown him.  At that age I far preferred the work of his wife, Tabitha King, a damn good writer who taught me the useful word “cunny” and whose Small World deserves a re-read.  In fact, I am going to dig out that book tonight and queue it up for a Hardcover Honey review in the near future.  Although Tabitha King works in a different genre, her books are at least as good as his, and it always bothered me that she didn't get nearly the recognition.  
Owen King & Joe Hill
I know there is a gap in my King catalog, I never read Rose Madder, Black House, or Cell – and when I tried picking up Lisey's Story, I couldn't seem to stay with it.  There were glimmers, though – one winter afternoon gave me the time to read all of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and I found myself totally immersed in it, despite the lack of “horror."  Or Blaze, another quick read written under the Bachman name for a noir imprint.  I really loved seeing him experiment and try some other genres.
Stephen & Tabitha KIng
Nowadays, I find myself, for the most part, back on board with his newer works, although I do understand why some long-time fans don't consider him straight-up horror anymore.  I loved 11/22/63 and Doctor Sleep and am looking forward to seeing what he does next.   I also love that he is collaborating on work with one of his two talented sons, Joe Hill, whose NOS4R2 was definitely worthy of the King mantle.  

Both of his sons are truly awesome writers in their own right, and I do wonder how they feel about being “the son of” - surely it brings with it heavy expectations that I know I would chafe under.  If you're a horror lover and a Stephen King fan, you probably have already read Joe Hill's work – but what about his brother Owen?  Working in shades more of the Tabitha King oeuvre  (I didn't even come close on that one, thank you spell-check!), Owen's work is well worth a read too.  Not to mention his wife Kelly Braffet, who has been the focus of several Hardcover Honey reviews with her outstanding books Josie & Jack and the very dark and memorable Save Yourself.  

If Stephen King had done nothing else but introduce me to work by the rest of his family, I would still be a fan of his!