Today I’m blogging about Stephen King. I happen to think he’s the most brilliant author of all time, and I realize that’s a leap for plenty of folks out there. This isn’t based on book sales or gimmick lists, but rather the fact that I’ve read a lot of his work, as well as lots of work by other legendary authors. Trust me when I say that as both a New York Yankees fan (King likes the Red Sox) and a Republican (King is a Democrat), it pains me to put him at #1. I respect the hell out of his literary career and he’s a guy that I could sit down and get along with just fine, so long as we weren’t talking sports or politics.
Stephen King is the master of hitting the perfect medium. He describes well in his books, but doesn’t overdo it. King uses words that can impress seasoned readers, while also describing plainly enough to keep brand new readers interested. In the world of writing, this guy is neither Macy’s or Dollar General – he’s Amazon, the happy medium. His broad appeal is what (in my opinion) sells so many damn books.
I chose Joyland for a specific reason. If you haven’t read this book, I encourage you to do so. Nothing truly memorable happens during most of the book, yet it’s a page turner and then some. Stephen King is the master of character creation and he forces you to care. His dialog is spot on and he writes in a very truthful way. Especially in Joyland.
Lovecraft couldn’t write dialog. Fitzgerald didn’t have King’s broad stroke of appeal. Hemmingway didn’t publish nearly as many books as King has (all of them bestsellers). I mean, let’s face it. There are plenty of people who could be considered for the top spot. People like Rowling, Tolkien and Dickens. I happen to like R.A. Salvatore, and believe he’s very underrated. But when it’s all said and done, how many authors have lasted as long as Stephen King, on the level he enjoys and with the sheer number of bestselling books he’s written? It’s up in the air and I’d love to hear your comments on this, but Stephen King has entertained multiple generations of readers (and has done so under different names). To me, that speaks volumes.