Stephen King is undoubtedly the master of horror and one of the most successful and well known writers of our time. Read more to learn the top 7 Stephen King audiobooks you must listen too.
Best Stephen King audiobooks
About Stephen King
Stephen King is undoubtedly the master of horror and one of the most successful and well known writers of our time. The prolific New York Times bestselling author has written over 50 spine tingling books and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards.
The wicked wordsmith has been penning his tales of terror for over 40 years, and has written over 60 novels, selling 350 million copies.
He is most well known for the novels the Shining, The Stand, Salem’s Lot, Pet Semetary, The Institute, Under the Dome, Dolores claiborne, Lisey’s Story, Duma Key, The Colorado Kid, as well as over 200 short stories contained in numerous collections like Nightmares and Dreamscapes and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
Stephen King has had 34 film adaptations based on his stories. The Guinness Superlatives has certified that this is the most film adaptations of any author.
Stephen King was born in Portland Maine on Sept 21, 1947. He attended the University of Maine, and graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He worked as a teacher in 1971 at Hampden Academy, Hampden Maine, and started teaching creative writing at the University of Maine in 1977.
After King graduated from college, he immediately started selling his short stories to magazines. His first published novel was Carrie in 1973 which he famously threw in the trash. The manuscript was salvaged by his wife Tabitha, who encouraged him to finish writing it.
Although King had written three novels, his first novel “Carrie” was the first to be published in 1973. The success of this novel launched his career as a writer and established him as a new voice in the horror genre.
In 1982 Stephen King published a body of work that stepped outside of the horror genre. Here, King showed more of a dramatic side to his writing. Different Seasons contained 4 novellas, 3 of which were later turned into Hollywood films: Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, and Apt pupil. Each story was noted for a more serious and dramatic tone rather than the genre writing that he had become famous for.
It’s impossible to mention the state of Maine without mentioning Stephen King, the state, and surrounding New England areas that have been the inspiration and setting of the majority of his works. His most notable being the fictitious town of Derry, Maine, the setting of the novel ‘It”.
After experiencing unexpected success as a writer, King always wondered if he was truly talented or if he was just at the right place at the right time. He sought out to replicate his success by writing under the pen name “Richard Bachman ”. Unsurprisingly, his books were well received. His pseudonym was revealed when a bookshop owner noticed the similarity between the writing style of Bachman and Stephen King, and discovered the Library of Congress number.
King created a fictitious death for Richard Bachman, and laid his pseudonym to rest.
The Dark Tower Series
Regarded as King’s most important work, The Dark Tower Series is a 7 book epic fantasy that was King’s attempt to create a fantasy world rivalling that of Tolkien, mixed with the spaghetti western landscape of Sergio Leone films. The story chronicles Roland Deschain, also known as the gunslinger. He is the last in a line of ‘Gunslingers’ which are a type of ancient knight. Roland begins his epic quest to find The Dark Tower, the pillar that holds all worlds together, which has now fallen under siege from malevolent forces that seek the ultimate destruction of the Universe.
The Dark Tower is a series that King worked on for most of his career, and was central to the universe he created in his storytelling. The world of Roland Deschain overlaps with several of King’s other story universes, such as The Stand, Salem’s Lot, 11/22/63, Black House, Desperation, Insomnia, IT, and The Shining.
The Dark Tower audiobook is narrated by George Guidall.
Genre of Writing
The master of terror is most famous for supernatural, horror, mystery and sci fi writing.
He has also written critically acclaimed dramas. Stephen King’s novels have been adapted into award winning films, series, and miniseries which were all received with great enthusiasm.
Brief overview of awards
Stephen King is a Worldwide Bestselling Author who has received numerous awards. Some of the many that he has received are:
Multiple Bram stoker awards
World Fantasy awards
British Fantasy Society Awards
2003 National Book Foundation awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
2004 World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement
2007 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America
2015 National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature
Top 7 Stephen King Audiobooks
Stephen King has had dozens of books and short stories turned into audiobooks. With such a large body of work, it can be overwhelming to pick just one to start with. We’ve created a list of the Top 7 Stephen King Audiobooks guaranteed to give you goosebumps.
Top Books Narrated by Stephen King Himself
Stephen King’s audiobooks are narrated by the incredable voice talents of Will Patton, Grover Gardner, Michael C. Hall, Steven Weber, Frank Muller, Ron Mclarty, Campbell Scott, Craig Wasson, and George Guidall.
Stephen King has narrated quite a few of his own novels as well. Here are some audiobooks that feature the author reading his work:
The Wind Through The Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Hearts in Atlantis
Blood and Smoke
NIghtmares and Dreamscapes Volume I
Nightmares and dreamscapes Volume II
NIghtmares and Dreamscapes volume III
Bag of Bones
Just After Sunset
What is a good book to start reading Stephen King
Many of King’s novels share the same universe, and are quite lengthy. For this reason, it is recommended that new readers start with either one of his short story collections like The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, or one of his shorter novels like Carrie, Pet Sematary, Mr. Mercedes, or The Outsider.
The Shining was published by Random House Audio in 2012.
The Shining was famously adapted to a film directed by Stanley Kubrick with the main character played by Jack Nicholson.
The Shining is a terrifying psychological thriller that centres around Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a winter position as the caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Accompanied by his wife and young son Danny, they will be alone in the hotel for the winter season.The hotel is located in a remote position in the Rocky Mountains, and they are warned that once the snows come, they could find themselves snowed in for days at a time until the spring.
Jack willingly accepts the position, both glad to receive paying work with the hopes to use the solitude to work on his novel.
Unbeknownst to his parents, little Danny Torrence possesses a gift called “ The Shining” which is a psychic ability and telepathy. These abilities allow him to communicate with others, who possess The Shining, but also to see the shocking horrors of the hotel’s past.
The Torrence family soon finds themselves facing terrifying supernatural forces, which start to influence Jack. He begins to descend further into alcoholism and madness as Danny is left helpless to witness the horrors at work on his family.
A sudden blizzard leaves the family snowbound and alone in the hotel, completely cut off from the outside world as the supernatural forces grow stronger and threaten to end their lives.
There are two versions of this audiobook, one narrated by Stephen King, and one narrated by Campbell Scott.
The Shining is considered one of King’s most terrifying novels, and the film adaptation has become a classic. It’s a highly rated book with dozens of 5-star reviews on Amazon.
The Stand was published by Random House Audio in 2012.
This is an epic apocalyptic novel about the forces of good evil.
A deadly superflu pandemic has decimated the population, everyone is dead except for a handful of survivors.
As they are left to navigate a post-apocalyptic wasteland, they set out on a journey to find other survivors. They begin to have dreams, some dream of the kindly Mother Abigail, sitting on her front porch surrounded by cornfields. Others dream of the Dark Man, calling them to the Nevada desert.
As the group of survivors break into two camps, they soon realize they are preparing for the ultimate showdown between good and evil, and supernatural forces of darkness that threaten to destroy them all.
There are two versions of this audiobook, one narrated by Stephen King and one narrated by Grover Gardner.
Stephen King fans consider this their favorite of his books. It has thousands of 5-star reviews on Amazon, and most readers say that the book is a masterpiece.
It was published by Simon & Schuster Audio in 2016.
Long regarded as one of King’s most terrifying novels, IT chronicles the story of a group of childhood friends who encounter an unspeakable terror that has been preying upon the town of Derry Maine for hundreds of years.
When the main character’s kid brother goes missing, he starts to discover that a dark force is at play. As each of the characters learn about the dark secret haunting their town, each must confront their own personal fears and unite to defeat the forces of darkness and stop the lurking evil before it destroys them all.
The group of friends make a vow to return to Derry if the disappearances start to happen again. 27 years later, the group is drawn back to Derry where they have to confront the terrifying force once again.
IT was adapted into a miniseries, and made into a full length feature film. It was also the winner of the British Fantasy Award in 1987
Another bestselling hit that didn’t disappoint, readers left many positive reviews for this book. Some readers felt this was the most terrifying of King’s books!
Salem’s Lot was published by Random House Audio in 2012.
Drawing inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephen King revisits the classic vampire trope, this time reimagining bloodsuckers in a small New England town known as Jerusalem’s Lot or Salem’s Lot for short.
The sleepy New England town of ‘Salem’s Lot’ doesn’t have many visitors. Until one summer, when two unexpected visitors come to the town. Writer Ben Mears returns 25 years later to write a novel about the Marsten house, a place that has haunted his dreams since his childhood.
He soon learns that the Marsten house has been bought by a mysterious newcomer, an Austrian immigrant named Kurt Barlow who has chosen the town to open a furniture store.
However, no one has actually seen Barlow in public, only his business partner Richard Straker.
A child soon disappears, and as the search begins to find the missing boy, Ben Mears uncovers an unspeakable evil that threatens to take over the town.
Salem’s Lot is a great chiller for anyone who’s a fan of things that go bump in the night.
This audiobook has two versions, one that is narrated by Ron Mclarty, and one that is also narrated by Stephen King.
Reader’s thought this was a terrifying and creepy vampire story. They described it as well written, and one of the scariest books they have ever read. Salem’s Lot has hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Misery was published by Simon & Schuster Audio in 2016.
Another psychological thriller by the master of chills. Misery takes a look at the relationship between celebrities and fans.
Paul Sheldon is an acclaimed romance writer who is seriously injured after a horrible car accident. He is rescued by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse and Sheldon’s self-proclaimed number one fan. Upon awakening, he discovers he is in Annie’s guest room. She refuses to take him to the hospital, and instead nurses him herself with an illegal stash of painkillers. Paul becomes addicted to the drug, and enters a harrowing nightmare from which he seemingly can’t escape.
This audiobook is narrated by Lindsay Crouse.
This critically acclaimed book was the winner of the Bram Stoker award in 1987 and nominated for the 1988 World Fantasy Award for best novel. Readers say they weren’t able to put it down.
The Green Mile
The Green Mile was published by Signet Books in 1996.
The Green Mile is Stephen’s King foray into the serial novel. Originally released in 6 volumes, King explored the serial form of storytelling.
The Green Mile moves away from horror, and explores magical realism. The story centres on a group of prisoners on death row and the prison guards who witness a remarkable and unbelievable phenomenon.
John Coffey, is an inmate on death row with a mysterious gift. He possesses special gifts and healing powers which are soon discovered by a warden.
This is a dramatic and moving tale of the remarkable in the most unlikely of places.
The Green Mile was adapted to the big screen with an all-star cast starring Tom Hanks, and Michal Clarke Duncan.
Although this was not one of King’s usual tales of terror, many readers felt that this was one of his most stunning books. It received many 5-star reviews on Amazon.
The Dead Zone
The Dead Zone was published by Simon & Schuster Audio in 2017.
The Dead Zone is a science fiction meets thriller. High school teacher Johnny Smith is involved in a serious car accident. When he wakes up from a coma 5 years later, he discovers he has suffered a brain injury that has left one part of his brain seriously damaged- a “dead zone.” Johnny Smith soon discovers that a part of his brain seems to overcompensate for his injury. He experiences clairvoyance and other mental powers when he touches objects and people.
He is soon recruited by the local police department to help catch a serial killer. Johnny soon is involved in a plot that will change the course of history if he can only stop it in time.
This audiobook is narrated by James Franco
It was nominated for the Locus award in 1980.
“A more literary novel about rehabilitation and loss” James Smyth, The Guardian.
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