How to Read Stephen King Books in Order | Ultimate Guide

Whether you’re new to Stephen King or have been a dedicated fan for years, these lists offer a definitive guide on how to read the Stephen King books in order.

Stephen King has become synonymous with writing and has an impressive oeuvre to match his fame.

Even if you haven’t read a book by him, or watched one of the many adaptions of his novels, it is nearly impossible not to recognize the name and for very good reason.

Stephen King Books in Order

Stephen King has published dozens of books and more than a hundred short stories, dominating the horror genre. In addition to penning incredibly popular novels, King’s writing also veers into the genres of supernatural fiction; gothic drama; dark fantasy; and, of course, psychological horror.

His first novel, Carrie, captivated audiences and subsequently launched King to fame. His publication frequency is inspiring with a new work published almost every year since his writing career began more than 45 years ago.

King has also published 7 books under the alias Richard Bachman.

Collectively, his books have sold more than 350 million copies and dominated bestseller lists.

His latest novel, Billy Summers, is a crime novel that landed on bookstore shelves August 3, 2021 to a postive reception.

King’s next book, Gwendy’s Final Task, is scheduled for publication February 15, 2022. It is the third installment in his The Button Box series with fellow author Richard Chizmar.

Who is Stephen King?

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine and he currently lives between Maine and Florida with his wife Tabitha. Before he became a bestselling author he was an English teacher.

During the last five decades, King has accumulated a dedicated base of fans. As well, many of his popular books have been adapted for the screen, both films and TV shows.

To the delight of fans King has appeared on screen in several adaptions of his works. For example, King’s latest cameo appearance is in the 2019 adaption of his classic novel IT.

His latest cameo role is widely regarded as his best by fans. In the film, King appears as the proprietor of a pawn shop with a tongue-in-cheek quip about not liking the ending to the protagonist’s latest bestselling book.

Stephen King Books in Order of Publication

Stephen King has an impressive collection of works to read, and all in quick succession of one another. But with dozens and dozens of titles it can easily be overwhelming.

Below are all of the novels and novellas King has published since the beginning of his career as an author in the mid-1970s.

If you’re just starting your King reading journey, reading the Stephen King books in order of publication will introduce you to some of his most famous titles.

  1. Carrie (1974)
  2. ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
  3. Rage (1976) *
  4. The Shining (1977)
  5. The Stand (1978)
  6. The Long Walk (1978) *
  7. Night Shift (1978) (Short Story Collection)
  8. The Dead Zone (1979)
  9. Firestarter (1980)
  10. Roadwork (1980) *
  11. Cujo (1981)
  12. The Running Man (1981) *
  13. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
  14. Apt Pupil (1982)
  15. The Breathing Method (1982)
  16. Different Seasons (1982) (Short Story Collection)
  17. Christine (1983)
  18. Pet Sematary (1983)
  19. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
  20. The Talisman (1984)
  21. Thinner (1984) *
  22. Skeleton Crew (1985) (Short Story Collection)
  23. IT (1986)
  24. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
  25. The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  26. Misery (1987)
  27. The Tommyknockers (1987)
  28. The Dark Half (1989)
  29. Four Past Midnight (1990) (Short Story Collection)
  30. The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands (1991)
  31. Needful Things (1991)
  32. Gerald’s Game (1992)
  33. Dolores Claiborne (1993)
  34. Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993) (Short Story Collection)
  35. Insomnia (1994)
  36. Rose Madder (1995)
  37. The Regulators (1995) *
  38. The Green Mile (1996)
  39. Desperation (1996)
  40. The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass (1997)
  41. Bag of Bones (1998)
  42. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
  43. Hearts in Atlantis (1999) (Short Story Collection)
  44. Dreamcatcher (2001)
  45. Black House (2001)
  46. From A Buick 8 (2002)
  47. Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales (2002) (Short Story Collection)
  48. The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
  49. The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah (2004)
  50. The Dark Tower VII (2004)
  51. The Colorado Kid (2005)
  52. Cell (2006)
  53. Lisey’s Story (2006)
  54. Blaze (2006) *
  55. Duma Key (2008)
  56. Just After Sunset (2008) (Short Story Collection)
  57. Under the Dome (2009)
  58. Stephen King Goes to the Movies (2009) (Short Story Collection)
  59. Blockade Billy (2010)
  60. Full Dark, No Stars (2010) (Short Story Collection)
  61. 11/22/63 (2011)
  62. The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
  63. Joyland (2013)
  64. Doctor Sleep (2013)
  65. Mr. Mercedes (2014)
  66. Revival (2014)
  67. Finders Keepers (2015)
  68. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015) (Short Story Collection)
  69. End of Watch (2016)
  70. Sleeping Beauties (2017)
  71. The Outsider (2018)
  72. Elevation (2018)
  73. The Institute (2019)
  74. If It Bleeds (2020) (Short Story Collection)
  75. Later (2021)
  76. Billy Summers (2021)

In the above list, all titles marked with an asterisk are published under Stephen King’s alias of Richard Bachman. Further detail on this moniker is below.

Stephen King Books in Order: Richard Bachman Alias

Stephen King used the alias of Richard Bachman primarily at the outset of his writing career, although he has used it within the last few decades as well.

He has explained that he chose to publish under a different name in order to avoid oversaturating the market with his works while maintaining his impressive publication pace.

All of King’s works published under the Richard Bachman alias are standalones.

  1. Rage (1976)
  2. The Long Walk (1978)
  3. Roadwork (1980)
  4. The Running Man (1981)
  5. Thinner (1984)
  6. The Regulators (1995)
  7. Blaze (2006)

Stephen King Books in Order: Standalones

While Stephen King has multiple popular series, his standalones are arguably the titles he is most known for.

Below the Stephen King books in order are organized by publication. While the books can be read in any order, reading the standalone books in order of publication can provide insight into King’s progression as an author and how he came to dominate the horror genre.

In other words, if you’ve already read a handful of books by Stephen King and are looking for a new way to experience his writing, reading his standalone books in order of publication will offer insight into the nuances of his career growth.

  1. Carrie (1974)
  2. ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
  3. The Stand (1978)
  4. The Dead Zone (1979)
  5. The Mist (1980)
  6. Firestarter (1980)
  7. Cujo (1981)
  8. Christine (1983)
  9. Pet Sematary (1983)
  10. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
  11. IT (1986)
  12. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
  13. Misery (1987)
  14. The Tommyknockers (1987)
  15. The Dark Half (1989)
  16. Needful Things (1991)
  17. Gerald’s Game (1992)
  18. Dolores Claiborne (1992)
  19. Insomnia (1994)
  20. Rose Madder (1995)
  21. The Green Mile (1996)
  22. Desperation (1996)
  23. Bag of Bones (1998)
  24. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
  25. Dreamcatcher (2001)
  26. From A Buick 8 (2002)
  27. The Colorado Kid (2005)
  28. Cell (2006)
  29. Lisey’s Story (2006)
  30. Duma Key (2008)
  31. Under the Dome (2009)
  32. 11/22/63 (2011)
  33. Joyland (2013)
  34. Revival (2014)
  35. Sleeping Beauties (2017)
  36. The Outsider (2018)
  37. Elevation (2018)
  38. The Institute (2019)
  39. Later (2021)
  40. Billy Summers (2021)

Stephen King Books in Order of Series

As mentioned, in addition to his bestselling standalones Stephen King has also written numerous bestselling series.

Below the series are organized by the order in which King began writing the first book to the series.

However, the series can be read in whichever order most intrigues you, as the variety of King’s writing is well-demonstrated through his series.

For example, while The Shining series is a horror thriller, the Dark Tower books venture into the fantasy genre, and The Green Mile series is a riveting exploration of psychological horror.

The Shining Books

  1. The Shining (1977)
  2. Doctor Sleep (2013)

Dark Tower Books

  1. The Gunslinger (1982)
  2. The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  3. The Waste Lands (1991)
  4. Wizard and Glass (1997)
  5. Wolves of the Calla (2003)
  6. Song of Susannah (2004)
  7. The Dark Tower (2004)
  8. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)

For an alternative way to read, check out my list of The Dark Tower books in order.

Talisman Books

  1. The Talisman (1984)
  2. Black House (2001)

Bill Hodges Books

  1. Mr. Mercedes (2014)
  2. Finders Keepers (2015)
  3. End of Watch (2016)

Stephen King Books in Order: Non-Fiction

In addition to his popular horror books, Stephen King has also written non-fiction. For instance, King has become incredibly well-known within the writing community for his advice surrounding the craft, as noted in his very popular 2002 book: On Writing.

  1. Danse Macabre (1981)
  2. Nightmares in the Sky (1988)
  3. Mid-Life Confidential (1994)
  4. On Writing (2000)
  5. Faithful (2004)
  6. Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All (2013)
  7. Hearts in Suspension (2016)

Stephen King’s Other Written Works

If you’re looking for something a bit shorter to sink your teeth into, but still captivating and gripping, Stephen King’s short stories are a great option. King has written more than 100 short stories, published short story collections, and written graphic novels. The below lists will offer you a glimpse into King’s writing style, but at a length that will allow you to speed through his works.

Short Stories in Publication Order

  1. Battleground (1977)
  2. The Boogeyman (1977)
  3. Children of the Corn (1977)
  4. Graveyard shift (1977)
  5. Grey Matter (1977)
  6. I Am the Doorway (1977)
  7. I Know What You Need (1977)
  8. Jerusalem’s Lot (1977)
  9. The Last Rung on the Ladder (1977)
  10. The Lawnmower Man (1977)
  11. The Ledge (1977)
  12. The Man Who Loved Flowers (1977)
  13. The Mangler (1977)
  14. Night Surf (1977)
  15. One for the Road (1977)
  16. Quitters Inc. (1977)
  17. Sometimes They Come Back (1977)
  18. Strawberry Spring (1977)
  19. Trucks (1977)
  20. The Woman in the Room (1977)
  21. The Night of the Tiger (1978)
  22. The Crate (1980)
  23. The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet (1985)
  24. Beachworld (1985)
  25. Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2) (1985)
  26. Cain Rose Up (1985)
  27. Gramma (1985)
  28. Here There Be Tygers (1985)
  29. The Jaunt (1985)
  30. The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands (1985)
  31. The Monkey (1985)
  32. Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) (1985)
  33. Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut (1985)
  34. Nona (1985)
  35. The Raft (1985)
  36. The Reach (1985)
  37. The Reaper’s Image (1985)
  38. Survivor Type (1985)
  39. Uncle Otto’s Truck (1985)
  40. The Wedding Gig (1985)
  41. Word Processor of the Gods (1985)
  42. The Reploids (1987)
  43. The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson (1990)
  44. Chattery Teeth (1993)
  45. Crouch End (1993)
  46. Dedication (1993)
  47. The Doctor’s Case (1993)
  48. Dolan’s Cadillac (1993)
  49. The End of the Whole Mess (1993)
  50. The Fifth Quarter (1993)
  51. Home Delivery (1993)
  52. The House on Maple Street (1993)
  53. It Grows on You (1993)
  54. The Moving Finger (1993)
  55. My Pretty Pony (1993)
  56. The Night Flier (1993)
  57. Popsy (1993)
  58. Rainy Season (1993)
  59. Sneakers (1993)
  60. Suffer the Little Children (1993)
  61. The Ten O’Clock People (1993)
  62. Umney’s Last Case (1993)
  63. You Know They Got a Hell of a Band (1993)
  64. Rush Call (1999)
  65. 1402 (2002)
  66. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away (2002)
  67. Autopsy Room Four (2002)
  68. The Death of Jack Hamilton (2002)
  69. Everything’s Eventual (2002)
  70. In the Deathroom (2002)
  71. L.T.’s Theory of Pets (2002)
  72. The Little Sisters of Eluria (2002)
  73. Luckey Quarter (2002)
  74. Lunch at the Gotham Café (2002)
  75. The Man in the Black Suit (2002)
  76. Riding the Bullet (2002)
  77. The Road Virus Heads North (2002)
  78. That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French (2002)
  79. The Tale of Gray Dick (2003)
  80. Ayana (2008)
  81. The Cat from Hell (2008)
  82. The Gingerbread Girl (2008)
  83. Graduation Afternoon (2008)
  84. Harvey’s Dream (2008)
  85. Mute (2008)
  86. N. (2008)
  87. The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates (2008)
  88. Rest Stop (2008)
  89. Stationary Bike (2008)
  90. The Things They Left Behind (2008)
  91. Willa (2008)
  92. Throttle (2009)
  93. 1922 (2010)
  94. A Good Marriage (2010)
  95. Big Driver (2010)
  96. Fair Extension (2010)
  97. Weeds (2014)
  98. Bad Little Kid (2015)
  99. Batman and Robin Have an Altercation (2015)
  100. Drunken Fireworks (2015)
  101. The Dune (2015)
  102. Herman Wouk is Still Alive (2015)
  103. Little Green God of Agony (2015)
  104. Mile 81 (2015)
  105. Mister Yummy (2015)
  106. Morality (2015)
  107. Obits (2015)
  108. Premium Harmony (2015)
  109. Summer Thunder (2015)
  110. Under the Weather (2015)
  111. The Music Room (2016)
  112. The Blue Air Compressor (2018)
  113. The Turbulence (2018)

Short Story Collections in Publication Order

  1. Night Shift (1978)
  2. Different Seasons (1982)
  3. Skeleton Crew (1985)
  4. Four Past Midnight (1990)
  5. Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993)
  6. Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
  7. Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales (2002)
  8. Just After Sunset (2008)
  9. Stephen King Goes to the Movies (2009)
  10. Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
  11. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015)
  12. If It Bleeds (2020)

Stephen King’s Screen Adaptions

If you’ve never picked up one of Stephen King’s books or pieces of writing, the chances are still high that you’ve at least seen the hype surrounding some of his screen adaptions. Many King books have been adapted for movie and television screens during the last several decades.

Some of King’s most popular adaptions have attracted recognizable Hollywood names, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man, which premiered in 1987. Likewise, Misery premiered in 1980 and stars Kathy Bates. The Shining adaption also premiered in 1980. While King has said he is not a fan of the adaption, it stars Jack Nicholson and is produced by Stanley Kubrick.

Most recently James McAvoy starred in the 2019 adaption of IT: Chapter Two, in which King has his memorable and lengthy cameo as a pawn shop owner.

The Best Stephen King Books

Listing the best books by any author will always be subjective to the individual reader. So if you’re a dedicated fan, it’s likely that you might have your own top ten Stephen King books. Moreover, that list might look different to the one included here.

In addition to being subjective, the precise number of books sold isn’t available. However, the below list of books in order of publication have inarguably made an impact on both King’s writing career and the respective genres.

Many of these titles have also been adapted into movies or TV shows which gives a nod to their popularity within society.

Carrie Stephen King Books in Order

1. Carrie

Stephen King’s debut novel Carrie cemented his voice in the horror genre. The book is about the misunderstood high school student Carrie White, who is bullied relentlessly. Subsequently, when Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers, she proceeds to go on a violent rampage of revenge against those who tormented her. As a result, this modern classic remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of King’s career.


Salem’s Lot Best Stephen King Books

2. ‘Salem’s Lot

In this popular novel, the horror of ‘Salem’s Lot permeates even thousands of miles away. Firstly we are introduced to a man and a boy, both terrified of the small town of ‘Salem’s Lot. While they are miles away they share their secrets of the tree-lined streets that still haunt them. However, they soon realize they must return to ‘Salem’s Lot for a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil that lives on in the town.


The Shining

3. The Shining

The chance to become an off-season caretaker at an atmospheric old hotel seems like the perfect new job for Jack Torrance in The Shining. At first it seems to be his chance at a fresh start. He imagines he will have plenty of time to reconnect with his family and also work on his writing. But as winter settles in with its harsh weather, the idyllic location grows more remote and sinister as the days pass. It is only Jack’s gifted five-year-old who notices the strange and terrible forces that are gathering around this old hotel.


The Stand Stephen King

4. The Stand

The Stand begins with a man escaping from a biological testing facility and spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 per cent of humanity within a few weeks. After that horrible sequence of events, those who survive are scared and in desperate need of a leader. Then, two forces emerge. One is Mother Abagail, who is a benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges all to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado. But the other is Randall Flagg, who delights in chaos and violence. He is also ominously known as the nefarious “Dark Man.” As the two gather power and supporters, who the survivors choose to follow in this post-apocalyptic world will decide the fate of humanity.


Misery Book

5. Misery

In this horror fantasy novel Paul Sheldon is a bestselling novelist who finally meets his biggest fan. Annie Wilkes is a rabid reader of his works, but she is also Paul’s nurse and captor. She tends to his shattered body after a car accident, while keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.


IT Stephen King Books in Order

6. IT

A modern horror classic, IT begins in Derry, Maine. It is a town that feels hauntingly familiar, but the hauntings in this town are real. Years ago, seven teenagers first stumbled across the horror, but they thought they had grown up and moved on since then. However, none of them can withstand the inexplicable force that is driving them back to Derry. Once they are back within town lines they must once again face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.


Pet Sematary Best Stephen King Books

7. Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary introduces the Creeds as the perfect idyllic family. As they move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, their picture-perfect image seems to be complete. The father is a physician, the wife is beautiful, the daughter is charming, and the newborn son is adorable. But the nearby woods are hiding a blood-chilling truth that is more terrifying and powerful than death itself. Terror lurks around the corner of their perfect home, and the Creeds will soon learn that sometimes dead is better.


The Gunslinger Dark Tower

8. The Gunslinger

The first book in The Dark Tower series introduces readers to Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. Referred to as one of Stephen King’s most enigmatic heroes, Roland is a haunting figure on a spellbinding journey of good and evil. In a world that frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black. Along his journey he also encounters an alluring woman named Alice and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. This fantasy horror novel is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike.


The Green Mile

9. The Green Mile

The first novel in The Green Mile books introduces readers to Cold Mountain Penitentiary. The men of E Block are all convicted killers waiting their turn to walk the Green Mile. There they will meet with Cold Mountain’s electric chair: “Old Sparky.” Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities while working the Mile, but he’s never seen anyone like John Coffey. This man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child was condemned for a shockingly violent crime. Edgecombe will soon discover a terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey that will challenge his most cherished beliefs.


11/22/63 Stephen King Books in Order

10. 11/22/63

In 11/22/63 Stephen King creates an alternate reality history surrounding the assassination of JFK. In this novel Jake Epping is a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While marking papers he finds something shockingly eerie and quickly discovers that his friend’s local diner contains an incredible secret. The storeroom is a portal to 1958. Epping then creates a new identity and embarks on an insane mission to travel back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination. King’s novel is evocative in its world-building of a bygone era as Epping’s new life transgresses all the normal rules of time in the attempt to stop the assassination of the President.


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