Every Stephen King fan has a favorite book written by the horror master. But what is Stephen King’s favorite Stephen King book? Another famous Stephen took it upon himself to get to the bottom of this horror mystery. King stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his new novel Billy Summers, which debuted last week. Naturally, in talking about books with King, Colbert wanted to know what his favorite Stephen King books are.
His top five might surprise you:
King first shared that his favorite of his short stories is “Survivor Type,” a particularly gruesome tale of a doctor and heroin smuggler who gets marooned on an island. Suffice to say, his survival methods are not very pretty. His other favorite of the shorter reads is “The Body,” which is now often called “Stand By Me,” after the beloved 1986 film. Both “Survivor Type” and “The Body” were both originally published in 1982.
As for the novels, King shared that Misery, The Stand, and Lisey’s Story are among his favorites. The latter he even adapted into the Apple TV+ limited series starring Julianne Moore. And, of course, his newly published Billy Summers.
I am very easily spooked. So much so, I spent third grade terrified of the school bathroom after learning about Bloody Mary. So suffice to say, I never quite graduated to reading the likes of It and The Shining and Carrie. But Stephen King and I have two very important things in common: we’re both from Maine and being from Maine is a big part of our personalities. (To differing financial success, of course.)
Frankly, Bloody Mary shenanigans and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, plus knowing of the treasure trove of Maine-set horror stories—and many subsequent adaptations—did not help to boost my interest in horror growing up. But, I am trying. Very, very slowly. Luckily, not all of his novels are quite as horrific as Cujo. So, my favorite of King’s works, for the record, is On Writing, his masterful memoir. For fiction, like the author, I’m also partial to “The Body.”
During the rest of his chat with Colbert, King talked about important things (to me) like Maine property values and other important things (to everyone else) like his new book. He revealed he started writing Billy Summers in 2019, with the novel actually set in 2020. Now, for obvious pandemic-related reasons, he had to move the novel’s setting back a year, especially as it also contained an unfortunately-timed cruise trip. But while King was lucky enough to shuffle things around, he admitted that eventually writers are going to have to contend with the pandemic in their writing. Now, King already wrote a pandemic novel in the ’70s. But does that mean we’ll be getting another terrifying illness novel like The Stand in our future? We’ll have to wait and see.