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The Stephen King Companion

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This book contains such a wealth of information about Stephen King, it is a must for any fan. A behind-the-scenes look at his home, family and reviews on his fictional novels. Numerous illustrations.


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This book contains such a wealth of information about Stephen King, it is a must for any fan. A behind-the-scenes look at his home, family and reviews on his fictional novels. Numerous illustrations.

30 review for The Stephen King Companion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    This is a great book for anyone with the slightest interest in Stephen King. Of course, you will find writeups of all of his works, up to that point, which include synopses, commentary, and back stories. But, that takes up only 150 or so pages of the 365. The rest of the book is filled with what you might expect, or hope to find, in a book of this sort: a brief history of his road to success; articles by others about him, including one by Clive Barker; a tour of the Victorian mansion that is his This is a great book for anyone with the slightest interest in Stephen King. Of course, you will find writeups of all of his works, up to that point, which include synopses, commentary, and back stories. But, that takes up only 150 or so pages of the 365. The rest of the book is filled with what you might expect, or hope to find, in a book of this sort: a brief history of his road to success; articles by others about him, including one by Clive Barker; a tour of the Victorian mansion that is his winter home; writeups about the conventions and newsletters dedicated to King; and much more. Included is the transcript of the talk he gave for the benefit of the Virginia Beach Friends of the Library, in which he spoke about banned books and censorship, to which several of his own fell victim. My favorite parts are the interviews reprinted here, including the full Playboy Magazine interview from 1983, where the interviewer, Eric Norden, spent 2 weeks with King. Taking up 27 pages, this interview delves deep into Stephen King the man, and Stephen King the writer. Another excellent interview included here is one with writer Harlan Ellison, conducted in 1989, by George Beahm and Howard Wornom (specifically for inclusion in this book, I’m guessing). Anyone familiar with Ellison knows he is one tough critic. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, and though he praises King heavily, he readily identifies what he feels are King’s weak points, including the one complaint I hear most, from other readers, that he pads his books with a lot of unnecessary verbiage. Ellison says, “. . . I can’t think of any King novels, with the possible exception of “It,” or the two “Dark Tower” books, that could not have been told just as well as a novella.” I am in no manner a Stephen King fanatic. While I eagerly devoured every new release up until “The Tommyknockers,” after that klunker, I picked up his books only sporadically. Still, even if I find some of his books a chore to complete, I continue to appreciate his talent and what he has accomplished over the past 40-odd years. This edition the first one from 1989. I would like to get a current edition, and read all the later material that has been added.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd Bristow

    I wanted a book of minutiae and, boy did I get it! What is different about this book vs others on King is that it barely touches upon his works themselves and spends more time with history: his non-book endeavors, how his works have been perceived over time, artists influenced by, and attached academia. I was absolutely riveted. Even those who think they knew all about King (like myself) will come away a more well rounded fan.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    Nowhere near as good as I'd hoped it would be. You get an overview of King the man and author in very broad strokes, and a cursory mention of every book he's written up to 2015, but some do little more than give you the title and publication date, so, really who cares? The book is also in serious need of editing, because on multiple occasions, the same information is delivered multiple times. Sometimes within a few pages of each other. There's absolutely no need for that, and it becom Nowhere near as good as I'd hoped it would be. You get an overview of King the man and author in very broad strokes, and a cursory mention of every book he's written up to 2015, but some do little more than give you the title and publication date, so, really who cares? The book is also in serious need of editing, because on multiple occasions, the same information is delivered multiple times. Sometimes within a few pages of each other. There's absolutely no need for that, and it becomes quite irritating to read after a while. Finally, there's very little critical review of King's work. Even stuff that King admittedly doesn't like himself, the author seems to fawn over and make excuses for. I love Stephen King. I love his writing. But I don't like every single thing he's put out. Every once in a while, it'd be nice to see someone be a little more critical of his failures, instead of slavish devotion to the so-called King of Horror. It got a little too sweet for me, and by the end, I pretty much had a toothache and diabetes. An okay overview, but overlong.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Smith

    Enjoyed insights into King's self and the trajectory of his career.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jasmin Mohd-zain

    Wow..what a wonderful homage to SK! Beahm covered such diverse topics on SK, his family, all his books, movies and all the little known story about him up till 2015. I went down memory lane with some of his works and details given by Beahm. It was such a joy to have my love for SK work re-kindled ..no...strenghtened since i had left SK's work for a while in search of new authors to fill my reading itch. Very well done Mr Beahm. If you update this book I'm gonna get the next Wow..what a wonderful homage to SK! Beahm covered such diverse topics on SK, his family, all his books, movies and all the little known story about him up till 2015. I went down memory lane with some of his works and details given by Beahm. It was such a joy to have my love for SK work re-kindled ..no...strenghtened since i had left SK's work for a while in search of new authors to fill my reading itch. Very well done Mr Beahm. If you update this book I'm gonna get the next one for sure because i will remain the Constant Reader ❤

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    This is my new favorite companion piece! Wow! I am going to hang onto this like a cherished textbook! If you're a King fan, like me, you simply need this book. If you are one of his Constant Readers, you'd be incomplete without it, man. Amazing. As an English teacher, I often read Carrie with a group of students, and this is what caused me to wonder about *this* book. I not only have new resources to go into the classroom with, I have a greater appreciation of King's entire universe.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve Parcell

    It was an OK read. I was expecting a bit more insight in to the man and it was a bit dated.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judd

    I pulled this book off of a bargain rack and as it is a first edition, I must be clear that that is the edition of book I am reviewing. It looks as though it's been re-released with a few hundred pages more and a couple more decades worth of work. Maybe that book is better, worse, on par, but for the sake of this review, I am talking exclusively about the 1989 release. When the book shines it really shines. There are a few interviews of King that were featured back in the early 80s wh I pulled this book off of a bargain rack and as it is a first edition, I must be clear that that is the edition of book I am reviewing. It looks as though it's been re-released with a few hundred pages more and a couple more decades worth of work. Maybe that book is better, worse, on par, but for the sake of this review, I am talking exclusively about the 1989 release. When the book shines it really shines. There are a few interviews of King that were featured back in the early 80s when he was just coming into the earliest part of his career. These were fantastic, filled with little gems and quotes back when his mind was really humming. I did not know, for example, that he published four books in a single year. He's a little more rough around the edges and seems to speak candidly in a way that we wouldn't see in his later years (mid 90s on). Reading about his house and getting some insight into where his ideas come from are a must for any King fan. The rest of the book is unnecessary padding in 2019. A section about finding reputable book dealers doesn't apply as the Internet has made correspondence across the country a cinch. Long pieces about King's audiotapes are also dated. Finally, interviews with the illustrators of his book covers are head scratchers as publishers now churn out a new edition every two years with new, original artwork. What excited me the most and had its share of letdowns was the section in which his books are broken down into three or four page blurbs. Some of them yielded really interesting material, others not so much. After four pages of explaining how a pet funeral works, gravestone marking costs, and lack of animal embalmment, I was ready to throw the book out the window. Yes, pet cemeteries do exist. But when I want to learn about Pet Sematary, I'd prefer it be remotely about the book. Maybe the newer version is better, maybe I'm just a stick in the mud. As a huge King fan, I will say that sections of this book are very enjoyable. If you find yourself in the superfan demographic and want to know exactly what's going on with King in 1989, read. this. book. Otherwise hit up his wikipedia page and scroll through his life and a few of his books that you may have on your shelf.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Wow! This book is awesome! I plan on using it together with reading Stephen King's books so it will sit on my shelf for awhile. The plan is to read the book and then the pages for that specific book in this Companion. However, I read all the other chapters that don't have to do with specific titles and it was so interesting. I'm not usually a fan of biographies, but he is such an interesting man and it made me so much more excited to start my Stephen King challenge. The author did an amazing job Wow! This book is awesome! I plan on using it together with reading Stephen King's books so it will sit on my shelf for awhile. The plan is to read the book and then the pages for that specific book in this Companion. However, I read all the other chapters that don't have to do with specific titles and it was so interesting. I'm not usually a fan of biographies, but he is such an interesting man and it made me so much more excited to start my Stephen King challenge. The author did an amazing job. He made King really easy to relate to... I would love to just sit around with these people and chat! The illustrations included throughout the book are really creepy and neat. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes Stephen King. *I'm not including this in any challenges because it will likely be on my currently reading list for more than a year or however long it takes to read all the books!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aiden Merchant

    I would love to see Beahm go back and do this book again to include the last 20-30 years (seeing as this was published in '89). The stats that were scattered throughout the companion didn't do much for me, but chapters that dealt with the King household or the few interviews he's done at length - those were great. Of course, with a legend like King, a thousand page book could easily be written and still have more to say. I want to see the film adaptation section updated for sure (so many movies I would love to see Beahm go back and do this book again to include the last 20-30 years (seeing as this was published in '89). The stats that were scattered throughout the companion didn't do much for me, but chapters that dealt with the King household or the few interviews he's done at length - those were great. Of course, with a legend like King, a thousand page book could easily be written and still have more to say. I want to see the film adaptation section updated for sure (so many movies have come since '89), and a new collection of fan mail. And perhaps a chapter dedicated to his memoir, On Writing? That would be amazing. Nevertheless, for when this book was written/edited, there is a lot of great material here to devour for fans. This is definitely recommended for King's Constant Readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Princelust

    Awesome.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Burley

    Excellent, and eminently readable, resource for King fans. I burned through it much faster than I anticipated.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    An absolutely magnificent look at the man and his works.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Audiobook from Audible. Not much about the person, just the easiest accesible data, I guess. Skimmed the paper version today and that deserves fully the 4th star. The audiobook doesn’t give the real book full justice. Read the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alroma

    This novel was totally good.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joheiv

    This book is totally awesome.

  17. 5 out of 5

    SeaShore

    This book really surprised me. Author, George Beahm gives a compelling overview of Stephen King's life from his birth, his parents and relatives and of course the impact this had on his authoring; his books. A 5-star. This is a good reference compilation for your library.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth Gordon

    Not what I expected in a GOOD way. I expected a rather thorough analysis of each of King's works, as the title suggests to me. But what I got was an interesting assortment of King material. There were short summaries/analyses of each of his works published through 1995, but these summaries were only about 3 pages each and at the end of the book. What most of the book included were essays about King's impact, interviews, speeches he gave, King's intentional choice of small publishing companies/in Not what I expected in a GOOD way. I expected a rather thorough analysis of each of King's works, as the title suggests to me. But what I got was an interesting assortment of King material. There were short summaries/analyses of each of his works published through 1995, but these summaries were only about 3 pages each and at the end of the book. What most of the book included were essays about King's impact, interviews, speeches he gave, King's intentional choice of small publishing companies/independent booksellers, and a chapter on his house that I found especially interesting. For the substantial breadth of King included, I expected more about King as a youth and something about King's alcoholism early in his career and its impact on his writing. Those sore subjects got no attention in this book, which disappointed me, but were probably part of King's endorsement of the book. I thought this was a great read for any King fan.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah Vianese

    I adore this 90s edition of The Stephen King Companion. Though the current 2015 edition is more expansive as well as more delicately typeset and designed, this older edition covers King's work through Insomnia, has some great interviews, and generously devotes pages to large photos. I enjoy having the older edition along with my newer volume because the content varies between editions and the older copy is a more manageable size to carry around.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah Vianese

    This new edition of Beahm's King Companion brims with excellent essays, interviews, reviews, photographs, and art. If you love Stephen King or horror novels, this is a must for your bookshelf. It's a book I revisit often after I read King's work or watch adaptations of his books. Beahm works hard to create a complete, complex picture of the author's career up to this point, and he does so with great success.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    This companion book provides good context behind some of King's most popular stories. For instance, I wasn't aware that "Misery" was originally intended to be published under King's pseudonym (Richard Bachman). The editor and collector of this book has done his research and chunked each chapter into logical sections.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    A very good companion book. Holds up very well considering it was originally published twenty-five years ago. I enjoyed the interviews the most, having that extra insight. Not a book I would recommend for the casual King fan, because they simply don't need to read it. But for King fanatics who must read every book that comes out, this is a must-read treasure to round out your collection.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb Stransky

    One of the best book companions I have used. George Beaham seems to study the person he is writing about very while. The was a library edition. Now I plan to purchase the book since I am a huge Stephen King fan.

  24. 5 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    Good. I read this one because I thought it would be useful, as a fan, to have a better knowledge of his life. Sort of. The impression I get is that King is a private person (wise man) and this book doesn't delve that deeply into anything personal.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tanja

    While very interesting to read, I sure wish I would have a more updated version of this book. Stephen King has written many more books in the meantime which renders this 1989 edition quite outdated. Nevertheless, this book delivers some informative tidbits for Stephen King fans like me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Donny

    Only reason why it didn't get a 5 is bc it's not really a novel of his, more a story about him for his fans to learn more about him.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Very good for anyone interested in Stepehn King, though coverage of works is uneven in depth. Very good chronology but no index. Tons of interesting bits. Good illustrations.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Comedian999

    For a Stephen King fan in the pre-Internet days, this was invaluable. Now, not so much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    I've had this book for quite a while. About 90% of it is outdated however there is some good material about the books in the University of Maine collection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mat

    Read old version 10.3,15

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