Since 1996, the website Lilja’s Library has consistently provided one of the best Stephen King experiences on the Internet. It remains the only fan-driven site to be linked from King’s official web presence, and with good reason. Featuring up-to-the-second news from all corners of King’s world – fiction, articles, reviews, films, and more – Lilja’s Library has long been the go-to resource for information about Stephen King. Beyond its towering authority as a news source, Lilja’s Library also features a wealth of other features, such as an exhaustive section on “Dollar Babies” (short student films based on King’s work), information on audio and comic book adaptations, and a stunningly large interview section, including two interviews with Stephen King himself.
Now, all that information has been compiled into a book, the Cemetery Dance release Lilja’s Library: The World of Stephen King. While breaking news might be what draws people to the website, the book wisely pulls from the sections that won’t be out of date by the time of publication. Lilja’s interviews are perhaps the most impressive elements of his website, and they take front and center here. Following a fun and illuminating interview with Lilja himself (conducted by fellow King expert Bev Vincent), the book launches directly into Lilja’s interviews with Stephen King. It’s a great way to start.
Other interviews follow, including ones with King experts Tyson Blue, Stephen Spignesi, and Michael Collings, and filmmakers such as James Cole and Frank “The Shawshank Redemption” Darabont. Some – like an interview with illustrator Glenn Chadbourne – were conducted specifically for the book. Each interview is smart and interesting, allowing glimpses into corners of the Stephen King universe that would otherwise remain hidden.
From there, the book reprints reviews from the thirteen years of the website’s existence. While not necessarily a comprehensive section, the reviews focus not only on books and stories by King, but also about him, as well as audio adaptations and a large chapter devoted to The Dark Tower. Lilja’s breadth of knowledge of King’s “Dollar Babies” - and of the television show The Dead Zone - is as impressive in print as it is online, and he devotes space to such oddities as SCarrie: The Musical and the Christine collector’s car.
Kev’s Final Word on Lilja’s Library: The World of Stephen King
For those who have visited and enjoyed Lilja’s site these last thirteen years, this book is a terrific encapsulation of what the site has always done best. For those who have never been to Lilja’s site, this book is an absolute must. Books about Stephen King are legion, but rarely are they this insightful, or this fun to read. And have I mentioned English isn’t Lilja’s first language?