I didn’t think I could be surprised anymore.
I’ve been reading books by Stephen King since I was twelve, and reading books about him for almost as long. My first such book was The Stephen King Quiz Book, and it neatly kicked off my fascination with the stories behind the stories, and behind the man. Have I read more books about King than I have by King? I’m not sure, but it’s close – to the point at which I was convinced that the only new subject to cover would be new books by King himself.
I have rarely been happier to be wrong.
Rocky Wood and Justin Brooks’s Stephen King: The Non-Fiction puts the spotlight on an element of King’s writing that is woefully underappreciated. When I first heard of the title, I assumed it would be some sort of bibliographic text, a list of all the non-fiction stuff I was already familiar with. Again: wrong, and wonderfully so. The Non-Fiction can be used as a bibliographic reference, certainly, but authors Wood and Brooks take the time and effort to actually review all the pieces they talk about. Starting with the higher-profile work such Danse Macabre, On Writing, and Faithful (along with King’s Garbage Truck and Pop of King columns and introductions to his own work) they quickly move into less charted territory: opinion pieces, book reviews, website updates, and unpublished work. Included in the text is a reprint of the little-known King work, “My Serrated Little Security Blanket,” a short bit of nasty fun.
Every work listed receives an explanatory or critical note, along with instructions on how to track down a copy (especially useful for the more obscure pieces). Some are accompanied by tales of the authors’ great lengths to which they’d gone to secure copies, illustrating the immense level of dedication and care it took to craft this book. While other books on King have discussed his non-fiction as an adjunct to his fiction, this is the first book to take on the subject comprehensively. Not to mention the fact that Wood and Brooks are actually terrific writers – this book is as compulsively readable as it is meticulously researched.
Stephen King: The Non-Fiction is an entirely new sort of book on King. If you’ve ever been curious as to King’s truth outside the lie, this book is an absolute must.
Stephen King: The Non-Fiction is available through Cemetery Dance Publications.