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Thread: A poll to determine King's best book

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    Default A poll to determine King's best book

    I've given this a lot of thought, so please hear me out. Stephen King has of course written so many books, it's hard to say which one is best. Most people would say such-and-such is "one of his best," but let's see if we can determine the best once and for all.

    Like I said, I've given this a lot of thought, so a poll like this would have to be done in stages. I decided upon five-year publication cycles, as that makes the most sense to me. Then we'll take the winners of those polls and have a sort of "playoff" to see which book wins in each decade, and then those finalists battle it out for the title of Stephen King's Best Book Award. It's that simple.

    This will also have an ulterior motive of allowing us afterwards to rank all the books, from best to worst. This should be fun.

    There should be one poll up at a time, and it should stay open for several days (3-5), after which it's closed and the winner declared and recorded. The runner-ups all also have their tallies recorded for the later ranking. Note that no non-fiction books are included, and the early Bachman books are added separately to add number to the 1970s decade to have a more even poll. Also, the Uncut Stand is not included, nor the Revised Gunslinger.

    Here's how each poll would be separated. With the '70s a pretty light decade, we'll only go two rounds of four book each, and then pit the two winners together. For all the other decades, they've been further broken down into halves, so each half will face-off against each other first.

    Take a look:

    Round 1 - Early 1970s:

    Carrie (1974)
    'Salem's Lot (1975)
    Rage (1977)
    The Shining (1977)

    Round 2 - Late 1970s:

    Night Shift (1978)
    The Stand (1978)
    The Dead Zone (1979)
    The Long Walk (1979)

    Round 3a - Early 1980s:

    Firestarter (1980)
    Cujo (1981)
    Roadwork (1981)
    Different Seasons (1982)
    The Gunslinger (1982)

    Round 3b - Early 1980s:

    The Running Man (1982)
    Christine (1983)
    Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
    Pet Sematary (1983)

    Round 4a - Late 1980s:

    The Talisman (1984)
    Thinner (1984)
    Skeleton Crew (1985)
    It (1986)

    Round 4b - Late 1980s:

    Misery (1987)
    The Drawing of the Three (1987)
    The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
    The Tommyknockers (1987)
    The Dark Half (1989)

    Round 5a - Early 1990s:

    Four Past Midnight (1990)
    Needful Things (1991)
    The Waste Lands (1991)
    Dolores Claiborne (1992)

    Round 5b - Early 1990s:

    Gerald's Game (1992)
    Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)
    Insomnia (1994)
    Rose Madder (1995)

    Round 6a - Late 1990s:

    Desperation (1996)
    The Green Mile (1996)
    The Regulators (1996)
    Wizard and Glass (1997)

    Round 6b - Late 1990s:

    Bag of Bones (1998)
    Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
    Storm of the Century (1999)
    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)

    Round 7a - Early 2000s:

    Black House (2001)
    Dreamcatcher (2001)
    Everything's Eventual (2002)
    From a Buick 8 (2002)

    Round 7b - Early 2000s:

    Wolves of the Calla (2003)
    Song of Susannah (2004)
    The Dark Tower (2004)

    Round 8a - Late 2000s:

    The Colorado Kid (2005)
    Cell (2006)
    Lisey's Story (2006)

    Round 8b - Late 2000s:

    Blaze (2007)
    Duma Key (2008)
    Just After Sunset (2008)


    I'm not sure if it's necessary to split Round 8 up, but I didn't want to have more than five books per poll.

    So. Whaddayall think?

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    sounds great. I'm game. tho it may be difficult. I probably won't be able to sleep, I'll be an emotional wreck (mood swings, laugh maniacally then burst into tears), I'll regret whatever descisions i make, my bowels will not work, etc. ut i'll go along with it.
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    Silverloch John_and_Yoko will become famous soon enough John_and_Yoko's Avatar

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    I personally love the idea, don't know how anyone else will feel....

    However, I wouldn't feel right participating in every poll--I've only read so many works by Stephen King so far, and would only feel right voting in a poll if I'd read every nominee already, so that I wouldn't show bias due to what I'd read vs. what I hadn't. I would hope others would feel the same way, even though that might sharply reduce the number of pollsters.... Then again, the fact that you've broken everything down should increase their number....

    I might participate in polls I could, though.



    EDIT: Scratch that, I can only participate in ONE if I limit myself to that.... Round 7b. I've read all volumes of The Dark Tower.

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    Yes, of course one should only participate in a poll if one's read each of the books. Hopefully we can get as many people on board as possible, because for one, it should be fun, and also, like I said at the beginning, this will allow us to actually name King's best book. And not only that, but when we take all the data at the end and sort it accordingly, we'll end up with a ranking from best to worst, which should also be fun (perhaps we'll even need tie-breaker polls, hehe).

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    I think it's a good idea, but I wonder if it should be best SK book excluding the DT. Otherwise, we will probably end up with the answer I already suspect, considering this is the DT mb.
    In other words, I know that any section containing the DT,...I will hands down vote for The DT.

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    That's a valid point; I hadn't thought of that. But I wanted to include every fiction book. However, I'm not confident a Dark Tower book will win each time. For example, in Round 6a I'd vote for The Green Mile.

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    Silverloch John_and_Yoko will become famous soon enough John_and_Yoko's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I think it's a good idea, but I wonder if it should be best SK book excluding the DT. Otherwise, we will probably end up with the answer I already suspect, considering this is the DT mb.
    In other words, I know that any section containing the DT,...I will hands down vote for The DT.
    I probably would too--at least, considering it as a whole, I like it the best.

    But if it weren't included, I wouldn't be able to vote in ANY of the current polls (though that might change later).

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_and_Yoko View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I think it's a good idea, but I wonder if it should be best SK book excluding the DT. Otherwise, we will probably end up with the answer I already suspect, considering this is the DT mb.
    In other words, I know that any section containing the DT,...I will hands down vote for The DT.
    I probably would too--at least, considering it as a whole, I like it the best.

    But if it weren't included, I wouldn't be able to vote in ANY of the current polls (though that might change later) VERY VERY SOON.

    Edited that for you

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    That's an interesting observation. I liked The Drawing of the Three, but I can understand why someone would feel that Misery is a better stand-alone novel. Personally, I think Misery is one of his most well-written novels, especially when you compare it to some of his other semi-biographical works of fiction, e.g. The Dark Half, Lisey's Story, etc...

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    I think I'm too OCD to see them as stand alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I think I'm too OCD to see them as stand alone.
    Personally, I don't have that problem. As a novel, The Gunslinger was just so-so (perhaps it's fair to call it a short story collection). But The Drawing of the Three, as a novel, was just perfect. I'll dare say Wizard and Glass and The Wolves of the Calla also were subpar, as stand alone novels, though of course perfectly fine in the overall scheme.

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    From Sorrow to Hope Sam is on a distinguished road Sam's Avatar

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    I think this is a great idea. I think it's so great that I have already cast my vote for the first round. I would have liked to include The Stand Uncut and The Gunslinger Revised, but that is just my opinion. They are vastly different stories from their predecessors and present different pictures of the same story.

    Here's my vote. If you add those two books though, I will need to make a change or two.

    Round 1: The Shining

    Round 2: The Stand (I wanted to vote for The Dead Zone, because I liked it better than the short version of The Stand, but since The Stand Uncut is not in the voting I chose The Stand. It is his best work in my opinion, but only uncut.)

    Round 3a: Different Seasons (I actually hated The Gunslinger.)

    Round 3b: Cycle of the Werewolf

    Round 4a: It

    Round 4b: The Eyes of the Dragon (A difficult choice as I think both EotD and DT II are well written, but EotD had my heart POUNDING as I read Flagg's ascending of The Needle.)

    Round 5a: The Waste Lands (This is where I really fell in love with the DT series. It was this book and the end of it that fueled my lust for the rest of the series.)

    Round 5b: Insomnia

    Round 6a: The Green Mile (I hate you for this!! I LOVED Wizard and Glass. It is my favorite of all the DT series, but there is no way I can vote for anything besides The Green Mile. It held me hostage for five full months panting for the next installment, and had me crying, laughing, and reading it out to my then girlfriend (now wife). I waited for so long for W&G but as much emotion as it held and the shocks and surprises it gave, it didn't have the power, for me, that the story of John Coffey had. I wish I could live that summer over again.)

    Round 6b: Bag of Bones

    Round 7a: Everything's Eventual

    Round 7b: The Dark Tower

    Round 8a: Cell

    Round 8b: Duma Key
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    Oi! don't just post your votes! I want a poll! i love polls.
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    Silverloch John_and_Yoko will become famous soon enough John_and_Yoko's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John_and_Yoko View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I think it's a good idea, but I wonder if it should be best SK book excluding the DT. Otherwise, we will probably end up with the answer I already suspect, considering this is the DT mb.
    In other words, I know that any section containing the DT,...I will hands down vote for The DT.
    I probably would too--at least, considering it as a whole, I like it the best.

    But if it weren't included, I wouldn't be able to vote in ANY of the current polls (though that might change later) VERY VERY SOON.

    Edited that for you
    Thanks, but it wasn't necessary. I was referring to when this round of polling ended and the next one began. I'm a fast reader, but I'm not THAT fast (and I need to be in a certain "groove", I can't force myself).

    Anyway, I'm currently reading "The Mist."

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    Sam, some of your votes actually echo mine, but I would too like to have actual polls. I did not include the Uncut Stand or the Revised Gunslinger, but you can have them in mind when voting for their first iterations.

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    Silverloch John_and_Yoko will become famous soon enough John_and_Yoko's Avatar

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    One question, though--how do you vote for collections? Those have multiple stories within them. Other than Hearts in Atlantis I can't see how you can rank those....

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_and_Yoko View Post
    One question, though--how do you vote for collections? Those have multiple stories within them. Other than Hearts in Atlantis I can't see how you can rank those....
    That's a good question. This is easier with novella collections. But you can judge short story collections on their overall feeling. For me, Skeleton Crew and Four Past Midnight are two of my favorite books of King's, as whole books.

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    From Sorrow to Hope Sam is on a distinguished road Sam's Avatar

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    I actually think that, like pablo said, you have to look at the overall feel of the books. Look at the stories and see what the overall quality of the stories is. Skeleton Crew is a good book, but I liked Different Seasons better because I think that is where we really begin to see what King is capable of as a writer and not just as a horror writer.

    BTW pablo, I notice that Six Stories was not included, but I assume that is because it was not released in any edition other than a limited.

    I prefer the poll idea too. I'll vote in that also.
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    It will actually take exactly 25 polls to do what I propose.

    Take a look at this chart I just devised very quickly:


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Catoe View Post
    BTW pablo, I notice that Six Stories was not included, but I assume that is because it was not released in any edition other than a limited.
    Actually that's because everything in it is included in Everything's Eventual (with the exception of Blind Willie which was incorporated into Hearts in Atlantis). Same thing with other similar cases, like My Pretty Pony, for example.

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    Maybe you do sub-polls for the stories in each collection to get the best story in each before the collections go into their respective poll. Or maybe only do your polls on novels and omit the collections like Stand Uncut and non-fiction. Or a totally separate poll for the collections. Ok, I just typed collections way too many times.


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    An interesting idea on a story-by-story poll. We could do that after this, but, gsvec, the idea here is to choose King's best book overall, so collections count too.

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    Silverloch John_and_Yoko will become famous soon enough John_and_Yoko's Avatar

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    Does Storm of the Century really count? I think that's a teleplay....

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    Well, it was published, so it's a book

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    But so was Danse Macabre.


    This collecting stuff is a sickness! ~Patrick

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