Stephen King books I've read, and how I'd rank them

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  • The Stand - As far as I'm concerned, this book can be ranked as literature. With an epic scale, a frightening believability, characters you want to stay around after the book and some sequences that demanded to be read over again and again, this book ranks on my list of all-time favorites. And may I recommend the unexpurgated version which I didn't know about first time around.
  • The Shining - This book also deserves to be counted as literature, and is really the most literary sounding of King's works. The story is much more complex than the one portrayed in Kubrick's film, and is certainly fascinating. The imagery is amazing and memorable.
  • It - Stephen King really knows how to write children. That is the great strength of this book, which many know by the far inferior mini-series. I don't think this book is filmable, really. So much of it resides in the land of pure imagination, inviting us, the reader, to make of It what we will. A must-read for the dialogues amongst the children alone. And the character of Ben Hanscom is great.
  • Different Seasons - This is an all-star novella compilation, and the book that spawned the greatest adaptations of King's works (perhaps because these works were short enough to film without skimping). Specifically, it contains the stories that were turned into "The Shawshank Redemption", "Stand By Me", and "Apt Pupil". The former was better as a film, but the latter two were far more compelling on the page, which is really saying a lot. The last story in the compilation is not as strong, but is interesting in its own way and in some ways brought to mind Lovecraft.
  • Christine - I didn't expect to like this one at all, not caring much about cars, but Stephen King can also really write teenagers. It was kind of like a Lois Duncan book, however, which is both a strength and a weakness, if you know what I mean. I never thought I could be made to fear a car, but I guess I can.
  • Thinner - Here we get to the King books that I'm not sure I really liked. Thinner was, well, thin, compared to King's other stories. Maybe that's why he wrote it as Richard Bachman. The gypsy characters seem really flat and stereotypical, the main character was not at all sympathetic to me, and I kept wanting to just get to the end, unlike The Stand, where I wished the pages would stretch out into infinity.
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - An okay story, but somewhat forgettable. Not enough of a concept to stretch out, however. It was kind of like reading a true survival story, but it wasn't true, so that spoiled all the fun.
  • Cujo - Granted, I read this when I was in middle school, but I didn't like it then. Maybe I'll read it again, and see if it is better as an adult, but I doubt it.
Author Comments: 

I have a lot more work to do on King, although from what I've heard, the top three I've listed are generally considered to be his best. Suggestions on what to read next are welcomed, however.

It and The Stand are my favorites, too, and I really share your opinion on the film adaptions of Different Seasons.
Recommendations could be the Dark Tower, for example. I stopped reading them after the second part, but they are many King fans' favorites.
I personally also loved Carrie, Salem's Lot, Needful Things, Bag of Bones and Atlantis.
I would also recommend you The Talisman, for you like how he can write kids. Jack Sawyer, the main character, kind of reminds me of Bill Denbrough at times..