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Christopher Brennan | 6 comments My New Year resolution for 2012 is to finally tackle Stephen King's Dark Tower epic.

- A spoiler-free discussion here would be much appreciated. Thanks. -

I've read books 1-4 before. 5-7 released when I was in grad school, so I never got to them at the time, and I finally decided this year to deal with that. I also see a chance to get to some of the related books - one thing that kept me back from Book 5 was realizing I should read both Insomnia and Black House first.


Question 1 is if anyone would like to join this informal book-a-month club. Or if I'm crazy and anyone wants to tell me to stop. :)


Question 2 is what you might suggest regarding my reading list.
My plan:
Jan - Dark Tower vol 1: The Gunslinger (Revised Edition)
Feb - Dark Tower vol 2: The Drawing of the Three
Mar - Salem's Lot
Apr - Dark Tower vol 3: The Waste Lands
May - Insomnia
Jun - Dark Tower vol 4: Wizard and Glass
Jul - related shorter works, including: Little Sisters of Eluria; Low Men in Yellow Coats; Everything's Eventual.
Aug - The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole
Sep - Black House
Oct - Dark Tower vol 5: The Wolves of the Calla
Nov - Dark Tower vol 6: The Song of Susannah
Dec - Dark Tower vol 7: The Dark Tower

July is a "catch all" for short stories and a novella. I think maybe The Mist is supposed to be on that list. Anything else worth covering there?

In general, that's publication order. Book 4 was published in 97, and the three short stories I listed were 97, 98, 99. The Wind Through the Keyhole is obviously favoring it's place in the story, not the fact it's being published now - and slipping it into August breaks up what would be a long string away from "official" Dark Tower books. The other big change was Salem's Lot, published before The Gunslinger, but I wanted to start off with books 1+2.

What's missing? There were three obvious books that didn't make the list. The Eyes of the Dragon; The Stand; and The Talisman
I've read all three.
The first two are the "Flagg stories". Though they have a character that's in The Dark Tower there's no direct story connection so I didn't want to fit in a re-read.
The Talisman probably falls into that same situation, only connected because its sequel is tightly connected but by itself it's independent. I can't be totally sure until I read Black House. Maybe afterwards I'll revise the list into a suggested reading list for the whole epic and then perhaps The Talisman makes the cut?
After saying all that you may be wondering why a character connection brings in Salems' Lot. Simply enough, I haven't read that one already. (and I got a copy of the Illustrated Edition for Christmas.)
As for just the first novella in Hearts in Atlantis, the description of the book in general doesn't sound like something I'd normally read. Course, by the time it's the middle of the summer I may just be on a roll and finish that whole book anyways.

So. There you go. That's my year, in addition to knocking down my other stacks of books and my Kindle's To Read folder.
Thoughts?


Kathi | 1101 comments I've read the Dark Tower series but not any of the "related" books and so I guess I don't know how much they add or how necessary they are. In fact, I've read only one other King book ever, so I'm probably not the best person to be commenting.


Charles (charliewhip) | 134 comments Christopher wrote: "My New Year resolution for 2012 is to finally tackle Stephen King's Dark Tower epic.

- A spoiler-free discussion here would be much appreciated. Thanks. -

I've read books 1-4 before. 5-7 re..."


Having read every single King work (that I know of) I humbly offer this opinion: the "related" works are lots of fun to cross-reference with the Tower story...so much so that I reread them all as I awaited publication of Tower episodes. If you have the time, I would recommend it. However, none of these is strictly necessary to a full understanding and appreciation of the Dark Tower series. If I had to pick a few of the "related" works that would be perhaps more relevant, they would be Salem's Lot, The Talisman, and Black House is probably the most tightly connected to the Tower and a great read in itself. I wish you an exciting read of this amazing series, one of my top 3 or 4 favorites. ENJOY


Christopher Brennan | 6 comments Kathi wrote: "I've read the Dark Tower series but not any of the "related" books and so I guess I don't know how much they add or how necessary they are. In fact, I've read only one other King book ever, so I'm..."

Which one other?

I can say that The Talisman is definitely something you'd like if you liked The Dark Tower. It has similar themes of dark fantasy and world-hopping.

The Eyes of the Dragon is perhaps my favorite book ever. So there's the recommendation. :) It's also the same type of setting, though a bit more fantasy and less sci-fi undertones.


Ken (ogi8745) | 878 comments Well I don't think you have to read the "tie in" books. I suspect they are more minor references that loosely tie in Dark Tower series.
I read Salem's Lot, The Stand and Insomnia and if they do fit in I am not sure. With that said I have only read the Gunslinger so I may be talking out of turn


Shel (shel99) | 930 comments I have only read two of the tie-in books (Eyes of the Dragon, The Stand) and absolutely LOVED the series - one of these days I'd like to read them again after I read some of the other books but it definitely did not affect my enjoyment the first time through without the background.


Charles (charliewhip) | 134 comments Ken wrote: "Well I don't think you have to read the "tie in" books. I suspect they are more minor references that loosely tie in Dark Tower series.
I read Salem's Lot, The Stand and Insomnia and if they do fit..."


The Gunslinger is just the very tip of a huge Dark Tower iceberg. The tie-ins do specifically tie in, as to characters, events, etc. Nevertheless, I still think that they are not essential to fully experiencing the Dark Tower series. Stands strongly on its own.


Chris  (haughtc) I agree with Charles on the side stories and tie-ins. Great, but not essential to the DT series on the whole.

An exception would be the story "The Little Sisters of Eluria" from Everything's Eventual. It's a direct story about the gunslinger Roland.


Kathi | 1101 comments Christopher wrote: "Which one other?"

I started 'Salem's Lot but did not finish it and listened to Thinner as an audiobook.


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