Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bag of Bones” as Want to Read:
Bag of Bones
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bag of Bones

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  181,748 ratings  ·  4,612 reviews
Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose v ...more
Mass Market Paperback, US / CAN Edition, 736 pages
Published June 1999 by Simon & Schuster Inc (first published September 22nd 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bag of Bones, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Åke Malmgren King writes for those with a vivid visual imagination. That's what those "pointless details" are for - they are the brush strokes he uses for painting…moreKing writes for those with a vivid visual imagination. That's what those "pointless details" are for - they are the brush strokes he uses for painting the pictures directly into your mind.
If your imagination doesn't work like that, his style of writing probably isn't for you. If you think in words rather than pictures, there may just be too many of them and the story will seem to drag on and meander.

But for the likes of me he's a genius, and reading or listening to his books is way better than watching a movie. I love this book, as do I most of his works, because his style meshes so perfectly with my mind.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
L.K. Scott If you can't handle that, then you probably shouldn't read horror. Horror is horror because it's graphic, eerie, and/or violent. Horror expresses topi…moreIf you can't handle that, then you probably shouldn't read horror. Horror is horror because it's graphic, eerie, and/or violent. Horror expresses topics that make you uncomfortable. If you're not uncomfortable, then it wouldn't be horror, would it? Horror is not happy lovers stroking each other and singing koombayah. It asks the hard questions everyone else is too afraid to confront. Stick to Twilight sweetie where the vampires glitter. (less)
The Stand by Stephen KingIt by Stephen KingThe Shining by Stephen KingMisery by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Best of Stephen King
143 books — 3,578 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
1,814 books — 5,517 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  181,748 ratings  ·  4,612 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bag of Bones
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: king-stephen
A classic paranormal ghost story, showing how the creepiness of including kids in such settings can be lead to the marvelous extreme.

It reminded me of Lisey´s Story, both proof of what not just great author, but loving husband King is. As he can´t get tired to repeat the importance of the support and help by his wife, that he writes to impress her, that we maybe won´t have seen all these unbelievable novels without the woman inspiring the master to give the best he can and of course the infamous
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hopeless romantics and people who've never read Stephen King
I am a Stephen King junkie. I started reading him in high school and quickly tore through just about everything he'd ever written, and then started buying every new book he put out. Being a Stephen King fan is kind of like being a geek for Dragonlance or comic books - reviewing his work seems borderline pointless because non-fans will usually dismiss him out of hand and be hard to convince of any intrinsic value, and fans are already pretty hardcore about him.

Nevertheless, I wanted to add this
Diane Wallace
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Haunted read! a bit long but the storyline was scary good and very intense (paperback!)
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying what I think is perhaps Stephen King’s best novel, ever.

The opinion on Stephen King’s best work differs depending on who you talk to; but for me, it will always be Bag of Bones.

It’s the one novel of Kings that I’ve read more than any other (nine times) and each time it’s just as wonderful and beautiful and engaging as it was the first time I opened up my hardcover copy ten years ago.

I think it was the beginning of King moving away from horror and toward a more literary style of wri
David Putnam
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read any kind of book and it doesn’t matter if it’s, genre, literary, or nonfiction; the only requirement is that be well written. Horror is not my favorite, in fact it is my least favorite, it’s just not for me. This book however, is a solid five stars. I also really enjoyed, The Tommy Knockers, The Stand, Full Dark No Stars, and others.
Stephen King is the truly a master story teller and his work will last through the ages because of his enormous talent to entice the reader into the fictive d
Grief. That's the emotion that got to me the most during this reread.

The first time I read this book I had just turned thirty and even though I was already married, the horror of losing a spouse didn't get through to me like it did this time. Now, after just having celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary, the idea of losing my husband is unfathomable. Stephen King dove deep into those fathoms and dragged me along with him. I did not like what I saw or felt. That, right there, is the reason why St
“Grief is like a drunken houseguest, always coming back for one more goodbye hug.”
This is a story of grief and loss and marriage and hauntings - both by ghosts and memories - told in Stephen King’s trademark sprawling narration that has dark secrets that haunt small towns, the thin lines between reality and supernatural that can so easily snap, and regular people caught in the jaws of a world that has teeth and is not afraid to bite. But more than anything this is a story of a man missing hi
Johann (jobis89)
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Grief is like a drunken house guest, always coming back for one more goodbye hug."

Bag of Bones focuses on the story of Mike Noonan, a best-selling writer who's wife unexpectedly passes away. Following her death, Mike suffers from writer's block and begins to have nightmares concerning their lakeside house, Sara Laughs. Mike decides he must go back to their lakeside house in order to confront his fears. Upon his arrival, he meets a beautiful single mother and her daughter, only to find out that
Edward Lorn
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had you asked me a month ago what I thought of Bag of Bones I might have chuckled and shook my head. I might have told you it is one of the worst Stephen King books there is, that it is easily in my bottom five King reads, down there with such piles of Kingly excrement as Dreamcatcher, Wizard and Glass, The Eyes of the Dragon, and From a Buick 8, the latter being the pinnacle of Uncle Stevie's fecal production. In other words, friends and neighbors, I hated this book.

But that was then and this i
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
That was better than I thought it would be. 😉

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeff by: Stepheny
When people talk about the great Stephen King books, Bag of Bones is almost never part of the conversation. When I agreed to do a buddy read it was because of its connection to Moon and the Sixpence and the recommendation of my favorite and greatest of all Mah Fahs, Stepheny. Consequently, I didn’t go into this buddy read with the Purveyors of the Pantsless Reads with any grand expectations.

I can honestly say I was happily disappointed.

The skinny: Mike Noonan, a writer, tragically loses his wif
Erin (PT)
Here's the thing about me and Stephen King: no matter how problematic and/or angry-making I find some of his work to be, the man knows how to tell a good story.

I had read Bag of Bones before, when it was first published, but all I really remembered about it was that I found it an enjoyable enough story, but not one that was excellent enough to be particularly memorable. And, indeed, I found myself remembering very little of the story while rereading it this time around. Which, on the one hand,
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is King's strongest novel of the new millennium. In fact, it's excellent. Good enough to join THE SHINING, SALEM'S LOT, and CHRISTINE as some of King's best work ever. Everything works to King-like perfection in BAG OF BONES. Pacing, character, story, plot flow, and horror are all masterfully handled by the master himself. It isn't overly long and the editing is perfect. Highly recommended ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-loved
Whenever I'm not sure what I feel like reading next, I go for a Stephen King book. I seem to like all of his books, including the ones others hate intensely or find boring! I've had a copy of this one for a while - I was quite thrilled to find a hardcover edition in a charity shop some months ago. I'm not sure how much it was, I got a stack of books for $3, and this was the one I was most excited about.

Stephen King excels at writing about grief, and this was no exception. Mike Noonan's wife die
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
“The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.” 

A very good ghost story.

Stephen King’s 1999 novel about a lonely hamlet in western Maine is told with King’s rare gift for telling these kinds of stories. More than just a ghost story, the author fills his pastoral, suspenseful tale with generations of bad times coming down into a point on a lake, and a town that has some bad history and some secrets.

“I think reality is thin, you know, thin as lake ice after a thaw, and we fill our lives
Some ghosts can be deadly............and as KING fans already know, evil always seems to be present in and around Derry.

BAG OF BONES is the story of novelist Michael Noonan and the effects of his profound grief after the sudden loss of his beloved wife. Even after four years, a paralyzing writer's block takes over his days and creepy repetitive dreams fill his nights that ultimately lead him back to his log cabin hideout, Sara Laughs, in the woods of western Maine.

Not long after his arrival, a c

Oct 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Slow moving. I quit halfway through, switched to an action novel which cleared my head and allowed me to continue the laborious trudge.

The best thing about this novel, aside from reaching the end (660 pages… it could have been pared back to 450 and I would have been happy), was its intricacy. Almost everything tied in to the end. Of course, for a novelist like Stephen King, I would expect nothing less. However, I found the protag’s involvement left me feeling uneasy. Could Mike have figured ever
I remember reading this when I was 16. My dad bought me the hardcover for my birthday, and I remember reading it on a plane. That's about all that I remember about it, though, other than a vague recollection of liking it, hence my pre-Goodreads rating of 3 stars.

Now, 16 years later (Please don't do the math. It will hurt me in my soul.), and I'm reading it again. I've picked this book up a few times over the past... maybe two years, but each time I put it back down again. It just wasn't the rig
Wordsmith J
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haveread
Easily my favorite Stephen King novel ever, and I've read a wide cross section of different eras of his stuff. This is a ghost's about being haunted, both by spirits and by memories. It's a book about loss and grief, but also a suspenseful mystery with a super spooky atmosphere, set in a creepy, unincorporated and sparesely populated fading resort community with a dark historic past. The mystery and the hauntings are linked in with a child custody battle, complete with a nefarious old ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
736 pages, so not King's longest book but still a doorstop. I enjoyed it very much anyway and it was certainly a page turner. This is one of his ghostly, horror type stories and at times it was very spooky and frequently very gory. In fact very Stephen King. Not the best book I have read by him but still very worthy of 4 stars. ...more
Ashley Daviau
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is most definitely one of my top ten King books. There is truly no other author that can tug at your heart strings and depict grief and loss in such a beautiful way like King can. He has an insane talent for making you feel the deep sense of loss that the characters feel and it always packs such a punch. This is such a beautiful and haunting story and it really has everything you could ask for and more! It’s unsettling and creepy yet heartbreakingly beautiful, what King does best!
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Jan 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Reading this book is the first novel you have the absolute proof where you can confidently say, “Stephen King is now a typical middle aged author”. Because he uses the plot device they all use.

Love between older man and young woman. And every aspect of it is such a silly middle aged fantasy that is almost pathetic to read. The character in the book is a stand-in for King at that moment in his life. He is above 40, rich for writing popular novels, which so far is nothing new for King’s character
Cody | CodysBookshelf
I cheated in my Stephen King chronological reread series. Desperation was up next, but... I really dislike that book, okay? I wanted to get to a King novel I love before the year’s end, so here we are.

This was my third reread of Bag of Bones; this time it hit me deeper than ever before. Now that I’m familiar with Kong’s entire oeuvre, connections big and small (Thad Beaumont gets a shoutout, there’s a scene with Ralph Roberts and Norris Ridgewick, names like Polly Chalmers and Bannerman are ment
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-read
This one is slow to unroll, but digs deep into the characters. A clear, three-dimensional study of the transformative nature of grief, and the ways it can turn you towards the light or the dark. Overall I thought it was an excellently written story, and, although ghost stories generally tend not to be among my favourite, this was like a gently building embrace.
joyce g
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghosts, you have to love a story filled with ghosts.
Autumn Doughton
This was a weird novel for me. For the first 450 pages or so I kept thinking that it was by leaps and bounds the best Stephen King book ever. But then things got strange in a way that only King's novels can and I was left feeling like maybe I'd been in a car accident but had blacked out and couldn't really remember the whole thing properly.
I think that you either like Stephen King's stuff or you don't. I'm a fan of sci-fi/fantasy/borderline horror and I am a King fan. I have been reading him si
D.B. Woodling
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of horror/supernatural novels
3.5 Stars
In Bag of Bones, Mike Noonan, a bestselling author, simultaneously loses his wife Johanna and his ability to write much more than his name.

Soon after, the night terrors begin, involving the couple’s lake house retreat dubbed Sara Laughs after a turn-of-the-century singer, and Noonan realizes the solitary cure lies in the confrontation.

With tremendous trepidation, he faces the demons, which hold both his and Johanna’s inner peace hostage and, in the end, discovers when and why Sara thu
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, horror
WOW!! This is by far, in my opinion Stephen King's best book! It was recommended to me by my Mom, who's a big Stephen King fan!

Bag of Bones is about famous bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who lost his wife 4 years ago to a car collision. Mike who is still grieving, is struggling with Writer's Block and has returned to his Summerhouse in Western Maine, which he calls Sara Laughs, to try to find some peace and quiet. But since returning to his Summerhouse, he is plagued by nightmares and ghosts
Colin Andersen
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably, for me, the best Stephen King horror novel. I am not easily scared by ghosts and other paranormal entities since they mostly live within the pages of horror fiction. But this one has sections, like the ghost that shuffles the magnets stuck on a freeze, that gave me an instant on-rush of fear-hormones. A brick-sized page turner!

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Stephen King Fans: Bag of Bones- Book 40 13 55 Sep 10, 2021 01:24AM  
Letras Macabras: Un Saco de Huesos, de Stephen King 17 169 Aug 17, 2021 07:15PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add a better quality Book Cover 4 33 Aug 05, 2021 07:54AM  
Stephen King Fans: Bag of Bones 148 747 Jun 15, 2020 01:15PM  
Stephen King Fans: Bag of Bones Miniseries 103 428 Aug 28, 2018 10:55AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Regulators
  • Thinner
  • Blaze
  • Roadwork
  • The Long Walk
  • The Running Man
  • Heart-Shaped Box
  • Rage
  • Horns
  • Misery
  • The Exorcist
  • The Green Mile: The Screenplay
  • The Body
  • The Silence of the Lambs  (Hannibal Lecter, #2)
  • Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)
  • NOS4A2
  • The Amityville Horror
  • Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more

Related Articles

Every heist needs a fence. This is the person who sells what has been stolen, the mover between crime and capitalism. In Colson Whitehead’s...
65 likes · 18 comments
“Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on.” 1719 likes
“For men, I think, love is a thing formed of equal parts lust and astonishment. The astonishment part women understand. The lust part they only think they understand.” 180 likes
More quotes…