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Bag of Bones

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  169,030 ratings  ·  4,108 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)
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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)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  169,030 ratings  ·  4,108 reviews


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Dale
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
...more
Diane Wallace
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Haunted read! a bit long but the storyline was scary good and very intense (paperback!)
Jamieson
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
...more
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
...more
Char
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
...more
Rebecca McNutt
I was a big Stephen King fan back in the 7th grade, mainly because it was my first experience with books written for adults. After a while though, I stared reading other more obscure novels and I stopped reading King's works. Bag of Bones really caught my interest though, and I found it to be much better than many of his other books because of the way it deals so much with plain human emotion, loss and life. Like his novel Pet Sematary, Bag of Bones has a main theme of overwhelming grief, as the ...more
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
...more
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
...more
Jeff
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
...more
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
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,
...more
Carol
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

...more
Lyn
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
...more
Kerri
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Becky
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
...more
Caroline
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
...more
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 story...it'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
Phrynne
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!
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
...more
joyce g
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ghosts, you have to love a story filled with ghosts.
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
...more
Corey
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, favorites
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Wayne Barrett

Actual 3.5

Reflections of Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story' ran through my thoughts as I read this one. And not only did they work together on some novels but King has mentioned how much he admires 'Ghost Story', so maybe...?

This was great writing with an interesting plot being weaved to form a masterful picture, but I think it is a picture that brings nothing new to the table and it was too long in the weaving.

Bag of Bones was a labor to read but overall was still good.
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!




Kelly
Described as a haunting love story, it certainly delivers. Instantly engrossing, King grabs you from the first line and keeps you, squirming and uncomfortable, until well after you’ve closed the book. Bag of Bones keeps you wondering what happens next. King’s style of writing is sharp and graceful. The past entwines so completely with the present the change is subtle and quiet. The setting is believable and easy to imagine you live there. The pace is a bit slow at first, but picks up quickly. Wi ...more
Chris_P
Every once in a while I need to read a good ghost story. One with ectoplasmic ghosts as well as ghosts in the form of memories of what is dead and gone, and a protagonist caught in their web. One in which nostalgia, melancholy, love, fear and suspense all intertwine to create a good enough fire in which to destroy my precious brain cells. Bag Of Bones duly delivered.

It took me exactly two days to finish it and that says a lot. I've discovered lately that King's novels have lost their power over
...more
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724,800 followers
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

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