All the books, TV shows and movies Stephen King recommended in 2019

The master of horror does a fair bit of reading and TV bingeing each year.
The master of horror does a fair bit of reading and TV bingeing each year.

Image: bob al-greene/mashable

By Sam Haysom

If you count yourself as a hardcore Stephen King fan, chances are you’ve probably read a decent chunk of the horror master’s work.

But have you read the stuff he’s been reading? Or watching, for that matter?

Anyone who’s dipped in to King’s On Writing memoir will know that he’s more than happy to talk about the fiction he most enjoys; the end of the book contains a hefty list of titles which King says have “entertained and taught” him, stretching all the way up to 2009.

But what about his more recent fictional recommendations? 

Below is a pretty hefty list of all the books, TV shows and movies King has recommended via his Twitter feed in 2019. (We’ve included the adaptations of his own work that King has spoken positively about, too, because — although he’s obviously biased — he’s still pretty selective when it comes to his praise of those.)

TV shows

Somehow, alongside all the novels he churns out and the novels he reads, King also finds time to work his way through a solid chunk of TV shows.

This year he’s clearly been on a bit of a streaming binge (Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+ all feature heavily), but he also praised the new Twilight Zone and tweeted a fairly strong defence for Game of Thrones.

Pine Gap (Netflix)

PINE GAP (Netflix) is a good one. No explosions, no fights (a little pushing around in the final episode—there are 6), lots of geek-speak. It ramps up the tension, though, and the whodunit aspect is beautifully handled. Hoping for Season 2.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 7, 2019

The Passage (FOX)

THE PASSAGE is good, but here’s a note if you guys get renewed: the flashbacks feel like filler. We don’t need Agent Wolgast’s sad backstory to understand why he loves Amy; she’s just lovable.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 26, 2019

The Good Fight (CBS)

Bordertown (Netflix)

Black Summer (Netflix)

BLACK SUMMER (Netflix): Just when you think there’s no more scare left in zombies, THIS comes along. Existential hell in the suburbs, stripped to the bone.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 15, 2019

Netflix's 'Black Summer' gets the King seal of approval.

Netflix’s ‘Black Summer’ gets the King seal of approval.

Image: netflix

BLACK SUMMER: No long, fraught discussions. No endless flashbacks, because there’s no back story. No grouchy teens. Dialogue is spare. Much shot with a single handheld camera, very fluid. Showrunners could learn a lot from this. If they could work, that is.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 15, 2019

Bosch (Amazon)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

GoT: As a long-time storyteller, I’m in awe of how perfectly the minds behind this show brought all the major characters together at Winterfell. They made it look easy. Constant Readers, it is not.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 23, 2019

Despite the Season 8 backlash, Stephen King remained a 'Game of Thrones' fan until the end.

Despite the Season 8 backlash, Stephen King remained a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan until the end.

Image: hbo

I’ve loved this last season of GoT, including Dani going bugshit all over King’s Landing. There’s been a lot of negativity about the windup, but I think it’s just because people don’t want ANY ending. But you know what they say: All good things…

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 16, 2019

The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access)

The Shield (FX) and Sons of Anarchy (FX)

NY Times lists the 20 best TV dramas. No GAME OF THRONES and no SONS OF ANARCHY. I feel these should have had places in the list, but I’m glad they got THE SHIELD in there. That show fundamentally changed TV.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 22, 2019

NOS4R2 (AMC)

NOS4A2: Scary? Yes. Involving? Yes. But it’s also doing something network TV can’t or won’t do—showing working-class people doing their jobs and trying their damndest (sometimes failing) to be decent. The best horror stories are firmly wedded to real life.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 3, 2019

Mr. Mercedes (Audience)

Designated Survivor (Netflix)

The Netflix season of DESIGNATED SURVIVOR is tough-minded, complex, and involving. Freed of network constraints, the cast and crew are clearly exhilarated. This is excellent entertainment.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 13, 2019

The 100 (The CW)

THE 100: I love this show, even though this season was sometimes hard to follow. I love the characters, but must say I liked Octavia better when she was mean.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 7, 2019

Stephen King may have a few notes, but he's still a fan of 'The 100.'

Stephen King may have a few notes, but he’s still a fan of ‘The 100.’

Image: diya pera/the cw

Money Heist (Netflix)

MONEY HEIST, aka CASA DE PAPEL: The current season tops the first one. It’s exciting and hilarious.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 11, 2019

Marianne (Netflix)

If you’re one of those sickos—like me—who enjoys being scared, MARIANNE (Netflix) will do the job. There are glints of humor that give it a STRANGER THINGS vibe. It also has (I say it with all due modesty) a Stephen King vibe.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 26, 2019

Creepshow (Shudder)

The first episode of CREEPSHOW (on Shudder) is a really excellent re-boot of the movie George and I made back in the day. God bless Adrienne, and my God, so many Easter eggs!

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 28, 2019

Emergence (ABC, King corrected this about his tweet)

The first 2 episodes of EMERGENCE (NBC) are really good, and Alison Tolman is terrific. You should give it a shot. But…13 producers and co-producers? That’s just a bit absurd.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 6, 2019

The Morning Show (Apple TV+)

THE MORNING SHOW: Instantly involving, characters you care about, professionally made, acted with elan. What’s not to like?

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 4, 2019

Stephen King is a fan of 'The Morning Show.'

Stephen King is a fan of ‘The Morning Show.’

Image: apple tv+

Servant (Apple TV+)

SERVANT, on Apple+: Extremely creepy and totally involving. Two episodes and I’m hooked.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 5, 2019

Castle Rock (Hulu)

What a great cast on CASTLE ROCK this year, starting with Lizzy Caplan…but what about Elsie Fisher as Joy? Pretty amazing.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 5, 2019

The Outsider (HBO)

For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

Colm Feore should garner an Emmy nom in the Best Supporting Actor category for his sterling portrayal of Wernher von Braun in FOR ALL MANKIND.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 28, 2019

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime)

The 4th season of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is amazingly good. If you had told me 10 years ago that I could watch something as challenging and involving as this ON TELEVISION, I wouldn’t have believed you.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 20, 2019

Movies

Only a handful of movie recommendations from the horror master this year, and two of them are based on books from King himself — IT Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep. The second is particularly notable, though, because it’s the follow-up to Kubrick’s adaption of The Shining — and King really wasn’t keen on that one.

For fans of King’s novels, that meant his praise of Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep movie was a huge moment.

IT Chapter Two

Looking forward to IT CHAPTER 2? You should be. I’ve seen it, and it’s terrific. The trailer is coming Thursday, at noon. You’ll float.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 7, 2019

Ready or Not

READY OR NOT is big fun—a variation on the “last girl left” horror movie that is by turns scary and very funny. Samara Weaving is terrific, and the cinematography is gorgeous. The film doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s damn cool.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 23, 2019

Josie & Jack

Doctor Sleep

DOCTOR SLEEP is coming in November. It’s a hell of a good movie. And a hell of a scary one.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 24, 2019

Stephen King was a big fan of Mike Flanagan's 'Doctor Sleep' adaptation.

Stephen King was a big fan of Mike Flanagan’s ‘Doctor Sleep’ adaptation.

Image: warner bros.

Child’s Play

The CHILD’S PLAY reboot is an erudite socio-Marxist satire of American consumerism.

Well…no. Not even. But it’s pretty funny.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 30, 2019

Books

King recommended over 25 books and short stories in 2019, and while many of them are new novels, there are a few older classics in there, too.

As you’d expect, there’s plenty of horror — but there are also thrillers from the likes of Lee Child and Don Winslow, book club material from Sarah Blake, and a sprawling dark fantasy novel from Leigh Bardugo.

The Girl on the Porch (by Richard Chizmar)

The Border (by Don Winslow)

THE BORDER, by Don Winslow: Everyone in America—left, right, and center—should read this book. It’s social fiction to rival Tom Wolfe and John Steinbeck. Focused, angry, suspenseful, occasionally hilarious, always hugely entertaining.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 2, 2019

All the books, TV shows and movies Stephen King recommended in 2019

Image: harpercollins/penguinrandomhouse/gollancz

“You Are Released” (a short story by Joe Hill, available in the collection Full Throttle)

The best short story I read in 2018? Easy. “You Are Released,” by Joe Hill. You can find it in FLIGHT OR FRIGHT. And by the way, Joe’s NOS4A2 is on AMC this summer. It will, as they say, cool your spine.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 5, 2019

Cari Mora (by Thomas Harris)

I’m reading CARI MORA, the new novel by Thomas Harris. Comes out next month.He’s as good as ever. Reading his prose is like running a slow hand down cold silk.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 4, 2019

Cemetery Road (by Greg Iles)

CEMETERY ROAD, by Greg Iles: Pure reading pleasure. This guy knows the deep south as well or better than any other novelist.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 9, 2019

Dirty Rotten Hippies and Other Stories (by Bryan Smith)

A Head Full of Ghosts (by Paul Tremblay)

The Guest Book (by Sarah Blake)

If you’re part of a book club, may I suggest THE GUEST BOOK, by Sarah Blake? Lots to unpack there.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 28, 2019

Elevator Pitch (Linwood Barclay)

You should read ELEVATOR PITCH by Linwood Barclay as soon as possible. It’s one hell of a suspense novel.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 4, 2019

All the books, TV shows and movies Stephen King recommended in 2019

Image: william morrow/hachette/flatiron books

Necessary People (by Anna Pitoniak)

That book-blurb saying “I couldn’t put it down” is usually bullshit, right? For me it was true of Anna Pitoniak’s NECESSARY PEOPLE. I literally couldn’t stop reading. Murder, ambition, toxic friendship. What’s not to like?

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 4, 2019

Koko (by Peter Straub)

Growing Things (by Paul Tremblay)

Can’t praise Paul Tremblay’s GROWING THINGS highly enough. 19 creepy classics that will turn your favorite easy chair into an uneasy chair. One of the best collections of the 21st century.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 29, 2019

Good Girl, Bad Girl (by Michael Robotham)

I always have a huge stack of books to read, but a Michael Robotham novel automatically goes to the top of the pile. His new one is GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL, and it’s unputdownable.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 16, 2019

Shaker (by Scott Frank)

I get lots of books to blurb, and sometimes I miss one that’s really good. SHAKER, by Scott Frank, hit me like a bolt of lightning. Published in 2016. It’s still available as an ebook. If you like Don Winslow or Lou Berney, READ THIS BOOK!

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 4, 2019

Charlesgate Confidential (by Scott Von Doviak)

Full Throttle (by Joe Hill)

FULL THROTTLE, by Joe Hill, is on sale now. A great collection of shockers that includes 2 father-son collaborations. I love these stories. Kiddo, tou hit a grand slam this time! ❤️

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 2, 2019

All the books, TV shows and movies Stephen King recommended in 2019

Image: harpercollins/gollancz/mira books

The Ninth House (by Leigh Bardugo)

THE NINTH HOUSE, by Leigh Bardugo: Great fantasy/horror novel. Out now. Just sayin’.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 9, 2019

And Then There Were None (by Agatha Christie)

Dying is Easy (by Joe Hill)

Blue Moon (by Lee Child)

The new Jack Reacher novel is called BLUE MOON. It’s available on October 29th. It’s a classic.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 25, 2019

The Unwilling (by Kelly Braffet)

The Evan Delaney series (by Meg Gardiner)

Cold Storage (by David Koepp)

COLD STORAGE, by David Koepp:gruesome, terrifying, pulse-pounding, and also pretty goddam funny In places. You need to get on this right away.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 12, 2019

The Dutch House (by Ann Patchett)

THE DUTCH HOUSE, by Ann Patchett: an absorbing “family” novel (brother and sister, actually) that’s like a perfect Thanksgiving dinner: many courses, each perfectly prepared. At first you turn the pages; then you slip into that world.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 16, 2019

Gwendy’s Magic Feather (by Richard Chizmar)

Today is publication day for Rich Chizmar’s GWENDY’S MAGIC FEATHER, the sequel to GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX, which we wrote together. If you want to know what happened to our girl, now is your chance. You won’t be sorry.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 19, 2019

The Chill (by Scott Carson)

Wow! This is one terrific horror/suspense/disaster novel. Characters you root for and a story that grips from the first page. Coming your way in February of next year. pic.twitter.com/iuyUiv6JmY

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 18, 2019

To keep up-to-date with his latest recommendations, you can follow King on Twitter. That’s if you’ve made it through all of the above first. Good luck.

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