The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

I haven’t read much Stephen King, just On Writing, which is part autobiography and part advice for writers, and 11.22.63, which is a truly stunning book. So as 11.22.63 was so stunning, I decided to pick up The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Which was kind of a mistake. Because it turns out that The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is short stories. And I don’t like short stories.

But it got off to a very good start with Mile 81. I shouldn’t have liked this story. It was horror and very far-fetched and I like neither horror nor things which are far-fetched. Yet I was completely hooked by it. And I remembered that I really like Stephen King’s style of writing too, which is no-nonsense and like nothing else I’ve read. It’s like talking to a world-weary blue collar worker who likes a drink and doesn’t hold back on the swearing.

Even when writing short stories, Stephen King manages to really paint a vivid picture of the characters and their surroundings. Generally, I liked the slightly longer stories better than the very short ones as there was more time to get absorbed by the plot. My favourite stories included Bad Little Kid, Ur, Cookie Jar, Obits and Drunken Fireworks. The stories weren’t all full-on horror, but death was a fairly prevalent theme.

To be honest, I pretty much enjoyed every story in this collection, apart from the poem, The Bone Church, which I really didn’t understand at all. I was confused by Blockade Billy, which was a baseball story, with A LOT of detail about baseball. I thought about giving up on it, but when it got to the crux of the story, it was actually very satisfying.

It took me about a month to read this book, although I was reading it over the Easter holidays and I always have less time to read when the kids are at home. Possibly it might have been better to read it over a longer period of time, by reading bite-sized chunks of one or two stories at a time, but that isn’t really my style, so I stuck it out for the full 500 pages.

If you’re a fan of Stephen King, or just of writing that is dark and humorous, you should check out The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King, Stephen King, Book review

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I didn’t realise Stephen King did short stories. I don’t really read those either, I like something I can get my teeth into. I have read a couple of his books that I enjoyed but it was a long time ago.

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    • I think he’s just a really prolific writer who does a bit (or a lot) of everything. These stories were very good, but I’d still rather read a novel.

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  2. Wasn’t the Green Mile a series of short columns at first? I tend to flit between liking and hating short stories but I do like Steve King!

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    • I didn’t know that about The Green Mile! I’ve seen the film, but not read the book. I think I need to read more Stephen King. I’m sure my son has some of his books that I could borrow.

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  3. My mum adores Stephen King, I’ve never been able to get into his books, I’ve started a few but never finished any. Thanks for sharing with #readwithme

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    • I’ve never ever started a book and not finished! My son has got a few Stephen Kings, so I think I need to borrow some more.

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  4. I love this colour although rainbow colours and bad dreams don’t really go together for me! I have Stephen King’s On Writing on my to read pile.


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    • On Writing is brilliant – I found it really inspiring.

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  5. I’ve been an SK fan since I first saw IT on TV when I was 15 (I’m 40 now!) and had to read the book. I have nearly every book he’s written and I bought this (or was bought it as a gift….I lose track!) a while ago and haven’t started it yet.
    I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Like you, I do prefer longer stories but I’ve always enjoyed his short story collections.

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    • I’m sure you will enjoy this if you’re a big fan! I definitely need to read more of his books.

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  6. I’ve never tried a Stephen King book as I’ve always assumed I would find them too scary, but if it is just dark, rather than horror, maybe I should give it a try #readwithme

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    • I’m sure some of them are proper horror and I would definitely give those a miss, but I’m going to look out for some of his other books and read them.

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  7. I’ve been looking for some short stories to read, thanks for the recommendation! #readwithme

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    • If you enjoy short stories, I’m sure you will enjoy this!

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