I thought I answered this before, but maybe it was this board's predecessor or the SKEMER email list ... I believe the first SK book I read was "The Shining" in paperback, maybe around the time the Kubrick movie was released? I enjoyed the book so much that I went out and bought Carrie and Salem's Lot. At some point I started buying the hardcovers so I didn't have to wait a year for the next one! I don't remember which was my first hardcover because I have since bought them all in that form, but it may have been Firestarter or Cujo. I do remember buying Pet Sematary, looking in the front and saying "How did I miss this book called 'The Dark Tower'"!!!!
I was joining the Navy back in '98, and about one week before I left for bootcamp I started reading 'Salem's Lot. I didn't get it finished in time and my parents sent it to me while in the middle of basic. My RDC opened my care package and screamed about how I thought I was special and made me pack it all back up and mail back out. Once I was out of basic training I got the book back and read like crazy. I continued to read a load of his novels in the Navy. I remember reading Wizard and Glass and was about half way through it when he was hit by that car. I was devastated. Luckily he survived and kept on writing. I had an old shipmate who kept swapping King novels back and forth with me. There was always someone reading a King novel on our ship. Every day in line for the galley you would pass by people with the tattered paperbacks shoved into the backs of people coveralls. I hope Stephen King realized just how much he helps people in the armed forces pass their time while not on duty. If the kindle had been around back then I would have just loaded them all onto that thing and kept on reading. Anyway that's how I started out with Stephen King, and I keep on reading to this day.
Was in the sixth grade and a substitute teacher was reading stories from Night Shift for the class. Being a huge fan of the Twilight Zone and a reader by nature, I of course fell in love with the writing of Stephen King.
Thanks to seeing edited-for-tv versions of Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, I was a big Schwarzenegger fan. In 1987, I really wanted to go see The Running Man, but my mom would not let me go. So my dad bought me the book, which I read and enjoyed.
Cut to 1990, when I was 15. My dad read a review of the uncut version of The Stand, and was talking to me about wanting to read it, but in discussing it he misspoke and said it was by Steven Spielberg, not Stephen King. I was -- then as now -- a huge Spielberg fan, so I went to a bookstore to find a copy to give my dad for Father's Day. Imagine my disappointment when I saw it was not a Spielberg book but a King book. I was bummed out.
However...I remembered that he had written The Running Man, which I had liked, so I decided to buy a copy of it anyways. I ended up keeping it for myself, and by the end of that summer I had bought everything by King that I could get my hands on.
Old thread, but I think I'll answer. I grew up seeing The Stand, The Tommyknockers and The Langoliers on TV (I also vaguely remember The Cat's Eye, specifically the troll). Whenever one of his movies showed up on TV, I made sure to watch it. My mom and dad read Stephen King as I was growing up and I ran across a few books in the house here and there, but I never read them as I wasn't allowed. I grew up in a semi-religious house (not the horror stories people tell of having to go to church every Sunday and having to read the Bible every night or not being able to watch anything but G-rated movies and TV) with my dad being a preacher. He liked the stories, but he wasn't fond of the sex and language in most of the books. My mom loved Stephen King, though. I tried getting The Stand at the library, but wasn't allowed by my mom, though she let me rent the movie every summer.
In 2004 (I was 16) when she was diagnosed with cancer, my mom and I partially moved out of our house and left my dad alone. We lived in a tiny town, only one store and it was pretty small. We moved to an apartment in Lubbock, TX during the week while my dad stayed at home and worked. He would come visit us a few times during the week and we'd go home on weekends. Since my mom and I were stuck at the hospital for hours on days she had chemo, I was able to talk her into letting me buy The Shining at Walmart. I couldn't put it down and finished it in about five days. After that she let me buy The Stand (Complete & Uncut) and I finished that one in about two weeks. That stopped my Stephen King reading for a while.
In 2007 I flew to New York to visit my brother and his family. My dad let me buy The Gunslinger at a shop in the airport. I tried reading it on the plane, but could not get into it. I finally read it about a year later and that's what really kicked off my journey through Stephen King's catalogue. I went and bought the rest of The Dark Tower novels and read the entire series in about a month. I had the most trouble with Wizard and Glass. After that, I couldn't be stopped.
I have my father to thank, I suppose. When I was a kid, he (and my mom) read a lot of Sai King's works. His favorite was The Dark Tower books. I used to love to look at the pictures in those books. When I go older and really got into reading, I started with fantasy Lord of the Rings type stuff. Remembering how much my dad loved those books (and seeing how he still had several of them on his book shelf) I decided to give The Dark Tower a shot. From then on, I've been hooked. I am now more of a horror fan than a fantasy fan, largely due to Sai King and my father. (And my mom too, let us never forget our mothers!)
I think I was around 14 or 15. Someone bought me a copy of Misery as a present for either Christmas or my birthday, I don't remember which. It sat for a while, unread, on a shelf in my bedroom. Then one night, looking around for something to occupy me I came across it. Picked it up, thought it was a pretty good opening, then about 3 hours later having to take a break, bleary eyed as I was. I've never looked back since. It's still in my top 10 of best books of all time.