As much as I love to read, sometimes I don’t want to commit myself to 1,000 pages and 300,000 words. Sometimes it is nice to speed through a series of short stories or novellas. If you are in a similar mode currently, I recommend reading (or revisiting) Stephen King’s Different Seasons.
I cannot say enough good things about Different Seasons, arguably some of King’s best work.
All four novellas are terrific and engaging. However, Apt Pupil and The Body stand out to me as the anchors for this collection.
Apt Pupil is one of the most disturbing stories I have read. King had me squirming as soon as the truth was revealed of the mysterious old recluse. Watching the characters devolve in my mind’s eye was unforgettable. Apt Pupil may not be pure horror, but it is absolutely horrific. I still have a horrifying vision of an oven, because of this novella.
The Body is simply one of the best stories I have ever read. The movie version (Stand By Me) is a tremendous achievement, but the book stands on its own. Without revealing much (and how likely is it that you haven’t either seen the movie or read the novella?), The Body is a coming of age, adventure story with a healthy dose of suspense and a hint of horror.
King is a genius creator of characters, especially kids (see IT). He is at his best here. All of the characters of The Body rang true, and as is the case with the best of literature, I recognized so many traits in myself and my own friends.
I cannot recommend this novella collection enough. Classic King.