When I first came into my job as an english teacher, I was scoffed at for regularly reading Stephen King novels. I read them and I enjoy them on an interesting level, but I never really considered them good literature. I knew that they were always for fun.
Until I read King's Dark Tower series.
Which is to say that most of Stephen King's works are indeed fluff, and suggest that he deserves to be in the ranks of Danielle Steele, Clive Cussler and John Grisham as popular entertainment writers. Most of King's books are brain candy.
But the Dark Tower series is literature in its best form and establishes King as an excellent writer. In it he ties up threads from his other novels, and makes his formerly fluffy characters more meaningful. The series has immense depth, while simultaneously creating a fascinating story.
The last of the series, appropriately titled The Dark Tower, is more literary than anything else. In it, King is an actual character that the main characters must influence. He describes how the novel seems to be writing itself and he is merely the pipe controlling the flow. King discusses how characters die, and actions happen that are seemingly out of his control. It's a fascinating journey that interests my intellectual and emotional mind.
Of course, King doesn't have some tacked on writer's tool to make his conclusion a joyful one. There are no happily ever afters in his world. So I plead with you, give him a chance if only a small one. You may not regret it.
Other books by King that have literary merit:
The Green Mile
The Eye of the Dragon
The Talisman (with Peter Straub)
Yes, I realize I had an unbelievable chance to make some money linking to Amazon here, but to preserve some sort of moral fiber, I've chosen to leave all links dead. Find your way to Amazon on your own please.