The reigning King

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There's this guy named Stephen King and I guess he's written some books people like.

Personally, I don't own more than 40 of his titles, but I've enjoyed all of them to some extent. A few, such as "Pet Sematary," "Salem's Lot," "The Dead Zone" and his latest, "Joyland," are books I think of as close and trustworthy friends.

Forget the horror and macabre accolades for a moment - although they're certainly well deserved. King is a wonderful writer whose characters and ability to examine society, culture and community all inter-flow so easily that critics overlook his literary qualities in their sneering contempt of "genre" fiction.

King is a kind dude, too. Tonight, he appears in conversation with WNPR's Colin McEnroe at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford. King's donating his time, and all proceeds benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum.

- RICK KOSTER

Stephen King, 8 p.m. Thursday,
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford; $25-$75; (860) 987-5900, bushnell.org, marktwainhouse.org.

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