Stephen King Book Club: ‘Salem’s Lot

“‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King

What’s it about? You can read the full synopsis here. A small town in Maine is overcome by a dark force. Yes folks, vampires in New England.

Why choose this book? An absolute classic. King’s ability to create an entire town’s worth of characters is outshone only by his seamless transition from scene to scene. This was King’s second novel to be published and it showcases much of what will be seen from year in the proceeding years.

What to discuss/questions: I was able to find a few discussion questions here that we used in the group.

  • How does this vampire tale compare to others that you’ve read (Dracula, Interview With A Vampire, Etc)?
  • Why is this story set in a small town in Maine? Would the story be effected if it took place elsewhere?
  • How did the book compare to the movies that were made? (There were 2 movies, one in 1979 and another in 2004)
  • What are the themes in this book?
  • What does it tell us about small town life? Are people basically good or basically bad?
  • King talks about Evil (with a capital E). What are your thoughts on evil and it’s existence? Can people be evil?
  • How would this story be different if it took place today? (Consider the effects of social media.)

Constant discussion questions:

  • Who was your favorite character and why?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • What were some of your favorite quotes?
  • On a scale from 1-5, how did you rate this book? (This is always the opening question)

Make it fun! I really like each book discussion to be an experience. But since this was my first time running a book discussion, I was slightly nervous. Therefor, I wasn’t as creative as I could’ve been. I did make some great cupcakes that I found on Pinterest. They were a big hit.I also let the folks know about the short story Jerusalem’s Lot in Night Shift and the illustrated version with extra material.

Our discussion:

We had 8 individuals in the discussion (including myself) with an overall book rating of 3.7 out of 5. Two in the group had never read a Stephen King book previously, so this was their first foray into his world. Some of the folks found the overabundance of information bogged the story down. On the other hand, I (and a few others) LOVE the little details and crazy factoids. So it’s always great to hear that different point of view and it really makes the discussion more fun when you get opposing opinions. Through the discussion we were even able to get a 2.5 rating up to a 3. The individual said that the discussion changed his perspective on some of the aspects of the book. Overall, even though I was a little nervous, no one seemed to notice and the group melded wonderfully. Looking forward to more discussions!

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