Stephen King is one of the most recognized and celebrated authors of our time, and for good reason. He has published 50 novels, sold over 350 million copies of his books, and has spoken out publicly against censorship and in support of the reading community. Here are just 5 reasons why King is definitely one of the coolest authors ever:
1. He pledged $3 million to renovate a library
The Bangor Public Library in Maine is in desperate need of an extensive renovation — and Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, have pledged to donate $3 million of their hometown library’s $9 million goal, as long as the library can come up with the balance of the funds. In the 1990s, the Kings donated $2.5 million to the same library for an expansion and renovation project, and a few years ago they replaced the crumbling front steps of the library, which had deteriorated to the point of being unsafe.
2. He spoke out against censorship
Many of King’s books have landed on “most censored” lists, so it’s not surprising that he is against censorship. In 1992, King wrote in the Bangor Daily News, where he urged students to read banned books:
There are people in your town who have taken certain books off the shelves of your school library. Do not argue with them; do not protest; do not organize or attend rallies to have the books put back on their shelves. Don’t waste your time or energy. Instead, hustle down to your public library [...] or to your local bookstore, and get a copy of what has been banned (from stephenking.com).
3. He’s the literary Warren Buffett
In 2012, King published a column in the Daily Beast admonishing the government for not taxing the super-rich 1% (which includes King himself) at a high enough rate. King argues that donations from charitable wealthy people like himself are not enough to help the disadvantaged people of the United States, and that the only way to ensure that the 1% contributes is to make it mandatory for them to do so.
4. He advocated for gun control
In February 2013, King published an article in response to the Sandy Hook massacre that calls for a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons. He wrote:
I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters, but semi-automatic weapons have only two purposes. One is so that owners can take them to the shooting range once in awhile, yell yeehaw and get all horny at the rapid fire and the burning vapour spouting from the end of their barrel. Their other use–their only other use–is to kill people. (The Guardian)
5. He’s not afraid to get political
King supports the Democratic party, supports literacy and educational opportunities for all children, and opposed a ban on selling violent video games to minors in Massachusetts. Whether it’s raising money to pay the heating bills of poor families in Bangor, Maine or calling Glenn Beck “Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother,” King isn’t afraid to speak up about issues that matter to him–and he writes great books. What could be cooler than that?