If I had to pick one Stephen King overall as my absolute favorite, the one I’d make everyone read, it would be Different Seasons, hands down. (The Stand comes a very close second.) I love this collection. King showcases his immense talent, and for anyone expecting cheap thrills, I’d say look elsewhere.Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: So it goes without saying that this is the one probably everyone knows thanks to the movie. (And aside from some compression and a Race Lift, the movie’s very true to the original story; and I can’t not read this without having the Morgan Freeman narration.) But it’s such a fantastic story on its own merits. This is the one I tell people to read and as I said, it really shows how great of a writer Stephen King is. This hits all the right notes—funny, suspenseful, a little bit of terror, and hits you right in the heart.Apt Pupil: While I don’t classify Different Seasons as a “horror” novel, I’d argue that Apt Pupil is the most terrifying story in the whole collection. Mainly because there are people like Todd Bowden out there, and there is definitely evidence of Kurt Dussanders. But also because the underlying horror of how quickly people turn against each other, and the lengths they’re willing to go to keep their darkest secrets hidden. And once you think that Todd and Dussander’s relationship can’t get darker or much worse, King throws in another wrench into their lives and things spiral so wildly out of control. Chilling.The Body: The second story I tell people to go read. (Again, mostly because people associate with the movie more.) It’s a true coming-of-age story that doesn’t try to present childhood as a wonderful, idyllic time; it deals with all the other issues of growing up and moving on from your friends. Also, it has one of the funniest passages in King’s whole history, and I love the side stories that get woven into the larger narrative.The Breathing Method: This is another one of King’s nestled stories, where it’s about this strange story of a woman who’s determined to have her baby, no matter what the circumstances, and then it’s about this weird club. To be fair, I’m more interested in the story of Sandra Stansfield than I am about the club and the mysterious dimension it inhibits (although I love the slightly chilling ending lines of “Are there more rooms upstairs?” “Oh, yes. Many more.”). I like the framing device well enough, but it feels like it’s tacked on to allow for the strange story to exist. I do feel that it’s the weakest story in the collection, but it’s still a very good story.