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Needful Things | [Stephen King]

Needful Things

There was a new shop in town. Run by a stranger. Needful Things, the sign said. The oddest name. A name that caused some gossip and speculation among the good folks of Castle Rock, Maine, while they waited for opening day. Eleven-year-old Brian Rusk was the first customer and he got just what he wanted, a very rare 1956 Sandy Koufax baseball card. Signed. Cyndi Rose Martin was next. A Lalique vase. A perfect match for her living room decor. Something for everyone.
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Publisher's Summary

There was a new shop in town. Run by a stranger. Needful Things, the sign said. The oddest name. A name that caused some gossip and speculation among the good folks of Castle Rock, Maine, while they waited for opening day. Eleven-year-old Brian Rusk was the first customer and he got just what he wanted, a very rare 1956 Sandy Koufax baseball card. Signed. Cyndi Rose Martin was next. A Lalique vase. A perfect match for her living room decor. Something for everyone. Something you really had to have. And always at a price you could just about afford. The cash price that is. Because there was another price. There always is when your heart's most secret, true desire is for sale.

©1991 Stephen King (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A sophisticated literary craftsman . . . his work anatomises . . . the social fabric of small-town American life." (Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (246 )
5 star
 (86)
4 star
 (99)
3 star
 (43)
2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.1 (165 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (163 )
5 star
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4 star
 (53)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Toby Nr Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom 19/09/2012
    Toby Nr Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom 19/09/2012 Member Since 2009

    I love a good long story with believable characters. I listen to 4 audiobooks a month, so recommendations gratefully received.

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    "On the whole, good..."

    I have nearly finished this story, and have to say how good it has been. It's really enjoyable to hear the author reading the characters, as they will use the accents they imagined at the point of writing.

    But, the music and sound effects interspersed throughout the reading are very off putting and don't really add anything to the atmosphere, but rather puncture it just at a point where I'd found myself lost in the importance of the events.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bob crowthorne, United Kingdom 30/01/2013
    bob crowthorne, United Kingdom 30/01/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "enjoyable but not amazing"

    i'm a long time fan of Kings books, and i would have to say this was another really good example of a page turner, admittedly this is indefinably not his best book, but the chaos created in it was incredibly funny, at times the novelty wore of a bit, but the other characters reaction made it worth it, sometimes parts of the book just seemed to be almost glossed over by other events in the book, in one case a character breaks there neck and not much more than 2 sentences are given about it after, this does in my opinion actually add to the sense of chaos however i can imagine for some people it would be almost annoying. i haven't given to much away i think.

    all in all i would say read through some of the better books like: the dark tower series ( by far the best of his books, and explains a lot of characters in other books like the spider in "IT" however this series is quite an undertaking, i managed to finish all of them in 2 weeks and would say it was really well worth it), i would also suggest listening to the stand, the shining and under the dome. once you have gone through those maybe try some of the other books if your not sick of listening to people read to you by then :)

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Hitchin, United Kingdom 26/10/2012
    Debbie Hitchin, United Kingdom 26/10/2012 Member Since 2012
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    "Very engrossing"

    This was my second Stephen King novel and I am now a fan of his. This story is creepy and kept you wondering what each character was up to but to me the best thing about the novel was the way commercialism is portrayed. What would you do for the object you have always wanted? If you are a character in this novel the answer is a lot.

    I'd highly recommend this novel if only to question if anything you own is "needful".

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie 15/02/2014
    Carrie 15/02/2014

    Carrie

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    "Mr King is not an actor"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I think this book should have been read by an actor as Stephen Kings voice is enough to send you to sleep. A real shame as I love his books.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Drone drone drone


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline ambleside, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Caroline ambleside, United Kingdom 23/12/2012 Listener Since 2010
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    "usual Stepehn King"

    Any fans on Mr King, will enjoy his usual style of writing, he brings each character to life in his own special way, and this book is no different.



    The story is great and I found myself waiting for the ring of the shop bell to see who was going in to buy something " needful". I found that the reading by the author added to the book and he little bits of music and the jingling of the door bell also added to the whole experience.



    So why only 4 stars...the ending. I do find a lot of stephen King books have a bit of a let down with the ending. It was not a bad ending, it was such a good and gripping tale that I was expecting something a little more. Having said that, dont let it put you off the book, it is a superb read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 15/11/2012
    Sarah 15/11/2012
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    "Naff ending"

    Reminiscent of Salem's Lot in that an old guy opens a shop in a quaint town and is not all he seems. The residents find themselves buying items they feel they 'need' and go to extremes to keep them.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abigail Swindon, United Kingdom 08/01/2014
    Abigail Swindon, United Kingdom 08/01/2014 Member Since 2013
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    "Not Great"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I felt this story dragged and I was forcing myself to listen to it as I didn't want to waste my money.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen King again?

    I have previously really enjoyed Stephen King so I wont let this book put me off.


    Do you think Needful Things needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no it dragged on too long as it is!


    Any additional comments?

    I felt this book just took far to long to get the end event. after a few chapters you worked out what was happening, it just takes forever to get there! disappointed!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    piers Midhurst, United Kingdom 23/07/2013
    piers Midhurst, United Kingdom 23/07/2013 Member Since 2011
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    "Unravelling of the psyche in small town America"

    Needful Things is such a clever idea for a book, the line between order and anarchy and empathy and revenge has always been micro fine in society, nudge something slightly and watch the repercussions. This novel shows how socities and relationships can fall apart at a micro level when a malovelent force is pulling the strings.

    The building of tension in Needful things is brilliantly accomplished - another of Kings great skills. The townspeople and their foibles,weaknesses and desires can be applied to any country, race or religion and so the characters are believable.

    I loved reading this novel and this audiobook is very enjoyble. The only aspects letting it down are the music, which is just dreadful - a school child could have done better and it wouldnt up the production costs dramatically - and the narration. Stephen King reading the novel doesnt really work, I never think an authour reading their own books works. A gifted actor could have made this a perfect listen.

    If you fancy something unsettling then this novel is great. It is not remotely scary however. It's just a study on the worst aspects of the human psychology.

    Piers

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy St. Albans, United Kingdom 26/09/2013
    Joy St. Albans, United Kingdom 26/09/2013 Member Since 2012

    I walk for miles listening to my books, without them I'd get no exercise. I hated ironing but it's a cinch since I discovered Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Took me to a dark place"
    Where does Needful Things rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Quite low down, probably a 4 out of 10


    What did you like best about this story?

    It kept me intrigued


    What three words best describe Stephen King’s performance?

    Lacklustre, monotone and unclear


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Very clever plot, I would have loved it had been read by a person qualified for the job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Bristol, United Kingdom 12/07/2013
    Dr Bristol, United Kingdom 12/07/2013 Member Since 2012

    Avid reader and listener, psychologist by profession historian by nature

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A very sinister idea executed really well"

    I haven't listened to many King stories yet but this is a good one, with a central idea that is really quite interesting. It feels too long, and the idea is stretched to breaking point ins some parts but it works, and is pretty gripping. King's narration is good, and you get used to his accent very quickly. Its long, but if you have the time and you like King books I would certainly recommend this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 27 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Toni
    Wollongong, Australia
    09/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hang in there."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not bad, at first it took some time for me to get used to Stephen King's raspy voice, I am not always a fan of Authors reading their own work, just because you can write dosn't mean you should read it. However, once through that it was ok.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The characters, I always like Kings mix of busy characters coming and going and their individual lives within the story. As usual I am finding all this effort goes into the story and characters yet the ends don't seem to hold or produce the impact I expected.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The use of Raul Esparza [Narrator for Under the Dome] may have been a better choice than the Author himself.


    Could you see Needful Things being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    This book was made into a movie in the 80's I believe.


    Any additional comments?

    All in all an ok book to listen to, just allow yourself to get beyond Mr King's rough voice.
    Enjoy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Janie
    CAIRNS, Australia
    07/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Need or Greed"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you like layers in your books, this is the one for you. Murder & mayhem prevail throughout the book, but if you can get past this it's a winner. It's is a story about human weaknesses and needs to provide comfort in lives but goes horribly wrong with each satisfaction of that need. Everybody's response and need will be different and this book portrays us all at our very worst.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Needful Things?

    The tale of Nettie Cobb, with her 'carnival glass lampshade" obtained from Gaunt and her fear and hate for "that Polish woman over the back," Wilma Jerzyck was most memorable for me. It almost took on a cartoonish quality in my mind as their story within the larger story unfolded.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Given that the book was some 25 hours long, no, I did not want to listen to it until the end. Also, I must say, the book was pretty heavy going in parts and having a rest occasionally was heavenly relief. Although I enjoyed the book, I partook in smallish slices of a few hours a day here and there and it took about 5 days to fully consume.


    Any additional comments?

    yes, the music was off-putting and the book would have been better without it. Perhaps the book was a little bit too long. I know I was somewhat relived when I had finished it. I'm not sure why; relief at the end of the shop Needful Things or relief that 25 hours had come to an end? Stephen King is a top class story teller and not a bad reader, too. All in all, a top shelf book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nikki
    Redhill, United Kingdom
    25/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why ?"
    What did you like best about Needful Things? What did you like least?

    What is WITH the random music ? I'm really not liking it !


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    No loud unexpected music !


    What aspect of Stephen King’s performance would you have changed?

    The music


    Was Needful Things worth the listening time?

    I'm sure the story is worthy of the master wordsmith that is Stephen King but I just can't concentrate on it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jerome
    KillaraAustralia
    11/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm aleady a SK fan, buty this one surpasses all"
    If you could sum up Needful Things in three words, what would they be?

    Wickedly evil mayhem


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved this story for the same reasons I love all of King's stories: the rich detail in the characters, and the suspenseful plot, coupled with the sheer evil and mayhem parcelled out by the main character.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen King’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to almost all of them. This one is best because I had the wonderful pleasure of hearing the accent that SK describes so very often in his books. The narrator also seemed to be very accomplished. Only later did I realise that Stephen King himself was reading this story to me. I was deeply moved. It seems silly, but it is true.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Be careful what you wish for ... you just might get it!


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you so very much, Mr King. Your reading of this fantastic story was a true pleasure. I may like a few of your books more, but listening to you read your own book so well is a connoisseur's delight!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vira
    Pretoria, South Africa
    11/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Needs or Wants?"

    An interesting book about evil and how it uses each human weakness as a tool against the human. (I've known con men and manipulators who do exactly the same) .

    Here, each individual's Want, not Need, for a specific item - either for collection, sentimentality, or any other reason, becomes a weapon used by evil, against the self and others. It renders the individual character almost helpless, and leads them to do what they know is wrong.

    The book also demonstrates how deftly an instigator can turn otherwise friendly people against each other. In real life terms, (I think for example of a vicious in-law creating havoc within the family).

    Each character's story unfolds, and there's always an override to the small inner voice prompting him/her to do the right thing.

    There's an ironic wordplay on the title "Needful Things". A Want becomes a Need and the difference between the two is blurred.

    A good listen, but I find Stephen King's voice a little harsh on the ears, but not too bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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