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Old September 10 2013, 07:01 PM   #3
Brendan Moody
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Re: Dark Tower/Tie-Ins Reading Order Help

There really isn't much of an "overall tapestry of the story" outside the main Dark Tower books, just a lot of winking allusions and thematic parallels. But for full effect:

Read Hearts in Atlantis and "Ur," in that order, somewhere between The Wind Through the Keyhole and Wolves of the Calla. Read "Everything's Eventual" and From a Buick 8 somewhere after Wolves of the Calla.

Insomnia is a weird one: on its own terms it looks pivotal, but King ended up changing his ideas and retconning Insomnia into more of a sideline. Read it somewhere after The Waste Lands and before The Dark Tower. Bag of Bones doesn't have much to do with the Dark Tower, but it incidentally gives away an aspect of the ending of Insomnia, so it belongs after Insomnia, and before Song of Susannah.

I'd probably recommend sticking all six of the above tie-ins together, between Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah, and adding Black House there, rather than after Song of Susannah. That gives a nice mix of stuff that's comparatively important and stuff that's tangential, and increases the sense of momentousness surrounding the main story.

Desperation and The Regulators have less to do with the overall story than anything else on your list. They're also pretty bad on their own merits. But if you want to include them, I'd put them somewhere early, before The Wind Through the Keyhole, and together (in either order) because of their own parallel structure.
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