I've been thinking about this for a long time --and I think I have the answer: it's the details. The man does not skimp on the details (although he doesn't write that much about food). Now when I was a much younger reader and reading was about finding out what HAPPENS next, details bugged me--but it is in these minute, meticulous details that Mr. King introduces you to his people. And the details are so ordinary but specific that you know these people are real--you just know it. It's like these people come down to the basement of his mind and sit on the waiting couch and each have their turn telling their story. He doesn't miss a beat. He does not miss a beat. He takes his time and writes these details that don't necessarily drive the plot (like we are told to do) but paints a picture of crystal clear humanity so when the big scary comes, you want to save that kid standing on the raft or warn that father that the monkey with the cymbals is back--your heart aches with the man when the son shoots himself. It's the details that make you care--because he could write like others do so it would take you a good hour to care but no, he writes with such detailed generosity that you care in a page. You care in a sentence--you are invested. Yes, this is the conclusion I have come to --it is not the destination he cares so much about, it is the journey.