The Gunslinger is actually a book I finished last week -- it was our sci-fi/fantasy book club book for December. We had read another Stephen King book last year, The Eyes of the Dragon, which was officially my first Stephen King book since I read Dolores Claiborne as a teen (unless you count On Writing, which I really don't in this case).
I hated Dolores Claiborne, so I never read another Stephen King book after that. As far as I was concerned, I hated Stephen King.
By the time we joined the book club group, though, I had met enough people who liked him to figure that maybe I could give his books another shot. So when we read The Eyes of the Dragon last year, I was actually looking forward to an opportunity to change my mind.
I didn't hate The Eyes of the Dragon, but I didn't love it, either. The narrative style -- the really short chapters and choppy writing style -- annoyed me at times, but not hating it was an improvement over Dolores Claiborne, so I was somewhat encouraged.
Unfortunately, we've taken another step back, because I didn't really like The Gunslinger. The narrative style was kind of pompous ("I'm Stephen King! I know big words!") and there just wasn't a lot happening that I found very interesting. And as my husband pointed out, the plot contained both dreams and flashbacks, two of the most overused (and overrated) plot techniques in fiction.
People familiar with the series keep saying that the first book isn't the rest, that you really have to keep reading in order to get to the good ones. I can't say that I feel particularly motivated to do so, and saying that ("But they get better!") to an unmotivated person isn't a very good sales pitch. So I really don't know if I'll ever read another of the Dark Tower series at this point... though I might still try another Stephen King book, as The Green Mile is on my list of books I'd like to read. I liked that movie, so hopefully it'll be a book I can like, too!