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The Shining by Stephen King
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The Shining (original 1977; edition 2012)

by Stephen King

Series: Shining (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,961None215 (4.09)565
Member:khulien
Title:The Shining
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 672 pages
Collections:Fiction: Horror, 2012 Readings, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Genre: Horror, Ghosts, Colorado, Genre: Thriller, Supernatural

Work details

The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

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Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
A few weeks ago, I went to see Norm MacDonald perform stand-up. He did a bit where he talked about how people often let their friends off the hook when they're guilty of being a bit of an asshole. They say that old often used expression, "Oh, well that's just *insert friend's name* being *friend's name*." Like Norm, I find that's a terrible excuse. If that's just your friend being himself, well.. your friend is a bit of a shithead.

Jack Torrence often loses his temper and while no one says, "Well, that's just Jack being Jack" you can tell that people have probably made this excuse for him his whole life. This is how these people can get away with this ridiculous behavior. The big problem with Jack's asshole tendencies is that it's mixed with being a recovering alcoholic. As a person who abstains from drinking, I have my personal views on consuming adult beverages. While most people can use it successfully as a social lubricant and a means to relax, I've seen my fair share of it's ugly side. Jack, whether intentional or not, embraces that ugly side of it.

While Jack often means well, King often points to the fact that Jack experienced a harsh upbringing. When you combine his drunken abusive father, his mentally checked-out mother and his introverted siblings, Jack didn't exactly float through childhood. Situations like this often support a saying that I've heard more than a few times, something along the lines of, "We are the sum total of all of our experiences" and no one really embodies that more than ol' Jackie boy.

So, taking into consideration Jack's history combined with his current predicament, it makes his slow decent into madness pretty believable. It's not like King is going out on a limb here in hoping that the reader will just accept Jack's mental state. When you realize what a fantastic job he did combining Danny's shining with Jack's continued self-assurance that "everything is OK", you're much more willing to accept that this man has just entered "bat-shit crazy" territory. As the Joker had pointed out so eloquently in The Dark Knight:



I'm not afraid to say that I was genuinely frightened at times while reading. Even through I've read my fair share of King stories over the past few years, I haven't read anything of his that I would really call, "horror". I'm not pleading ignorance here, I am fully aware of his status as a horror writer. So while he's written some legendarily scary stuff, I've been mostly interested in tales like "Under the Dome" and "The Stand", which are more along the lines of social commentaries or his Dark Tower series, which lives within the fantasy genre.

Going into this book, I was only equipped with what I've seen through random clips of the film adaptation and this one episode of The Simpsons so when certain things didn't occur, I was a little confused. After doing some reading, I discovered that the movie takes a lot of liberties with the core story. Given that Kubrick's vision is so widely beloved (well, aside from Uncle Stevie himself), I'm looking forward to sitting down and giving it a viewing.

I don't know if this is my favorite King book I've read but it's certainly up there. As of this point in time, it's certainly the scariest book I've read. I did want to get this in before the sequel, Doctor Sleep, hit shelves next year. From what I've read of the synopsis, I'm not sure I understand why it's being made but I trust King completely and am hopeful he crafts a worthy follow-up. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
where to start with this review? there is so much to say - stephen king revisits a theme or two from carrie but improves drastically on them; both the ideas he tackles as well as the epistolary format (used far less in this one) that he continues to use in his career. his style is evident and considerably honed already in this third of his novels.

i'm loving revisiting his books to see his development. i'm really impressed at how quickly he became the writer he is today. this book is quintessential stephen king. the pacing, the character development, the interplay of reality with fantasy (or is it?) or horror, the great writing. the climax alone was about *200* pages - that's a lot of tension to build to and sustain. (i meant that for the writer but it's true for the reader, too, frankly.) and there's a part that builds and builds to what you know is this intense and scary moment (it's one of the two or three scariest parts of the book, for me) that never even comes. it's freaking brilliant to play with the reader (and the character's sanity) like that. i've long since said that he started out writing scary books and took a turn to more psychological thriller at some point - i'm gratified to see how much psychological stuff was in this one, so early on in his career.

yes, this is a creepy and scary book. (i'd read this before at least once maybe twice but still found myself clutching at the bedsheets when reading, even when i knew what was coming.) but it's also a book about the fears of failure and also of success, about loneliness and what that can drive you to or how it can force a change in you. it's about what it means to be an alcoholic or to be married to one or to be the child of one, it's about making excuses and unfulfilled potential. it's about what happens when you realize that maybe you aren't who you thought you are. or what happens in a stephen king novel, anyway, with other forces at play.

and it's worth repeating: there is literally a 200 page climax. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 1, 2014 |
Re-read this book in anticipation of 'Dr. Sleep' and holy poop on a stick is this book scary.

I had read it years ago and during the intervening years watched the Kubrick film countless times. Since I had forgotten much of the book, I couldn't understand why Stephen King was rumored to be so displeased with the Kubrick film.

Well after completing the re-read, I completely understand! The film, while brilliant, is nothing like the book.

'The Shining' explores addiction, child abuse, wounds we harbor from our own parents aaannnd ghosts! (But aren't all those old mistakes and scars from childhood ghosts?)

Fantastic. Don't short yourself by only watching the film and if you haven't watched the film... READ THIS FIRST!!

...and I'm super-psyched about 'Dr. Sleep'. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2254270.html

A bit long but really very good. I thought it was much more disciplined than The Stand, and perhaps the focus on a single instance of evil and horror, rather than nation-wide catastrophe, helps to keep the writing firmly engaged. There are a lot of things that don't quite get explained - was there really a body in the bath? did the hedge sculptures really come to life? - but that maybe misses the point; in an environment like the haunted hotel, what does "really" really mean?

The three main adult characters - Jack and Wendy Torrance, and Dick Hallorann - are a particular joy in this book. the story of the Torrances' marriage, Jack's disintegration, and his attempts to pick himself up, destroyed by the environment of the hotel, are done with a certain compassion which I can't really remember from, say, Lovecraft (I confess I haven't read a lot of horror but I suspect this is a general critique). The one point that niggled at me a bit was whether we are meant to think that the awful events would have happened with or without young Danny's psychic abilities; I guess the fact that Hallorann didn't trigger the dark forces in the same way leads us to the conclusion that it's Jack's personality which is the precipitating factor, and Danny's "shining" allows for a more vivid account but is actually incidental to the unfolding of the story.

(See also the MAD Magazine parody of the movie.) ( )
  nwhyte | Mar 6, 2014 |
The Shining. You and me, we are not easily fooled, are we? This Stephen King, this paperback writer, he is not going to take us in, is he? You and me, we're too smart for that.

We start to read the first few pages, no problem. Something in the story is slightly out of focus but we'll let that go because we want to know what happens next. What happens next is it gets very, very slightly strange but not strange enough for us not to believe it. Page by page, little by little, millimetre by millimetre King leads us on. Each increment takes us a little further into his believable/unbelievable story.

You and me, we are not going to accept the outlandish plots he expects us to swallow.. .. ..are we? Yet, in small, very small, doses he has us following his every word, turning the pages as he knew we would. This master-craftsman has us spellbound, hooked. He will now lead us, step by careful step, into his domain. Once inside, you and me will follow him and believe anything he tells us, almost.

Such is the skill this paperback writer has perfected. ( )
  Novak | Mar 2, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroAutorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isomursu, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.  Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that,
at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation.  But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.
But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel.
E. A. Poe
'The Masque of the Red Death'

The sleep of reason breeds monsters.
Goya

It'll shine when it shines.
Folk saying.
Dedication
This is for Joe Hill King, who shines on.
My editor on this book, as on the previous two, was M. William G. Thompson, a man of wit and good sense. His contribution to this book has been large, and for it, my thanks.
First words
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.
Quotations
Hallorann’s testicles turned into two small wrinkled sacs filled with shaved ice.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The Overlook Hotel is more than just a home-away-from-home for the Torrance family. For Jack, Wendy, and their young son, Danny, it is a place where past horrors come to life. And where those gifted with "the shining" do battle with the darkest evils. Stephen King's classic thriller is one of the most powerfully imagined novels of our time.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743437497, Paperback)

"YOU'RE THE CARETAKER, SIR. YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN THE CARETAKER. I SHOULD KNOW, SIR. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE...."

-- DELBERT GRADY OF THE OVERLOOK HOTEL

THE SHINING

First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to laim the very souls of the Torrence family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendaryStanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson --The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendary director Stanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson --The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 17 descriptions

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