The Shining by Stephen King (Shine On Read-A-Long)


Ok, here is how this happened.  I was nosing around Jill (Softdrink) Fizzy Thoughts blog last month and seen she was hosting a read-a-long for The Shining.  THE SHINING!  A movie I had seen forever ago but had never read the book.  And if that wasn’t enough… oh yes, she offered more…. Jill offered to send these snazzy glasses to anyone who cared to join her on this journey to the Overlook Hotel (insert spooky music here).

Well… of course I was in.

For those of you who don’t know the basic story line, here it is… Sheila style:

Jack Torrance applies to be the winter custodian for the Overlook Hotel in Colorado.  Jack who is trying to make amends for many things (being Jack for one) looks at this as a chance for he and his family to get a bit of a fresh start as the Overlook is quite empty during the winter months, hard to get to even by snowmobile and communication to the outside world – even by phone is not reliable.

Although Jack is warned of the dangers of being so isolated for months at a time, he jumps at the chance to take the job.  He is a recovering alcoholic, a want to be play writer, and time with his wife and young son Danny might just be, in Jack’s mind anyway, the cure to all his problems.

The Overlook Hotel carries past haunts of its own, having been the scene of hideous murders.  Being trapped anywhere for months on end is probably not cool, but a large spooky hotel with corridors you do not want to go down and of course that creepy room #237 is enough to drive anyone a little crazy… like Jack for instance…

As time passes Jack becomes more and more distant, pulling away from his already fragile family and in the end… well lets just say Jack… is not the nicest guy on the planet.  In fact… he is a little nutters.  You can blame the hotel if you want to but I think Jack was packing peanuts before he ever arrived at the Overlook.

My book thoughts.  While it was fun to read the book that brought on one of Stephen Kings most famous movies, I don’t think I would have got into it the book as much had I not had already seen the movie.  The Jack in the book did not come across as frightening as Jack Nichols did as Jack in the movie.  (I am not a big fan of Jack Nichols acting but I must say… he do do creepy well… and yes, I know… I said do do.  😉 ) 

The Jack in the book to me came off as a little spineless, a little greasy.  His demons owned him, obviously but he couldn’t go peacefully into the night… no, he has to take his wife and child with him. 

Yes it was creepy, the topiary hedges I remember in the movie but seemed to play an even larger role here in the book, I think I even got a little chill while reading about them.

In my high school years I read a lot of King and as I moved into my twenties I left him for a lighter version by moving on to Dean Koontz, and then eventually lighter yet to Harlan Coben (who I still love and read everything he writes).  While I used to devour Kings books, The Shining was not one I had read and I am glad to say that I have now.  

I just read this morning on Jill’s blog that a sequel (WHAT????) is coming of the Shining called Dr. Sleep, which will have to do with Danny (the little boy in the book) all grown up.  EEP.  Now I am even more happy that I read this one as knowing there was a sequel coming I would have had to pick this one up first.  (Unwritten Sheila rule). 

If you are interested in doing a read-a-long, pop over to Fizzy Thoughts where up for March is Little Women.  I already have picked this up on audio and I am in… all in.  I wonder what I can do for that picture… perhaps a bonnet?  😆

Final thoughts on The Shining:  It was good, not great.  A fairly fast read and has peaked my interest in King again.  I may need to rent the movie for the full effect. 

27 thoughts on “The Shining by Stephen King (Shine On Read-A-Long)

  1. Loved the pic of you in your glasses! I was able to read/listen to The Shining, thinking of Jack N the whole time so it was effective even if I haven’t seen the whole movie (just pieces). “he do do creepy well”!! you are so funny.
    I liked it ok. I think I’m glad I read it since it got me over the fear of it.
    I have never read any Koontz nor Coben. I wasn’t even aware Coben is creepy?

    1. Koontz is lighter than King, he has more of a sense of humor and I like that, his books occasionally go a little dark but not as dark as King. Coben is lighter yer, more funny mystery then darkness, yet not cheesy and still captivating and blow your mind interesting.

  2. Not a huge King fan, I think my love ended with the book Insomnia, which turned out to be the cure for insomnia. I have always wanted to read this one, but I’ve never been in a huge hurry to do so.

  3. The Shining the book and The Shining the movie are too very different monsters. I love them both, but they kind of stand alone for me. The Shining was my most favoritest (heh) childhood book so it will always be one of my all time favorites. I’m super excited and super nervous all at the same time for Dr. Sleep. They remade The Shining into a TV mini-series many years ago that much more closely follows the book. That is Stephen King’s preferred version. You might be able to find that version. I much prefer the original Stanley Kubrick version, though. Those twins in the hallway! *faints*

  4. Although IF you hadn’t seen the movie, and IF you were alone in the cabin in the woods, and IF you decided for some godforsaken reason to read a Stephen King Book, and IF that book were the Shining…. you would think it scary. LOL That’s what I did….years and years ago. It creeped me out!!! I love his writing. But I never seem to think the book is what it should be if you see the movie first. It should be the other way around, don’t you think? (although I have done a lot of movies then books too)
    What a fun thing to do…read along. Maybe I’ll check it out.

  5. oh….and we have a room that my son painted red when he lived at home (I made it into an Americana theme when he left) but we always call it the “redroom” And everytime we do that, I think of the Shining and Stephen King. Come over and I’ll show you my redroom!

  6. Loved the movie…probably won’t read the book. The books I enjoyed were long-ago reads…and I don’t know if I’d read them now.

    Loved 11/22/63, though. And I have another of King’s books on my stacks: Lisey’s Story. It’s very hefty…so I’ll procrastinate a bit more.

    I reread Little Women for a challenge a couple of years ago. Enjoyed it as much as when I read it several times in childhood. It’s funny how I seemed to have memorized much of the dialogue!

  7. I have been wanting to tackle a Stephen King but man the movie of the Shining seriously freaked me out. Didn’t think I could read the book after that. It had a better chance if I hadn’t seen the movie. One of my book club members recommended The Stand and 11/22/63 so maybe I will stick with those.

  8. This was one of King’s earlier books that I missed too. I thought it fell somewhere in the middle… not bad, not great. The hedge animals creeped me out too. Now I need to rent the movie!

  9. Love your picture with the snazzy glasses. “Good, not great” is the perfect way to describe it. I think his later books are much better. IT was pretty impressive and the characters were fantastic.

    I think King’s writing has improved, so I’m pretty interested to pick up the sequel when it comes out.

  10. I just posted my review on my horror blog, Castle Macabre. I really liked the book. See, I hate the movie…always have…and now even more after reading the book. I’m just a die hard SK fan. He could copy the phone book and publish it and I would read it. 😉 While this isn’t my favorite of his, it still ranks high for me.

    1. Awesome – and I am in for both. 😀 Weird thing – my books I read has the room #217 on the cover. I always thought it was #237, so I googled it and it is 237…. 😯 There is even a chapter in my book called room 217. Is that an error? If so – its a big one.

      1. Ok just found it… in the original book it was 217, BUT Some of the interiors are based on those of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. The Timberline Lodge requested Kubrick change the number of the sinister Room 217 of King’s novel to 237, so customers would not avoid the real Room 217.

  11. I agree – The Shining was good but not one of his best. And they took many liberties in adapting it to film, including Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top, memorable performance! Who can forget “Here’s Johnny!”

    The read-along sounds like fun, though I am already obligated to too many book groups! I just re-read Little Women a couple of years ago, after I read March by Geraldine Brooks (about the father of little women). It was just as wonderful as I remember from my youth, so enjoy!


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