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on 7 March 2015
You remember that scene in Friends, where Joey is so scared of The Shining that he hid it in the freezer? I’m not entirely sure what scared him so much. It’s suspenseful, for sure, but that also means that there are long periods in which nothing much seems to happen. I was left with the feeling that big chunks of it could be removed without a problem, leaving it as a better book – then again, I guess that’s kind of what they did with the film.

There are a few things in the book that don’t get a mention in the movie, and there are also a few subtle differences including a strikingly different ending – unfortunately, though, I still prefer the movie, and I’m not exactly a massive fan of it. I just enjoy it as much as the next person.

The problem is, I can’t put my finger on what the problem is – there’s nothing inherently wrong with the story or with King’s writing, I just didn’t really think the book lived up to the hype. Perhaps you’ll have a different point of view, but I regret reading this before any other Stephen King book because it put me off him. Then I tried The Green Mile a couple of years later and was instantly converted.

In fact, I much preferred The Shining’s sequel, Doctor Sleep, which follows the story of the now grown-up Danny. There was more menace behind that, perhaps because King had a long period of time between the two books with which to perfect his craft. That said, you’d still need to read the first book before reading the sequel if you wanted to get the most out of it. And I highly recommend reading the sequel, so I suppose you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and get ready to read it.

So if you still want to go ahead and read The Shining then do it, but prepare to bed yourself in for a couple of weeks because it’s a long old read, and not something that you can just casually approach. If you don’t psyche yourself up for it beforehand, you’ll probably give up a third of the way in and go off and read something else instead. If you’re wondering how I know, it’s because that’s exactly what I did when I first read it.
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on 28 October 2014
I agree with a lot of other people on here that some parts of the book could have been shortened as there was sometimes too much description. However, the slow build up of tension and jack losing himself is done brilliantly and I liked learning a bit about Jacks past with drink and his father and also previous hotel guests. There is a lot more emphasis on the supernatural which there isn't much of in the film and I enjoyed that. I wasn't as scared as I thought I would be though, I would say there's only really a few chapters that really creeped me out but really, that is down to the person and what they find creepy. Sometimes, when tension is building and you start to get freaked out and you can't stop turning the pages then bam end of chapter and the next chapter is all about something completely different which diffuses the tension when I was just getting into it and wanted more, I guess this is what could make people want to carry on reading, which it did but I found it a bit frustrating. It was written really well, sometimes what jack was thinking made me smile even though he was angry and going crazy stephen king makes it quite relatable and the way jack tries to justify his murderous thoughts I found quite funny and creepy at the same time. I also enjoyed danny's thoughts because we don't see much of that in the film and the description of his visions were creepy. I think hype can ruin books and films for people and I think people should approach this with a completely fresh mind. Overall I am really glad I read the book I really enjoyed it
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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2013
When it comes to storytelling Stephen King is one of the best in the business. By the time you're about thirty pages into one of his books he has usually got you hooked: the intriguing premise has been set up; the uneasy atmosphere created; the all too human characters described and then, before you know it, you're a couple of hundred pages through the novel and all hell is breaking loose. The Shining is a particularly fine example of early King. After Carrie and 'Salem's Lot - both decent novels - King really hits his stride and adds depth to his abilities as a pure weaver of tales. The reason The Shining works so well is because the characters, and in particular Jack Torrance, have so much depth. Torrance, on the one hand, is a violent, drink-addled monster who once broke his son's arm in a rage. On the other he's a guy who grew up with an abusive father, loves his wife, tries and fails to cope with the lousy hand fate has dealt him and manages to fight his alcohol addiction with great success. And then he gets the job as winter caretaker of the Overlook hotel and fate, once again, deals him a bum hand of low numbers and mixed suits. The Overlook, as luck would have it, is up there with Shirley Jackson's Hill House when it comes to an ability to tease and unravel a fragile mind.

King deliberately keeps the set-up for The Shining very simple: take three characters - Jack, his wife Wendy and their son Danny - place them in an isolated location and then tighten the screws. Add to this the concept of the shining itself - Danny has the ability to read minds and can tap in to lingering psychic presences (the unpleasant past events from Room 217 for example) - and you're all set for an excellent supernatural thriller. King is terrific when it comes to those seemingly throw-away details which genuinely take you by surprise: topiary animals that seem to move; voices from empty rooms; Torrance's increasingly skewed perception of reality as his mind dissolves in the Overlook's haunting isolation. It's Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James and Shirley Jackson all rolled into one and the result is one of the finest supernatural novels ever put down on paper. It's great stuff and an absolutely brilliant and thrilling read. Perfect for autumn, as the nights draw in and the snow begins to fall.
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on 4 September 2011
I have owned The Shining by Stephen King for a long time and it has been sitting on my shelf picking up dust and unread. I knew it was a novel which I would most definately enjoy but was too occupied with other things in life.

I recently decided that I felt like reading something so without a doubt I picked this up and started reading it to fully appreciate Stephen King's novel. I've seen Stanley Kubrick's movie adaptation before the reading the novel, so I was imagining the characters and settings in my brain as I'd seen them in the movie; and this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I found the book to be a classic page turner and as I was reading the entire book, I didn't keep any consciousness of time, how many pages I've read or how many pages were left to read. This is due to me being completely absorbed in the story and enjoying it immensely. Stephen King is a very detailed and thorough author in his vocabulary and explanations of every minor detail so I frequently came across phrases which I didn't fully understand the meaning of. I had an Oxford dictionary accompanying me as I read through the book so I can reference words up to get a fuller understanding of the novel. This in itself shows how much I loved the book and wanted to fully absorb its contents and understand everything that was going on.

I felt an emotional attach and love for most of the characters in the novel including Dick Halloran and could feel what they were going through. I must admit that I didn't find the novel very scary but that is just me. I did find it creepy and very atmospheric with a lot of tension building up. I love the way Stephen King explains some events in the story whether it be past, present or future and it sometimes made me grimace involuntarily because of its grotesqueness.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horror fiction or Stephen King and I think it is so good, I think I can foresee a future when I pick this book up off my shelf for a second time and read it again.
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on 4 September 2011
One of those brilliant books that i will always remember. Those books that poke at so many emotions and leave you wishing there was more.
This is the second SK book i have read, and it blew me away. Currently classified as 'Horror', and i agree, But i think it is more of a 'Horror/tragedy'.

The scenes in the last few pages threatened to make me cry whilst i was amongst my family on holiday, and that is quite a feat.
Jack Torrance is officially my favorite character. If you have watched the Stanley Kubrick (i think thats the name) movie version of the book, then you have seen nothing at all of the books potential. The book is heart wrenching, aswell as freaky, disturbing, and scary as SH!*

The TV mini series version of the book is very close to the book but still not as good. I think it is a google-zillion times better than the Kubrick version, because it attempts to focus more on the tragedy, as opposed to the horror.

Focusing more on SK usuall horror/thriller writing, i must say this is also... no actually. it is probably the FIRST and ONLY book i have read so far in my life that really did freak me out.
I am a fan of horror films, i watch them alot, and the gore and blood doesnt bother me as much as it should. SK's work however, made my skin crawl. The way he has written it, described it, gives a whole new level of horror that films just cant capture.
The part where Jack Torrance goes to check on room 217. I dont know how much i can say without spoiling it, but i gotta' say the part where he sees something in the bath-tub through the curtain. And the way the door knob rattles whilst hes trying to lock the door. *Shivers*

All in all- Masterpiece. A MUST read. A perfect book that does what you expect, and a hell of alot more. Please read this, you just HAVE to understand how good it is!:(
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on 6 August 2009
First of all - before I properly begin - allow me to say that this review is not a comparison between the novel The Shining by Stephen King and the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. Also, please note that there are likely be some minor spoilers regarding both works; and while I do not think that every single person who considers reading this book does so due to seeing cinematic adaption, I would surmise that a great deal are indeed introduced to the book through the film. Anyway, on to the review itself.

The relevance of review title is from my own experience; seeing the film (numerous times) before ever reading the book. However, after having read the book recently, my opinion of the film has somewhat diminished.
Yes, Kubrick's version (and vision) is one in its own right, and yes, it is very different to the source material. However, this - I think - is what makes the book that much more eerie.
The film focuses on Jack and his descent into madness, as if by mental illness; whereas the book focuses much more on the Hotel itself and the happenings there over the years.
To be sure, the book is quite creepy; the concept of 'the shining' being a case in point. As well as this, the way the Overlook Hotel 'comes to life' gradually is also very disturbing.
The characters in the book, even the 5-year-old 'main' character, Danny, have a lot of depth and the reader is provided with a great deal of insight into their thoughts - all relative to their own feelings and individual perspectives.
While I haven't read a great deal of Stephen King books, I would probably say that this is one of the better ones I have read; it is very well written in his signature style (even though it is only King's third published novel, his distinctive narrative soon becomes apparent), and definitely one of his more horror-oriented works.
I must say I thoroughly enjoyed The Shining, and would recommend it to anybody who is a fan of King (or H.P. Lovecraft - if you read the book you will see what I mean). I would also invite fans of Stanley Kubrick's film to read this book - but not to sully their opinion of the movie, as mine was, considerably - but for two reasons:
First, to see just how different King's Shining is from Kubrick's; but please, do not be disdained by the nuances between book and film - I assure you, the book is greatly superior.
Second, I encourage any fan of the film to read an excellent horror novel that is atmospheric and compelling; a disturbing and fulfilling story of the supernatural intertwined with something that is all too human.
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on 20 December 2008
I think I was lucky to have read The Shining before watching the film. While the film isn't bad by any means (it's excellent), the tone is completely different from that of the novel, which is more psychological and less stylised.

Jack Torrance, a frustrated writer, assumes caretakership of The Overlook Hotel during its winter down-time, accompanied by his wife and son. He is made aware, during his interview with the hotel's manager, that The Overlook has been host to several gruesome murders in the past, not least of which was the previous caretaker's butchering of his entire family, but dismisses the stories and takes the job anyway, unaware of the effect that the hotel will have on his psychically-endowed son.

Unlike the film (where Torrance seems to be insane long before he sets foot in the Overlook :), the novel describes a basically-ordinary man's descent into madness and is all the more compelling because of it. There are some genuinely frightening set pieces that aren't found in the movie (most notably the playground tunnel and the incredible hedge-animal sequence) where King manages to reach out of the page and give you the impression the somebody is standing right behind you - VERY few authors can create fear through the printed word alone. King has long been criticised for his endings, but The Shining's is satisfactorily closed (and, again, is different from the film). The hotel itself is also much more of a character, with its own malevalent agenda.

If you have seen the film first, the novel will seem slow and lacking in impact, with Torrance not being as idiosyncratic as Nicholson's interpretation, but reading the book first will put the film in context.
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on 4 May 2011
Never given Stephen King a go before but since I've enjoyed loads of film or tv adaptations thought I'd have a look. The Shining is just brilliant. I don't read horror much but I'm already planning 'It' and 'The Stand' after this. What really surprised me though was the skill with which King first draws you into his excellently realised world then kicks the door shut behind you. The Kubrick film has always fascinated me and it's great to read the source material first hand. It both informs the film and also differs in some fundamental ways. The depiction of a young family falling apart is touching and intelligent. But the 'shining' itself is one creepy gift. Great book, great read.
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on 17 June 2007
From the first page i read i was totaly hooked, i couldnt get enough of the book a definate buy for anyone who loves reading!!! If you start reading you'll find it hard to put down
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on 3 March 2015
less well written than more recent books
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