The Shining

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Shining

Book description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel,…

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Why read it?

15 authors picked The Shining as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Jack Torrance is struggling with his creativity and his alcohol consumption and when he takes his family to the Overland Hotel he becomes possessed by the hotel! Spending a winter in isolation, his imagination runs rampant. I recommend the novel because it shows a writer who is deep in agony, stressed about being dried up, and then finds himself in such isolation his mind hooks into the dark, disturbing nightmare of murder and mayhem. Though Stephen King at first disliked the Stanley Kubrick film, he is slowly changing his mind. For me, the novel shows what could happen to a…

The Shining centers on the life of a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. It is a novel filled with richly complex characters. These include the three central characters and supernatural entities. The supernatural elements in this book fascinated me and I always knew I wanted to include something along these lines in my own story, although it really isn’t close to being the same thing. It just sparked my imagination and remains one of my all-time favorite scary reads.

From John's list on madness, fear, and the unknown.

This was the first book of his that I read and it changed my entire perception of horror writing and reading. I read the book when it first came out, mainly because everyone I knew was reading it. King wasn’t that well known yet, but after The Shining…well, you know the rest. Many years later having read just about every one of his books, he wrote a book on writing. To say that my having read every word changed the course of my life would be a gross understatement. 

The Shining is the classic trapped-in-a-snowstorm horror novel for me. It holds a special place in my memories. I was working in New York City in the early nineties, in the middle of winter, and I had this book to keep me company at night before falling asleep. I feel that this is one of Stephen King’s best books of all time, and I highly recommend this one for that closed-in, claustrophobic feeling.

From Mark's list on horror set in the dead of winter.

At age 13, this book scared me. As an adult, it left me sad. Everyone remembers the movie with Jack Nicholson chasing his son through a frozen maze, but in King’s novel, Jack Torrance is an alcoholic father struggling to care for the gifted son he doesn’t fully understand. In a rare tender moment, Jack breaks the Overlook Hotel’s hold long enough to express his love for Danny and urge him to run away—from the demons of the hotel, but also from the demons inside Jack.  Perhaps everyone, at some point, is afraid of his or her father. In The…

From Chuck's list on fathers and sons.

There is nothing that screams Classic Horror Fiction quite like a good haunting story. Stephen King’s impeccable style of a slow-burn story with soft hints of horror until it builds into a crescendo of wild visuals and horrific happenings certainly hit home. There is a fabulous cast of characters, that even in the modern age can be related to. That’s the thing about King, despite being written years ago, his books hold relativity because you connect with the characters, not the things they have and do. His graceful way of incorporating back stories for both his main characters and his…

From Sian's list on classic horror fiction fanatic.

The Shining has always been one of my favourite horror novels. I discovered it in my teens and have re-read it countless times since then. The subtlety of the horror found in the Overlook Hotel as Jack and Wendy navigate their new roles gets deep under my skin—that isolation, completely cut off from civilisation, is both romantic and terrifying. It leaves me wondering how I would cope if I was locked away somewhere for a length of time like that. As an author I always think it would be amazing to have that time to work on a novel, but…

This story is unsettling in a million different ways. You wonder almost immediately, is Jack losing his mind? Is there something dark and nefarious pushing him and creating hallucinations that frustrate and torment him? Are the ghosts truly angry or are they simply playing the creepiest form of hide-and-seek with the humans? So many scenes in this story make you wonder if the things people say in anger could possibly manifest and chase after you the way they actually do in this one. What makes this super scary is it shows what can happen when you allow yourself to listen…

From Bibiana's list on haunted houses and ghosts.

Although not technically a house, the Overlook Hotel has to be one of the most terrifying places to live ever imagined and put on paper. This book has so many iconic characters: Lloyd the bartender, the evil twins, the woman in the bathtub in Room 217. And the hotel itself, which is as much a character as any of the others. Like several books on this list, the Overlook is both haunted and evil in and of itself. It gets into Jack’s head, drives him insane. It is always hungry for more souls, and glad to terrify you before it…

From JG's list on evil houses.

Almost too iconic to pick, The Shining sets the standard for ghost mystery stories. Who are those spooky little girls? The woman in the bath of Room 217? The bartender… And what does this snowbound, deserted hotel want from recovering alcoholic Jack and his family? If you like horror and twisted minds, you have to read this book. And for those of you who have seen the stunning Kubrick film, prepare yourself: there are a few significant differences in the novel.

From Steve's list on ghost mystery stories.

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