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,…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

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

Perhaps a trip to the mountains is more your style? Spend some time in a snowy cabin with a hot drink and a copy of this classic ghost story. If you’re only familiar with the film version of this tale, then buckle up, buddy.

The book goes places the film never could, and is very much worth the time. The set up and pay off are great, and the sense of isolation and dread which pervades the book is palpable. It’s a classic for a reason. I reread this book every winter, and it never gets old.

Ahh, the perfect book to read while on a winter skiing vacation.

A young boy, Danny, gifted with psychic abilities named “shining,” becomes trapped in a hotel with his parents following a winter storm. His father, Jack, slowly loses his sanity due to the influence of supernatural forces that inhabit the hotel.

This book will keep you up at night while you continually glance at your locked bedroom door, praying someone won’t try to enter your room with an axe.

You never forget your first. This was the first grown-up haunting book I ever read, and it was complete adoration at first sight. King’s work has had a huge influence on me as a writer. (Yes, when I get stuck, I do quite literally think, okay, what would Uncle Stevie do?) This novel has all the great King elements—realistic people trying to survive an insanely unreal situation; engrossing, detailed backstory that makes that situation feel like it’s always been there, waiting, watching, inevitable; snappy dialogue and unexpected jolts of humor. The Overlook Hotel is a perfect clockwork trap of unholy…

From Lucy's list on hauntings.

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…

Want books like The Shining?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like The Shining.

Browse books like The Shining

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in authors, ghosts, and the supernatural?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about authors, ghosts, and the supernatural.

Authors Explore 172 books about authors
Ghosts Explore 207 books about ghosts
The Supernatural Explore 310 books about the supernatural