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March 1, 2013 / Leslie

Readalong – The Shining by Stephen King

My First Read of a Stephen King Classic

Oddly enough this was my first encounter with Stephen King’s The Shining. I say “oddly” because I’m not sure how I missed reading it way back in the late 70s when I eagerly devoured King’s books as soon as they were published. I didn’t see the movie, either, and those were the days when I went to the theater to catch all the hot new releases.

The Shining by Stephen King

I caught snippets of the movie when it was on television, but I never sat down and watched. Perhaps it was all the hype surrounding it, how scary and gory it was. I remember the creepy movie posters with crazy looking Jack Nicholson, and the axe and REDRUM. Since I’m not a big horror movie fan I never bothered to rent it on DVD either.

So, what made me change my mind? The #shineon read-along hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts, the sequel, Doctor Sleep, is due to be released in September, and Stephen King is one of my favorite writers.

Quick Synopsis

For those who haven’t read The Shining:
Jack Torrance, desperately in need of a job after being dismissed from his previous position and with a history of alcoholism, agrees to be the winter caretaker in an isolated mountain resort at The Overlook Hotel. He is accompanied by his wife and son, Danny, who has psychic powers and can foresee events and read minds. As the winter storms isolates the family, Danny begins to have frightening visions, Jack starts to act crazy and it becomes apparent that the hotel is possessed by a demon who wants to destroy the family.

My Thoughts

As usual, I have a backlog of print books to read so I listened to the audio. I liked it and found my fears of it being too scary or gory were way overblown. Creepy, yes, but scary, not so much. The audio was good but not as exciting as I would have liked. The narration was even paced and a bit monotone. It could have used a little more tension. I’m pretty sure if I watched the movie alone on a dark night I’d feel differently, but listening during the daytime was, dare I say, an enjoyable experience.

The visuals make the difference for me; movies are usually scarier. I did find the thought of those hedge animals disturbing. As an animal and nature lover, menacing plant life was a frightening vision. On the other hand, and contrary to the movie, Jack didn’t seem to be all that horrible until the end when he could no longer hold back the evil and the house began to control him. Until that point he was a troubled man trying to mend his ways and save his marriage.

Perhaps watching the movie I might feel differently. Different as in scared.

What do think?

Have you read the shining? Seen the movie? Or am I the last Stephen King fan on the planet to experience this classic?

© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. sagustocox / Mar 1 2013 10:00 am

    This is the rare instance where I preferred the movie to the book, honestly. I find the movie is better at conveying the horror/creepiness factor than the book.


    • Leslie / Mar 1 2013 4:23 pm

      I imagine Jack Nicholson does scary quite well!


  2. Bonnie (@missbonnie13) / Mar 1 2013 10:04 am

    I recently listened to this on audio too and was expecting it to be far scarier as well. There were a few scenes where I held off going to bed because it would require wandering into my dark hallway.. but overall it wasn’t too scary. lol I haven’t watched the movie either but plan on doing so now that I’ve knocked the book out. 🙂


    • Leslie / Mar 1 2013 4:22 pm

      I tended to listen during the day, when the sun was ‘shining’. I’m going to rent a widescreen copy of the movie from my library.


  3. BermudaOnion / Mar 1 2013 10:06 am

    Movies are scarier for me too. I haven’t read any of King’s horror but have heard this was not his best effort.


    • Leslie / Mar 1 2013 4:24 pm

      Of the horror books of his that I’ve read, this one is in the middle.


  4. Sheila (Book Journey) / Mar 1 2013 10:17 am

    I didnt find the book to be as scary either as the movie. Maybe it is like Kathy said, novies can scare us more 🙂


    • Leslie / Mar 1 2013 4:25 pm

      Movies with Jack Nicholson playing a crazy would scare me for sure. Yeah, I’m going to rent the movie.


  5. Rory O'Connor / Mar 1 2013 10:23 am

    I participated in the read along too, I liked this one, but I agree it is not his best. I thought the movie was good too, but I like the modern adaptation as well (it sticks very close to the book, while adding quite a bit of suspense).


  6. Suko / Mar 1 2013 1:37 pm

    I’ve seen the Shining movie a couple of times; it has many memorable, scary scenes in it, and Jack Nicholson is incredible! Although I think King is a fabulous writer, I don’t really have interest in reading or listening to this book.


  7. stacybuckeye / Mar 1 2013 10:30 pm

    I like King, but was underwhelmed when I listened to the audio a few years ago.



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