It's that time again--time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse --where a bunch of us book lovers chat about our favorite reads for the month! For this month, I picked...(surprise!) a scary read!
Rarely do I ever read a book after seeing the movie. I always rush to try and finish a book before the movie version comes out, and then I’m usually disappointed anyway. In this particular case, I’ve seen the movie over and over again during the course of a ten year period, yet I just got around to reading the novel.
I’ve only read one other Stephen King novel (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon). I really enjoyed it, but it was more of a psychological thriller. I’ve wanted to read The Shining for years, but I was afraid the book would be too gruesome or brutal for me. (I hate reading anything that’s bloody or gory).
I was pleasantly surprised to find more of a psychological ride than a horror tale. There are elements of horror within the story, but overall, I was riveted. I see now why King is considered such a master of the page; he effectively crafts scenes, describes actions and images, and paints the background of characters. This novel, written in 1977, reads differently from a modern horror novel. It’s subtle with less attempt at shock value and far more attention to the storyline.
For those who don’t know the story, Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, takes his wife and son to live at The Overlook—a hotel in the Colorado mountains where inhabitants are snowed in all winter. Torrance assumes this will be the perfect opportunity to write his next novel; instead, once the snow begins to fall and Jack and his family are snowed in, the house comes alive, tormenting Jack and his family with freaky women in the bathtub, strange characters in the ballroom (including an oh-so-polite, but all-too-dead bartender), and an elevator that runs by itself. All the while, Jack’s son, Danny, holds special powers called “shining” in which he can sense and see things that others can’t, and he can communicate telepathically with others who have the same abilities.
The Shining holds up remarkably well, and makes a perfect halloween companion.