Tonawanda News

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October 27, 2013

BOOK NOOK: Skip the horror movies, read 'The Shining' instead

Tonawanda News — Halloween is right around the corner, and Stephen King is celebrating by releasing the highly anticipated sequel to 1977’s “The Shining.” Published on Sept. 24, the new novel, “Doctor Sleep,” has since received high praise from fans of the initial installment, many of whom claim “The Shining” to be the scariest book they’ve ever read.

Diving into the history of the original, “The Shining” was released in Stephen King’s formative years, being only the third book the author had published at the time. With an opening dedication to his son Joseph reading. “This is for Joe Hill King, who shines on,” “The Shining’s” title was inspired from the John Lennon song “Instant Karma!” delivering the lyrics “we all shine on.”

For those unfamiliar with the story, either via book, or Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation, “The Shining” is the story of Jack Torrance, a man who takes a menial position as a caretaker of a hotel for the winter months, when the business closes for the season. Jack brings his wife and son along, the latter of which learns he has psychic powers. The story kicks into the meat of the plot when Danny begins to discover evil forces residing in the hotel. 

The sequel “Doctor Sleep” picks up with Danny a few decades later, to see how his psychic powers have developed.

Interestingly, the plot line of “The Shining” closely mirrors King’s life at the time. After writing and publishing his first two novels “Carrie” and “Salem’s Lot,” King wanted to take some time away from his home town, where his first two books were set. He took his family to Boulder, Colo., on a whim, after they chose it at random from a map, not unlike the Torrance family’s trip to a secluded hotel in the same state.

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