Stephen King Book Review- The Shining

My next Stephen King book review is The Shining. A lot of people I talk to has never read this book and only know it from the Stanly Kubrick movie. It is a pretty interesting book and that has a slow build to a fantastic ending. Like Salem’s Lot this movie also has a place serving as a beacon of evil where horrible tragedies occurred. It produces some supernatural spirits inhabiting the property. However, it has a much deeper evil that is much more real to the average person being of an addictive nature.  

The story is about a former teacher named Jack Torrance who was fired from his teaching job because he beat up a student who slashed his tires. He is also recovering from being an alcoholic. He has a wife and son name Wendy and Danny. Wendy in this story is a house wife who is strong but stays with her husband. She is always fearful that her husband will go back to drinking and snap like he did one night when he was drunk and dislocated his son’s shoulder out of anger. Danny is five years old and is very intelligent. He also possesses a sort of psychic ability which is referred to as the shining.  

It is obvious at the beginning of the story that Jack does care for his family; he is just fighting his demons and addiction to alcohol and his temper. The story continues as Jack gets a job as a winter caretaker for the Overlook hotel in the Colorado Rockies with his family coming to stay with him even though they would practically be cut off from the world when it snowed. He also plans to write a play while up there. Before they travel Danny has a vision from his friend “Tony” who warns him of the danger of the hotel and he also hears a voice of someone that wants to kill him and his mother. 

They travel to the hotel and before all the staff leaves for the winter Danny meets Dick Hallorann who is the chef of the Overlook. He also has the same ability as Danny and even comments that Danny may even have a stronger ability then him. He warns Danny that he may see things at the hotel but tells him to look away because they are not real. He also tells him to use his shining ability to contact him if he ever needs help. 

The story continues and focuses on the family and their time at the Overlook hotel. Like in great Stephen King fashion it slowly builds up. You get little pieces here and there with enough to keep you reading to find out what is going to happen. Even though I knew what was going to happen because of how The Shining is in popular culture it still held my interest. You find out the horrid history of the Overlook hotel. You see a troubled man slowly go off the deep end and the claustrophobic feeling of being “trapped” in the hotel. Yes there are some ghostly encounters and parts about some hedge animals that I really enjoyed. While some may know the ending already it is a little different than in the popular movie and I suggest you read it to find out. 

This is another great example of Stephen King’s writing. At first you don’t know anything about the characters (of course) and Stephen Kings gives you bread crumbs along the way until you completely know and feel what the character is feeling. He even writes from the perspective of the five year old kid and his understanding of the world which I find a good talent.  

The story keeps you wondering what is going to happen even if you know the ending. You learn something knew or experience a scary moment and you want to keep reading. It makes you wonder about some hotels you stay at and the history behind it. Just like in my small town of Goldfield, NV and the famous Goldfield Hotel. I could see The Shining be set there if it was more secluded but with the history it has I am sure it would work out. 

As I mentioned above there is a much deeper evil then a beacon of evil or ghosts. There is the addictive nature of people that can make even the nicest person into something evil. A person could be addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex or anything bad of that nature. This can lead them to bad things to hurt themselves, family or friends. The story really shows this in the character of Jack Torrance who through the whole narrative craves to drink even though the hotel does not have any. The ghosts might have some maybe but not the hotel. What I find interesting and this is my opinion and might not even been Stephen King’s intention but as Jack Torrance becomes more obsessed or addicted to the hotel and wanting to “be accepted” by it he starts to do traits of what he did when he was drinking. For example he would wipe his lip with a handkerchief when he would drink. Now that he is addicted to the hotel he started doing that also.  

Addiction can be bad and it shows in the story. Like for example the incident with the abuse towards his son after drinking. This unfortunately happens a lot in world. I know people who ruined their lives because they were addicted to something. People have lost their families, hurt people or even killed people. It is unfortunate that it is common for a human to be addicted to something. However, I am proud of the people that overcame that addiction o those who did not give into the addiction. Those are strong people and ones that wanted to change their ways and life. Even if they realize to change their ways sometimes it is too late. Check out The Shining and you will see what I mean. 

Moral of the story: Even with a beacon of evil like the Overlook hotel or troublesome ghosts, a deeper evil is the addictive nature of the human psyche which can cause a lot of harm to those you love or yourself. 

I have two movies based on the book to review also. Look for those coming up soon. I also heard Stephen King is writing a sequel to The Shining. That should be interesting but it will be a long time for me until I get to read that. I give this book three stars out of five.  Who here has read The Shining? If so what did you think about it? Do you know people that are addicted to something and ruined their lives? If so let me know to hear your stories? If you are someone that was addicted to something and bad things happen please write in the comments section. Sometimes it is good to talk about it. Those are some questions for everyone and want to hear from you in the comments so let me know.

Like I said in the past I will have a tracker of the final ratings of each book or movie I reviewed to show what I liked or didn’t like. It is a rating based out of five stars. For previous reviews if you missed it you can click on the title and it will link to that review for you to read.

Books Reviewed:
Carrie ***
Salem’s Lot ***1/2

The Shining *** 

 Movies Reviewed:
Carrie (1976) ****
The Rage: Carrie 2 ***
Carrie (2002) ½* (Yes a half of a star out of five) 

Salem’s Lot (1979) **

A Return to Salem’s Lot *
Salem’s Lot (2004) ***1/2


Computers and the Internet

Have you checked your Facebook or Twitter today? Did you pay your bills online? Did you make a stock transaction, read the news or applied for a job online? Did you send an email? Are you currently reading my blog? Answering yes means that you probably have a device that has the internet whether it is a computer or some mobile device. Also this means that this technology probably is part of your everyday life. Now imagine that all computers and the internet are taken away from you for a month or two. How would you react? 

In today’s society computing devices and the internet are a part life. A lot of people would go crazy without this for over a month and it is sad to say that I would probably be one of those people. We use it for personal, entertainment, and business reasons. My whole job (database administrator) and college degree (computer science) is based on this technology. Without it what would I be today, probably a writer or something… wait a minute. 

Anyway not only is this technology a part of my career it is also my personal life. I use my cell phone to text my wife to always talk with her since I travel a lot. I use Facebook to communicate with others and to let them know about my blog posts. I read and look up stuff for education or entertainment purposes. Computers and the internet are a great thing and makes life easier and more convenient. I do all my banking and pay almost all the bills online. I probably spend 80% of the day on the computer during a work week and that is the minimum. It is sad but it is true. Believe me I would love to go out to travel more and see things but don’t have the time. I am writing this now with this great and wonderful technology that I am sorta dependent on in my life. 

That is the problem though. The majority of the world is dependent on computers and the internet. If it was all taken away in a quick flash the world would go in chaos for a while. I am sure the world’s markets would crash. Communication would be close to a standstill and so on. Think that new series Revolution or Falling Skies or even Walking Dead.  We need it because we conduct so much business with it in our lives.  

The other side of that is as we come more dependent on it could eventually eliminate a lot of things we do in our life. It would be in a world where we never have to leave house and conduct our life from there. Everything could be delivered to us, we could work from home, and we could take special supplements to keep our bodies healthy. We could end just hooking up to a machine to experience life outside of the house similar to that movie Surrogates. Or the computers and the internet could become self-aware and become a life form of their own. Then they would probably take over the world like in The Terminator or Matrix movies.  

Now I know in the three examples above are extreme cases but it is true that most of the world is dependent on computers and the internet. Who knows this also may be a cause of the obesity problem in America right now because everyone wants to be on the computer. Also how it seems the social scene is getting more regulated to the internet and not the “traditional way.” People need to check their Facebook in case they missed something or need to talk to someone. TV shows will tell you to #that and #this just because now it is important to be trending. People need to check their Twitter to see what their favorite celebrity is talking about. People need to hurry and pay that bill online. Don’t forget to check on sports shows or download a movie while you are waiting at the airport. Also don’t forget to read this blog and comment on it because why not? 

I am not saying the technology is bad. I mean I love and I said I use it every day. I just feel that the world is too dependent on it and it seems like it is going to get even worse in the future. I guess that is true though with any invention and advancement in society that makes things easier because humankind seems to like to go the easy way and not the hard way. I do imagine a simpler life and wish the world could go in that direction but I know that will never happen. Now I have to go post this on my blog and let my friends know on Facebook and Twitter that I posted a new blog while texting my wife and listening music I downloaded from iTunes on my iPod while waiting for a database to restore at my work. 

What are your thoughts on computers and the internet in society? Do you think we as a people are now too dependent on it? Do you think one of the three scenarios I mentioned could happen? I think being taken out by Cyber Warfare will be the future of wars and markets will crash and countries overthrown. That is just my thought. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.