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The Shining Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2012
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“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times
“Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.” —The New York Times
“This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.” —Nashville Banner
“Guaranteed to frighten you into fits. . . . with a climax that is literally explosive.” —Cosmopolitan
“The most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet.” —USA Today
“An undisputed master of suspense and terror.” —The Washington Post
“[King] probably knows more about scary goings-on in confined, isolated places than anybody since Edgar Allan Poe.” —Entertainment Weekly
“He’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you’ll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” —The Boston Globe
“Peerless imagination.” —The Observer (London)
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are 11/22/63; Full Dark, No Stars; Under the Dome; Just After Sunset; Duma Key; Lisey’s Story; Cell; and the concluding novels in the Dark Tower saga: Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, is also a bestseller. He was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2007, he received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
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I originally bought the Kindle version to read, but the publisher disabled text-to-speech. So this has been untouched for ages. While my vision is not bad enough that I rely on text-to-speech, I do use it often since I have a trusty Kindle Fire. Shame, shame, Random House! I really don't understand why some publishers--and it seems to be the "biggest" ones, more often than not--disable text-to-speech. The technology could open the world digital literature up for a lot of potential readers. Here, text-to-speech was either disabled after I purchased, or I got sloppy, because I usually don't buy titles when text-to-speech has disabled. Yeah, text-to-speech's robotic voice doesn't really compare to a cool, professionally recorded audio book, but it's downright dead useful to the visually impaired or otherwise disabled book-reading customer with a Kindle Fire.
I picked up the Audible audio book last month during the Editors' Picks sale for $4.95. After listening to some really dynamic narrators (like Jim Dale, Rob Inglis, Jason Isaacs, Neil Gaiman, and Luke Daniels), Campbell Scott's performance here seemed a bit flat at first. Happily, though, his voice is pleasant enough and his performance sort of grew, within the twists and building tensions of the story.
But it's not perfect. Now, before the King apologists start sharpening their pens to leap to his defense, just give me a minute to explain.
What you see in THE SHINING is a young writer at work. A Stephen King who was not yet "Stephen King". I believe this was his first full-length novel -- CARRIE being a short story --, so what you'll discover is someone finding his way, page by page, paragraph by paragraph. You'll see a beginning that starts a bit slow. You'll find some very dense paragraphs, a few repetitive sentences, the same words being used again and again. You'll see a bit of stilted dialogue. Perhaps even one or two moments that don't quite ring as true as the rest.
Now, does this make this a bad book? Of course not! Just the opposite. As I said, it really is a thrilling story imperfectly told, those imperfections, for lack of a better word, in the writing neither marring nor diminishing the enjoyment of the read.
Honestly, for someone like me -- who's a writer at the beginning of his career -- reading THE SHINING was a wonderful gift. To see Mr. King finding his voice and realizing that, with continued work, I, too, could move beyond my initial efforts and carve a similar career really drove me to sit down and write even more.
Many believe Stephen King is one of the greats. I'd agree. And if you're interested in seeing a Great working out the kinks, finding his voice, and still telling a damn good story, THE SHINING is a great place to begin.