I generally find it difficult to get terribly engrossed in horror novels where supernatural entities (or divine for that matter) play a prominent role, and The Shining is a good example of such for me. However, though I may not really have lost myself in this novel, King's skill at building suspense kept me turning the pages late into the night multiple times and it's been a while since that's happened. There are many who write more eloquently, many who craft more impressive plots, and many who are more deft at building characters, but I think few exceed King in ability to make a reader simultaneously desire and dread reading the next paragraph or turning the page. He is very, very good at describing various evil beings' appearances, actions, and manners of speaking. I re-read several passages in The Shining multiple times just to gape again at what was happening or how a character just barely escaped a horrific death.
Apart from The Running Man, a quite different type of novel, this is actually the first book by Stephen King I've read. I do have a few more on the shelves and am really looking forward to them, not so much for the stories / plots but rather for the goosebumps and tension I experienced while reading The Shining.
I ought to mention that King's style here is dry and matter of fact, and the family members seem quite wooden initially. Over several chapters he does throw in a great deal of background history on the family and this helps flesh them out quite a bit, but they never became completely convincing to me. This and the somewhat formulaic plot based on a haunted hotel detracted somewhat from the overall experience, but once winter set in and the action began I easily understood why King is so celebrated.