I finally read The Shining. That’s kind of a big deal for me as I’ve been meaning to read it since high school. When I graduated, my Creative Writing teacher gave me a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, which remains the best book I’ve read about the craft of writing. I read it the summer before I went to college and to this day retain many of the lessons I learned from it… Granted, it was the first place I heard many bits of advice that are quite common, but I still remember it being the first place I heard this advice. Reading that book was a big deal for me, is what I’m getting at. Weird considering I’ve never been a fan of Stephen King otherwise.
Immediately after reading that book, I read Carrie. Now, as a former student and current teacher I have a totally bizarre-o fascination with school shootings, and Carrie White is the ultimate school shooting, except that guns aren’t involved. I should have loved it, yes? But I didn’t. I thought it was awful.
I always meant to read The Shining, especially after reading what Stephen King had to say about it in On Writing, but Carrie really left a bad taste in my mouth.
This school year, however, I am trying to be more diligent about reading what I want to read rather than sticking to what I’m teaching. (A new co-worker has helped me to get inspired in this regard – nevermind that that all centered around a reading of Water for Elephants.) I’m not going to pretend like I’m going to make it through War and Peace during the school year – if I can’t spend long stretches of time with a book, especially a rather thick one, I get bored by it – but I thought it would be no problem to work my way through The Shining.
I was put in the mood by Eric’s sudden interest in horror due to his own current project so I had a craving. Long story short, I was thoroughly impressed the first three-quarters of the book before I got bored, which is terribly frustrating with a book like The Shining. Right when things are supposed to be exciting, I am banging my head into the wall waiting for it to end. Not Stephen King’s fault.
It’s definitely worth reading. In fact, as soon as I finished it I went out and bought my own copy of Carrie. I intend to read it again before too long, and I’m hopeful. After my long-standing dissatisfaction with almost all things Stephen King-related, that says a lot.
And – I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but – don’t think you know the story if you’ve seen the movie. Not even close.