The Shining and Stephen King

by Jeff Secker | Originally posted on 

I bought my copy of The Shining by Stephen King at a garage sale in the summer of 1979. I was 13 years old and I paid 10 cents for this paperback. It was the shiny-silver cover that caught my eye, but it was the brief description on the back of the cover that made me want to read this book: “Behind every door of the Overlook’s 110 empty rooms there is a chamber of horror. Little Dany knows of these things because he has the terrible power – THE SHINING.”

Up to this point, the only novels I had read were purchased through a program (perhaps Scholastic) at my elementary school. This was the first horror novel that I read. It was also the first with gruesome violence, broken characters, wild suspense and harsh coarse language; it had the F-word and even more notorious swear words! I sat up late reading this novel and discovering the haunted and horrific world dreamed up by Stephen King. The characters, plot, writing and suspense were amazing and I was hooked!

I have a copy of all of his (and those he wrote under the pen name of Richard Bachman) novels, the novels he wrote in collaboration with other authors, many of his short story collections and novellas and a few of his non-fiction books. I re-read many of his novels in 2020/21, including: The Stand (original cut version from 1978); The Dead Zone; Firestarter; Pet Semetary; The Regulators; Desperation; Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch (btw I love Holly!); and Doctor Sleep. They were awesome! And then I read several for the first time: The Outsider; Sleeping Beauties; The Institute; and Billy Summers. These were awesome too!

The photo below shows my collection as it is right now. Thank you to my sister, Lori, for finding hardcover versions of several of these novels for me! I have a printout from which lists his novels and novellas in chronological order, oldest to newest, and I use that as the master list of all works (novels and novellas) by The Master.

You can see my original paperback copy of The Shining third from the left on the top shelf and in the photo to follow. It’s a little beat up, but from that one pocket book has come a lifetime of joy. Thank you Stephen King!