The Shining (1977) by Stephen King

‘Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.’

I chose this as my second ‘All Hallows Read‘ book after finishing Richard Matheson’s Hell House earlier in October. At over 650 pages it’s a big read, yet it rarely felt like a slog. I’m not a huge fan of King, but I’ve always found his work very readable. I went through a phase of reading his novels in my teens spanning from Misery (1987) to The Dark Half (1989). Unfortunately, this included The Tommyknockers which was a slog to finish.

The Shining is one of King’s most famous novels as well as being very highly rated. It’s basically a haunted-house story, but I also found it to be a fascinating look into alcoholism and self-control. The main character, Jack Torrance, is a recovering alcoholic with a fiery temper, so well portrayed by Jack Nicholson in Kubrick’s movie. In the book, the characters are a lot more fleshed out than in the film. This gives us a chance to feel more attached to them, making their eventual fates that bit more distressing. Continue reading


Hell House (1971) by Richard Matheson

All Hallow’s Read – Day 12

I finished reading this over the weekend. It didn’t really scare me but I enjoyed the story, despite its limitations. The characters aren’t particularly rounded but they each have their own voice. The house itself could have been more of a character, but perhaps the author left it in the background in order to focus on the four main characters and their reactions to the haunting.

The book is certainly a product of its time, (1970~71), with its titillating sexual scenes and treatment of the female characters. Some will find it too exploitive and it could easily offend. But I wanted to read a haunted house story that got me turning the pages, and that is what I got. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Night 7

October 7th 2015

The weekend breezed by without my reading so much. I’ve been getting into the first season of ‘Hannibal’, watching a couple of premier league footy matches, and generally spending too much time in front of the pc screen. There are just too many ways to get distracted.

I sat down properly with Hell House last night and read until I went to bed. There have been more scares and more titillation, with a couple of thrilling action scenes. One of the main characters gets stuck in a kind of sauna in the house and starts to hear something strange. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Day 3

20151003_071552October 3rd 2015

It’s a bright, sunny morning on day 3 of my All Hallow’s Read. The sun has extinguished all thoughts of ghosts from my mind. Can you picture a ghost in the sunshine?…

I’m on page 88 of Matheson’s Hell House. I’m limiting my reading of it to after sunset and am also endeavouring to read some right before I go to sleep. I want to see if it will slip into my dreams or not. Or maybe I’m just being cocky and setting myself up for a fall. I got a bit distracted last night with the final two episodes of Walking Dead season 5. The second half of that season was great. Anyway, I’m aiming to read more tonight. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Night 1


October 1st 2015

I’m starting my All Hallow’s Read tonight. I’ve been looking forward to this since I ordered the book the other day. I’m not a big fan of horror any more. I want to see if it can still chill me like it did when I was a teenager. Back then, I went through a Lovecraft phase as well as enjoying some of the books by King, James Herbert and Shaun Hutson – anyone remember ‘Slugs’?…

‘Hell House’ by Richard Matheson arrived in the post today. It was published in 1971. It’s the book that kept popping up on the lists of best horror stories I was checking. That and King’s ‘The Shining’, which I haven’t read either. Maybe next year. Continue reading

‘All Hallow’s Read’


As October approaches, I am getting ready for this year’s ‘All Hallow’s Read’. Neil Gaiman’s original idea was to give a scary book as a present to someone for Halloween. I’m using it as a good excuse to read a horror story that I haven’t read before. The challenge is to start and finish the chosen book in the month of October. If the book does actually scare me, then that is a bonus. When I’ve finished the book, I will post a review. Continue reading