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Hoping to get a fresh start, self-destructive writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance decides to move his wife Wendy and 5-year-old son Danny out to the Colorado Rockies to act as the off-season caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel. But after the family takes up residence at the remote resort, Danny, who has extrasensory abilities that allow him to read minds, communicate telepathically, and see past and future events, realizes they aren’t alone. Determined to claim Danny, but unable to possess him on their own, the dark forces dwelling within the Overlook turn their attention to his father as winter snowfall leaves the family cut off from the outside world.

Stephen King’s spine-chilling 1977 psychological thriller, his third novel and first hardcover best seller, traces Jack’s unraveling—his descent into unreliability and, at a certain point, madness—to blur the line between what’s going on inside his head and what’s really happening, creating a mounting sense of dread. In addition to cementing the author as the reigning king of horror thrillers, The Shining is renowned for its nuanced exploration of addiction, family dynamics, and psychological trauma. It also resulted in one of the most iconic fright flicks of all time, with Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film of the same name serving up scenes that have become so pervasive in pop culture they’re often recognizable to those who haven’t even seen the movie. —Megan McCluskey

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