Those of you who follow this blog already know what a book lover I am. Be it history or fiction, I gobble ’em up. And like most readers, I do have my favorite authors. When it comes to history, I have a great love of the late William Manchester’s work. He was a fantastic contemporary historian and biographer of such historic figures as General Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill. And in my mind, his greatest undertaking was The Death Of A President, detailing minute by minute President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas to meet with his destiny. I could write my own book about Manchester’s life and work but I’ll save that for later down the road.
As for fiction, without a doubt my #1 most favorite is Stephen King. He will certainly go down in literary history along with the likes of Poe and Lovecraft as a master of horror and the macabre. I discovered him when a workmate gave me King’s book Night Shift, his first compilation of short stories. He had already published four novels before this book was released, and after reading Night Shift, I immediately found those four and the rest is history. In no way could I speak of all the Stephen King books I’ve read, but I do want to share my latest read, 2013’s Doctor Sleep, a sequel to King’s third book, The Shining, published in 1977.
Many readers sometimes wonder what transpired in the later lives of characters in novels they’ve read. And even King is subject to such musings. He got to thinking about Danny Torrance, the child protagonist in The Shining, wondering just what became of him after his traumatic youthful experiences. He actually did a poll to find out if his readers would be interested to know themselves, trying to decide to either write a book about Danny, or to continue his series of The Dark Tower. And the winner was…Danny.
For those not familiar with The Shining, Danny had the shine, a form of telepathy/ESP. And I’ll say no more than that for I don’t want to be a spoiler if you decide to read the book. But later on in his life, he’s bitten by the same bug that destroyed his father, alcoholism, until he finds himself in a small New Hampshire town where he decides to stay and try to clean up his act. He joins AA, gets a job in a hospice where he comes to be known as Doctor Sleep due to his ability to comfort those about to die. And it’s his ‘shine’ that helps him help those about to cross over to the next world, because after he quit drinking, the power of the ‘shine’ which had faded away due to his staying soused had returned full force. That also led him to come in contact with another of that type, a young girl named Abra, who communicated with him using her ‘shine’, which led to the two of them battling an evil group who wanted the little girl to use to their own ends, which was not a pretty picture at all.
And with that teaser, I’ll say no more. It’s an astounding tale which you can only appreciate by reading it. Though not necessary, if you choose to read it, I would suggest that you read The Shining first because they do go hand-in-hand. Once I found out the origin of Doctor Sleep, I reread The Shining before jumping into Doctor Sleep. I highly recommend both as must reads for they will certainly stir your imagination, and if they’re your introduction to Stephen King, you may just become a addict like me which, considering the number of books he’s written, will keep your reading list full for many a day to come.