This is one of Stephen King's best- because it builds a mood, and develops a plot. The book carries the reader like a rising tide, the way good horror (or any fiction, really) should. Many of King's books are too premise-driven: Christine- "wouldn't it be cool if there were a haunted car?"; Pet Cemetary- "what if you could bring back the dead?"; Cujo- "wouldn't it be scary if you were trapped by a rabid dog?". Those novels seem to flounder around, and ultimately disappoint, because once the cool premise is established, the book has used up its best material, regardless of whether any action has occurred or characters developed. Opinions naturally vary about how the book compares with the movie. The movie is a classic, no doubt, and will stick with you ever after, so I'd say read the book first if you can. That way you get to imagine it *your* way, before Stanley Kubric shows you his interpretation. That's how I experienced the book, since I was too young to see an R rated movie when The Shining came out in 1980 ('81 ?- something like that).