Doctor Sleep – A rare (and awesome) Stephen King sequel

Attention all Stephen King fans, and anyone in search of a good read!

If you’ve never read The Shining (1977) but only saw the (admittedly) scary film that came out in 1980, that was NOT Stephen King’s story.

Wendy recoils in slowly dawning horror at what Kubrick did to her character.

Wendy recoils in slowly dawning horror at what Kubrick did to her character.


No, it’s not anywhere near as balls-to-the-wall scary as the first book.  King is a different writer now—he’s older, and his work is a bit more autumnal compared to the white-hot summer brass of his early books.  But he still knows how to tell a damn fine story, and makes you give a shit what happens to his characters.

Doctor Sleep revisits Danny—now Dan—Torrance, son of the Overlook’s favorite puppet Jack Torrance, now a grown man.  An alcoholic like his daddy, Dan works in a hospice in New Hampshire as an orderly who helps his charges “go to sleep.”  He soon becomes entangled with a preteen named Abra, who has a shine to rival even his, and a terrifying group of psychic vampires called the True Knot, who want Abra.  Bad enough to do anything.

King doesn’t general do sequels to his stand-alone novels—the only other one is Black House (2001) with Peter Straub, a follow-up to The Talisman (1984).  And yes, it’s not that scary compared to the first book, but the suspense and the dread as the participants in this unholy chase near the climax forced me to blow off everything today so I could finish it.  I’ll clean the house tomorrow, I promise.

Remember this? It's patiently waiting for me to get my butt out to the garage and stain and varnish it.

Remember this? It’s patiently waiting for me to get my butt out to the garage and stain and varnish it.

Photograph by Elizabeth West

Go to the library RIGHT THIS MINUTE.  Check out The Shining and read it.  Then read Doctor Sleep.  You won’t be sorry.  Although you may not sleep the next time you find yourself in any large hotel, and you will never look at RV people the same way again.



Tom Clancy–RIP; Also, Cookie Winner!

Tom Clancy, author of The Hunt for Red October, has died on October 1, 2013 at 66.  Too young.  :(

In an article by Julie Bosman on today’s New York Times, here is a quote from the master of the military thriller:

After “The Hunt for Red October” was published, Mr. Clancy’s fame was fairly instant. Frequently posing for photographs in darkened aviator sunglasses, jeans and holding a cigarette, Mr. Clancy spoke of the laserlike focus required to succeed.

“I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf,” he said. “You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.” 

He’s right.  It’s a lot of hard work, and practice.  Rest in peace, sir.

Now for the cookie news.  That didn’t take long.  Around an hour after I posted, we had a winner!

Max H. correctly answered the trivia question—the picture is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, taken in 1936 by a photographer who was taking shots of the house for the British magazine Country Life.  He allegedly saw the form on the staircase and hollered at his assistant, and they managed to capture a picture that is still debated to this day.  Max added that she is purported to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, who lived in the house and died of smallpox in 1726.

Congratulations, Max H.!  You win cookies!  Email me at aelizabethwest at to make arrangements for your prize.

I started a vocabulary post for you, but now I’m sick, so I’m going to go indulge my strong urge to be horizontal, drink some orange juice, and try to fight off this whatever-it-is.

In the meantime, watch scishow and learn something about pigeons.  Coo coo!