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12.18.2015

Book Report - "The Shining" and "Deluxe"

Moving along with my Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge, I recently read The Shining by Stephen King and Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas. The Shining  marked off "A book that scares you" and Deluxe marked off "A book on the bottom of your to-read list".

First up, The Shining.
Recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, sees his new job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel as a fresh start. He'll have plenty of time to work on his writing, and build back up some of the trust he has lost with his wife, Wendy, and their 5-year old son, Danny who is gifted with the ability to see things that others cannot. As the harsh winter begins to close in on them, slowly isolating them from the outside world, Danny sees that supernatural forces are at work at the hotel that slowly begin changing his father. As Jack descends into madness, Danny and his mother are exposed to serious dangers and fearful they will not survive the winter.

I've actually read a lot of Stephen King in my time, but somehow have never gotten around to The Shining. I'm very glad I rectified that, as I enjoyed The Shining so much. Stephen King is such a wonderfully descriptive writer. He set up the hotel and its wooded surroundings in such a way that I was able to picture it all perfectly. The characters were all amazing too. Jack was extremely complex - very broken, but you felt his desire to change. Unfortunately, he was just too weak to withstand the stronghold of the hotel. Danny was vulnerable, but strong; and Wendy...talk about a mama bear! She was so strong and protective. In addition, the hotel was an amazing character in its own right as well. It was all very creepy, and I was legitimately scared of those hedge animals!! At some point, however, the book lost momentum, and I suddenly wasn't really scared anymore. It still kept me intrigued and engaged until the end though, and overall, I was extremely impressed with The Shining.

Next up, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.
There was a time when luxury goods were available only to those that possessed extraordinary wealth and social standing. The brands that made such goods were more than just the superior quality products they produced, and provided those lucky enough to afford them with truly decadent buying experiences as well. Today, however, luxury has become all about profit. Unique brands that once prided themselves on producing only the highest of quality handmade goods have all been purchased by the same few multi-billion dollar global corporations; which now mass market inferior products to the general public who are only interested in the name on the label. Deluxe provides a rare behind-the-scenes view of the current luxury fashion industry.

I asked for and received this book as a Christmas gift when it was first published back in 2007. Then, it sat on my bookshelf for 8 years!! I always meant to read it, but there just always seemed to be something else I wanted to read more. I'm glad I finally gave it a go because it was such an interesting and eye-opening read. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, and all the rest...they're basically all crap now! They used to be amazing and represented true luxury; but as the founders passed away and time went on big business swallowed them all up, and now they're just well...labels. People still associate the names with wealth though, and everybody wants in on this illusion of luxury that is now much more affordable to all. I thought the book would be stale, but Dana Thomas's writing is vivid and colorful and takes the reader on an adventure that spans the entire globe. You'll never look at your handbags quite the same again.

All that being said, a book like this has a very niche audience. If you're not into fashion or business, then you'd probably be best to skip it.

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