Books I Read Week of 8 January 2012

A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby

Four people from drastically different walks of life meet on New Year’s Eve at the top of a building, one of the most popular suicide spots in North London. Up on the rooftop, they confide in each other and decide to stay in touch over the course of six weeks and meet up there again and make their choice to jump or not. Their journeys are individual and personal, yet they are also intertwined as they share their adventures through crazy parties, family get-togethers, and even witnessing a stranger commit suicide.

What could have easily become an overly sentimental and dreary novel was actually quite fun to read. Nick Hornby turns a desperate situation into a jolly, witty adventure about taking life one day at a time.

Carrie – Stephen King

When the dreadfully unpopular sixteen-year-old Carrie White gets her first period in gym class, a group of girls in the locker room tease her until she explodes in tears. While the girls only get suspension, Carrie must continue suffering, both at school and at home, where her extremist religious mother forces her to pray for forgiveness locked in her closet whenever she makes even the slightest mistake. But when Carrie realizes that she has telekinetic powers, her destructive plan for revenge begins to unfold, and the fateful night of the high school prom will reveal all.

As Stephen King’s first novel, this thriller launched him into fame. While it starts slow, the tension escalates into an explosive ending that reveals the vulnerability of teenagers and the importance of loving family and friends.