Recommend A Book You Read on Vacation
Recommend A…is run by Chick Loves Lit, and I love this little meme because it is basically like a practical test in reader’s advisory, which was my favorite part of being a librarian (and the reason why I run this blog). People come up to librarians all the time requesting some very unique or odd things. I also like the challenge of recommended unique or odd things for popular requests (romance, fantasy, “a book like The Hunger Games”).
Today we are looking back to the fun days of vacations and the books we read when we have time to really sit back and enjoy them in a more carefree environment. A good vacation for me is one where I have time to read lots of books, especially books that challenge me or have been in my TBR pile for too long. Since I’ve already shared the oodles of books I read on my vacation this summer, I thought I’d think back to the times of my youth. We often go to my family’s cabin in Vermont for a week or two in the summer, and other people are always leaving old books in the cabin. One summer (I think I was in middle school), I picked up a copy of this book and couldn’t put it down…
by Stephen King
Plot in a nutshell: Carrie White lives with a mother who is crazy religious, and she’s different. Her classmates bully her, and she’s an outcast. But one day Carrie gets her first period…and telekinetic powers that she uses to fight the forces that have made her miserable for so long. Oh, and there’s a popular boy asking her out as his fake prom date, a bucket of pig’s blood, and lots of killing. Stephen King’s first published novel.
Why I recommend it: I first read this book as a kid, which is probably the perfect time to be reading such things. What it shows is how good a horror writer ole Steve-o is. That man can take a story that has the potential to be a Friday The 13th-esque-cheese-fest, and make it something that really frightens us. I wasn’t scared in the check-under-the-bed-for-serial-killers kind of way, but more in the general “people are SHITTY sometimes” kind of way. I think Carrie’s mom was the most frightening character, with her crazy religious fanaticism, but the way Carrie’s powers manifested really showed how much crud that girl put up with over the years. So yeah…don’t bully people. Oh my.
Who I recommend it to: I’ve heard people refer to Carrie as a sort of Stephen King gateway drug. It’s still the only Stephen King novel I’ve ever read, and I enjoyed it. You don’t have to be a fan of horror to enjoy this novel, but you do have to be able to tolerate psychologically terrifying stuff. But it’s pretty short (maybe 200 pages?) and it will stick with you for a long time. I still remember it, sixteen years later. I recommend it to everyone who can handle it, ages 11 and up (yes, I said 11. Some uber-cool kids might enjoy it).
Have you ever read Carrie? What did you think of it? Have any other Stephen King recommendations for me?