I am, in the interest of being efficient, trying to plan out the books I’ll be reading for the Popsugar Reading Challenge ahead of time. Some categories are turning out to be much more challenging than others. For instance, my mom could only recommend a single book (one which I’ve been actively avoiding) for the “a book your mom loves” challenge. And I had a hard time finding a book for the “book written by an author with your same initials” challenge, because I refuse to read Stephenie Meyer (not just because I’m convinced it’s her fault the baristas at Starbucks spell my name wrong – it’s Stephanie – but because I, regrettably, read most of her novels back in high school and have vowed: never again).
One category I’m a bit stuck on is a book that made my cry. There are a few books in recent memory that made my sob like a little girl, but, while I loved most of them, I’m in no hurry to reread. I might save this one for last, but I thought I’d share these books anyway.
Full disclosure: while I avoided any major spoilers in this post, I did just learn how to insert gifs, so… sorry for that.
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. While this book undoubtedly tugged at the tear ducts of many readers, it really got to me. I read it six months after my aunt lost her battle to the exact same type of cancer Hazel Grace suffers from in the novel, and three months after my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma. I’m sure the end of this book would have made me cry anyway, but I sobbed for a good few hours after I finished reading.
2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. This book is told from the point of view of Death, if that tells you anything about the casualties. Zusak’s writing is so beautiful that by the end of this book, I was too in love with the characters not to care about them. This book made my bawl my eyes out, and caused a book hangover that I swear still hasn’t completely gone away almost a year later.
3. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Rowling must have taken William Faulkner’s famous advice (“In writing, you must kill your darlings”) to heart, because, for children’s books, they are brutal. Who didn’t cry over Sirius, Dumbledore, Dobby, Hedwig, Mad-Eye, or Fred? (This list of HP deaths ranked by sadness is totally spot-on, by the way, and makes me feel a lot better over taking Hedwig’s death the hardest. Although I would bump Harry and make Fred #3.) My sisters still make fun of the amount of tears I shed over these characters. Now that I think about it, rereading the Harry Potter series this year doesn’t seem like a bad idea…
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This one barely makes the list, but the book was so beautiful and the story so sad that I just got sucked in and couldn’t get out. It sort of works out in the end, but that doesn’t make this love story any less painful and perfect.
5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini. I read this book a long time ago, but when I think about it, I feel sad before I even remember why. It’s a beautiful book that will make you want to jump in and save the little boy, Hassan.
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I read this book twice and cried each time. It’s the story about a boy searching for answers after the death of his father on September 11, 2001. Foer is one of the rare writers who can make extremely quirky characters entirely real, and Oskar is no exception.
7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Honestly, what got me about this book was how various family members dealt with the death of Susie. Even though I read this book twelve years ago, I distinctly remember sobbing during the scene when her father smashes all of the ships in bottles (what is the correct plural of ship in a bottle?).
8. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This novel is nearly as brutal as Game of Thrones, but the first death is heartbreaking. The first time I read it, I had to put the book down and seriously questioned continuing because it upset me so much. Later in the book, there is a second death that is almost unexpected and equally as gut-wrenching as the first.
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is another one of those series that you can’t get through without your heart being ripped out. Looking back, I count at least four deaths (and one other incident) that made me cry or close to it.
10. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. This is the first book I remember ever crying over. And for a kid with arachnophobia to cry over the death of a spider, well… let’s just say I felt kinda bad about making my dad kill them after that. But not enough to let them live.
Which book(s) made you cry recently?