Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry

It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday!  The Broke and Bookish:  I love you for this meme!  Each week I have a tremendously good time thinking about and compiling this list, and then I have an equally tremendously good time reading all the other lists.

What I love about making a list is that it forces me to focus and think about books in a very particular way.  One thing that I have realized in participating in this meme is that a few books have truly moved me, stayed with me, and made a deep impression on me.  The same few books pop into my mind over and over as I think about each list.  It should be clear by now that Their Eyes Were Watching God made an indelible impression on me.

A brief interlude:  Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in thirty days!  Are you paying attention NaNoWriMo participants?  It was written in a white hot blaze of love (so the story goes) shortly after Hurston's break-up with a much younger man.  Even though she knew the relationship couldn't last, Hurston wanted to capture the intense love she had experienced.

Another book that keeps showing up is Crime and Punishment.  I've already written at length about my love for Russian literature, and how it began with Dostoyevsky--but what is it about Crime and Punishment?  This recursive return to Dostoyevsky's novel makes me feel like giving myself a challenge:  what if I read nothing but Russian literature for a whole month?  Wouldn't that be....cool?  depressing?  magnificent?  If even one person encourages me in this then I will take it on...for December.  Go ahead, dare me.

Okay, so I've kind of lost my train of thought.  Back to the list.  Here are the Top Ten Books that made me cry.  If you are a parent, you will probably understand #1.  Yes, I used to sob my way through this little picture book every time.  You will notice that there are several childhood books on my list.  I used to be much more sentimental back then!

1.  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw.  This is the most relentlessly sentimental and yet truly moving picture book in the world!  I read it to my daughters all the time:  they loved it!  Even though it involved me singing....
2.  Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
3.  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
4.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
5. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
6.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
7.  Rock Island Line by David Rhodes
8. Driftless by David Rhodes
9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
10. I can only think of nine.  Someone else will probably remind me of the one that should have been here!

If you are wondering just where in Crime and Punishment the tears began to fall, it was when the sick, and impoverished Katerina Ivanovna is forcing her children to sing and dance in the street for money.  But really I think it had just been building up...

Oh, and if you still haven't read Rock Island Line by David Rhodes (you will immediately go on to Driftless), may I just say that I will haunt you if you don't?

So, Gentle Readers, has a book ever made you cry?  Has it happened lately?  And should I read nothing but Russians in December?  If so, it would be rather nice to have some company!

23 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

A Severe Mercy made me sob. And Isable Allende's Paula. I read that in an airport all alone, crying away.

AND...this is a weird one...the children's book, Friendle (yes, that one about the ball-point pen). The student/teacher relationship is touching, and I'm a sucker for things like that.

Brenna said...

Anne Frank's Diary of A Young Girl! That's the one your missing. Great list though :)

Loni said...

I can't believe I forgot Love You Forever. That is an amazing book.

smellincoffee said...

It's been such a long time since I read "Black Beauty"; I don't even remember its ending.

Red said...

The only book on your list I've read is The Bluest Eye (so sad!). The Book Thief got me and Lamb surprised me by how sad the ending was.

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

Oh - I love Zora Neale Hurston!

Book Loving Mommy said...

Oh! I still read Love You Forever to my kids! Such a sweet story! I also cried while reading The Bluest Eye. I love Toni Morrison!

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

Just discovered that you visited my blog and commented on my list - thank you very much! When I was a child my mother didn't allow me to read PIPI LONGSTOCKING..

THE BORTHERS LIONHEART is about two brothers who die and come to another world where they have to fight against a mean sovereign - and in the end they die again and to another world..

I loved the book but it made me cry.

bibliophiliac said...

@Caroline Starr Rose--I will have to check those titles out!
@ Brenna-agreed!
@Loni--it was the first book I thought of!

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

Great list! Like Caroline, I read Paula, and it broke my heart. Sophie's Choice was a heart wrencher too.

http://laughingstars.net

Rummanah Aasi said...

I've yet to read a Russian novel in its entirety. I tried to read "Crime and Punishment" numerous times, but I always fail. Gah! Going to try one more time.

bibliophiliac said...

@Book Loving Mommy--Love You Forever is just a wonderful book...
@Frl. Irene--thanks for coming by--twice! What, no Pippi Longstocking! Too naughty?

bibliophiliac said...

@smellin coffee--the ending of Black Beauty is happy, but there are many whips and cruel owners along the way...

bibliophiliac said...

@Stephanie--Sophie's Choice is another good one...
@Rummanah--I attempted Crime and Punishment three times before I finally finished it--but then I loved it!

danya said...

Thanks for dropping by! Yes, Love You Forever has to be one of the saddest kid's books out there (Robert Munsch sure knows how to write them!)

Short Story Slore said...

I can't believe I forgot Love You Forever. It's the book I buy for every baby I know! Great list.

bibliophiliac said...

@danya-Love You Forever would make me bawl like a baby!
@Short Story Slore--that book is my number one gift to all expectant or new moms!

Annette said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed your top ten post -- some unique books on there that I haven't seen on others lists (but I follow mostly YA). Crime and Punishment is one of those "someday" books for me -- maybe when I'm retired. I didn't know it might make me cry . . .

Grad said...

I didn't expect to cry at the end of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, but I sobbed out loud. The Book Thief was another tear jerker. Both fabulous.

Grad said...

I didn't expect to cry at the end of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, but I sobbed out loud. The Book Thief was another tear jerker. Both fabulous.

Anne Bennett said...

I always cried when I read I love You Forever to my children. Good Pick.
I was so caught up in our elections that I didn't go visit anyone's blog yesterday to make comments.
-Anne
hpp://headfullofbooks.blogspot.com

readerbuzz said...

If you feel compelled to include Love You Forever, the missing tenth book for you could very likely be The Giving Tree. Both books tend to make us parents burst into tears.

Here's my WW:
http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/wordless-wednesday.html

readerbuzz said...

Oh dear. I seem to have posted a link to my Wordless Wednesday, and it IS a photo which could make you cry...but not my list of sad books.

Here's my TT:
http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/top-ten-books-that-made-you-cry.html