Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Cry

I’ve never done a Top Ten Tuesday post before, but I saw the topic for this week and couldn’t resist. Because who can pass on a chance to share the books that have moved them deeply over the years?

I’m not really much of a crier, so some of these are more along the lines of “stirred deep emotion that would have showed itself in tears were that my preferred method for expressing emotion.” Just so you know.

1. Ultraviolet, RJ Anderson. I knew I loved the characters and the story a short way into this book. I didn’t expect the moment of breathless poignancy and beauty (and no, I’m not going to spoil it for you by describing it) near the end. Suffice to say it took this book from a great read to a WOW read.

2. Till We Have Faces, CS Lewis. I love Narnia with all my heart. But it’s Till We Have Faces that stirred my soul, even when I read it the first time and didn’t have a clue what Lewis was trying to convey. I knew it was important, and powerful, and meaningful, at least.

3. A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle. This one really did have me in genuine tears. I was in the grip of depression, struggling to break free, with a toddler and a baby dependent on me for everything, a husband with his own struggles and not able to help, no family or friends around to give me a hand up, and a God who was silent toward me for the first time in my life. I read this book and sobbed. It hurt. But it was a hurt laced through with hope, and it wasn’t long after reading it that my husband and I began our arduous journey, together, toward healing and love.

4. The Blue Castle, LM Montgomery. I read this one for the first time in the first few months of marriage – a time that, though I didn’t know it then, was planting the seeds of the depression I mentioned above. Lonely, confused about what a healthy marriage was, a husband working long, hard hours, getting no sleep due to horrible neighbors … The Blue Castle showed me a woman escaping from an intolerable life, and it was both inspiring and painful.

5. Emily of Deep Valley, Maud Hart Lovelace. I’ve spoken before about what Emily means to me. I don’t think I can really top that post in one short paragraph here.

6. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein. Oh, this book gutted me. I can’t talk about it without spoiling the entire thing, but if you’ve read it, even if it didn’t touch you the way it did me, you’ll understand why.

7. Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein. CNV hit me because of the characters. RUF left me shaken because I knew that the very worst parts of the story were not fiction, but truth, and not even the darkest parts of that truth. WWII was such a dark time in humanity’s history – and yet even in that dark period, hope, love, and faith shone through, and Wein portrayed both the horror and the hope beautifully. A tremendously important read for anyone, I think, even if the ending did fall flat for me personally.

8. The Summer of the Grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle. My grandmother died after twelve years of diagnosed Alzheimer’s less than a year before I tried to read this book. I couldn’t get through it. I burst into tears somewhere in the first chapter, and decided I needed to wait until a bit more time had passed before I gave it another try. My own emotions were still too raw.

9. The Rogue Crew, Brian Jacques. OK, this one is almost cheating, because it’s been sitting on my shelf since it was published and I still haven’t read it. But I want to cry every time I look at it, all right? I don’t know if I’ll ever fully recover from Jacques’ death, and if I read his final book it will be like saying goodbye to Redwall forever, and I can’t do that.

10. The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, Lloyd Alexander. Another author whose death devastated me. This book I have read, though only once, and I sniffled through the entire thing. There’s something incredibly poignant about a book which the author knows is his/her final work, and while Carlo Chuchio isn’t Lloyd’s best, it still has all the factors that made his work great, and oh my gosh, I miss him.

So there you have it, my first entry into Top Ten Tuesdays. And now that I’ve stripped my soul bare for you all, I’m going to go make myself a nice soothing cup of tea and read something very, very light and comforting. A nice murder mystery by Agatha Christie, perhaps …?

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6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Cry

  1. Yes! I still get so excited when I find someone else who’s read Till We Have Faces. Hands-down my favorite by Lewis. Each time I read it I get something new out of it.

    • I haven’t read it in ages, mostly because it’s one of those books that seems to do better by letting long stretches of time pass in between readings, but I’ve been thinking lately it was about time to pick it up and give it another whirl.

  2. LOL on the “stirred deep emotion that would have showed itself in tears were that my preferred method for expressing emotion.” That’s me too. In fact, I can’t even think of one book that made me cry actual tears (well, there probably are some if I think hard, but none come to mind immediately). But plenty that moved me.
    The odd thing is that of your list of ten, I’ve only read three, and of those three, two were so long ago that I barely remember them (Lewis, and Ring of Endless Light). The only one I read (re-read) recently is Blue Castle. I’ve been meaning to re-read Til We Have Faces, though; I remember really not getting it when I first read it in my teens, but liking it.
    What a great list! [toasts Louise with teacup – clink!]

    • I think Till We Have Faces really is a book that requires maturity to even come close to understanding – though one can appreciate it at any point in time.

      There’ve definitely been a few books that have made me want to cry over how bad they were, but I decided to leave those off the list!

  3. OH Ring of Endless Light. The most beautiful book about death and life and dolphins ever.

    I don’t think we ever discussed that you ever finished Rose Under Fire, though I remember you debating starting it. I know exactly what you mean by that description though. Particularly the “hope, love, and faith” part– it seems so many Holocaust stories must be told from the POV of the outside rescuers, because it was just so ENCOURAGING to see all the Won’t-Be-Broken-ness going on among the prisoners themselves.

    The book I really have to include on my list is “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” I was about 13, and I just remember lying on the couch BAWLING for at least an HOUR after I finished. For a long time that was absolutely ALL I remembered about the book: in my Adolescent Literature class in college our professor asked if any of us had read it and I so passionately replied, “I did! It made me cry so bad!” and the professor said, “So would you tell everyone else what the book’s about?” and I COMPLETELY DIDN’T REMEMBER beyond the basic setting and some vague images.

    • Yes, and it wasn’t courage and hope that rang false, that it was small acts that kept them going, tiny bits of defiance rather than anything great and huge, like you might expect to read but that wouldn’t be at all believable for real people in a real situation. Rose’s poem about hope … gah.

      I never read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Somehow I missed most of the typical MG classics because I was so immersed in fantasy at that point in my life. Never read Where the Red Fern Grows, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or any of those.

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