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 …?