Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
At first, I wasn’t too keen on this choice, books that made me cry, for Top 5 Tuesday. After all, I’ve already documented my intense emotional responses to One True Thing, Gilead, and Les Miserables, all of which would clearly belong on this list. However, as I’m waist-deep in the works of William Wordsworth and various sundry articles about him in my vain quest to write a cohesive paper for tomorrow’s class, I’m not going to spend too much time worrying about that fact, and instead present five wonderful books that are completely and utterly worth revisiting, and certainly all made me cry.

5. War and Remembrance, by Herman Wouk.
I loved every single word of Herman Wouk’s two-part World War II drama, but it was the sequel, Part II, that actually made me cry. Of course, I won’t mention the particular scene which led to my tears-no spoilers here! Suffice to say, both books combined make for a wonderful, riveting story that I highly recommend. Once you’ve finished, you can pick up The Caine Mutiny, a completely different yet equally entertaining tale.

4. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.
Though it’s been many years since I first thumbed through this book, I’ll never forget it. It’s like a rite of passage for a young girl, determining which March daughter one identifies with the most (Jo), sharing in their joys and tribulations…oh no, Beth’s getting real sick! Better put the book in the freezer!

(*Key scene around 5:40)

3. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. This was my first experience reading John Irving, and I’m glad it’s where I started, because even though he’s one of my favorite authors, his particular brand of humor/drama is a bit twisted, and I’m not sure I would have fully appreciated him if I hadn’t started with Owen Meany. Owen is the most unique character I’ve ever read, and his story is indelibly etched on my mind. My husband told me how much he loved the book very early in our dating days, which is what led me to reading it-I must admit, that recommendation made me love him even more.
just a hint, from one of my most favorite passages:
“DON’T BE AFRAID,” Owen told me, “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO-IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT.” The lenses of his safety goggles were very clean; his eyes were very clear. “I LOVE YOU,” Owen told me, “NOTHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU-TRUST ME,” he said.

2. Christy, by Catherine Marshall. This is a quintessential teacher’s book. My mom sang its praises for years before I finally picked it up, and it’s one of the few books that she actually kept a copy of for herself. She is the polar opposite from me when it comes to books-instead of hoarding and collecting at an alarming rate, she very carefully selects the ones that she absolutely cannot live without. Needless to say, the tale of city girl Christy Huddleston and her experiences teaching in rural Appalachia is heartwrenching and tear-jerking on more than one occasion.
(*By the way, please ignore the 70's era paperback cover picture, which smacks of cheesy romance and melodrama-this book is GOOD!)

1. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry.
It’s difficult to put into words exactly how much this book means to me. Its presence was palpable in our house while I was growing up, and I eagerly awaited the day when I would be “ready” to read it. As I’ve mentioned before, my mom has always suggested books according to “readiness”, which she defined not in the terms of age or regarding the appropriateness of content, but according to a level of maturity that would ensure I would appreciate the book properly. Give it its due, so to speak. As usual, I’m glad she made me wait, because this absolute GIFT of a book is unquestionably the most incredible story that I’ve ever read. There wasn’t just one scene that made me cry, but many, and truth be told, it’s the kind of book that one is sad just to finish.

Alright, those are mine. What books made YOU cry?

1 comment:

The White House said...

I wish I had read this yesterday, b/c I had book club and we struggled to choose a book! I try to steer clear of sad books, really, I need something funny to escape to. I think I cried really hard when I read "Call of the Wild" when I was young. I think that was it? Too early to think!