Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

The topic for February 4 is Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry.

I am going to be lousy at this one. I read books for fun so I am not looking to cry (unless you are talking about laughing so hard tears start flowing). Most of the books that made me cry are nonfiction books about real events.  I know that is probably not even remotely the way that most people are going to approach this meme ... 

1) Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff. During World War II an airplane carrying 24 military passengers, including 9 WACs, crashed in the jungle in New Guinea during a sightseeing trip. This book made me cry as I was reading the description of the crash and the aftermath. It was a pretty brutal read, based on interviews, declassified U.S. Army documents, a survivor’s diary, and a rescuer’s journal. All in all it was quite awful and even though I knew there were a few survivors it was very hard to read and terrifying. Not only that but the way that the New Guineans are treated is also very upsetting.

2) When the Rivers Run Dry. Water: The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century by Fred Pearce also made me cry at points. Reading the stories of families who lack access to clean water, whose livelihoods have been destroyed and whose very survival is increasingly tenuous - yep moved me to tears on occasion.

I could list a lot of these but I won't because that would be rather tedious and get exceedingly depressing. Suffice it to say that real a environmental crisis harming children will move me to tears pretty much every time. 

3) Any book dealing with the real events on the Titanic can crack me up.  Ah - but this reminds me of a book that did make me cry as a kid ... Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck. I can't explain why without spoilers, but yes - the Titanic is involved. (So I have noticed a theme here - reading about real disasters can also make me cry.)

The cover art for the version I own was done by Rowena Morrill and I just discovered her website. I always loved that cover!

4) Another blast from the past for me is I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944
Terezin was a demonstration camp or model settlement housing middle-class Jews from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, that the Nazi's used for for propaganda purposes. Artists, writers, musicians, scientists and scholars from were imprisoned there so that the camp could be used to display the "rich cultural life" of inmates. The Nazis permitted representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross to visit Theresienstadt in order to dispel rumors about the extermination camps.

In reality Terezin was a way point concentration camp where prisoners were temporarily housed before they were deported to death camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka. 

Fifteen thousand children under the age of fifteen passed through Terezin Concentration Camp and fewer than 100 survived. This book contains poems and pictures drawn by the young inmates. In them you see their hopes and fears - you get a window into their lives. The papers were smuggled out somehow. The collection is utterly heartbreaking. I want to cry just thinking about this book.
I was in this play as a child and every once in a while I revisit the book.  I have a very old copy that had a plain brown textured cover. I think I will pick up a new copy since it says expanded second edition on the cover.  

5) Okay - now I am getting really depressed so I am going to go in a different direction here - Donna Andrews' Murder with Peacocks made me laugh so hard the first time I read it that I had tears running down my face. Three summer weddings and Meg is the maid of honor for all three, plus you can tell from the title, other events intrude as well. I like all of the Meg Langslow books, but the first one is really special.  (I have a soft spot for Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon too). 

... I think I have run out of steam here so I will go with 5 this week. Like I said - I try to avoid things that make me cry.


  1. I haven't read any of these. But I'll had to keep a look out for them. I do love a book that will bring the emotion out of me!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  2. I Never Saw Another Butterfly does sound heartbreaking. There's part of me that wants to read it and part of me that thinks I just can't handle it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. It is well worth the read though it can be really tough if you start thinking too deeply about the situation for those poor children.

  3. I love it that you included a book that made you laugh so hard you cried! Only a few things have ever done that for me, mostly short fiction or nonfiction humor pieces. I think I'll put Murder with Peacocks on my reading list!


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