nymeth: (Default)
[personal profile] nymeth posting in [community profile] ladybusiness

I think we’re in need of a bit of bookish joy here at Lady Business, and nothing does the job like a good recs thread. So I’d like to ask you to help me put together a recommendations list of feelings-filled, emotionally powerful, heart-stomping books as a gift to our own Renay.

I’ll go first: very recently there was Meg Rosoff’s Picture Me Gone, which I actually blogged about today. The ending had me crying in a way I hadn’t in a long while, and the funny thing is that I can’t even quite tell you why. This isn’t a book with a tragic ending or anything of the sort — it’s a quiet story about the relationship between a father and a daughter and coming to terms with adult fallibility and growing up. Also, there’s a dog: an elderly white German Sheppard named Honey whose presence in the story punched me right in the heart. In case you’re wondering, she doesn’t die or anything like that. It’s just that Meg Rosoff managed to capture the love and the vulnerability present in human-animal relationships in a way I hadn’t seen any writer who isn’t Kij Johnson do.

The same week I read Picture Me Gone I read Philippa Pearce’s A Dog So Small, which means there was a lot of crying over fictional dogs going on in my life. Again, this is a quiet and understated novel whose greatest strength lies in its subtlety and emotional precision. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so immersed in children’s literature lately, but this is the kind of story that’s been affecting me the most: stories that acknowledge children’s depth of feeling and that allow the full emotional weight of small moments of connection to shine through. In A Dog So Small, that happens between a boy and his initially rejected puppy in the very final chapter, and when I closed the book I was a sobbing mess.

Of course, this isn’t the only kind of book that has the power to crush me. I’m not immune to a good old sad ending, or to a love story that gives me all the feels, or to being overtaken by a character’s sorrow or loneliness or fear. And of course that by “not immune” I really mean “I love it when that happens, GIVE ME ALL THE FEELS”.

So tell me: what was the last book that pulled all your emotional strings? What kind of story does this to you most often? What should we turn to the next time we want to find ourselves awash in a sea of feelings?

Date: 2013-09-18 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is awesome and heartwrenching. I don't cry over a book very often (unless I'm crying over fictional dogs of course).

Jennifer | Book Den

Date: 2013-09-18 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] avampireinstripedpyjamas.wordpress.com
Some childhood reads that hold up on rereads since I still go ouch when reading them. Haven't seen these around much - maybe you'd enjoy them.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones, Up on Cloud Nine and Flour Babies by Anne Fine.

Date: 2013-09-18 07:58 pm (UTC)
goodgriefcharlie: shen wei and zhao yunlan at the side of the road (Default)
From: [personal profile] goodgriefcharlie
I second the rec for A Monster Calls -- it's absolutely stunning and so worth the tears.

Hmm, the last book other than that one that pulled my emotional strings was probably Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. It deals with Jack and Hazel, two friends who have begun to grow apart, except Hazel's not quite ready to let go just yet. Very gorgeous and bittersweet.

The Fault in Our Stars also hit me in the feels, but I'm sure you're familiar with that one already :)

Someone on my flist recommended Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz just this morning as a book that tugged on her heartstrings and left her ridiculously happy.


Date: 2013-09-18 08:17 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Even though this is a gift to me, I get to participate, right? XD

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda — I love One Piece. When I was introduced to it I read the first few volumes going "....are you serious?" at the friend that recommended it, and kept being assured that, no, no, just stay through Arlong Park, just make it to the end.


And that was only the beginning. Oda will casually rip your heart out with some backstory, or punch you directly in the soul with a simple interpersonal interaction involving zero dialogue, and I sometimes when I think about things that happen in later volumes I just want to sit down and have a good, long cry over the perfection and quality of friendship in this story.

Kraken by China Miéville — I still can't think about this book without having an internal breakdown. Is this a recommendation?


Chime by Franny Billingsley — Everything I want to say is a spoiler. The way this book ended left me a weeping mess. So worth it.

In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente — I feel an Inception joke hovering around in the air above me. I still think about this book. It was a revelation. The second one is also good but this one. THIS ONE. I'll be over here in the corner crying silently in memory of my love for it.

Holes by Louis Sachar — One of my favorite friendships? One of the most subtle, beautiful, heartbreaking love stories ever? #ugh

Date: 2013-09-18 08:33 pm (UTC)
myfriendamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] myfriendamy
The last book that made me sob was Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick..and you know it's a really super heavy book (tw: suicide, rape) but it wasn't Leonard dealing with that as much as the letters he envisions the people from the future sending him that got to me. Particularly the last letter at the end of the book, I'm getting goosebumps and teary eyed just thinking of it! I love the thematic work of the book...that the work we do for each other is taking care of ourselves so that we will be around and available to love :) Anyway, I just reread the end again and cried a little again, lol.
Edited Date: 2013-09-18 08:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-20 06:01 am (UTC)
myfriendamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] myfriendamy
Yes, same author!

Date: 2013-09-18 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The first one that comes to mind is Code Name Verity.

Then: I totally completely second Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, it is such a happy-making, sigh-worthy book.

Another one that is just really a beautiful mix of fucked-up people, sadness and then heartwarming lovely romance: The Sky is Everywhere.

I keep going back to YA for some reason.

Ana - The Book Smugglers

Date: 2013-09-19 01:58 am (UTC)
myfriendamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] myfriendamy
aw I started The Sky is Everywhere recently and need to finish it!

Date: 2013-09-18 10:22 pm (UTC)
owlmoose: (book)
From: [personal profile] owlmoose
The book that stops the hardest over all of my emotions -- and Renay can vouch for this one -- is "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch, but to say why would be the spoiler to end all spoilers.

Date: 2013-09-19 10:17 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay

Date: 2013-09-20 03:43 pm (UTC)
owlmoose: (book)
From: [personal profile] owlmoose
It's one of my favorites. I also highly recommend the sequel, "Red Seas Under Red Skies", featuring (among many other fine aspects) a middle-aged lady pirate who is also a single mother. :) And the third book in the series comes out next month, so if you read it now you won't have to wait a million years like the rest of us it!

Sleepy rambling

Date: 2013-09-18 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Language is apparently difficult (I should sleep, but it seems I feel more like reading blogs and crying, so that's probably why) and I can't seem to figure out whether you want cry-making books or smile-from-the-inside-out-making books or the books that do both, and so I am just going to mention a lot of books and probably misspell every other word and then GO TO SLEEP, I promise. Okay, so:

Alberta and Jacob by Cora Sandel. One of my favourite books ever and it just kind of makes me feel understood and at home and read passages five times and then write them down because they are perfect. I can't vouch for the English translation, but hopefully it's good? Seriously, this book is the best. The characters are all very human and real and I love (most of) them and just, gah, go read it, please. Oh and I suppose I should warn that this is the kind of book my mother considers "bleak," though I very much disagree.

And then I want to rec things like Tordivelen flyr i skumringen and everything else by Maria Gripe, but I don't think these amazing books are translated and now I'm angry? Because good YA that makes me feel better about everything and feel things in general.

Seriously books make me feel things all the time but the only books I can remember right now seems to be school books, um, hang on...

Before You Sleep by Linn Ullmann is a lot sad and a lot really weird and a lot surreal and a lot hyperrealistic and I don't think I can rec that book enough. I saw someone online call it "typically bleak and Nordic about a family that's so dysfuntional it's unbelievable" and I very much resent that description because it is really very good and sometimes it is funny and it's not bleak, it's just kind of sad sometimes, but it's so full of love and humanity and sigh. It should have trigger warnings for pretty much everything, though, be warned.

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson is also everything that is good in the world and weird and sad and happy and amazing and there are cool librarians. Go read it, if you haven't already.

For some reason I keep thinking about Jostein Gaarder's books? The man is... kind of scary, but his books are great, especially those that are a bit older, like Sophie's World and especially The Solitaire Mystery.

Oh my god, I am just giving you a bunch of weird books, most of them Norwegian, this is so not helpful, I'm sorry.

Though normally when I am trying to cheer myself up I just reread Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet for the n'th time. That normally works very well.

Good night!

AH/Arrela/something/I don't know what my name is anymore

(P.S. - Is hair a body part??)

Date: 2013-09-18 11:10 pm (UTC)
auguris: (book nerd)
From: [personal profile] auguris
The most recent book that did this to me: Passage by Connie Willis. The last third of the book left me weeping openly (and also kept me up past my bedtime).

Date: 2013-09-18 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
I just got through reading The Persian Boy, and I was surprisingly tearful at the end of it, when Hephaistion and then Alexander die. I knew they were going to because history, but it was just much sadder than I remembered. I also cry like a baby every time I read The Book Thief. (Of course.)

Date: 2013-09-19 02:06 am (UTC)
chaila: by me (wonder woman - manpain)
From: [personal profile] chaila
I just had a little crisis about what I mean by feels! Putting that aside, except for the caveat that I do tend to go with the "emotional precision" and subtlety, and so often get sucked into feels by books that leave other people cold, both Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (okay all the Ishiguro, basically) and Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (though her other books don't do much for me) made me want to hide in a blanket fort for a couple days to recover from the quiet emotional devastation.

For more gleeful but no less acute feels, The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner never fails to reduce me to a pile of nothing but GLEE as the narrative spools out into EVERYTHING I WAAAANTED, even the bits I didn't know I wanted. And Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer is actual bottled joy to read, like it sparkles, I swear. Those two are more "unmitigated joy in the process of reading the book" as opposed to being devastated/moved by the story though.

I think I would be remiss if I didn't actually answer the question of "the last book that pulled all my emotional strings," because it's Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka. Even though I wasn't previously a comics reader, this book is amazing; it brings the tragedy, the thoughtfulness, and ALL. THE. FEELINGS. about Diana of Themyscira, if awesome, conflicted, idealistic women, revenge narratives, and/or women standing on Batman's head are things that bring you feels. It's completely a stand alone story too.

Date: 2013-09-19 06:40 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
The Queen of Attolia is currently making me think really hard about my reaction to a similar dynamic in the Spiritwalker books. In other news, I am almost done and everyone should read that book!

Date: 2013-09-19 02:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
(This is ActuallyAisha from twitter, for some reason unable to log in)

I feel cruel for recommending this author here because the books are mostly out of print and rather expensive, but Antonia Forest. Because you mention emotional precision and subtlety and children's feelings, and she is just astonishingly good at all of those things. I had to move to another c1ountry recently, and I could only take about ten books and I took two Forests because I couldn't not. They're about an almost comically privileged English family who occasionally go on foxhunts, they're ridiculous, but they are perfect and heartbreaking and real.

(Was that Sea of Feelings enough?)

Date: 2013-09-20 02:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I know, I'm almost afraid to visit for fear of going terribly overboard!

Date: 2013-09-19 11:03 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
For some reason 2 fairy tale retellings came to mind both which have made me cry:
The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy and Deerskin by Robin Mckinley.

Date: 2013-09-20 08:39 pm (UTC)
thebaconfat: (weeping & eating donuts at the same time)
From: [personal profile] thebaconfat
Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn is beautiful and uplifting but also makes me sob all over the place, but it's not just a "this is sad" kind of sadness. There's a lot of loneliness and... whatever the word is for being disappointed in yourself and your life and the world for not being better.

Date: 2013-09-21 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I haven't been wrung out by a book quite so thoroughly as I was by The Brides of Rollrock Island. It's kind of ruined me, tbh! Haven't had quite that strength of response since!

(I'm Celine btw, don't want to post anon, but it's the only option available! )

Date: 2013-09-21 04:59 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Anonymous is fine! ♥

And I hear Ana over laughing in glee over this recommendation. She's been after me to read this. :)

Date: 2013-10-13 10:10 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
I had to go and look out SFF not just books that were full of feels but now I have a couple of recs:

Wolf Brother - Michelle Paver: In the US this would be called MG, and I'm not sure how much of that you read but taking a punt because this book contains the adorable story of a boy and his wolf. It takes place in the Stone Age and contains one wicked demon bear and some seriously evil magic.

Nation - Terry Pratchett: All the feelings! Just. The opening. And the ending. And there's lots of jokes and smart things and chat about gender roles. So lovely.

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff: It wasn't the romance in this one that got me, but the relationship between the two female cousins. Piper! She is so fallable for.

Date: 2013-10-16 06:39 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
I agreed to read Nation if Ana read Old Man's War on our mid-year podcast. I should check in with her, then we'll have all read Nation and can potentially weep over it's beauty together. :P

ALSO, that's the exact same reason I liked how i live now (I found the rest of it sort of boring, oops.)


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