Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday, the 2012 VD Edition

Yes, I turn Valentine's Day into VD at every available opportunity. What will I be doing to celebrate? I will eat Dove chocolate truffles and red velvet cupcakes until I fall into a carb coma. But that's only after Greyson celebrates with a little Valentine's Day party at school and I shower upon him my gift of choice: BOOKS! Yep, my kiddo is getting two books, a Thomas the Train toy, and the teeny weeniest box of chocolate I've ever seen. Huzzah!


It's also Top Ten Tuesday once again, and I'm totally digging today's theme: Books That Break Our Hearts a Little! I consider it a very high compliment if a book can make me cry or make my heart feel like it's breaking. In those cases, the author has most definitely written characters and plot that I can wholly invest in, and what's not to applaud about that?


Without further ado, the top ten books that broke my heart a little. And you might see a couple of themes running through these choices. 



ROOM broke my heart a lot. It shattered it into pieces and stepped on them over and over and over again. This story is not without hope but I felt so completely, utterly invested and compelled in spots that I thought I'd have to stop reading. Even though it ends well, it broke my heart along the way.


The Book Thief was shocking as it made me bawl beginning around page 250 and there are something like 500+ pages in the book. I was in love with the characters, the plot, and the historical moment for a big trifecta of heart breakage.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a very obvious choice, but it didn't break my heart any less. Not only because the fate of some of my friends I'd loved along the way just sucked but because it's OVER. J.K. Rowling, I love you!



In The Hours, the issues that stuck out to me most were the dueling feelings of nurturing and guilt that mothers, friends, and partners work through. But it's also about the crushing weight of obligation and events that spin out of one's control. It was a book I read when I was quite young (early 20s) that introduced me to some of the issues I would face (and that most people face on some level) as they age. 

The Birth of Love is a book I could relate to as a new mom. Namely the guilt that goes along with it. While this one didn't necessarily make me cry, it was the little moments and everyday struggles a family faces...the little hurts...that broke my heart.

Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates is not really an obvious choice on a surface level. The main character goes through a great deal of trauma at the hands of an older professor and his wife. Her heart is broken on a number of occasions by their actions, and I was totally invested in the character. These feelings were also heightened by Joyce Carol Oates's ability to write an oppressive atmosphere into this little novella.



The Passage was so long and involving, I couldn't help but be engaged with the characters and their individual plights. If I hadn't been involved, I never would've finished this chunkster, but as it was, I raced through it when I was home on maternity leave. Between the action and the struggles and the damned monsters trying to eat everyone, I got my heart broken a couple of times. But nothing broke my heart liked the CLIFFHANGER ENDING! I can't wait for The Twelve to come out!


Y'all know I had to throw in a short story collection somewhere, so I'm giving the "break my heart" award to Simon Van Booy's The Secret Lives of People in Love. There were a mixture of story lengths in this book, but it was some of the shorter tales (just a couple of pages) that compelled me most for their observations and sometimes for the shock of the endings. 


The Golems of Gotham by Thane Rosenbaum is one of those largely overlooked novels that I champion at every available opportunity, so I'm singing its praises here, too! Not only are the present-day characters heartbreaking: a man and his daughter, reeling after the death of his parents (her grandparents). In this book we also get to meet a few ghosts of the Holocaust: Primo Levi, Jerzy Kosinski, Jean Amery, and Paul Celan--all writers who committed suicide after surviving concentration camps.The writing is gorgeous, the premise is unique, and the grappling with loss was heartbreaking, though this is another hopeful ending. 




Just, yeah. The Road. Earth is destroyed, civilization is limping along, and a dad and his son are just  trying to survive. OK, Cormac McCarthy, YOU GOT ME!


What books broke your heart a little? Bookworms wanna know. :)

27 comments:

  1. I haven't read most of these, which is terrible and shameful. But HP destroyed me - cried like a baby. And The Road also affected me in the way of tears which surprised me, not sure why since Cormac McCarthy never ceases to leave me in awe.

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  2. Sadly, many of the books you wrote of I didn't like at all...The Book Thief and The Hours to be specific. But, I did appreciate your insight into them. Of course, I'm in complete agreement with you about Room. I think it impacts us especially hard because of our beloved sons.

    I hope your carb induced coma is a good one...I'll be joining you as I received several pounds of candy from my students today. (A mathematical fact I can never figure out: how does one pound of chocolate in a box equal five pounds of fat on my body?)

    Happy Valentine's Day, sweet Andi!

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  3. A lot of these sound excellent, and I would love to read them and see what I think. I think the book that most broke my heart was Atonement, and even years after reading it, when I think of that final scene, I get all choked up and feel teary. I really haven't read many books that have done this to me lately. Great picks today!

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  4. What an interesting list! I tend to think of Watership Down, after which I cried for about 6 hours!

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  5. I have been putting off reading Room just because I know it's going to be a bawl fest!

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  6. I must read Room!

    I agree about The Book Thief being heart-breaking....I read it on a plane and got some funny looks from other passengers.

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  7. While many of those books reside on my shelves (well, actually in boxes at the moment), I've only actually read one of them (Room). I do so love a book that can break my heart though, so I really ought to get around to the rest of these. As in soon.

    Happy Valentine's Day, Andi!

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  8. Room and The Book Thief are perfect for this list.

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  9. So I've only read four of these and I cried for all of them. Especially Book Thief. Oh my gosh.

    Glad to see Beasts on your list. Trisha gifted it to me a few months back but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. The cover is just gorgeous, though.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  10. Those Dove truffles are the best!! Jason got me a pack about 10 days ago and I managed to save 2 for today. I just ate one. :D Not because of your post either, I just happened to have one right before I read it. The other one will be for tonight.

    While I didn't like the book version of The Hours, the movie version is my very favorite ever. I've seen it literally over 100 times and it makes me cry every single time.

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  11. I cried with The Road and The Book Thief as well...it takes a LOT for a book to make me physically cry. Disturbingly, the first book that did so was The Bridges of Madison County. The first movie was Dead Poets Society.

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  12. Happy Valentine's Day to you! Room is the perfect book for that list - it broke my heart too.

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  13. I made the mistake of bringing The Book Thief to work with me for a park shift where I was stuck in the booth for 8 hours. Thank goodness it was a slow day that day because that book made me BAWL like a baby. I am sure that if any patrons would have seen that they would have thought I was CRAZY. But I love that novel and had the opportunity to meet Zusak back in 2007 and get my book signed. LOVE him.

    The only other book I've read on your list is The Road, which also destroyed me in many ways.

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  14. You broke my heart by reminding me that we still have months to go before The Twelve makes its appearance!

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  15. Room and The Road are the two I have read from your list, and I absolutely agree that theybwere heartbreaking. Jacks voice in Room added so much to the effect.

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  16. So many of my favourite books on that list!

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  17. Great list Andiroo! There are a few on there that broke my heard and a few I need to let break my heart. The Road just bumped its way up my list, thanks to you! Almost tempted to take it with me to Asheville, but I don't think I want to cry this weekend. :)

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  18. I did movies for Ethan =) He's been wanting that Bee Movie for awhile now, so we got that and another one. I also got him a teeny heart box of chocolates. I think it had 5 chocolates in it, but he was so excited because it was all his lol.

    Your description of Room is exactly why I took it off my list and I will never pick it up. I've heard that from so many readers! I don't want that kind of heart break =( Great list!

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  19. Great list. I've read quite a few of these. And will go tbr The Golems of Gotham. I can recommend Model Home for a heart-wrenching experience. And I recall The Reader being a book that made me cry hard. I actually want to reread it rather than see the movie.

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  20. THE PASSAGE was a grueling read, no doubt! I haven't read a lot of these; McCarthy is on my reading bucket list (and I hope to get to one of his soon). I loved THE BOOK THIEF and couldn't quite stomach ROOM but I'm in the minority there I think :-)

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  21. I have The Birth of Love and The Passage checked out from the library right now. I must attempt to read these before they are due back! Great post!

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  22. Oh, Harry Potter made me cry but actually, the one of the Harry Potter books that makes me bawl every time is the fifth. I start crying when Neville is so brave at the Ministry, and I basically don't stop until the end of the book.

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  23. Of the books I have read on this list I entirely agree. The other books I really need to read... I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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  24. It's obvious that you need to go with me on my next Simon-stalking trip (if that ever happens). Love this post! Hope you had a wonderful day!

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  25. Agree with so many of the books on this list. ESPECIALLY The Road. And there is it again with Room. I have a copy staring at me, waiting for me to finish the book I'm currently reading (The Fault in Our Stars)... and then it's next. My mind is just itching to read it! Hope your weekend is drama-free!

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  26. I read most of The Book Thief on a plane ride from D.C. to Denver, and finished it on the plane ride and definitely got all teary, which is not something I like to do in public, but it couldn't be helped. Definitely a heart-breaker.

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  27. Yep. Room broke my heart, but I'm not sorry I read it. The Book Thief had me bawling my eyes out from about the same point as you. I still need to catch-up on HP (maybe this summer!), but I'm prepared for a tear-fest.

    I loved The Hours (book & film) and need to get myself the dvd for another viewing. Meryl, Nicole and Juliann are outstanding!

    The Road. Sigh. It wasn't until after I'd finished and written my review that I realized how much I loved that book. It was so bleak and depressing that I had a hard time appreciating it while I was reading, but I love McCarthy and knew it was worthwhile, so I soldiered on.

    For me, the one book that comes to mind as heartbreakingly sad is Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I sobbed as I finished, oblivious to the patrons sitting nearby at an outdoor coffee shop, casting worried glances my direction.

    Anna Quindlen is another author who has had me bawling like a baby. Every Last One broke my heart with its spot-on details of grief, as did One True Thing (but to a lesser degree).

    I don't think I sobbed, but my heartstrings were repeatedly tugged and I shed several tears as I read The Help, Still Alice, These Is My Words, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and Little Bee.

    Wow. I had no idea I'd read so many emotionally fraught books!

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