Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Broke My Heart a Little

And once again I'm a day late and a dollar short on my Top Ten Tuesday. And I was going to give you this whole prelude about my back problems and how I can only sit for very short periods of time before PAIN---which is not terribly convenient for a graduate student---and how I spent Monday morning in traction but it was okay because the PT made a Princess Bride joke before strapping me in. But it's been a long, hectic week---trying to catch up with all of the work I didn't do last week because of PAIN and the need to be flat on my back and the very large doses of painkillers---and I really can only sit for very short periods of time. So let's get to it.

Top Ten Books that Broke My Heart a Little (or sometimes a lot)

And I know that a lot of these are repeats, but I just really like books that make me cry. Don't judge.

1. Marley & Me by John Grogan. Spoiler Alert: The dog dies. And I just cannot cope with bad things happening to dogs.

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. If you can get through this one without shedding a tear, you need to seek professional help. Really.

3. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch. Genocide in Rwanda. Unforgivable inaction in the rest of the world.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. So much sadness.

5. One Day by David Nicholls. This one I won't spoil. Except to say: OH MY GOD THE ENDING.

6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I have a penchant for dystopian novels (especially YA ones), but God Almighty was this bleak. Well written and worth reading, but so very bleak.

7. Amazing Grace by Jonathon Kozol. Systematic neglect and abuse of the poor. Unforgivable inaction by the rest of us.

8. Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle. I love the whole Crosswicks Journal series, but this one---where she describes her 40-year marriage---is so tender and beautiful and heartbreaking.

9. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous. If we really wanted to keep kids off drugs, we'd make this required reading in every junior high school.

10. Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiongo. Beautifully written. Essential reading. But, wow, it left me just flat-out devastated for days.

Addendum: After posting my Top Ten Books on Africa, I realized that I do have a tenth book. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a fantastic memoir by a young Malawian man, William Kamkwamba, who manages to convey the harsh realities of a deeply impoverished nation without giving in to Afro-pessimism or oversimplification.