Tissues Aren’t Just For Sneezing

toptentuesday.jpgOr for sappy movies. Books can have the same effect and as you will notice with my list, all of the books that had me crying were made into a movie or mini-series.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday asks us to list “Ten Books That Will Make You Cry”.

Of course, what makes me or you cry will not affect another person the same way. (That or their denial factor is off the charts.)

These are in no particular order, but I can tell you the ones that made me bawl like a hungry baby in a wet diaper are Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Where The Red Fern Grows.

I wish I could list books that caused happy tears, but for some reason (or one that escapes me but would interest a psychologist), I can’t remember any of them, and I’m sure there have been. I think.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

  1. Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    A frequently challenged book because of concerns over swearing and religious reasons. Pfffft. My main caution to a future reader is to be prepared for some serious heartbreak, not indignation. This book won the Newbury Medal in 1978.
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    I saw it coming paragraphs before and if I’d been really paying attention, I would have known from the beginning. This is where an author shows what a good writer they are – that I can forgive them for smacking me with that two-by-four they’ve been waving in my face since chapter one.
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Nuf said.
    Just as a side note, there are also gems like this throughout the book: “I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.”
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
    A major character was killed off. (This was before I was introduced to George R.R. Martin’s work, so cut me some slack at being shocked). When the reason for the death was explained later in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I cried again. Then there was the final battle scenes. Damn you Rowling, DAMN YOU. *sobs*
  5. Mockingjay (Hunger Games Book 3) by Suzanne Collins
    A lot of people died in this series, but I didn’t cry as much, if at all, for them as I did when this character died. Hey you…Collins…go share the time-out corner with Rowling. Geez. *sniffles*
  6. Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
    Being as sensitive about animals as I am now, it’s no wonder I had to stop reading stories like this. I’ve re-read a lot of the books I had as a kid, but not this one. I can’t. Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov owe Rawls (and Kinnan Rawlings) a great deal for turning me into a fan of science fiction in my teens.
  7. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
    Sometimes I read a Pulitzer Winner and wonder how it deserved the prize. I don’t with this one. Ever. As for the movie adaptations; there good, but I’d recommend watching Cross Creek with Mary Steenburgen first.
  8. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
    The one redemption for this tearjerker are the puppies. Puppies make everything better. (Well, after potty training and before the teething stage). This book received a retroactive Newbery Honor in 1969.
  9. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
    The only thing that consoled me was realizing that Sophie died that night at the camp, not in Nathan’s arms later. Sophie’s Choice won the US National Book Award for Fiction in 1980.
  10. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
    I was diagnosed with stage III cancer in 2000, and with stage IV with mets in 2011, so there is a lot in this lecture that hits very, very close to home.

So after needing a few tissues just to make this list, how did you do? Agree, disagree? What does your list look like? Feel free to link yours in the comments.





Goals are Good

IMG_0003AAI would make a reference to a recently played sporting event, but why dredge up sad memories. For the record, I’m an ice hockey fan through and through, but I sympathize with any fan who waits expectantly and then watches a team lose horrendously. (cough-cough Sharks ever winning the Stanley Cup cough-cough)

I used to participate in reading challenges. Well, I still do, such as the one on Goodreads, but they call it a challenge, I just call it a “goal”.

As always, I like to take the previous year’s goals and build upon that, so first of all, here are the benchmark numbers:

  • 22,461 Pages Read
  • 38 Library Books (I borrow digital & physical titles)
  • 38 Physical Books
  • 32 eBooks
  • 21 Historical Fiction
  • 15 Chunksters (450 pages or more)
  • 14 OTS/TBR (Off the Shelf/To Be Read)
  • 12 Novellas (200 pages or less)
  • 9 Review copies/Advanced Reader’s copies
  • 2 Non-Fiction Books
  • 1 Award Winner

Taking into account the overlap of categories, I read 70+ books last year, which is a fair amount, however last month alone I read 15 so I’m thinking 2014 is going to be a more productive year.

So for this year my goals are as follows:

  • 100 Books read
  • To read as many physical books as digital titles
  • 50 Books from the library
  • 8 Chunksters (for this goal I’m changing the criteria to 400+ pages)
  • 20 Novellas (200 pages or less)
  • 20 or more books off my heaving, sagging shelves
  • 35,000 Pages Read

Whew! I think that’s enough. Not to mention trying to post more opinion pieces as well as participate in some memes like Sunday Salon, Musing Mondays, Top Ten Tuesdays, and Flashback Fridays. Oh no, not all in the same week mind you, but just enough to keep the conversation going (and this blog) as it were.

How about you? I know you’ve made goals or joined challenges. Let me know which ones you have or which are your favorites. I’d love to see what everyone is up to.

Okay you caught me. I really want to see I’m not the only one sticking my reading neck out as it were.  🙂




Review: Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearMaisie Dobbs
Mystery/Detective Fiction, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780142004333 (paperback)
Published by Penguin Books, May 2004

FTC Disclosure: Bought, paid for, MINE

  • One of Publishers Weeklys Best Mysteries of 2003
  • New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2003
  • Edgar Award nominee for Best Novel 2003
  • Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel 2003

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

Seems I’ve gotten myself into reading a series once again. This time a series much like some others I’ve read:  Maggie Hope mysteries by Susan Elia MacNeal and the Bess Crawford mysteries and the Ian Rutledge series both by Charles Todd.  Many of these are set during or just after WWI. The Maggie Hope during WWII.

All are mysteries set in Britain, and all but MacNeal are British authors. Being a fan of Agatha Christie as well as TV dramas such as Foyle’s War, Poirot, Downtown Abbey, Land Girls, Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse, Lewis….well, the list goes on and on – it’s no wonder I’d finally get to Maisie Dobbs. I’m a sucker for a British mystery and now I’ve found another series of books to add to the list above.

All are well written stories, the only difference being the attention to detail and the protagonists solving the mysteries. Only one, Maisie Dobbs, actually sets out to be a detective, so the plot and characters bear a bit more scrutiny. The detail for me is not just in the way the mystery is laid out, but being a fan of historical fiction, I do tend to be a bit harsh when it comes to historical accuracy. Except for a few minor items, all of these authors, and especially Jacqueline Winspear do a good job.

All in all, this is a historical fiction/mystery of a different color. Not only is Miss Dobbs a private investigator in a time and place where women were hardly seen in such a profession, she works her trade as much as a psychologist than she does as a detective, using intuition and implied psychic abilities to help deal with the challenges she faces. Through the understanding of psychology and the ability to mirror a person physically to better understand them mentally, she gains insights that others would never be able to otherwise. This is a unique aspect of her character that I liked immediately. This character, and thus her stories are far from cookie cutter and refreshing to read.

Suspending disbelief in regards to Maisie’s apparent psychic abilities isn’t too hard to achieve however, and I found this first book in the series enjoyable and a fairly quick read. No plodding plot or subplots complicating things too much, and just enough action to be interesting. I’m definitely going to read the next in the series (Birds of a Feather) to see how much Winspear develops Miss Dobbs and hope that she progresses as well as I hope she does.

Highly, highly recommended!