Monday, September 03, 2012

What Book Touched Your Heart?

One vacation that worked.
At President McKinley's house near Columbus.

You know what I mean. What book left you gasping with its insights into the human condition? Or told you something you didn't know.

1) A SENSE OF AN ENDING, Julian Barnes
2) NEVER LET ME GO, Kazuo Ishiguro (Never cried more, I think)
3) A GESTURE LIFE, Chang Rae Lee
4) SONG OF SOLOMON, Toni Morrison
5) DEATH OF THE HEART, Elizabeth Bowen

One I would have to include although it is not a novel THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.

None of these are crime novels, I notice. What crime novels have been able to do this--more difficult when you realize the requirements of a crime novel. Closest I can come is MYSTIC RIVER, Dennis Lehane.


Chad Eagleton said...

1.) Way Uptown In Another World by Shane Stevens

“Ginny never really had a chance. The sick got her and the misery got her and then the dead got her. She didn’t know anybody much and she was scared of all the paper stuff and she was too proud to ask other people for help. She was a Southern girl who didn’t understand the strange and easy ways of the North and she never got used to the cold.”

2.) What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

Completely different from the movie.

3.) The End of The Affair By Graham Green

4.) Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

5.) Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

pattinase (abbott) said...

Great list. (Knew Shane would be on it) THE END OF THE AFFAIR is a terrific choice. And DANDELION WINE, oh so sad.
If I added another true story it would be Tobias Wolff's THIS BOY'S LIFE.

Dana King said...

1. A Widow for One Year, by John Irving. The description of the car crash and the last lines are still vivid to me nine years after reading it.

2. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo. Two other Russo books (Nobody's Fool, Mohawk) struck me with multiple "he gets it" moments, but Empire Falls went another step down that road.

3. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates. I hated the first half, but stuck with it because it was so highly recommended by a trusted source. I've been glad I did ever since.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I came close to putting REVOLUTIONARY ROAD on my list. EASTER PARADE is pretty tragic too.
I loved all Russo's books through EMPIRE FALLS but the last few have eluded me.

George said...

POSSESSION by A. S. Byatt completely blew me away. The movie version doesn't come close to the emotions in the novel.

And, that's a pretty good looking couple in that photo!

Loren Eaton said...

Leif Enger's Peace Like a River. What an ending.

Ben said...

1) Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk

2) Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

3) Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane

4) The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami

5) The Last Kind Words, by Tom Piccirilli

Charles Gramlich said...

The Swords of Night and Day by David Gemmell, October Country by Ray Bradbury, the Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen, THe Road by Cormac McCarthy,

Deb said...

Perhaps we're already primed for bad things when we start reading a crime/thriller novel, so we aren't quite so shocked or emotionally affected when bad things do indeed happen. The last book I definitely remember making me cry was Graham Joyce's The Silent Land, about a couple on a skiing vacation who are caught in an avalanche. The ending was both sad and life-affirming, perhaps that's what got to me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved Silent Land, which I read after you recommended it on here, I think.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Steve suggested Stewart O'Nan's A PRAYER BEFORE DYING but it disappeared. Why does that happen?
A book I should not have missed as it's brilliant. Phil is a big Murakami fan. I want to read THE ROAD but I am scared.

Jerry House said...

The first thing that comes to mind is EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES by Tom Robbins.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember reading that one a long time ago now. Great!

George said...

THE ROAD isn't scary, Patti. It's bleak.

Kent Morgan said...

The White League by Thomas Zigal is a novel set in New Orleans about family, privilege, racism, guilt, evil and murder that has stuck with me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Isn't bleak the scariest of all?
Never heard of that one, Kent. Will check my library site for it.

Rick Robinson said...

I'm darned if I can think of a single thing right now.

Anonymous said...

I could not read THE ROAD. Just did not get into it at all.

I agree with the comment made above about the Tobias Wolff memoir. But if we're adding non-fiction I'd have to go with Elie Wiesel's NIGHT. That's not a book you can ever forget.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So true, Jeff.

Dan_Luft said...

I'll mention one that's not very famous: KOLYMA TALES by Varlam Shalamov. It was a series of short stories that took place in the harshest part of the Gulag. I read it in college for a class and it froze me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

New to me, Dan. I remember reading Gulag stories but not this.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Always Coming Home (Ursula Le Guin); Just Above My Head (James Baldwin); The Girls Who Trod on a Loaf (Kathryn Davis); most V. Woolf novels, maybe especially Night and Day, Mrs. Dalloway, Flush, and Orlando; Gaudy Night (Dorothy Sayers); The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett); With Child (Laurie King); Red Harvest (Hammett).

Yvette said...

I would have picked Dennis Lehane's GONE BABY, GONE which angered me so I threw the book across the room. Yes it did made me gasp. But despite that, it also make me think. It was a book that had me disagreeing completely with a main character's decision at the end. I can't even think about it now without getting angry. It also angered me because I felt that Lehane did this simply to make a point that didn't need to be made again.

Never got through MYSTIC RIVER, thought it an overwrought mish-mash.

Books that made me gasp but that I didn't throw across the room:

1) LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL by Thomas Wolfe

2) THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3) WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

4) THE END OF THE AFFAIR by Graham Greene

5) EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo

Three more I'd add:

DOOMSDAY BOOK by Connie Willis

IS PARIS BURNING? by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre (non-fiction)


I know I've forgotten many others.
So many books have taught me so much about the human condition over the years...