Books are often jam packed with emotion, and that’s probably one of the things I love most about them. Getting swept up in a character’s story jettisons me past my own limitations and forces me to explore new emotional frontiers, a process which I think is absolutely invaluable. Here are some books that have made an impact on my heart, inspiring me with feelings of joy, sadness, disgust, anger, fear, and one very special surprise addition of my own. Can you guess what it is?
JOY: First up is a book that brought me joy. Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle combines my interest in religion and spirituality with my love of overt symbolism, apocalyptic scenarios, and creative satire, all set against the background of a great story. If you have not read any Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle is a terrific place to start, in my opinion.
SADNESS: If you are in need of a good cry, Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick is the book for you. Short, sweet, and sure to make you sob, this story absolutely broke my heart when I first read it and still manages to make me tear up today. I’m sorry, I need to go grab a tissue. Be right back. *Sniff sniff*
DISGUST: If you do not squirm at the ax scene in chapter seven, the moral torment Raskolnikov goes through in the remainder of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment is bound to make you uneasy. Like, ew. Seriously. (But I secretly love it!)
ANGER: Frustrated. Anxious. Desperate to reach into the pages of Arthur Miller’s play and shake some sense into his characters. That is how reading The Crucible made me feel. Every time I watch the Puritans get swept up in the hysteria of a tumultuous witch hunt, I want to scream. Honestly, if you’ve ever heard someone loudly quoting John Proctor, it was probably me…
FEAR: A book that gave me down right goose bumps has to be Kate Brian’s Privilege. Watching Ariana get away with all of her capers leaves me trembling with that “she’s gonna get me” kind of fear. When you live in the mind of Brian’s creatively calculating criminal, even for just an evening or two, it will certainly put you on edge!
And the final emotion, represented by Riley’s imaginary childhood friend, Bing Bong, is…
NOSTALGIA: The Trumpet Of The Swan by E.B. White is one of the very first books I remember reading. When I was a wee one I would sit with Mommy Dearest in the evenings before bedtime and tackle a chapter or two. To this day, every time I flip through the pages I am reminded of the sweet memories of childhood and the wonderful adventures of Sam and Louis.
There you have it, six books that have tugged at my heartstrings and made me feel a plethora of different emotions throughout my life. But now I’m curious. Which books have made YOU feel these emotions? Let me know!