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20 Books That Are Guaranteed To Make You Cry

20 Books That Are Guaranteed To Make You Cry

Have you ever had one of those days when all you wanted to do was read an emotionally powerful story that would provoke you to tears? OK, maybe that wasn’t your endgame, but most of us love to be captivated by stories that reach us on multiple levels, including sadness.

We like these stories because they effortlessly connect us with characters and circumstances that we dream up in our own minds. We have to do some of the legwork, but that makes the impact significantly deeper.

There are plenty of books that make you cry and that you can really sink your teeth into, but you surely want some of the best. Here are 20 books that will have you crying (and sometimes laughing) in no time.

1. The Kite Runner

Kite Runner

    This realistic and moving portrayal of life in Afghanistan accounts for the people who were badly affected by the Taliban. You’ll cry as you get to know the familial relationships and cruelty involved, but you’ll also get a sense of hope as you quickly read through this gripping novel.

    2. To Kill a Mockingbird

    To Kill a Mockingbird

      In case you didn’t have the privilege of reading this in high school (I sadly didn’t), To Kill a Mockingbird is an essential, heart-wrenching classic. Told through the eyes of young children in 1930s Alabama, a black man is accused of raping a white woman, and the underlying prejudices of the time makes his sentence all but certain.

      3. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

      The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

        This book takes you through waves of emotion as you start to understand the full context of the main character, the 9-year-old son of the Auschwitz commandant. Taking place during the Holocaust, we witness the horror from his perspective, a boy who just wants friends. You’ll be shocked by some of the more startling aspects of the book as the boy, Bruno, befriends one of the Jewish boys on the other side of the fence.

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        4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

        The Perks of Being a Wallflower

          This coming-of-age tale holds almost nothing back as it starts off with a suicide and goes from there. Centered around the sensitivity of a brilliant, but troubled, teen named Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an honest and adult-themed story that will likely resonate with your own experiences.

          5. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

          annefrank

            You probably know the true story; a girl writes a deep and introspective diary while hiding in an absurdly small crawlspace for two years with other Jewish fugitives during the Holocaust. The sad foreboding throughout the story is palpable, especially as you progressively become attached to each of these people who were real human beings going through the ordeal.

            6. The Book Thief

            The_Book_Thief_by_Markus_Zusak_book_cover

              Let’s put it this way: Death itself is the narrator. The story is about a young girl named Liesel who has to live with foster parents during the height of World War II. On the way to her new home, her brother dies, setting the somber tone for the story. There is hope, however, when Liesel discovers her love for reading and forges a relationship with a young Jewish man she helps hide from the Nazis.

              7. The Fault in Our Stars

                This is probably the most likely book on the list to make you cry, as it chronicles the experiences of teens who are dying from cancer and living their last days in love. Their lifestyle is tragic and jarring at the same time, as we watch them deteriorate. The real tragedy is the love story between the main characters, who know that their romance is doomed.

                8. A Child Called “It”

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                a-child-called-it

                  Easily one of the saddest stories of abuse in recent decades, A Child Called It is based on the true story of Dave Pelzer, a boy from California who suffered at the hands of his sadistic family. The tears will come from both sadness and the inspiration tied to Dave’s fight for survival in an environment where he is deemed worthless.

                  9. Clean

                  Clean

                    The premise of Clean is pretty straightforward. Five kids who are addicted to drugs have to find a way to repair their lives within a rehabilitation center. The problem is that they pretty much hate each other and their situation, but they have to rise above it in order to get their lives back. It’s a difficult read in the sense that these kids have truly hit rock bottom.

                    10. Hyperbole and a Half

                      This book may seem like it’s just comedy and the best of witty writing (and it is), but there is a self-aware frankness to the pages of illustrations and real-life stories that are reflective of author Allie Brosh’s own struggles with the meaning of her life, depression, suicide, etc. The undertones are there and ready for you to fall in love with, just don’t be surprised if you start to tear up from both laughter and sorrow.

                      11. Resurrection

                        If you prefer your tearjerkers to be more classic (and in this case, written by one of the best novelists of all time), then Tolstoy’s Resurrection is vital reading. One of his less famous works, though it was his last, Resurrection details the life of a nobleman whose actions land a maid into prostitution and eventually a prison wrought with some of the worst conditions possible. His attempts to redeem himself and save her are both harrowing and tragic all at once. Click here to purchase.

                        12. The Giving Tree

                          Technically, The Giving Tree is a poem, not a novel. But the poignant message underneath it will prompt you to revisiting the beautiful words and illustrations again and again. It provokes sadness from us; not only because of the story itself but also because of the real implications that come with the human condition. People will be arguing over the “true” meaning behind this classic for years to come.

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                          13. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

                            Taking place in the 1930s, this book captures the struggles of a group of small-town misfits who yearn desperately to make something more out of their lives. Their individual stories revolve around the fascinating perspective of a deaf and mute man named John, and the book is a dark reflection of the mistreatment spurred by the human condition. You’ll be shocked at the atrocities that happen toward the end of the book.

                            14. Revolutionary Road

                              Nothing seems to depress people more than the failure of the American dream, which is what Revolutionary Road presents in spades. Full disclosure: I did watch the movie before reading the book for this one, but I wish I hadn’t. The story of Frank and April Wheeler, who want nothing more than to break out of the depressing rut of suburbia, shows a darker side to the 1950s, an era typically regarded as peaceful and happy. Though the movie captures this tone fine, the book is much more likely to grab you. 

                              15. Bridge to Terabithia

                                Even if you have already watched the movie based on this instant classic by Katherine Paterson, I strongly recommend you pour some time into the book. It takes your imagination on a bit of a roller-coaster ride and then leaves you hanging to fall, as the world it has created so well begins to fall apart. The turmoil that Jesse, the main character, goes through during the end of the book is one of the hardest events I’ve ever read through.

                                16. Wisdom Hunter

                                  Unlike many of the other books on this list, the somber tones of Wisdom Hunter occur very early in the story, getting brighter over time. After the tragic death of his daughter, a former pastor’s family completely falls apart. At the end of his rope, he discovers that his daughter gave birth to a baby girl before her passing, setting him on a 20-year journey to find his grandchild. His journey spans countries and memorable experiences, but his own personal growth is what makes this story an unforgettable triumph.

                                  17. One Day

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                                    Another story that spans 20 years, One Day tells the story of two friends who love each other, but life prevents them from forming a real relationship. As the story progresses, so does their bond, resulting in a climax that is difficult to feel unaffected by. Their love story is tragic, gripping and sure to make you cry toward the end.

                                    18. Anne of Green Gables

                                      A literary classic (and one of the most quotable movies the 1980s gave us), Anne of Green Gables is the story of a young orphan girl growing up in the early 1900s. Though she was mistakenly adopted by a family who wanted a boy, she wins their hearts, along with the other residents of her town on Prince Edward Island. A beautiful story that is filled with strife, angst, zaniness and sadness, these novels are must-reads.

                                      19. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

                                        Narrated by a 9-year-old boy named Oskar, this 2005 novel borrows its sorrow from topical events. Young Oskar loses his father during the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001, an event that changes his life forever and leads him on an adventure through New York City. His story is touching and extraordinary.

                                        20. The Lovely Bones

                                          The Lovely Bones is sad for a lot of reasons. In one way, its main tragedy comes from the untimely death of a young girl at the hands of an elusive murderer. It’s also a story about a family struggling to come to grips with their loss and their obsession to avenge her.

                                          You may also want to read: 20 Most Magnificent Places to Read Books.

                                          Do you have any other recommendations for books that make you cry? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

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                                          Jon Negroni

                                          An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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                                          Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                          What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                          To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                          All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                          There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                          With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                          What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                          1. Think Big

                                            From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                            “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                            There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                            Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                            Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                            Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                            Instead be ambitious.

                                            2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                              From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                              “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                              This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                              Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                              If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                              Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                              Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                              Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                              3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                                                From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                  From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                  “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                  There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                  Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                  His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                  He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                  Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                  Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                  If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                  5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                    From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                    “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                    This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                    It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                                    If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                    Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                    6. Be a Person of Action

                                                      From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                      “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                      Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                      Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                      When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                      You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                      All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                      Applying this to you?

                                                      Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                      7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                        From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                        The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                        The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                        People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                        This is key to good leadership.

                                                        It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                        But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                        What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                        As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                        8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                                          From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                          “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                          It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                          Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                          If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                          9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                            From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                            “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                            Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                            It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                            Keep dreaming!

                                                            10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                              From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                              “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                              Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                              Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                              If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                              However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                              11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                                                Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                  From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                  “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                  You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                  Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                  True success comes from work.

                                                                  You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                  Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                  13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                    From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                    In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                    If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                    It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                    Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                    What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                    Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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                                                                    Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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