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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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                                          Last Updated on February 20, 2019

                                          13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                                          13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                                          Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                                          Why is this so critically important to you?

                                          The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                                          Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                                          1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                                          Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                                          When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                                          • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                                          • The man facing the judge.
                                          • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                                          • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                                          • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                                          • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                                          These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                                          Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                                          Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                                          2. Accept Your Fear

                                          Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                                          We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                                          And here’s what can be done.

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                                          3. Get Some Perspective

                                          I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                                          And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                                          That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                                          We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                                          So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                                          • Are you really at risk?
                                          • Will this kill you?
                                          • Which leads us on to..
                                          • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                                          4. Hold a Hand

                                          As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                                          Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                                          We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                                          Ask yourself:

                                          • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                                          • Could that really happen?
                                          • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                                          • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                                          By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                                          5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                                          This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                                          Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                                          The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                                          It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                                          For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                                          Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                                          6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                                          I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                                          Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                                          Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                                          Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                                          Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                                          Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                                          7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                                          Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                                          I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                                          It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                                          One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                                          Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                                          It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                                          8. Assume the Worse

                                          If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                                          Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                                          • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                                          • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                                          • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                                          And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                                          When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                                          Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                                          9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                                          If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                                          Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                                          Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                                          10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                                          One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                                          11. Go with Fear

                                          When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                                          I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                                          Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                                          One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                                          However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                                          We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                                          12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                                          And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                                          The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                                          What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                                          13. Own Your Fear

                                          Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                                          We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                                          You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                                          More Resources About Fighting Fear

                                          Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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