Top 10 Books That Will Make You Cry


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I love lists, and I love books, so I thought I’d try it out. This week’s topic?

Top 10 Books That Will Make You Cry

I am not much of a crier when I read. That said, there are two books that can make me cry JUST BY LOOKING AT THE COVERS.

watership down

1. Watership Down. The greatest rabbit epic ever. And the final scene, when Hazel is called to the great rabbit beyond? My eyes are starting to hurt right now just thinking about it.

cat heaven

2. Cat Heaven. I regularly pull this one off the shelf at the library and wave it at my husband, burst into tears, and put it back on the shelf. Because I am not allowed to check it out again. Ever.


3. The Outsiders (featuring a photo of the copy I first read as a 10 year old). I never cared too much when noble, long-suffering Johnny kicked the bucket, but bad boy Dallas getting shot? That gets me going every time.


4. Moonbird. No, the bird doesn’t die, but it’s just such an unlikely tale of perseverance and survival. When B95 was spotted last year in August, I was not the only Nerdy Book Club member bawling my eyes out.

code name

5. Code Name Verity. That one scene. You know the one. Why, Elizabeth Wein, WHY?


6. Charlotte’s Web. There’s no way you can read the scene where Charlotte dies and not get at least a little dewy around the eyes.

blue nights

7. Blue Nights. In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion writes about her grief after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack in 2003. Just two years later, their only daughter died. That’s the subject of Blue Nights. 

best day worst day

8. The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon. Donald Hall’s memoir of his life with Jane Kenyon, who died from cancer in her 40s. If I were to read Year of Magical Thinking, The Best Day the Worst Day, and Blue Nights back to back, I would probably never emerge from the fetal position.

thank you for your service

9. Thank You for Your Service. David Finkel’s account of the aftermath of war on the lives of soldiers and their families is a devastating must-read.


10. Tattoos on the Heart. Father Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, an organization in Los Angeles dedicated to helping gang members find jobs and change their lives. There is plenty of joy and wonder in this book, but also profound loss and suffering.


9 thoughts on “Top 10 Books That Will Make You Cry

  1. It didn’t make me cry, but the end Of Mice and Men is about as sad as it gets. Completely agree about Charolotte’s Web. E.B. White was so incredibly good which whatever he wrote. The ending of Fitzgerald’s “Alas, Babylon” leaves me sad, too.

    • True–Of Mice and Men IS about as sad as it gets. And just needlessly so in my opinion. Hate that book. Canonical American lit can seriously make me lose my will to live. Charlotte’s Web is so beautifully written, isn’t it? I reread it last year with my son, and wow, could E.B. White write a sentence! Haven’t read Fitzgerald in so many years. I was quite taken by Gatsby as a teenager but think I’d find it overly sentimental and overwritten now. Have you reread it recently? Curious how it holds up for adult readers.

  2. Oh, Cat Heaven . . . I read that when I was working as a bookseller and found it in the kids section. It made me cry so much I had to go back into the stock room until I pulled myself together. I don’t think I’ve looked at it since!
    Charlotte’s Web was the first book I put on my own list this week.

  3. Charlotte’s Web is always on my list. When I read it aloud to 3rd graders, I would warn them that I would cry. The latest book circling my classroom is One for the Murphys. I cried real crocodile tears reading that one.

  4. I like Steinbeck. The flip side of Of Mice and Men is Cannery Row, which is very funny. And I’m a Gatsby fan. too. The book is efficient and smart. Fitzgerald crafted something where he tried to make every line pay off for the ending. I read it in high school, once as an undergrad, again in grad school, and I re-read it for comps . . . but comps is a long time ago now, too.

  5. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/10/14 #imwayr | the dirigible plum

  6. Aw man, Charlotte’s Web. I haven’t read Blue Nights, but I read The Year of Magical Thinking for a memoir class. It was definitely interesting, but I felt like she blocked a lot of readers by talking so much about their excessive amounts of money. Is it different in Blue Nights?

    Tattoos on the Heart was a BRILLIANT book. I loved it.

    We actually have similar book taste. I’m going to write down some of these that I haven’t read. Probably my number one book that made me cry, like sobbing crying, was Of Mice and Men. I lost it there at the end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s