Friday, 25 September 2009

Glut thy sorrow

What's the first book to make you cry?

23 comments:

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Oh, right, me first. I think it was Bridge to Terabithia.

Martin Kingsley said...

I cannae recall precisely: it was either Paul Theroux's Millroy the Magician (a fairly biting take on magic realism, blended with what I take now to be a fictive quest for the deformed mutant offspring of the long-dead American Dream) or China Mieville's The Scar. Quite probably the former. Both are damn fine reads, and both contain that peculiar and fairly rare quality that sees the first hunnert-an-fiddy (give or take a fiddy) seeming a nigh-unbearable slog, but subsequently and at some completely arbitrary point, some kind of ephemeral change of perspective take place, during which you realise you've become an addict unable to put the damn book down for the life of ye.

Pavlov's Cat said...

#1 Black Beauty

#2 Seven Little Australians

Animals and children, what are you gonna do. Many years of crying-over-books later, however, I also wept buckets at the end of Possession, just because it was so fabulous.

mark said...

I must have been in my mid-teens when I read it, but James Herbert's "Fluke" about a guy reincarnated as a dog snuck a tear into my eye.

Although it's not a book, Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron also made me terribly sad as a young-un'.

mark said...

@Martin Kingsley: That description fits Infinite Jest perfectly, but it was maybe 200+ pages before the slog stopped and I became completely hooked (I'm currently about 150 pages and several dozen footnotes from the end).

Fitting really, given its subject matter. They are some mighty sad if not downright horrific moment's in DFW's tome too.

JahTeh said...

I'm with Pavlov's Cat.

Black Beauty destroyed me for years. Adults in my young life had strange ideas about what children would enjoy reading.

Seven Little Australians, the book, I teared up but the TV series had me sobbing buckets.

Martin Kingsley said...

Mark, Harrison Bergeron's a killer. Also, 'perspective *takes* place*. Durhurr.

On the subject of sci-fi wanderings like Harrison Bergeron, Philip K. Dick's coda to A Scanner Darkly, in which he inscribes a list of his dead friends, turns what is otherwise fairly middling if entertaining hypnagogic Dick scrawl into a bit of a heartbreaker. See, also, Roger Zelazny's The Engine at Heartspring's Center.

TimT said...

I make it a point never to cry when reading books, but I probably once stubbed my toe on Dad's Encyclopaedia Britannica collection and howled, does that count?

Great Expectations reconciliation scene between Joe and Pip is wonderful. I'm a sucker for Dickens' high-blown sentimentality.

TimT said...

Speaking of animals and children, I once nearly vomited when reading a particular scene in John Marsden's teen book Checkers. Vomited, in a good way. If that's possible. Hmmm.

Dale Slamma said...

Greyfriar's Bobby.

Red Wombat said...

Freedom for a Cheetah, by Arthur Catherall. Age 4.

Karen said...

Me too. Ginger's death in Black Beauty, every time I read it.

Anonymous Bosch said...

CCH's Australian Master Tax Guide, 45th edition.

Oh, all right, I've never read it - in fact, I've never even seen it - but just the thought of it brings tears welling up. So much human misery . . .

Luke Corbin said...

I think it would have been What's Hector McKerrow doing these days? by Catherine Jinks.

Also Freud and the Nazis go Surfing by Bill Green, at around the same time.

kris said...

Hmmm... My Friend Flicka... when Kenneth was afraid she might die... and his dad sat with her by the river all night so the mountain lions didn't eat her and in the morning Kenneth didn't die and... oh dear...

And Jane Eyre for sure.

And... Captain Corellie's Mandolin... tears of frustration. The ending did not go well and it pissed me right off.

Ampersand Duck said...

Seven Little Australians
ties closely with
What Katy Did

There may be another contender, but I was too young to recognise the usefulness of a reading diary.

JahTeh said...

&Duck, I still have my copy of 'What Katy Did', almost an antique now.

Anonymous Bosch said...

Speaking of reading diaries, is anyone using LibraryThing?

I've played around with it and while I probably won't catalogue my entire library with it, it does have some interesting aspects.

Jocelyn said...

Jude the Obscure, when Father Time kills himself and the other children: 'Done because we are too menny.' WAAAAHHH!!! I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Omidog, lots of people hate Thomas Hardy because he was the Leavisite's darling, but gosh, almost everything he's written (except Far From teh Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree and that poem about the ruined woman) makes me cry. I went on this total Thomas Hardy bender in the Summer of 2001, and it was like the Alice Sebald bender I went on last Summer, not to mention the Victor Hugo bender I went on in 1994. Affect central.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

And Kazuko Ishiguro routinely makes me feel like I've been hollowed out with a rusty spoon, but no tears.

Red Wombat said...

Thomas Hardy is brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I can only read him as a binge.

I usually start with Under the Greenwood Tree, accompanied by white wine watered-down with iced water and a bottle of cider, followed by The Return of The Native and a bottle of Claret (sorry, "Classic Dry Red", or whatever we have to call it these days).

After that it gets blurry, but usually ends up with his poetry.

It all gets a bit blurry after the first litre of wine...

Same thing with Emile Zola...

Ms Rachy said...

The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig. I cried because there was one part where she didn't have enough proper paper to write stuff on. I was in grade 5 at the time which was *counts backward on fingers* in 1991 which means that I was 10 or 11.

I never really was one for light reading.