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A few picks from the most emotional reads

Some books are just emotional and heavy hitting that you are so affected by them that you just have to put them down in order to truly absorb the truth or beauty that the words on the page have transmitted to you. The books that arouse these feelings within you may not be those that are recognised critically as the greatest of all time, maybe they are, but they are works which hit you in such a visceral way that you just cannot continue reading. Here is a selection of some of those books which have been known to provoke such emotional reactions.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy: [1] A novel about a father and son striving forward together in the new wasteland that is earth in the aftermath of some unexplained apocalyptic meltdown. That the author is not a writer who toys with emotions is perhaps what makes this book such a powerful read. There is nothing forced or false about this story and the plight of the father and his son as they struggle towards the sea that they somehow believe will be their redemption. A short novel that is unrelenting in the quality of the prose, it is perhaps one that you will not be able to put down until the end, but it is certainly one you will reopen just to reaffirm that what you read was in fact to immensely powerful.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: [2] A book that masks its exposing of the absurd suffering of war behind the humour which will have you have laughing out loud no matter where you are. This book is often up there on best of all time lists and its place there is certainly deserved. The tale of Yossarian and his attempts to extricate himself from a war he neither understands nor wants any part of is one of the twentieth century’s true classics. Heller’s story will have you wiping your eyes with both tears of sadness and joy, and the sheer power of his writing will force you to put it down in order to take a deep breath.

Music for Torching by A.M. Homes: [3]This is a book by a woman with just incredible writing skills. This novel about a dysfunctional married couple who have become strangers to themselves, each other, and their own children will really take your breath away. It is the discomfort that will hit you most as you cannot fail to notice some reflections of your own lives in the struggles of the two protagonists. Amazing writing, great plot, incredibly real and vivid characters, and no fairy tale ending; a real book.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling [4]: Perhaps an unusual choice to go on this list, but has there really been any other collection of books in recent history that has imposed itself so much on  popular culture. You would be hard pushed to find anybody who is not aware of Harry Potter and this final book in that series. The genius of J.K Rowling is that she took what was in the first instance a children’s book and turned it into something much more deep and meaningful. With 15 million copies of this sold within the first 24 hours of its release, it is sure that there were as many adults as children gripped with anxiety as each turning of the page brought this amazing journey to its conclusion.

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb: [5]Some people just need to feel sad when reading, sometimes. This book certainly ticks those boxes, although never in a manipulative or forced way. The story of how a sad, awkward teenager turns into a sad, awkward adult is filled with sadness, but also catharsis for so many of its readers. There are many books that demand you to have a tissue box by your side as you read them, but none are rarely as good as this.

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