There’s No Crying In Reading!

There’s No Crying in Reading.

Okay so that statement may be a bit of stretch. Or a downright lie.

Maybe I should amend that to say There’s No Crying in Reading for ME.

Recently I saw a film adaptation of a very well loved and known book. This book and film are both serious tear jerkers. There was full on ugly crying going on in that theater from almost every person present. It was a sob fest.

I, on the other hand, barely shed a tear.

That’s not to say that I don’t cry during emotional moments. Crying is actually my go to emotional reaction at pretty much any heightened state of emotion.

I can watch a movie 100 times, and still cry at the same parts. I’ve even teared up reading human interest stories on the internet. (You know the ones that “restore your faith in humanity”) Heck, I’ve been known to cry during car commercials if they’re sentimental enough. And do not even get me started on those gosh darn ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan.

Bottom line: I AM A CRIER.

This would be me and my little brother circa 20 years ago. Clearly you can see I'm all hunky dory while he's having a meltdown. Not much has changed.

This would be me and my little brother circa 20 years ago. Clearly you can see I’m all hunky dory while he’s having a meltdown. Not much has changed.

Despite all these instances that tend to bring a tear to my eye, I can count the number of books that have ever made me cry using just 8 fingers.

Now you may be thinking, “So what, only 8 books have made you cry. That’s a lot”

Well let’s take into consideration the fact that I have read hundreds of books. Many of which have had some seriously gut wrenching and highly charged moments full of emotion, pain, and vulnerability. Numerous books I’ve read have killed off characters I connect with and like more than actual human beings.

Yet, I still don’t find myself getting emotional enough to cry while reading very often.

Maybe it’s weird I find that interesting about myself, but I do especially since it’s often a natural reaction for me. Scores and scores of people will review a book, and mention a moment that made them cry. Even my close friends will tell me about moments in books we’ve read that sent them hunting for tissues. Me, not so much.

Apparently I have the emotional range of a piece of paper.

At least when it comes to reading.

So I thought I’d use this post to share the 8 books that have ever made me cry, so we could all have a moment of “feels” together. (I’m sure you all want to share that moment with me.)

The books that make up this list vary in genre and subject matter, but each one had my tear ducts working something fierce. Honestly though, I wanted to share with you those books that reached in and made this “cold hearted” reader shed a tear.

The 8 Books That Have Made Me Cry: (If you click on the link, you’ll find your way to the Amazon page for each book)

  • The Last Lecture: This autobiography by Randy Pausch details his last lecture as a professor, as he was dying from pancreatic cancer. His lecture was all about achieving your childhood dreams, and its chalk full of words of wisdom and life lessons. The whole book is laced with emotion, but what really got me was the last chapter when he reveals what this lecture was really all about for his audience and his family.
  • Two Kisses for Maddy: Now I went into this memoir knowing it was going to be seriously emotionally charged, as the book follows a new father in the first year of his daughter’s life. The life that began on the same day his wife died. I stayed strong in this one until the very last page. The words Matt Logelin wrote on that page still give me chills and set my tear ducts to work with how much power and love they hold. (Even now as I’m typing I’m getting chills)
  • Tuesday’s with Morrie: Now if you are ever looking for a book full of emotion, Mitch Albom is your guy. Tuesday’s With Morrie tells of Albom’s meetings with his ailing professor slipping away from ALS. This is probably the only book I’ve cried multiple times throughout reading. It just had so many moments that were beautiful, emotional, powerful, and just sad as Albom and his professor reconnect.
  • Such a Pretty Face: This is one that made me cry not out of sadness, but out of shear healing. The main character in this book goes through a major journey. Think major transformation. At the end, there is the purest moment of healing this character experiences, and that had me balling like a baby. It was freaking powerful. Amazing Grace was also playing in the scene, so I was just doomed.
  • The Promise of Stardust: To say this book takes you through the lowest lows of serious emotion is an un
    photo (5)

    Just look at all these “feels” books!

    derstatement. The Promise of Stardust follows the main character as he must decide and battle to keep his wife on life support to keep their unborn child alive. At the end of the day this book is overflowing with love and pain, and I couldn’t not cry while reading this one. It just was utterly breathtaking in so many instance.

  • Love You, Mean It: This is another book that I persevered with not crying until the very last page. This co-written memoir is told by 4 widows of the 9/11 attacks. Their journey in this book is paved with mountains of pain and emotion. All 4 of these women are reeling throughout this book, but in the end their message is clear: “Cherish the love you receive. Remember, the heart’s capacity for love is unending. Make the decision to live. It would be wrong not to”.
  • All You Could Ask For: This wonderful book details the relationships and support system 3 women battling cancer build together. Each woman goes on her own individual journey, but one in particular had me running for the Kleenex. Katherine’s story, and her ending thoughts that come to terms with her diagnosis and what truly makes life worth living are phenomenally powerful and emotional.
  • The Fault in Our Stars: So this is the book/film adaptation I mentioned in the beginning of this post. And while I shed only a few tears during the movie, I’ll admit that I might have sobbed at the end of reading the book. Not because it was sad, but because of the intense love you could feel in the end. This book isn’t about dying, it’s about living, and John Green’s wonderful words at the end surmising that just did me in.

So there you have it. The list of the whopping 8 books that have EVER made me cry.

Now while these books don’t get trophies or anything for making me cry, they do have the distinction of having truly powerful moments that I couldn’t not tear up at. Apparently sometimes I do have more emotional range than a piece of paper!

That’s not to say other books haven’t come close, or that the other books I’ve read haven’t gutted me to the emotional core or pulled at my heartstrings. I guess the books above just knocked me upside the head with emotion.

And if I could, I would so totally give them all a trophy. Probably a bronze Kleenex box.

So now that we’ve had our “feels” moment together, I’d love to hear what books have ever made you cry. (We can compare notes! Haha)

Please feel free to comment on the post with whatever books have brought a tear to your eye, for whatever reason. (And Lord knows I’d love to know the reason!)

And just to end the post on a high note, I’ll leave you with the line from one of my all-time favorite movies that inspired the title for this post.

Enjoy, and Happy Reading!

 

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Bloom

Happy New Year fellow book readers!

I hope you were all able to ring in the New Year in the best possible way!

How did I ring in the New Year you ask? Well I did what I love to do: I thought about everything I love and hold dear. In that thought process, my mind drifted off (as it often does) to the most recent book I was able to read.

This book stayed in my mind over the last few days of 2013, so I found it only fitting to bring its fantastic message into the New Year and to you!

I find that the book I most recently finished is the best possible choice for my first post of 2014, as it is all about finding beauty and happiness in unexpected situations. I am thinking that discovering more beauty and happiness is something we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Thus in my first official post of 2014 we will explore Bloom by Kelle Hampton.

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom is a magnificent memoir that follows a mother’s journey from the day that she welcomes her second child into the world. On that day the mother is as excited as anyone would be at such an event. That day becomes something much more when her baby girl is born, and she learns that her new baby has Down syndrome.

Bloom begins as Hampton describes the day her beautiful baby girl Nella came into the world, and all of the events and emotions that surrounded her as her life changed before her very eyes. After pouring out all she felt and thought in those first few moments and days into a truly moving piece of writing, Hampton begins to discuss the first year of her new baby and family’s lives.

What ensues in this memoir is a poignant story about a mother’s love for her child and family, and what happens when the unexpected occurs and she finds herself on a path that she never knew she’d be on, but is one filled with true beauty, happiness, and love.

I have wanted to read Bloom for quite some time now. I first read of Hampton’s story almost two years ago, when I read her original blog post detailing her daughter’s birth. I came across the post on one of my favorite websites, Pinterest, and I was instantly taken in by Hampton’s words describing how her daughter came into this wondrous world. There was also one line that really stuck with me, one that I could not get out of my head, and one that I would emphasize when telling people about this amazing story I had read on the internet. (I promise to tell you that one later.)

Flash forward a little over a year later and I was in the book store (very shocking, I know) and I came across a gorgeous book cover that drew me in. Turning that book over and reading the summary on the back had me realizing that the very book I held in my hand, was the memoir of the woman who wrote that moving story I so long ago read.

Suffice to say that book made it to the top of my infamous to buy list. (I probably should have gotten it then, but at that current moment I was still in college selling children’s shoes to feed my caffeine and book addictions. And sadly, buying books then was something I unfortunately had to wait to do.)

Flash forward even more time, and I finally was able to find that striking book again, and I devoured it cover to cover in less than a day.

(My advice on this one: if you find a book you think you’re going to really love, buy it then. Don’t put it off, because the joy you find in reading a truly mesmerizing book like Bloom, is well worth sacrificing a week’s worth of coffee for.)

What I simply adored about this book:

  • Hampton’s poignant point of view. Kelle Hampton’s original blog post radiated all of her poignancy. That effervescent poignancy continues in her memoir as she pours everything into this book, and leaves nothing behind, which creates a book that is truly unforgettable. The way that she shares her and her family’s story truly comes from the heart, and will give you a glimpse into what it means to find true and heartfelt beauty in the unexpected. This story is hers to tell, and you won’t soon forget experiencing what she details in her memoir.
  • The pictures. This is truthfully the most visually appealing book I have ever read. There is a reason that this book’s cover drew me in. The photography taken and provided by Hampton documenting her and her family’s story is absolutely stunning. Pages and pages of this book are filled with these vibrant pictures that connect and magnify every emotion and event that Hampton describes. By the end of this book, you will have heartfelt appreciation for pictures and what they can truly show.
  • The joy and beauty that is tangible. While reading, I felt as if I could almost touch the joy, happiness, and beauty that Hampton describes throughout everything documented in her memoir. There are plenty of places in this memoir that Hampton conveys what her and her family’s journey was like, and it certainly isn’t always sunshine and roses. Though when Hampton describes many moments that were filled with joy and beauty, she does it with so much detail and feeling that you can almost touch it. She simply shows you what it truly means to find the beauty and joy.

Suffice to say, I truly enjoyed reading Bloom. The author presents her wholly authentic experience, as she welcomed the unexpected into her life. Her extraordinary memoir documents all of the ups and downs her and her family go through, but truly demonstrates what it means to love a child.

I have probably done a horribly inaccurate job of describing how wonderful this book is, but it is truly a book you will not soon forget. This is the author’s story. It’s her point of view, it’s her life, and it’s real, and as I’ve said before on here, I think we can all learn a lot from one another. I sure learned a lot from her.

As Hampton points out, we are all truly more alike than different, and beauty and joy are all around us, even in the unexpected.

I want to end this post with the words that stuck with me the most from Hampton’s original post, and her memoir. In both, Hampton describes how she knew the moment her daughter was born that she had Down syndrome, and then she continues to describe what happened from that point until her pediatrician came in.

Her pediatrician comes to her and tells her what she already knows, but before that she tells her the very most important thing: “The first thing I am going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.” (pg. 8, Bloom)

That is what I will always remember from reading Hampton’s story. Her daughter, and every other child/person/human being on this planet is beautiful and perfect, and that is the descriptor that matters and comes first every time. Throughout her writing, Hampton personifies that sentiment, and it is truly beautiful to read and experience.

I think we need to remember that as we begin this New Year. We are all different, and that makes us unique, but we are all human and we are all beautiful no matter what else might go into the equation.

Thus as we begin 2014 I encourage everyone, and especially myself, to find the beauty and to find the joy in all the expected and unexpectedness we will come across in this wondrous coming year and life.

 Bring on the beauty and joy of 2014!

ps. If you would like to learn more about Kelle Hampton and her amazing memoir you can find anything and everything here:

http://www.kellehampton.com/  (Blog)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enjoying-the-Small-Things-Kelle-Hampton/160436387376707 (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/KelleHampton  (Twitter)