All posts tagged: Louise ErdrichErdrich’s National Book Award

Seven Books That Earn Your Tears

Seven Books That Earn Your Tears

When someone claims that a book will break my heart, I’m skeptical. Literature can certainly inspire outsize reactions, but there is a difference between evoking real emotion and exploiting readers’ feelings: Getting a rise out of the audience by resorting to melodramatic plot twists isn’t hard. Representing life on the page so faithfully that the reader forms a genuine attachment to the characters and can’t help but weep takes more skill. So does articulating an experience a reader previously believed was theirs alone, prompting tears of relief. Despite my wariness of easy provocation, I cry so frequently when reading that I had trouble narrowing down this list. The following seven titles made me cry for a wide range of reasons; some choices may feel surprising or even counterintuitive. They prove that art can summon strong sentiment in a multitude of ways, and that the effect is more authentic—and cathartic—when the writer earns it. Bloomsbury Girlhood, by Melissa Febos In Girlhood, Febos describes her process of undoing the decades-long “indoctrination” that taught her and other young …