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Booking Through Thursday asks:

What was the most emotional read you have ever had?

I have a few books that provoke my lacrimal glands over the years. I’ll take you back in reverse chronological order.

Grand Opening by Jon Hassler
Dodger Hicks will go down in my book as one of the most memorable character, whose tragic demise at the end of the book makes us see the heroic efforts required by the deceptively easy-sounding biblical injunction: Love one another. He was a kleptomaniac, but he stood the test of fire and his repentance proven true.

Stoner by John Williams
The prose that elaborates on Stoner’s reflecting moments of self-realization and profound insecurity is most beautiful. John Williams, in depicting Stoner, whose indifference becomes a way of living among the dark forces and sadness that have swept over the society, seems to be saying that most of us will live quiet, unremarkable lives that can probably be summarized in a few sentences and that contribute nothing to humanity’s accomplishments, like the first paragraph of Stoner. A man silently thrives on, even when his wife, his daughter, and his coworkers antagonize him. In a way, he has triumphed over the inimical world by being indifferent to disappointments and joy, and by focusing on the work for which he has a passion. He is defined by his formidable determination.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
This is classic. A young American expatriate in Paris is torn between relationship with a woman and love affair with a man. Set in the 1950s, this book is a man’s excruciating repentance, or rather reminiscence, of one particular lie among the many lies he has told in his life. Could it be the first love, or maybe his only love, because David has never for an instant truly forgotten his first love, Giovanni, and the thought of whom often gives a guilty lurch in his stomach.

One Response

  1. The two books that are foremost in my mind that provoked an emotional response are Biko by Donald Woods and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. They brought out the protective instincts within me on a very deep level and the desire to fight for justice and human dignity. The first book I could not put down and the second book I wanted to throw at my wall after tearing it in half. But I did not and finished it.

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