Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

The ladies at The Broke and The Bookish this week are asking us to list the top ten books that were hard for us to read. These are all books that either broke my heart or made me afraid to turn the page, knowing that something terrible was about to happen.

First up, the tear jerkers:

1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - this one may appear on all kinds of lists for me; it's here this week because it made me literally sob...in the lunchroom at work

2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - Didion writes about the death of her husband and her first year without him

3. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen - if I'd had any inkling of the terrible thing that was going to happen in this book, it might have fallen into both categories. Instead, I only experienced shock and then the terrible sadness that followed.

4. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - desperate poverty, abusive teachers and clergy, and an alcoholic father; need I say more?

5. Sophie's Choice by William Styron - because I knew what was meant by Sophie's choice when I read the book but also because of her time in a concentration camp, my heart ached for Sophie throughout this one

Now for the books that put me on edge:

6. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - long before I reached the shocking points of this book, it was hard to read about a woman who really did not like her own child

7. The Kite Runner by Kahlid Hosseini - from the brutal rape early on to the journey back to Afghanistan to save a friend abandoned decades earlier, I was on edge throughout this book

8. City Of Women by David R. Gillham - in the midst of WWII, the wife of a soldier finds herself caught up in an effort to save Jews and the line between right and wrong is not always entirely clear

9. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash - the tension in this book begins almost from the beginning and never lets up until the horrific, shocking conclusion

10. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - the true story about one man's survival, against all odds after being lost at sea for 47 days only to be "rescued" by the Japanese and put into prisoner of war camps

What books were hard for you to read? Was it because they were emotionally charged, horrific, scary, or hard to read simply because they were so bad?


  1. These sound like some tough books! There's several on here that I've thought about reading. I've heard wonderful things about Unbroken. Great list!

  2. Angela's Ashes - I could not deal with the drunk father anymore! I wanted to just be done with him.
    We Need to Talk About Kevin - So disturbing. I hated the mother and then I felt for her at the end.
    Wuthering Heights - It read like a depressing comedy to me! Who are these people?
    Moby Dick - All that description and for what? Five pages with the whale. What?
    Wild - Don't even get me going on this one.

  3. Great list, Lisa! I've read 8 of them and totally agree. We Are Not Ourselves is the most emotionally tough book I've read this year.

  4. Room by Emma Donoghue. So hard to read. Experiencing what she's going through and how she deals with it afterward. I was judging and trying not to all at the same time. It was awful.

    Unbroken is on my list too. It was heartbreaking.

    I watched The Kite Runner and We Need to Talk About Kevin and knew I would never be able to read them as books because I was so thoroughly traumatized after watching them. We Need to Talk About Kevin made me re-examine a lot of things...

    I just searched through the last couple of years on my Goodreads list and realize that I don't read a lot of tear-jerkers! Too depressing. I have to do it through movies instead. Then it's only 2 hours instead of hours with a book!

  5. The Year of Magical Thinking was so hard to read (actually I listened to it)--my heart just about broke for that poor family. I'm on the list for Me Before You at the library--thanks for the heads up on sobbing potential.

    I think Angela's Ashes was one of the hardest books for me to read, and Unbroken (the war years) was horrific.

  6. Great list! I agree with you on Every Last One. That one sucker-punched me like no other book I've ever read. The Year of Magical Thinking was another difficult read, but it was also one that helped me with my own grief.

    I think I'll put a list together even though it will be posted well after this Top Ten Tuesday week.

  7. I enjoyed reading your list, Lisa! I think a book on your list that would make mine is We Need to Talk About Kevin. That was a hard one for me as well.

    I hope to read Unbroken before the year is out, but we'll see.