I recently finished reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids (wayyy late in the game, I know) and you’d really think I’d have learned by now not to read particularly emotional things in public. It only leads to me pretending I’m not crying in coffeeshops. Or on the subway. Or in the park. Or on a bench.
Not so. Instead I ended up just kind of putting my head real far down into the book. Which looked totally normal, I’m sure.
I never used to be a book-crier. It’s only been in the past several years that I have become acquainted (well acquainted) with this phenomenon. I’ve always been a song-crier and a movie-crier, however, so I suppose this was only inevitable. Every part—no matter how clichéd or expected—that a movie director aims for tears, I’ve got them. In both books and film, it’s not always the saddest things that make me cry, but often it’s the most profound or deeply touching in any manner. In my many readings of Harry Potter, I never cried at deaths, but lose it completely every single time in that horrible epilogue when Harry names his son after both Snape and Dumbledore. It’s a terrible and trite construct on Rowling’s part, but it never fails to trigger the waterworks. Knowing it’s far from the deepest or saddest part of the series really only makes it worse.
I say worse, but I suppose I don’t really mean that. A book that can trigger that kind of emotional response, for whatever reason should be lauded. As much as it’s mildly embarrassing to tear up in front of a roomful of strangers, there’s always a bathroom to hide in. Too often people aren’t affected enough by the humanity in everything—life, literature, music—it doesn’t matter, so when the waves come over me, I always kind of love it. Simply being able to feel things in a world where people have come to pride themselves on their thick skins and jadedness makes me just fine about being a weeper.
In case anyone else shares in this, here are a few books that have made me well up satisfactorily lately: Just Kids by Patti Smith, There is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Do you have any to add?