After last week’s extra special Wednesday Wondering, we’re back to the normal format this week but I just have to pause for a moment to say that, if you haven’t already downloaded Helen Phifer’s ‘The Ghost House’, you really should. Click on last week’s Wondering for all the links as it is fabulous. Most of the Write Romantics are either reading it now or have read it and the consensus is it’s a five-star read; gripping and a little scary too. And we’re not just saying that because we love Helen! We genuinely loved it.
So, back to this week’s Wondering. I posed the question this time and we’ve gone back to a book-themed question:
Out of all the books you’ve read throughout your lifetime, which book has made you cry the most and which one has made you laugh the most?
I think this may be the first Wondering where we have a response from all the Write Romantics! Here’s what we all have to say:
The book that made me cry was ‘Tess’ by Thomas Hardy, because Tess so didn’t deserve what fate doled out to her and Evelyn Waaugh’s ‘Decline and Fall’ is my funniest. In it Lord Circumference runs over a boy and then denounces the child who he ran over as ‘a fool of a boy’ as if it’s all his fault!!!
The book that had me the closest to tears was Jodi Piccoult’s ‘Handle With Care’. Her research skills must be amazing and I think the author is well known for not necessarily providing happy endings. I was completely drawn into the characters’ worlds, no matter what age or sex they were and I remember feeling so drained when I finished reading it.
The book that had me laughing was Jane Lovering’s ‘Hubble Bubble’. I wish I could think of a specific example, but she has some very witty analogies in there and some typical English sarcasm which I think it is why it appealed.
I love to read different authors’ books for the reason that each individual voice has something different to offer whether it’s humour, tugging at the heart strings or an in depth story with subject matter that I knew nothing about beforehand.
Two books sprung to mind immediately, so I’ll go with those although it was a while ago that I read either. The saddest one was ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. I remember it well because I was on a weekend away with my old workmates and all I wanted to do was keep on reading the darn book. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else and in the end, very rudely, got it out of my bag and started reading it at the dinner table. The one that made me laugh the most was ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ by Marian Keyes. It was one of her early ones and right in the throes of funny ‘chic lit’ before it became a bit jaded. Not sure if it would stand up to a re-read as I think my tastes have changed but I remember being bowled over by her wit and humour. More recently, if I can have two- I would recommend ‘You Had me at Hello’ by Mhairi McFarlane. I could identify so clearly with the characters and it was poignantly funny – and I wish I’d written it!
Jodi Picoult’s ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ – not only does Anna feel the burden of helping her sister Kate, but she has to fight against her parents to fulfill her sister’s wishes, whilst they don’t understand the reasons why. If you’ve only seen the film and not read the book, I won’t spoil the twist at the end (which is not in the movie) – but tragic doesn’t come close!
Sue Townsend’s ‘Adrian Mole’s Diaries’ – I just love these, from when he was 13 and three quarters right up until his forties. Adrian and I have ‘grown up’ in parallel and, if I ever think my life is not going according to plan, I just have to dip into one of his diaries to cheer up and realise that, in comparison, things aren’t going so bad after all!
This is a tough one as I don’t tend to read books which make me cry. I’m far too soft and dwell on it for days. It would probably be the book of ET. I’m sure I read this when I was about twelve, but the film made me cry for three days – I’ve never cried so much in my life.
The one that made me laugh the most is probably ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’. Made me chuckle away to myself. She reminds me so much of me only without the lovely Mr Darcy or the naughty Daniel Cleaver……..Ooh if only 😉
The first book that made me cry was ‘Black Beauty’. As it was so (very!) long ago I can’t remember now if it has a happy ending or not but I always think of it as a sad book and it was quite a revelation to me at the time to discover that books could have such a powerful affect on your feelings. Recently I read Jo-Jo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’. I didn’t actually cry but I felt so sad I almost wished I hadn’t read it. It was the sheer hopelessness of the situation and of course the way it ended, which I won’t say now in case someone’s half way through it.
As for books that made me laugh, again going back in time, though not so far as ‘Black Beauty’, I remember laughing out loud at Tom Sharpe’s ‘Wilt’, and the books that followed in the same series, ‘Porterhouse Blue’ etc. I found ‘Wilt’ particularly funny because he taught general studies in a technical college. I worked in one at the time and found so much of it true to life as well as totally hilarious.
The book that made me laugh most was ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’. And I love the film too! At the other end of the scale, the book that made me cry has to be ‘Gone with the Wind’.
‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ is the book that made me cry the most. It’s a heart breaking book about a man who has a massive stroke and ends up with locked-in syndrome. He could only communicate by moving his eyelids. He dictated the book letter by letter by using only his eyelids. It’s an amazing book about loss, grief and coming to terms with your own mortality.
I find it harder to remember which books make me laugh a lot (probably because there’s been a lot more of them). Most recently ‘You had me at hello’ by Mhairi McFarlane genuinely made me laugh out loud. ‘Charlotte Street’ by Danny Wallace also had some hilarious moments. I’d definitely recommend both of them if you feel in need of a good giggle.
And the winner for the funniest book is ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ as I’m going for that one too. Lots of books have made me smile, others have made me giggle a bit but that one made me absolutely guffaw out loud. I remember reading it on holiday in Majorca with two friends. We all read it, one after the other, and I was the last one to get it. I was gutted that I had no idea what the other two had been giggling at but I finally understood when it was my turn!
As for crying, I can’t remember the last book that made me sob. I know the first one was ‘Flowers in the Attic’ by Virginia Andrews but I generally cry at any book that has a death in it or has a protagonist going through a particularly tough time as, if it’s well written, I really feel their pain. I have Jojo Moyes’s ‘Me Before You’ on my TBR pile and I’ve been avoiding reading it as I know I’ll be absolutely bawling!
Do you agree with any of our books? What have you read that’s made you laugh or cry? Please join in. We’d love to hear from you.