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January 26, 2009

Books By Emotion #1: Lovingly Sad Happy

These are books that left a "lovingly sad-happy" feeling in the people that recommended them. If you have more suggestions in this category, please let me know. Later this week we can try a new category, and I'll try and explain why this is interesting to me...

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Comments (22)

A book that made me feal like that is:

Looking For Alaska - John Green
and Paper Towns By the same author.

Posted by: Alberto Lung at January 26, 2009 2:35 PM

One that perfectly fits this category for me is an Italian story by Roberto Piumini called "Lo Stralisco". It hasn't been published in English yet, but it's out in French ("La Verluisette"), German ("Eine Welt für Madurer"), Spanish ("El Estralisco") and a couple other languages.

It leaves me weepy and smiling and wanting to read it all over again.

I'd explain more, but I just can't put it into words...

Posted by: Paperotta at January 26, 2009 7:20 PM

Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Copland! Loving, sad, and happy. :)

Posted by: steph at January 26, 2009 7:28 PM

Posted by: sara at January 26, 2009 9:41 PM

"And They Shall Know Our Velocity"- Dave Eggers

Posted by: Mariah at January 26, 2009 10:07 PM

"You Shall Know Our Velocity!"- Dave Eggers

Posted by: Mariah at January 26, 2009 10:10 PM

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is lovingly sad-happy. Sepulchre by Kate Moss as well.

Posted by: Abby at January 27, 2009 1:45 AM

I would suggest two titles:

The Sopranos by Alan Warner (no relation to the tv show)

The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll

Posted by: MrBread at January 27, 2009 4:39 AM

"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers, which also might be the best Lovingly sad happy title ever.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" by Sherman Alexi. He also has some short stories that fit the bill to a tee.

"What is the What" by Dave Eggers.

Posted by: George at January 27, 2009 1:30 PM

Oh yeah, one more that comes to mind - "A Death in the Family" by James Agee. Pure poetry (really) and probably the best writing from a child's perspective that I have ever read.

Posted by: George at January 27, 2009 1:34 PM

It took me a while to think of one that really fits, but finally remembered a really lovingly sad-happy book:

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

Maupin is to me a master at describing really subtle emotions and emotional overtones that we often wish to overlook in ourselves.

Posted by: Daniel Ari at January 27, 2009 2:07 PM

The God of Small Things

Posted by: jyoti at January 27, 2009 5:05 PM

"after the quake" a short story collection by Haruki Murakami left me with that feeling.

Posted by: Sam at January 27, 2009 7:10 PM

Silas Marner definitely made me feel this way. I love that book.

Posted by: Kendra at January 30, 2009 10:04 AM

The Outcast
by Sadie Jones (I think)
its her first ever novel!

Posted by: kim at February 2, 2009 4:49 PM

Couldn't agree more re: Time Traveler's Wife. A friend and I refer to these as "heart hurting" books.

I'd add Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Posted by: odessea at February 4, 2009 1:27 PM

what dreams may come by richard matheson

Posted by: lucky at February 4, 2009 5:56 PM

Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovič

This book absolutely destroyed me. I've read it like 15 times.

Posted by: mira at February 6, 2009 12:42 AM

"Extremely Loud..." is an all-time favorite. My saddest-happiest recommendation is "What is the What" by David Eggers and Valentino Deng. It's amazing.

Posted by: Lydia at February 10, 2009 2:03 PM

Extremely loud and incredibly close was great

Posted by: jason at February 15, 2009 9:48 PM

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

An amazing set of nested stories. Here's a quote from the final page - not a spoiler, but a philosophical outline:


Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind's mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being, & history's [villains] shall prevail. You & I, the moneyed, the privileged, the fortunate, shall not fare so badly in this world, provided our luck holds. What of it if our consciences itch? Why undermine the dominance of our race, our gunships, our heritage & our legacy? Why fight the "natural" (oh, weaselly word!) order of things?

Why? Because of this:--one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. Yes, the Devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.

Is this the doom written within our nature?

If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president's pen or a vainglorious general's sword.

[My father says that] "He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain & his family must pay it along with him! & only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!"

Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?

Posted by: Alice at February 18, 2009 11:35 AM

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell . . . multiple iterations of sad happiness.

Posted by: Ian at February 21, 2009 12:58 PM

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