Introspective Tearjerkers

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Introspective Tearjerkers

These books will hit you 'right in the feels'

Summer can be all about fun, flirty or "light" reading, but sometimes you just long for something different. There are so many novels that have heart -- they make us laugh and cry -- but the joy that comes from these authors' writing is that by making us feel so deeply about them, it makes both the illustrative content of the writer as well as our own world that much brighter. If you are looking for a different flavor - maybe something a little heavier or a book that dares to be moody - why not try these suggestions?

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Amy Tan's novel is now considered a classic of Asian American literature. There was also a movie version of this book, which Tan co-produced. The book depicts the tumultuous relationships among four different Asian American mothers and daughters. Tan's portrayal is a sensitive, deeply engrossing work about those caught between conflicts of culture and a generational gap. If you enjoyed movies like Steel Magnolias or Terms of Endearment then this book is not one to be missed!

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 
This book is an inspirational novel that I read in the last year; Brunt's work reminds me of The Hours by Michael Cunningham, another favorite. Cunningham's work in The Hours is complex and illustrates those small moments in people's lives that intertwine in unexpected ways, but Brunt's work focuses on one particular era (the 1980s) during the AIDS crisis. The novel follows June, who gradually comes to know her uncle's lover after he dies; it is a haunting work and sure to have you ruminating about the nature of love long after you finish the last page. 

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
A good choice if you are looking for family drama. The Round House is a charged tale: at times, the text resembles the movie Stand by Me. The story follows Joe Coutz and his three friends. Joe, whose father is the tribal judge on the local reservation, is devastated when he learns that his mother has been raped and is forced to watch as his family fractures. Ending on an explosive note, this novel overlaps with some of Erdrich's other works like The Plague of Doves.

Home by Toni Morrison
If you enjoy Round House, another novel that comes to mind is Home by Toni Morrison. Home is a subtle work, but it incorporates similar themes that dwell on family dynamics. This novel depicts Frank, a solider returning home from the Korean War, who finds his sister is the captive of a doctor performing unlawful experiments. Although the novel's title alludes to its subject (finding one's identity and sense of place through relationships and ties with the community), the novel's tone is quiet and poignant.