This week, we read about a study, recently published in PLOS ONE, in which researchers found that “the emotional content of published English has been steadily decreasing over the past century, with the exception of words associated with fear, an emotion which has resurged over the past decades.” Well, we don’t doubt it. But that’s not to say that literature has lost any of its power to elicit emotions. To prove it, we’ve selected ten books that make us cry every time — and not always because they’re sad, but because they elicit some kind of strong internal reaction that, well, ends in tears. Read through our picks after the jump, and since everyone has different triggers, let us know which books are guaranteed to make you cry in the comments.
Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
What is it about literary animal deaths that make them so much upsetting than literary human deaths? Or was it just the whole dying-of-sadness thing? Either way, your sensitive literary editor’s strongest memory of the third grade was reading this novel and then promptly falling out of her chair in tears. Adults we’ve polled have reported similar reactions.