This week’s prompt is: Genre Freebie and I’m doing a list of books with suffering in them.
Welcome back to another week of Top Ten Tuesday! This is a linkup with That Artsy Reader Girl
Freebie weeks are always a little harder for me to write. I’m a little late this week because of that – it’s Thursday. Last night it struck me on what I should do: books where there is a lot of sacrifice and suffering as a general theme… considering what’s going on in our world right now.
Ten Books with a Theme of Suffering
Books where overcoming hardship is part of the storyline can be uplifting and instill a sense of gratitude in you. Especially during difficult times. Sometimes they can just be depressing though. This is a list of books I’ve enjoyed reading and that have a “sacrifice and suffering” element to them.
Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem’s casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as Precious learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it her own for the first time.
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.
It is 1913, and late summer in the Ottoman Empire. The sun rises, full and golden, upon a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloomed. Outside the village leader’s home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter, slips out unseen.
She heads to a secret meeting place. She forgets that enemies surround her village. She forgets that her father meets each day with trepidation. She knows only the love she has for Daron, who waits for her as she hastens to him, once again breaking the ancient rules of courtship.
Anno and Daron wish for nothing more than marriage and a better day alongside their neighbors, but neither is prepared for the dark, dangerous secret that Daron’s father keeps or the upheaval that will soon envelop their village, their land, and their hearts.
With a quiet, captivating passion, Maral Boyadjian paints a timeless love story against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic but long-forgotten tragedies of the early twentieth century. Unforgettably, touching, As the Poppies Bloomed reveals a beautiful and heart-wrenching tale of love, loss and hope – of two young Armenians who face seemingly insurmountable odds while the land of the sultans breaks apart and World War I rushes toward them along with the greatest massacre the world had ever known.
In 1940, after Germany invaded the Netherlands, Anne and her family couldn’t leave the country, so they decided to hide in a warehouse in an attempt to escape the persecution of Jews by the Nazis. For over two years, Anne wrote in her diary with an awareness that was extremely mature for her age. She detailed her experiences and insights while she and her family were in hiding, living in a constant fear of being arrested. The Diary of Anne Frank’ is a record of her understanding of the war and showcases her incredible storytelling abilities in such horrific circumstances. In 1944, the Franks were found and sent to concentration camps. Anne died before she turned 16, and her father, Otto Frank, was the only family member to survive the Holocaust. After the War, Otto returned to Amsterdam, where he found his daughter’s diary and then published i as The Diary of a Young Girl.
The Diary of Anne Frank is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been read by tens of millions of peopleall over the world. It remains a beloved and deeply admired testament to the indestructible nature of the human spirit.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.
When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines.
Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.
Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.
Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
When his parents agree to send Tavi off to a special school in the city that promises wealth and success, they have no idea that they are handing their son over to real life human traffickers.
Tavi’s excitement soon turns into horror as he learns what kind of life he has been forced into and the things that are expected of him. As his world comes crashing down around him, he struggles to stay true to himself in the midst of the darkness.
But when one of his friends dies a horrific death, Tavi knows that he must escape if he is to survive and ever have a chance at a normal life again.
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world….
Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience—and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough … not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
And that’s my top ten choices for books that have some heartbreaking strife in them. I find that these types of storylines cause me to reflect on what it is I’m grateful for in my life. Did any of your favorites make my list? Let me know in the comments below.