Tag Archives: Jonathan Safran Foer

10 Cry-Worthy Books From My College Years

8 Sep

Announcements: 

Take Me Tomorrow now has a book trailer, which I hope you’ll take a minute to watch, like, and share before you read today’s post! Thank you.

10 Cry-Worthy Books From My College Years

After I wrote Books That Changed My Childhood, I received a few emails asking me about my other novels, so I am going to continue sharing different types of reads that have affected my life. I’m also adding my favorite quotes! I’ll be honest. I started writing a list of novels that affected my high school years, but it got out of control, so I moved onto my college time only to realize most of the books did, in fact, make me cry.

Yes. That was a warning.

Most – if not all of these – made me cry. And if you’ve never cried at a novel, I recommend these because everyone should cry at a novel at least once in their reading lives.

cry

1. The Art of Racing the Rain by Garth Stein – Yes, this novel is told from a dog’s perspective. And yes, you can take a dog seriously. (If you think you can’t, trust me when I say you must read this book.) A friend recommended this novel to me, and I was hesitant when I picked it up in the bookstore. To my surprise, I read it in one sitting, even when my vision got blurry.

“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well.”

2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – If you’ve ever though that first-person can’t be taken seriously, then, Ishiguro is here to prove you wrong. There are no other words to describe his prose in this novel. You will begin at childhood and grow into an adult, just like you did in real life. It will remind me of how you learned in life, and it will tear you apart.

“All children have to be deceived if they are to grow up without trauma.”

3. The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure – Arguably one my favorite poetry collections if not my favorite. (I can never decide which one is my favorite.) I first read this in my poetry class at the University of Kansas, and I have continued to read it over and over ever since. The exploration of language, history, relationships, and identity is more than enough to cause emotional reflections.

“When there was no one left, it became nowhere. There were no more letters after the w.”

4. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Cry-worthy? Debatable. But the emotions are just as strong. The awe could possibly bring tears to your eyes. They sure choked me up. But I mainly added this because it’s the perfect example of a graphic novel that proves all graphic novels can be taken seriously.

“It’s easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

5. When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka – This novel has never left me, perhaps because Otsuka never gives names to her characters. She forces you to become them, delicately and masterfully, before she explores Japanese concentration camps in the United States. This is one of those stories I lent out to someone and deeply regretted it when I didn’t get it back. I will have this book on my shelf again one day.

“He wondered if you could see the same moon in Lordsburg, or London, or even China, where all the men wore little black slippers, and he decided that you could, depending on the clouds. ‘Same moon,’ he whispered to himself, ‘same moon.'”

 6. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat – Not for the light-hearted. I first read this memoir after the earthquake in Haiti. I wish I could say more about it, but I fear that I would take away from the exploration of culture and identity if I did.

“Love is like the rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then it starts pouring, and if you’re not careful, it will drown you.”

 7. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah – Again, not for the light-hearted. This is a memoir of a child solider, and it is also one of my favorite books. Right when you think you can handle his prose, he reminds you of his age, and you are torn apart, but you keep reading because his voice coaxes you to.

“We must strive to be like the moon.”

 8. One Day by David Nicholls – Maybe the emotions in this novel are a little too close to reality? Meet Dex and Em, two friends who continue to meet on the same day every year for…oh, you know, their whole lives. A definite reminder of how time passes, how much can happen, and how we change because of it all.

“You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.”

9. Aimless Love by Billy Collins – Another poetry collection, but this is technically a few of his collections together. If you’re hesitant about poetry, I definitely recommend Collins because he is easy to slip into but complicated over time. You might not cry, but you might have to take a moment to feel like crying after reading a few of his poems.

“No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.”

 10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac – Yes. I just admitted this. I cried when I read On the Road. I’m not sure why since it’s not necessarily a “sad” novel, but it was for me. The exploration and exploitation of Dean really brought the sadness out in me. I would get more into detail about how I feel about Dean and the other characters – which were definitely based off of real people – but I don’t want to spoil the story. On the Road is more than just a recount of drugs and sex in the Beat Generation. It’s forcing life when faced with living like you’re already dead.

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Oh, just an extra. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I only debated this novel because I technically read it when I was fourteen, but I reread it later on, and I cried. Again. And at the theatre when I saw the adaptation. And when I got home and read it again. And again when I forced my friend to watch the movie.

I don’t purposely read novels that are turned into movies, but it might be interesting to note that these are also movie adaptations now: Never Let Me Go (I cried) and One Day (I almost cried.) On the Road (Okay. So I didn’t cry at this one. But the feels!)

So what novels or poems have brought tears to your eyes? Why? Share them below, and let’s have a cry fest! (A happy, artistic one, of course.) I’ll bring the tissues.

~SAT

The Funniest, Strangest, and Creepiest Topics you have Googled

22 Jun

For everyone that has been eagerly awaiting, Take Me Tomorrow, Fiction Friday released a HUGE chuck of Chapter One, and you can read it today by clicking here. It includes fan art, inspired by that particular scene.

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came to the Facebook Event Nightmares, Dreams, Fantasies, and Visions yesterday afternoon. I had a lovely time speaking with everyone LIVE! But I especially want to thank author, Lisa Klass. Please visit her website to read excerpts from her novels, including her latest novels in the Baby Girl series.

Today, I wanted to have a little fun. A few weeks ago, I shared The Top 10 Seriously Awkward Conversations I’ve Had When People Hear I’m a Writer, and it got me to thinking about something else that I have happen to me on a regular basis. If you have a blog, then you know how the Dashboard page works. It delivers yours stats, tells you how many views you received, and even explains what viewers have Googled in order to find your website.

So I am sharing the funniest, strangest, and creepiest topics people have Googled to find my website, and I’m responding to them.

Funny:

“hilarious bad attitude” – Does this describe me or something?

“twelve nerds” – Just one actually. Me.

“Shannon a. Thompson is a fallen angel” – Stop it. You’re making me blush.

“shannon tatum in magic mike” – I think you mean Channing. You must have been super disappointed when you found me.

Creepy:

“shannon thompson june 23 birthday” – Um…Yes. My birthday is coming up. Thank you for remembering. I think?

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

“pictures taken at the thompson house w bogart” – You really love my cat as much as I do.

“Shannon Thompson bikini pic” – Please. Don’t.

“real pussy needed in life.” – You…You are quite vulgar. So are you, Google.

Strange:

“actors who end up working retail” – I’m not an actor. And I’ve never worked in retail. But okay. (Fun fact: I did work in a sport’s bar for four years.)

“shannon ann Thomason” – Shannon Ashlee Thompson? (Yes, “Ashlee” as in “Ashlee Simpson.”)

“shannon thompson had two kids by 18” – nope. I don’t have any kids. I just have cats.

Help Wanted:

“what we need in snowstorm” – probably a jacket. And a shovel. Maybe some apple cider.

“need to read the first paragraph of extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer” – Ah! One of my favorite books. Here’s a link to Amazon to preview the novel.

“is there alot of blood and gore in looper?” – Toward the end, yes.

“can i write something about me in a blog?” – Yes, you can. You now have my permission.

My Favorite:

“i told someone to follow their dreams” – You go! You’re the best!

Seriously, Google. I do appreciate the traffic, but why? I honestly don’t want to waste people’s time anymore than they want me to. (And – as much a I enjoy awkward moments – creepy moments are just…creepy.) I love blogging, and this is actually one of the aspects of blogging that causes a great amount of giggling. If you’re a blogger, do you have any moments like this?

~SAT

Relax & Read: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

30 Sep

Sunday is the perfect day to spend all afternoon in bed, curled up with that novel you’ve been meaning to read. And if you don’t already have one (or a billion!) on your reading list, I’m here to help!

I first read Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in 2005 when I picked it up to flip through and saw all the markings, colors, photos, and overall unique format. At first, I actually thought someone had taken a red pen to someone’s novel in the middle of the store, but then I realized it was printed that way, and I was immediately entranced.

Tragically losing his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Oskar—a curious nine-year-old genius—finds a key, and travels all over New York City trying to find where it might belong.

The tale is touching, mournful, and challenging (one of the most challenging for me was when Foer contrasts 9/11 with Hiroshima and Nagasaki), yet the novel’s innocence remains within Oskar’s reality.

I would definitely recommend it, but it’s not intended for the soft-hearted. In fact, I would recommend the movie adaption as well—but even I have to admit I sobbed throughout the entire film. (I was so emotionally attached to Oskar already, and seeing his tale unfold on the big screen touched me deeply). This book, to this day, is the only novel to ever make me cry—really—and every time I read certain parts, I get shivers all over. If you want a novel that will truly take your emotions on an adventure with a nine-year-old as your guide, then pick this one up. (Click here to read more!)

But I’m leaving you (because I’m going to go read now!) with one of my favorite quotes from this novel:

“Literature was the only religion her father practiced, when a book fell on the floor he kissed it, when he was done with a book he tried to give it away to someone who would love it.”

~SAT

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