Has there ever been a piece of technology as perfect as a book? Self-contained, they can act as teachers, best friends, occasionally nemeses, time machines, and portals to fantasy worlds. But maybe best of all, they can create empathy. You can enter so completely into the life of a fictional character that you find yourself loving them, laughing at their jokes, and sometimes even crying for them. Maybe you cry because Molly Grue finally meets a unicorn decades too late, or maybe because Frodo can never truly go home again. Perhaps, in a totally hypothetical instance, you’re reading George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo on a beach and you find yourself weeping uncontrollably in front of a large number of people. Or maybe your beloved horse just succumbed to the Swamps of Sadness, and you want to sink right down with him.
So how about you, tender-hearted readers? Which books give you the catharsis that only tears can bring?