I found this video recently and was immediately inspired by it.
While I’m definitely not an in-front-of-the-camera person (believe me, I’ve tried), I like the idea of recognizing books through the lens of the main feeling they evoked in me. I’ve always been a bookworm and I’m such an empath, so this was essentially made for me; I’m simply writing about it instead of talking to a camera about it. Each question covers the five basic emotions/characters of the movie: Joy, Disgust, Fear, Sadness, and Anger. Let’s do this!
Which book brings you the most joy? The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I wanted to think long and hard about my answer to this, but I think this gut answer might be correct. The first time I ever declared a book as my favorite, it was The Secret Garden. It was the first book intently looked up in the library after reading a short portion from it in school, the first book in which I felt deep kinship with the characters, the first book that brought me a fictional crush, the first book that just felt like home when I read it. I have re-read it multiple times, and I only love it more. I think of it with such affection.
Which book grossed you out the most? Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins. First of all: I love this book. The Hunger Games is a series that moves me and affects me deeply, and it holds a special place for me. But, although I would argue there’s purpose in it, I will not pretend that there isn’t graphic violence throughout. In this book, she thinks about her scar various times (which wasn’t weird to me until I started writing this…), and for some reason it always made me shudder to remember how she got it. There are a lot more gory situations in the book, as well, and seeing as a major plot point revolves around creative deaths, it can be detailed. I love the book, but when I re-read it I’m going to have to brace myself.
The book that scared you more than anything? Ghosts Beneath Our Feet by Betty Ren Wright. I know this is a really stupid answer, but it’s completely true: this super short teen paperback from the nineties is the book that has enduringly terrified me. I found it at a book sale for maybe a quarter when I was in elementary school, and I thought that because I’d read some Baby-sitters Club mysteries (hahahaha), I would enjoy this, too. Wrong. So wrong. For years, I was terrified that knackers were going to burn my house to the ground from underneath. The only reason I can come up with to explain the lasting impression this book made on me is that this is the first book I read set in our world in which the ghosts ended up being real. [Spoiler? You weren’t really going to read it, were you, though?]
Which book made you cry the hardest? Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman (with Ellen Vaughn). I’ve written a review of it before, but this book is just beautiful. It’s a look at depression, joy, grief, pain, questions, and hope, and how they can all somehow exist together. I love it. But when I read the chapter that retells the accident… it was one of the most empathetic moments I’ve had. I saw everything that was happening with my mind, and it was just too much. I had to put the book down twice to allow myself to sob, only to pick it up again and cry with a bit more composure as I continued to read. I wasn’t even truly there, but I ached enough to know that no one should have to live through what the Chapmans so courageously did.
Runner up: The Final Kingdom (The Seven Sleepers Series, Book 10) by Gilbert Morris. I have no explanation for this. All I know is that when I finished this series in middle school, I was actually depressed for two straight weeks. I didn’t cry, but I’d say finishing this book was one of my most sadness-laced book experiences.
Which book completely ticked you off? Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I understand that this book has changed countless lives, and I know quite a few people that are included in that group. But I just couldn’t like it. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. The sex scenes were just too much; in my opinion they were unnecessary, even distracting. I didn’t even like the main male character (who was supposed to represent Hosea/God, so oops?). The story had so much potential, but elements within the story forced me to be adverse to the book and kept me from being touched by it. [This review on Goodreads (and a few comments on it) expresses my thoughts well.]
Runner up: Painted Dresses by Patricia Hickman. It’s been years since I read this book so I don’t completely remember the details of it, but I do remember how much it angered me. The immoral actions of the main characters were never really addressed, and as a teenager reading it I wasn’t given even a cautionary tale; I simply got to read in detail things that the “heroines” did and see that there weren’t really any consequences they faced aside from being completely unlikable people. There were a few deeply powerful moments in the story, but I mostly just remember how gross the characters made me feel.
I would love to hear more people answer these questions and share about the books that brought them such strong emotions. If you end up doing it, let me know! And thank you again to Kristina Horner for the great idea.