Thursday, March 15, 2012

Emotional Reactions to Books

Have you ever done the following while reading

Cried ?
Thrown the book across the room?
Laughed out loud ?
Screamed out loud?
Hugged the book?

I am pretty sure some of those are familiar if you’re a book lover. The physical reactions we have to books have always fascinated me. Why someone reacts one way and someone else reacts different to the same book. The fact that a series of words can invoke different things in different people is pretty amazing. There are some people who react all the time (totally ME) and others who don’t react at all. Our connection to the characters, the story and the words the author uses can be incredibly powerful. These reactions are why I read. When an author can make it feel real, and make you connect so strongly it’s simply magic.

I decide to highlight some of the books I’ve read that have caused the biggest reactions out of me while reading them.

I have to say that the books that made me cry the most are Forbidden by Tabitha Sazuma and Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. Tabitha’s novel is compelling, devastating and you wish for a different ending for these characters. Ann’s novel made me cry because the death in this novel was of my favourite character, I am around the same age as the character, and after 4 books I had become attached to these characters.

I have only ever thrown one book across the room. One Day by David Nicholls. The ending jarred me, made me so angry I had to get my emotions out so I took it out on the book. If you’ve read this book I am curious to see if anyone else had this reaction. At least one other girl in my book club did the same thing once finishing.

I also remember have a pretty violent reaction to Calla Tora after reading Bloodrose (the ending to the Nightshade series). This was simply a case of a character angering me enough that I wished I could shake her.

Moving on to much happier emotions….those books that made me laugh, smile, or otherwise left me in fun happy place.

Stephanie Perkins, without a doubt, writes books that make me want to hug them. Seriously, I hugged both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door while reading them. I also tend to have a huge grin on my face while reading them. If I need cheering up I know I can count on either book to do that.

There are plenty other books I could talk about and I hope to discover plenty more. Thank you to all the authors out there whose words created a little magic and caused me to feel; not matter what my reaction.

What about you? What books have made you laugh, made you cry, made you want to throw them across the room? What is it about the written word that causes such strong emotions in so many of us?


  1. A really strong reaction I had was to Darkest Mercy be Melissa Marr when something happens to one of my favourite characters ever. It's something I tried to deny would ever happen, so when I read it I think I cried, and put the book down for a bit. That's pretty strong for me- I rarely throw stuff.

    I also was laughing really hard when I read Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. I don't know what was wrong with me.

    I think you feel strong reactions when you relate really well to a book. It's kind of like the story is real in some kind of universe only you have access to while reading. It has a lot to do with empathy and the power of words. Who knows why, I enjoy the crazy emotions anyway.

  2. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I cried at the end of Forbidden, I cried at the end of Delirium, I cried at the end of The Fault in Our Stars. I got teary-eyed and emotional and heavy and felt all of the things at the end of Above and The Space Between. And I so hugged Anna and Lola and The Fine Art of Truth or Dare.

    I've become the emotional wreck I am today because of books. ;)

  3. Great question! I've thrown the books accross the room while reading a ghost story when I was 11 about the ghost of a guy with his arm ripped off. Crazy for the times!

    Love this post!

    Amy <3 :D

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