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A different kind of reading list: Melancholy books

I think a really great book touches all of a reader’s emotions. Have you ever read something where you were laughing one minute and crying the next? On his blog, author Matt de la Pena advocates embracing rather than avoiding sadness in writing. He discussed this topic in Novels Have Become an Escape on “Room for Debate,” a feature of the New York Times opinion pages.

If you’re writing a melancholy book, you may want to read books from a list de la Pena compiled, which includes his comments about the books. You can also learn more about writing from de la Pena in this post, Get out of your reader’s way with these tips.

“Melancholy Reading List”by Matt de la Pena:
– Suttree by Cormac McCarthy (Best novel I’ve ever read.)
– Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (Beautiful and quiet working class YA from a female perspective.)
– Fat City by Leonard Gardner (Small-time boxing novel set in Stockton, CA.)
– Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (A melancholy NY novel of great scope.)
– The Color Purple by Alice Walker (The reason I’m a reader and a writer.)
– Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson (Perfect little sad story collection.)
– Someday this Pain Will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron (Beautifully written short novel about an 18-year-old’s last summer before college.)
– Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (Sad and sweet coming of age novel about a blue-collar kid growing up with a severe stutter.)
– Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham (One of the characters reveals the secret to life.)
– The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazingly sad and patient novel.)
– A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley (Devastating and hilarious — it’ll break your heart.)
– Jimmy & Rita by Kim Addonizio (Tragic working-class love story told in poems.)
– Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Lonely story of a girl’s path from wartime Vietnam to Alabama.)
– The Only Good Thing That’s Ever Been Done by Sandra Newman (Incredibly inventive novel about a girl’s path to self discovery.)
– Everyone Sees the Ants by A.S. King (Organically quirky novel about a boy dealing with a school bully.)

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