7 More Sob-Inducing Books That Deserve to Be Made into Movies

Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, the emotional bestseller that brought countless fans to tears, hits theaters across the country this week. On June 3rd many of us will be seen walking out of movie theaters with red-rimmed eyes and all the feels, glad to have been able to spend some time with Louisa and Will and to witness their unexpected love story on the big screen. Books and movies that have the ability to bring fans to tears often stay with us long after we have experienced them. If you enjoyed the Me Before You or the book (or film adaptations of) The Fault in Our Starsor Wildyou may also find yourself hoping for movie adaptions a few of the books below as well. Make it happen, Hollywood!

 

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
Everything changes for Cadence Sinclair during her fifteenth summer at her family’s beach. As Cadence struggles with memory loss, physical injuries, and a secret that no one is willing to share, she is also growing into adulthood. After spending the next summer in Europe, and then finally returning to the family’s beloved summer house on the island, Cadence has to face some harsh realities about herself and her cousins. In much the same vein as the twisty Gone Girl, readers will find themselves by turns sad, frustrated, amazed, and shocked. It’s nearly impossible to read this book without having some strong feelings, and a movie adaption would be irresistible.

 

A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive, by Dave Pelzer
I wept, a lot, while reading Dave Pelter series of memoirs. At turns devastating and hopeful, producers could film a heck of a tearjerking masterpiece of Oscar material with this set of books. Why this material hasn’t yet been tapped for a movie is almost inexplicable. Depicting Pelzer’s journey from an abused child to an adult who has to learn to cope with his terrible past, and eventually to thrive, is as heartbreaking as it is inspirational. A film that blends the realism of Wild with the elements of a damaged childhood like Room would no doubt rack up some nominations…and plenty of drenched hankies.

 

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
Granted, there is a Bell Jar film from 1979. There is also the Gwyneth Paltrow/Daniel Craig film Sylvia, which loosely covers the author’s more autobiographical material. But a real, gritty, earnest look at the health care system and the borderline torture that Esther Greenwood underwent during a mental breakdown in the 1950s would make for a devastating film. This novel, which explores the pangs of teenage love and rejection, along with the pressures to achieve perfection in a competitive world, is timeless — maybe even more so today.

 

Looking For Alaska Special 10th Anniversary Edition, by John Green
John Green is the brains behind many of our beloved sob-inducing books and movies like Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking For Alaskawas his first novel. Miles Halter is a high school junior, with a penchant for darkness, who is on his way to a new boarding school. As he takes on new friends Chip “The Colonel” Martin, and Takumi Hirohito, along with crush Alaska Young, the journey unfolds into a series of pranks and personal revelations. The more that each character reveals, the more readers begin to worry. The end, which I won’t spoil here, is a heartbreaking series of events that places it among the ranks of A Separate Peace (another must read weepy classic) and Me Before You.

 

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
Just ask any parent the last time they cried over a children’s book and you will mostly definitely hear someone say The Giving Tree. From the master of poignant children’s literature, this classic tale of self sacrifice to one’s children will make you cry every single time. And not just cry, I mean Dawson’s Creek ugly face cry crying. Given its brevity, the book may be hard to adapt, but if Hollywood can turn Where the Wild Things Are into an emotional film about parenting and birth, than I have faith that we will all be sitting together crying about The Giving Tree one day. I’ll save you a seat.

 

Wonder (B&N Exclusive Edition), by R. J. Palacio
A film based on Wonder is currently in production, and it is no surprise, seeing as this is a beautiful novel that is beloved by kids and adults alike. The story of middle grade boy with birth defects that leave him extremely disfigured, and the struggles he has while attending school for the first time, is a universal tear jerker. Who hasn’t felt out of place, or longed for acceptance in some way? Who hasn’t been betrayed, fought for, or lost a friend? Despite its middle grade labeling, all readers can find something of themselves in main character Auggie. In the same way that The Lovely Bones and The Fault in Our Stars touched fans of all ages, this movie could be popular among all ages.

 

The Still Point of the Turning World, by Emily Rapp
Emily Rapp’s second memoir is a book like few others. At six months old her son Ronan was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs, an always fatal genetic disorder. In an attempt to find a path in a world that no parent ever expects to inhabit, Rapp takes readers through the emotional, physical, and intellectual stages of grief. Readers also are shown the absolute beauty in loving the small things, in embracing the entirety of life. More than story of grief though, this is a story of fierce — even staggering — unconditional love.

Which beautiful, sad, books do you want to see in theaters?

More Essential Books that Almost Never Saw the Light of Day

The best, most beloved books often have one thing in common: a struggle to be published. Some of our most important stories, from Anne Frank’s unforgettable diary, to the wanderlust classic On the Road, and even early books by childhood idol Dr. Seuss, were passed over by multiple agents and publishers. Yet sometimes it’s those books that break rules, the ones labeled “too different” for a mainstream audience, that become the ones we really needed. Check out some of the books below, (or some from our earlier poston books that almost never were), and fall in love with something a little “different.”

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
Plath, the Pulitzer Prize-winning idol of many poets and readers in search of a coming of age story, had to publish her novel The Bell Jar under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel faced rejection because the publishing house saw it as “disappointing, juvenile and overwrought.” Now it’s compared to The Catcher in the Rye, (another frequently rejected title, ahem).

Animal Farm, by George Orwell
When T.S. Eliot was the editing director of Faber & Faber, he rejected Animal Farm because he “did not want to upset the Soviets in those fraught years of World War II.” There was no mention of a problem with Orwell’s writing, and he was already a household name with five other books in print. In this case, in contrast to other rejected writers, politics — not style — almost stopped this required reading staple from ever hitting bookshelves.

The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s dairy faced unusual hurdles on the road to publication. After her hiding place was discovered, the remnants of her notebooks left behind by the Nazis were kept hidden for years. Eventually her father reclaimed them and worked to bring her voice to light. Under his watchful eye, though, many of the teenage struggles he thought might offend more conservative readers were edited out of the book. A text with fewer edits was later released, giving readers more insight into this vibrant, inspirational young girl.

 

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
The jewel in the Beat generation’s literary crown, One the Road was initially said to be too provocative and nontraditional. In one very harsh rejection letter Kerouac was told, “this is a badly misdirected talent and…this huge sprawling and inconclusive novel would probably have small sales and sardonic indignant reviews from every side.” The passionate fanbase that exists to this day might disagree with that sentiment.

 

East Wind: West Wind, by Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck struggled to find an American publishing house for her debut. As one of the few Americans living in China, and one who had close relationships with Chinese writers, Buck was positioned better than anyone to bring China to America with her epic, cross-cultural coming of age story. She was told in a rejection letter that American readers “aren’t interested in China,” but clearly this proved to be untrue. Buck became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

 

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, by Dr. Seuss
Pretty much everything Dr. Seuss wrote in his early career faced rejection. His first book was passed over 27 times before finally finding a home. Rumor is, he was told his books were “too different” to be published. The Cat in the Hat, Horton, and the Grinch may have never been, just for being different, though ultimately that’s what made them great. Considering the way Dr. Seuss has become a cornerstone of early literacy, a world without him in it would be one with fewer people whose passion for reading began with his giddy, rhyming tales.

What books do you love that were once overlooked by publishers?


Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on December 9, 2015.

The Gilmore Girls are Back! 5 New Books That Should Be On Rory’s List

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the first episode of Gilmore Girls, and the kickoff of the cult following that developed soon after. As a true Gilmore Girls aficionado, it’s hard not to wonder what Rory Gilmore would be reading today. Based on the massive reading list she accumulated over the course of the show’s seven seasons, here are some 2015 books I bet you’d find on Rory’s bedside table, off in her little corner of the world.

Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Because she mentioned Anna Karenina in her graduation speech, referenced Daisy Miller, and was seen reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950–1962, it’s easy to assume Rory would be one of the early lovers of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s carefully crafted, emotional, and tragic debut novel. Each turn of Anna’s sad, frustrating, sexual, and lost life is one that keeps readers up at night—hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, by Jimmy Carter
On Rory’s last day before she began at Yale, she and Lorelei spent the evening trapped in Emily’s spare room watching ballroom dancing. To make light of a tough spot, the two traded Jimmy Carter jokes. Given this, and Rory’s passion for all things politics, you can be sure she’d read this memoir, along with other books from former President Carter, while in the White House Press Room or on the 2016 campaign trail. Carter’s unflinching and emotional look at his personal life and tireless activism make for an inspiring read during these highly volatile times.

The Art of Memoirby Mary Karr
Since Rory wanted to become a journalist, was an English major in college, and was a fan of craft books by Henry JamesAmy Tan, and Joan Didion, it isn’t a stretch to picture a crisp copy of Mary’s Karr’s latest on her table, propped up against an oversized cup of coffee. Karr, the author of The Liars’ Club, Lit, and Cherry, wraps her writing, teaching, and diverse life experience up into an insightful guide to writing; fans also get some added behind the scenes details into Karr’s life.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan
It’s nice to imagine that later in life Rory became friends with her exes Jess and Logan, and they all happily traded books back and forth. William Finnegan’s surfing memoir is reminiscent of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and Among the Thugs, both books Rory shared with her old boyfriends. In Barbarian Days, Finnegan provides readers with an opportunity to travel the Pacific, ride insane waves, stare down malaria, and become accustomed to hitherto unseen social customs with humor and a 1960s eye.

Notes on the Assemblage, by Juan Felipe Herrera
Not to be left out of current artistic events, Rory would have been an early supporter of Juan Felipe Herrera and his appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. After all, Lorelei was a fan of Billy Collins, and Rory was known to read Walt WhitmanEmily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Herrera’s newest collection, with its socially conscious and welcoming themes, would be a no questions asked addition to her overflowing bookshelves. As the first Latino Poet Laureate, and one who began life as the son of a migrant family, Herrera writes poetry that’s as wise as it is encouraging—something everyone who hopes to achieve more should enjoy.

 What books do you think belong on Rory Gilmore’s bookshelf?