If you are looking for good books to read, try out these powerful books that will touch your emotions. I’ve got books that move you to tears, make you afraid, surprise you, and all in all, give you all the feels.
Why do I love to read? One thing I love about reading is the ability I get to escape my life and delve into the emotions of someone else.
In my opinion, books that move you to feel deep emotions are some of the greatest books there are. I love that I can experience powerful emotions through literature without actually having to live them. Like books that move you to tears when a dog dies, even though you don’t actually like dogs.
Similarly, through the words of others, you can read books that scare you without actually having to live through a cold-blooded killing. Or you can fall in love or laugh or cry all over again.
For me, I find catharsis in reading books that move me. In a matter of a few hundred pages, I can feel all these heavy emotions, and then let them go.
From books that make you think to books that make you cry, today I have 27 powerful books that will move you to feel more.
Books That Move You to Tears
The Serpent King
I was not expecting to like a young adult novel about three teenagers in their senior year of high school in rural Tennessee as much as I did. The main character Dill struggles to find his place in life. The son of a snake-handling preacher currently imprisoned for child pornography, Dill does not exactly fit in at school. Luckily he has his best friends Lydia, a vintage fashion blogger, and Travis, a gentle-hearted giant obsessed with fantasy books. Teaching about friendship, love and the struggles of growing up, The Serpent King is a touching novel that will give you all the feels.
Me Before You
Our grandfather was a paraplegic, so this book hit close to home for me. I was in tears at the heartbroken man who felt he had nothing left to live for, not fully understanding that there is always something more. Will brings meaning into his nurse Louisa’s life and gets her to reach beyond what she thought she was capable of. In return, Louisa tries to bring meaning back into Will’s life before it’s too late. I promise this is one of those books that will make you cry.
I Am, I Am, I Am
I can’t begin to describe how incredible this book is. Instead of telling you her life story, Maggie O’Farrell gives you glimpses into her life through separate incidents where she brushed against death, which has occurred surprisingly often. From a childhood illness to near-fatal accidents to miscarriage, O’Farrell gives you such an intriguing look not just at how she has almost died, but more importantly how she has lived. If you are looking to listen to books that move you and love memoirs that will make you cry, the outstanding narration of the audiobook makes it a great choice.
Books That make you laugh
The Princess Bride
Occasionally, you find those books that move you to feel all kinds of emotions. If you are like us, you’ve seen the movie adaptation of The Princess Bride a million times and can easily quote it. But have you ever sat down and read the book? Because it is easily as brilliant and hilarious. Combining love, action, wit, and humor into one fairy tale retelling, Goldman has written an instant and unforgettable classic that will certainly leave you laughing.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
You have to enjoy a certain type of humor to love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – think Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Catch-22 or Napoleon Dynamite. Douglas Adams science fiction satire starts with the destruction of Earth through eminent domain laws for the new galactic highway. At the last moment, Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect and off they go on an epic journey through the galaxy. You’ll either love it and think it’s the cleverest thing you’ve ever read or you’ll hate it. There seems to be no in-between.
I have to admit, I don’t think a book has made me laugh quite as hard as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. A few of the scenes were just so side-splittingly funny that even thinking about them now still makes me chuckle. Which is amazing because The Help is not a humor piece. It’s a moving tale of the lives of women in the deep South in the 1960s. Between Aibileen and Minny, “the help” of the title, the women they work for, and Skeeter, a young 22-year-old writer who wants to tell their stories, you get a layered approach and character study of a tumultuous time in our history.
Books That Make You Think
We Are Displaced
Amid our charged debate on immigration steps Malala Yousafzai’s new collection of stories of refugees. Starting with her own experience of being an internally displaced person, Malala then goes on to share stories of other refugees she has met. An eye-opening account of what it’s like to live in a war-torn country and then lose all sense of home, Malala’s latest book is one that we can’t wait to read.
If you aren’t wanting to feel too deeply, Quiet is one of those books that move you to introspection. In today’s society, we seem to idolize the extrovert. Well-researched and thought-provoking, Cain not only shows the power of introverts but also addresses the struggles introverts face and how to overcome them. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, this will make you see people in a different light.
Life of Pi
Growing up, Piscine “Pi” Patel loves spending his time at the zoo his parents own. When his parents decide to move their zoo from India to Canada, he finds himself on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, never suspecting that a storm will leave him stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific struggling to survive for months at sea with a Bengal tiger as his only companion. As you near the end of this book, you’ll probably be wondering why I recommended it. Trust me, just push through to the end, for it’s the ending for this book that raises it above mediocrity. With just a few simple sentences, suddenly the author makes you pause and reevaluate everything you just read.
Books That Scare You
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote was the founder of narrative nonfiction with his thrilling look at an unspeakable crime. On November 15, 1959, in the small farming town of Holcomb, Kansas, two men brutally murder the Clutter family in their home for no apparent reason. Through extensive interviews from the first days following the events to the execution of the murderers, Capote suspensefully unfolds the whole story of exactly what happened and more intriguing of all, why it happened. Make sure you set aside a chunk of time to read this one because, I promise, it’s one of those books you can’t put down once you begin.
One Second After
William R. Forstchen
Just imagine it: no electricity, no medicine, and no food. In his eye-opening novel, William R. Forstchen warns of the all too real possibility of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) device detonating over the United States. In an instance, the electromagnetic wave destroys all technology, sending the US immediately back to the Dark Ages. Can one man save his small North Carolina mountain town from the fall of civilization? While Forstchen is far from the greatest novelist ever, with our outdated electrical grid and reality of EMPs, he will make you wonder what you would do if the lights went out.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
For over a decade, a violent serial rapist plagued Northern California and then went on to commit 10 sadistic murders, never to be caught. Thirty years later, journalist Michelle McNamara took on the cold case, obsessively determined to find the Golden State Killer. Posthumously published two years after her death, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is McNamara’s masterpiece of her search for the truth. Even more fascinating, only two months after this book was published, a suspect was formally charged in the murders. Honestly, this belongs to that category of books that move you to want to always sleep with the lights on.
Books That Inspire You
R. J. Palacio
Sometimes children’s stories are the perfect example of books that move you. This story of a boy with a severely deformed face entering public middle school for the first time will make you ponder how you react to people who look differently. I know many of my choices have talked about the dark side of human nature, but this book will leave you with hope for mankind.
To Kill a Mockingbird
There’s a good reason that practically every school makes you read this book. The story of young Scout and Jem watching their father Atticus Finch defend an innocent black man will make you want to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. A timeless classic that everyone should read, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those classic books that move you to want to be better than you are.
Girl, Wash Your Face
One of the most popular books of 2018, Rachel Hollis’s motivational book Girl, Wash Your Face, seems to be one of the most talked-about books of last year. Honestly, Hollis’s writing seems to provoke extreme reactions – you’ll either love it or hate it. Honestly, I loved it. It was just what I needed to hear at the time. If you ever feel like you aren’t enough or tend to be too hard on yourself, give this book a try.
Books That Keep You Up All Night
If you want a fun keep you up all night Young Adult fantasy, Caraval is the ticket. The story begins with young Scarlett Dragna imploringly writing letters each year for tickets to Caraval – a once-a-year performance/carnival where the audience gets to join in on the fun. When her sister whisks her away to enjoy just one night of Caraval, Scarlett is dragged into a journey of love, magic, and mystery. Not exactly a deep book, but a fun ride nonetheless.
The Woman in the Window
A. J. Finn
Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Rear Window meets the novel The Girl on the Train. This year’s hottest psychological thriller peeks into the life of Anna Fox, a New York City recluse who, spying on the family across the street, witnesses a shocking event. Did she see what she thought she saw, or is she just making it up? With its unreliable narrator and layers of secrets, The Woman in the Window will keep you guessing to the end.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
For some reason, I had low expectations for this Swedish thriller, so I was caught off guard when the entire series turned out to be the type of books you can’t put down. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist takes on the investigation into the 40-year-old disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the teenage daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. He teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a pierced and tattooed hacker whose troubled past has left her with a capacity for ruthlessness. It is a thrilling read, but, be warned, there is quite a lot of violence and language.
Memoirs That Make You Angry
Warriors Don’t Cry
Melba Pattillo Beals
We’ve all seen the pictures of Elizabeth Eckford being screamed at as she tries to attend her first day of school at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. But did you realize how long it took to integrate? Melba Pattillo Beals tells her memories of being part of the Little Rock Nine, of her oppressing junior year protected at times by the 101st Airborne Division and at times left alone to face the horrors laid upon by the other students. Of all the books we’ve read, Warriors Don’t Cry will make you angry at race relations in the 1950s and make you wonder about how we handle the same and similar issues today.
I Forgot to Remember
In 1988, Su Meck, a young mother of two, was struck in the head by a falling ceiling fan leaving her with a traumatic brain injury. After only 3 weeks, she was discharged from the hospital and sent back home to take care of her kids – even though she had lost most of her memories – including, how to do basic functions, like read, or add or tie her shoes. Just thinking about how her doctors failed her and how her terrible husband mistreated her just makes my blood boil. Su Meck’s memoir might not be the best written, but she is certainly a true survivor.
There is no excuse to not read Tara Westover’s spectacular memoir. In our opinion, Educated is simply the best nonfiction book of 2018. Westover grew up in the rural mountains of Idaho with no formal education. Despite her extremist survivalist parents and violent older brother, Westover managed to make her way into college, eventually earning a PhD. Her amazing determination is inspiring while the circumstances of her childhood are incredibly sad. Definitely one book that will stay with you for a long time.
Books That Will Surprise You
One summer day in 1934, 13-year-old Briony Tallis misunderstands a flirtation between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, with devastating consequences. Now, as World War 2 rages, an older Briony starts to realize the reality of what happened and the full repercussions she has caused. Can Briony find atonement or is it too late? No matter what you do, make sure to read until the very end, because the ending is what makes this one of those books that move you to rethink everything you just read.
We Were Liars
You will have to settle for a vague description of this book because I don’t dare risk spoiling it for you. As the protagonist Cadence slowly starts regaining her memory and all the details of what happened start becoming clear, half the fun is in trying to figure out what is going on. I enjoyed trying to piece the mystery of this book together. All I can say is that at some point, this story will make you cry. But that is all the spoiler you will get from me.
The Girl on the Train
Taking the same train to work every day, Rachel is fascinated by a woman who lives along her route. Every day, Rachel gets a glimpse into this woman’s “perfect” life. Until one day, when Rachel witnesses something shocking. I think unreliable narrators like Rachel make for the best page-turners because you can never figure out what is true and what is not. Love it or hate it, The Girl on the Train is one of those books you can’t put down no matter how hard you try.
Books To Make You Fall In Love
Pride and Prejudice
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen the BBC miniseries or the Keira Knightley movie, you still need to read the book. Jane Austen’s witty novel is a fun reminder of the importance of marrying for love and not lust or security. For many, it’s one of the first books that move you to fall in love with a fictional character, because who can resist a gentleman like Mr. Darcy.
The Fault in Our Stars
Two kids with cancer who fall in love. Well, that’s a recipe for tears if I’ve ever heard one. Knowing that she will die someday sooner rather than later, Hazel is afraid to let anyone get close to her. In her selfless way, she wants her death to cause as little pain as possible. The true beauty of this story lies in the ending lines: “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.” If you want an inspiring and emotional read, this book is for you.
Let me start by saying I know that Nicholas Sparks books all follow the same formula. This just means that if you love one, you’ll love them all … and vice versa. For whatever reason, his books get me every time. I have to say, I think Safe Haven has a little more depth than most of his books. Kate appears in a small beachfront town in North Carolina, obviously with her guard up. But as she befriends her neighbor Jo and begins to fall for a local widower Alex, she must choose to risk letting others in and tell them of her dark past.
What powerful books that move you have you read?
Laurel Perry says
Thanks for giving me even more books to add to my TBR list! 🙂 I agree with The Help & Educated – both so powerful!