Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read If You’re In The Mood For Crippling Depression

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books to read if you’re in the mood for _______. I’m filling in the blank with crippling depression. I know that nobody’s ever in the mood for depression, but I’ve been reading a lot of books about tough subjects lately. I thought I’d show them off.

Ten Books To Read If You’re In The Mood For Crippling Depression

1. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. 
But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . . 
Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

The tough stuff: Relationship rejection, racism, sexism, discrimination, lies, death, and more death.

2. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Author), Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Concept)

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.  
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming . . . . 
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild.  
And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. 
It wants the truth.

The tough stuff: Cancer, monsters, denial, bullying, fear.

3. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. 
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

The tough stuff: Child abuse, suicide, monsters, and spoilers that I can’t talk about.

4. One Death, Nine Stories – Marc Aronson & Charles R. Smith Jr. (Editors)

Nicholas, Kevin. Age 19. Died at York Hospital, July 19, 2012. Kev's the first kid their age to die. And now, even though he's dead, he's not really gone. Even now his choices are touching the people he left behind. Rita Williams-Garcia follows one aimless teen as he finds a new life in his new job—at the mortuary. Ellen Hopkins reveals what two altar boys (and one altar girl) might get up to in the cemetery at night. Will Weaver turns a lens on Kevin's sister as she collects his surprising effects—and makes good use of them. Here, in nine stories, we meet people who didn't know Kevin, friends from his childhood, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, all dealing with the fallout of his death.  
Stories by Chris Barton, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Marina Budhos, Ellen Hopkins, A.S. King, Torrey Maldonado, Charles R. Smith Jr., Will Weaver, Rita Williams-Garcia.

The tough stuff: Family problems, peer pressure, depression, self-mutilation, and death (obviously).

5. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.  
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The tough stuff: Drug addiction, poverty, violence, terrorism, orphaned children, death, and more death.

6. Project X – Jim Shepard

In the wilderness of junior high, Edwin Hanratty is at the bottom of the food chain. His teachers find him a nuisance. His fellow students consider him prey. And although his parents are not oblivious to his troubles, they can't quite bring themselves to fathom the ruthless forces that demoralize him daily. 
Sharing in these schoolyard indignities is his only friend, Flake. Branded together as misfits, their fury simmers quietly in the hallways, classrooms, and at home, until an unthinkable idea offers them a spectacular and terrifying release.

The tough stuff: Mental illness, school shootings, bullying.

7. In Darkness – Nick Lake

In darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital: thirsty, terrified and alone. 'Shorty' is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soleil: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost five years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him with Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who two-hundred years ago led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive, and perhaps then Toussaint can find a way to be free.

The tough stuff: Violence, natural disasters, more violence, racism, poverty, slavery, death, drugs, gangs, more violence.

8. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.  
By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. 
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

The tough stuff: World War II.

9. Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

The tough stuff: Orphaned children, creepy strangers, missing people, secrets.

10. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's story of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife, journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  
Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho's travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.

The tough stuff: World War II in graphic detail.

What's the most depressing book you've read recently?


  1. I loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I didn't think it was depressing at all, but looking through your list I now think I totally missed some big plot themes, oops lol.

  2. I have only read The Goldfinch from the list. I do have a couple others on m tBR though. I can't think right now of a depressing book that I recently read but I am sure I have read a couple in the past year. Great take on the topic this week!

  3. Interesting choice in topic for your TTT although I will admit it is one of my favorite themes in books. I had just been talking about reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North as it appears to have a unique plot. Great list!

  4. What the hell I just got The Ocean at the End of the Lane and this does NOT sound like a good time, isn't this supposed to be a horror novel! This sounds psychologically damaging oh my god

    - Jen from The Bookavid

  5. I have only read The Book Thief, and while it is sad, it's SUCH a good story. I've read it a couple of times. I do love a good tough topic book, so I need to check out some of these other recommendations. Great list!

  6. I love The Book Thief, it might be sad, but man is it good!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/top-ten-tuesday-46/

  7. I don't really want crippling depression, but I have to say, I'm really interested in some of these, I've read a few, and others are on my TBR already. Should I be worried, lol? I loved The Book Thief, but it was really sad. I also liked The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I thought it was more strange than sad though. I'm really interested in The Miniaturist, Project X, A Monster Calls, and One Death Nine Stories. Great picks! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. I've read Neil Gaiman's novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and for some reason couldn't get into it. I really want to read The Book Thief though.

    Here's my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2016/03/top-ten-tuesday-eleven-books-to-read-if.html

  9. Well good grief! What a depressing list! Haha! There are so many on this list that I need to read!

    Here are my Top Ten!

  10. Omg WOW. These all look so...sad. XD Although I've read The Book Thief and omg, I 100% agree: depressing. And beautiful at the same time?! Which definitely takes a talented reader to pull off. *nods* I also really need to read Jellicoe Road!

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  11. I've only read The Book Thief, but I definitely agree on that one. It was so beautiful, but depressing as well. I've been wanting to read The Goldfinch, because I recently read her book The Secret History and absolutely loved it.

    Great list!


    I read that book a few years ago (after a few different attempts), and I finally put my review together for my blog. It's one of my favorite books, and I'm definitely due for a reread soon, although I don't know if I'll actually be able to handle it. I cried like a baby the last time I read it.