Today with Top Ten Tuesdays we discuss books that were hard to read, for whatever the reason. I also just want to add that I suggested this topic so yay! But admittedly, BookRiot did it first. Heh. Anyway. I’m focusing on books that were hard to read due to subject matter, not due to style or difficulty grading.
1. Coconut by Kopano Matlwa
This book, set in South Africa, follows two seemingly different young women: one wealthy, new money, removed from her culture and floating along, wondering about her roots; the other working herself out of poverty, doing her best to rid her of the dregs of her culture. This book was hard to read for me because I have friends like both these girls, and I realise that there is so much in their cultures that I can never try to understand, and I was unsure what I could DO. It is a beautiful book, though.
2. Because We Are by Ted Oswald
Although this was not my first book set in Haiti, it was still very hard for me to read about such young children suffering. I realised again that South Africa could be considered privileged compared to many other countries. The book also made me ANGRY at the way that governments and politics treat their own people.
3. My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
After my exposure earlier this year, I was very tearful and scared of HIV. Reading a book about a teenager and HIV was very hard for me to read without getting anxiety attacks, but it was a gentle and well-done story.
4. Postmortem by Maria Phalime
I think one of the scariest things must be to have devoted a large portion of your life to a certain career and then realising that you are out of love with that career. I was so scared that this book would make medicine even harder for me, but in fact it gave me a lot of insight and made me more realistic.
5. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
I would rather have strong feelings about something than be ambivalent, and incest is one of the few things that I really don’t have much of an opinion about (unless it’s non-consensual of course). I know it’s supposed to be “wrong”, but I really don’t have the desire to dictate people’s romantic/sexual lives to them. My real qualm is the congenital issues of offspring from such relationships. I’ve never had the slightest attraction to a relative and I’ve never known someone who does, so I just… had no understanding of it. The book was really dark for me and hard to read. The whole situation was sad. I do feel that I have some hard-won empathy now, but… I still don’t really have an opinion.
6. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
I’ve read many accounts of war and genocide, but there was something about this book that made me interminably sad and horrified. Maybe because just before reading it I had been to Vietnam and met a lot of Cambodian students. Maybe because of the way it is witnessed through young Raami’s eyes.
7. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
To be in Harper’s position… I just can’t.
8. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
This book is so intense. There’s this whole reconciliation between a former Prisoner of War and a Japanese National and it is HEAVY and stunning.
9. A Change of Tongue by Antjie Krog
This made me face a lot of questions about my culture and heritage, and it was a difficult journey; but ultimately one that made me more sure of who I am and what I stand for.
10. A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
I read this for a book report in Grade 8. I thought I could handle it, but it was really painful. Even now thinking about it makes me want to seriously hurt people who hurt children. It is good that I read it, because it gave me a better understanding of child abuse, but it is definitely one of the hardest books I have read.