Happy Tuesday everyone! Wah, today is the last Tuesday of April. I can’t believe that the fifth month of the year is just around the corner. Anyway, I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. I hope and pray that 2022 will not only be a good year but a great one. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic: Books About Deaths

The last topic for April is a rather morbid one but a subject that is pretty common in literature. But the fascinating thing about this subject is that it is always intertwined with the exploration of life and wisdom. I guess we only remember a person’s impact on us once they are no longer with us. It is an unfortunate realization. Before I get carried away, here are some books exploring life, grief, and death that I liked. Happy reading!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

One of the first books that came to my mind upon learning of this week’s topic was Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. It was actually through its movie adaptation that I have learned of this book. At the heart of the story is Conor, a pre-teenaged boy who was coping with the pressures of school, his resentment of his father and his grandmother, and the most heartbreaking of them all, his mother’s illness. And then the titular monster appeared and would appear every night at exactly 12:07 AM. The story is a heartbreaking one. Although it involved a massive amount of fantasy, its touch of reality can never be denied. The narrative flowed and so did the emotions. I am truly astounded by this laconic work but broken at the same time because of its back story.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Ah. This one. It has been over a decade since I read the book and yet it still resonates in the present. It was a friend who recommended Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. It is actually the first memoir I read. This part of the author’s life was back in 1995 when he was already a successful sports columnist. Then enters his former sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz. After Morrie appeared on Nightline, Albom decided to travel to Massachusetts to pay him a visit. Professor Morrie was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We read of his decline, of how he slowly started losing agency over his body. At the same time, he started imparting his wisdom to his former student. The book and its wisdom make it one of my all-time favorite reads.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Back when Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove was making the rounds, I was one of those who were ambivalent about what it had in store. I kept encountering the book in the local bookstore but I wasn’t too keen on picking it up. I finally relented after seeing NCT 127’s Johnny show his copy of the book although it was blurred I can make out the book’s colors. Lo and behold, the book captivated me! Ove’s story will paint a smile on anyone’s face. But as heartwarming as it is, it is also heartbreaking. It is, undoubtedly, a memorable and remarkable read. Backman wrote a wonderful and heartwarming story that coaxes us to cherish everything in our lives, even the smallest things in life. It also reminds us that our small acts of kindness never go unpaid. Plus Ove reminded me of my parents and grandparents.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I have noticed that death is prevalent in young adult and children’s fiction. Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia also comes to mind; it is a good book dealing with death and grief. John Green, on the other hand, was more renowned for The Fault in Our Stars. I did like it but I prefer Looking for Alaska over its more popular sister. It is my favorite among Green’s novels. The coming-of-age novel captures the story of Miles “Pudge” Halter and the titular Alaska Young whose paths intersected in an Alabaman high school. We all know how it goes. Pudge and Alaska started falling in love with each other but just when their feelings started to blossom, tragedy struck. Alaska, haunted by guilt over the death of her mother when she was eight years old never got to recover. But despite its unhappy ending, the book was brimming with hope.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany is just one of the books that remain with you. Yes, it is not an easy read considering that it is more than 600-pages long but it was all worth it as these pages contained the story of one of the most interesting and extraordinary literary characters I have encountered. The titular Owen Meany was inspired by Gunter Grass’ Oskar Matzerath, the primary character in the Nobel Laureate’s novel, The Tin Drum. There were a lot of subjects that the book explored, from religion to war. Death and grief were also deeply embedded into the story. This interesting plethora of subjects makes the book a literary powerhouse, and also one of my all-time favorite reads. Lest I forget, I find the book rather unusual, but still interesting.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Like A Monster Calls, it was through the book’s movie adaptation that I have encountered Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. I have previously read some of Picoult’s works but My Sister’s Keeper was one of those that I was a tad ambivalent about, perhaps due to the popularity of the movie. Nevertheless, I finally read the book after watching the movie. And it was a heartbreaking one. Anna Fitzgerald was specifically conceived to act as a savior sister to her older sister, Kate, who was suffering from acute promyelocytic leukemia. There were a lot of subjects explored in the novel such as medical emancipation and the moralities and ethics connected with the birth of Anna. These are subjects that I usually don’t encounter in literature which makes the book a very interesting one.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It is no secret that I love the entire Harry Potter series, both the books and the movies. This is despite the fact that there were palpable deliberate changes made in the movie adaptations. Magic and fantasy were its strongest elements but above all, I loved the camaraderie between the three main characters: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. One subject that was prominent in the entire series was death; Harry’s story, after all, started with the death of his parents. However, death was most prevalent in the last book of the septology as the action intensifies. Harry, at one point, found himself dead. Because of the abundance of deaths in the seventh book (most prominently Severus Snape, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, and Fred Weasley) makes it the most heartbreaking. Still, rays of hope broke through the shroud of darkness created by Tom Marvolo Riddle.