For reasons I don't fully understand, lately I find myself wanting to read novels that make me cry. For personal reasons, I'm not interested in books about cancer or abuse, but I'm open to most other subjects. So, can you recommend intelligent and well-written books that are likely to make a reader cry? Themes of lost romantic love, grief, troubled or lost friendship, or painful family relationships are all possibilities. Some authors seem emotionally manipulative, and I'm not looking for that, but I recognize that's a tough line to draw.
A while back, I read Noli Me Tángere by José Rizal, which is sort of the national novel of the Philippines. I've just borrowed The Knight in the Panther's Skin from the library, which is seen as "Georgia's national epic". What are some other national novels? (I've seen the Wikipedia national epics list, but I'd prefer novels to epics, I think, unless they are really outstanding.) If you have particular translations/editions to recommend that'd be great as well.
My taste in novels has generally tended towards the classics but lately I feel like reading some good contemporary fiction. Please recommend some recent-ish books that are well-written and well-crafted, have emotional depth and deal with human relationships in insightful and moving ways. Kazuo Ishiguro is an example of the kind of writer I'm looking for. [more inside]
I want to read fun books like what I read when I was young. [more inside]
I need a longish, interesting, well-written book (fiction) to read on an upcoming trip. Any suggestions? [more inside]
Please recommend novels whose heroines are similar to the protagonist of Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym? [more inside]