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The Crying Book

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,966 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Award-winning poet Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and must reckon with her own struggles with depression and the birth of her first child. How she faces her joy, grief, anxiety, impending motherhood, and conflicted truce with the world results in a moving meditation on the nature, rapture, and perils of crying―from the history of tear-catching gadg ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Catapult
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Riley Morsman If I had to guess, I would say somewhere between 30-40k (based on average number of words per page and the time it took me to read the book). But I wo…moreIf I had to guess, I would say somewhere between 30-40k (based on average number of words per page and the time it took me to read the book). But I would also like to know the actual answer to this!(less)

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 ·  1,966 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Fiction or non-fiction, I want a story. Sadly, this had none but just incomplete ones and snippets. So no.
May 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
“The Crying Book” (2020) is an interesting book of brief stories, facts and trivia written by Heather Christle--an award winning poet, she teaches creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Tears are a sign of powerlessness, a woman’s weapon. It has been a very long war.” (quote) Tears are scrutinized, judged as genuine grief or not, prompt a sympathetic response from others, raise uneasiness or discomfort, offer stress relief etc. “Cry Hustling” is a form of pretend grief. The st
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always been fascinated by the roles tears play in women’s lives. This book by the marvellous poet Heather Christel is a meditation on tears from those of children to those of mothers to those of philosophers. It touches on the shame of tears, the weaponizing of tears and so many other things. And there is a section that discusses the burial rites of dolls overseen by their young guardians that is both hilarious and deeply profound. This book will make you weepy. I loved it.
Paris (parisperusing)
“Empathy can be a hole through which one falls into despair. Tears make the ground slippery. And then what? Satisfaction for the depth of one’s feelings? If I am not myself in danger, then my imagining myself into the place of another’s suffering unnecessarily incapacitates me, makes me unable to move some small part of my day in a direction that would make other lives more possible. And at this moment, my body still working to knit itself back together, the task is not to fall apart. The task i ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, nonfic
I have many complicated feelings about this book so coming up with a rating took some deliberating. The biggest hang up I have is definitely my expectations going in. I love the idea of a book that explores crying. Crying is such a common practice for me (which, wow, doesn't make me sound very stable, but whatever I'm a watery bitch) that this book quickly became a highly anticipated release.

But here's the thing: while in theory this is everything I wanted, the execution left me wanting. This f
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
When, where, why do we cry? How is it that some are predisposed to cry little and others to weep endlessly? Why does it so often feel shameful? When does it relieve us, does it trap us in depression? Peaceful and powerful, The Crying Book is a poetic examination of the art of weeping. Poet Heather Christle meditates on tears, grief, in a graceful mourning song held together by personal experiences, scientific insight, and her most beloved—poetry. In the face of great loss, Christle’s account is ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, fall-2019
Why do we cry? How do we cry? And what does it mean? A scientific, cultural, artistic examination by a young poet on the cusp of motherhood.
Vincent Scarpa
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I say book. I mean poem. I mean the way the landscape suddenly reveals itself in layers, a vertical light shining its connective beam from one moment to the next. An entry into — an awareness of — a dimension always present. Not always seen. I think if I can keep myself alive to it, it will keep me from going under."

Nothing less than a book which recreates the terms by which one might, somehow, live.
This was a very soft read.
Jo Chang
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"It may interest you for a while to touch your swollen face, to peer into one bloodshot eye and another, but the beauty’s really in the movement, in watching your mouth try to swallow despair" (8) ...more
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i saw Heather Christle do a reading at my grad program 5-6 years ago and she mentioned she was writing a book on crying and ever since then i've periodically googled "heather christle crying book" because i wanted to read it and then FINALLY IT WAS MINE her writing is wonderful and this book is excellent 10/10 would cry again <3 <3 ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This really resonated with me. Perhaps because I’m a crier.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was not expecting the format, but I really liked how she approached the weaving together of her own experiences with detours into research and experiences of crying. Christle is a poet and that shows in this volume.

A few quotes that I had marked in the book:
"The car is a private crying area. If you see a person crying near a car, you may need to offer help. If you see a person crying inside a car, you know they are already held." (<--crying in the car is definitely my jam)

"Most crying happens
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and deeply moving. This fragmentary examination of tears expertly mixes poetic thought, science, and the author's own relationship to sadness, joy, and crying. Everyone who has ever cried should read this book. ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book is a lachrymatory for the author's tears. It's written in short bursts containing poignant memories, details and facts. Honestly, I loved this book so much I'm not sure what to say about it. ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When was the last time that you really cried, and what was the reason? Be vulnerable and transparent here with me, just like the actual act of crying. When were you so overcome with grief and moved so deeply, drowned in the oceanic water that stains our cheeks with agony, elation, or somber streaks that are proof of our tangibility. Like an old brick well russet and tanned from years in the sun suddenly overflowed and pooling from deep within our physical embodiment. When was the last time you t ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was not sure what to expect when I got this book in the mail, but all I can say is wow! I am someone who apologizes every single time I cry (even when my dad passed away) and this beautiful text validated all of the tears I cry, whether they’re from grief, happiness (some books are just too pure), frustration or anger. Thank you, Heather! You have written a winner.

I won this book through a goodreads giveaway. Thank you to catapult (Elizabeth Ireland) and Heather Christle.
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partner-requests
All my reviews live at

First, big thanks to the folks over at Catapult for sending me a finished copy of The Crying Book. Accurately described as “a dazzling meditation on tears” and “a symphonic work of nonfiction,” it is a masterpiece.

“When I am not in despair I can barely even describe it. It is a trap door in my life. A bridge to nowhere. It is only a metaphor, a line. But one I send my love across.”

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to see th
Afton Montgomery
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Crying Book is intensely meta and layered in every direction. I love nothing more than the melding of the scientific and the literary, and with this exploration of tears, Heather Christle creates just that. In short bursts that are compulsively readable, she breaks down the endlessly frustrating and artificial wall between "the academic" and "the feminine," encouraging a discomfort with her emotionality (and then encouraging a critique of that discomfort). A new go-to recommendation for anyo ...more
Chelsea Bieker
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so many things at once. Eerie in a way, with such arresting language. There were times I had to put it down and take a breath between sections. It felt like such poetry to me, but also wove this heart stopping memoir throughout. I loved this book.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those remarkable books that you can tell a great amount of effort went into, yet it feels effortless.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, nonfic, poetry
"[Sharon] tells me that on Christmas Eve, while singing with a church choir, she saw that the choir leader was moved to tears by the song's litany of infinitives. Sharon could not look at the choir leader, because to do so brought tears to her own eyes, and, as she tells me, "You can't sing and cry, you just can't."

Heather Christie's postmodern delight, *The Crying Book*, is not only an intellectual excavation of the art and science of tears but a startling amalgam of poetry, prose, musing, and
The car is a private crying area. If you see a person crying near a car, you may need to offer help. If you see a person crying inside a car, you know they are already held.
I'm really interested in the topic of crying, so when I found out a local poet (well, she used to be local, she doesn't live here anymore) was starting a project on crying, I perked up. I even sent her some suggestions on crying related literature on Twitter.

In some ways, this is a poetic essay on crying. But at the same time
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
To ‘keep it together’ is both the modern man’s responsibility and his burden. The world could be crashing around us (it is as of now), and yet a bright, cheerful, well-meaning advice would come floating in our ears—sometimes that of a concerned parent or of a loyal friend—asking us not to worry. Somehow, crying is never thought of as a legitimate solution. One seldom hears the counsel to let it all go, to not refrain from exercising those tear ducts. The act of shedding tears, relentless ones, o ...more
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Astounding, thought provoking, unlike anything I’ve ever read. This common human activity felt so alien and strange and not fully understood in this book. And it was absolutely gorgeous.
Hannah Blair
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
just wonderful, no, not just
Amy Grimm
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book reads like poetry - the author's beautifully crafted sentences require that you read them slowly, and then again. The book is about the nature of crying, its history, causes, effects - it's a long meditation as the author works through her own emotions. She has recently lost a friend to suicide, and has also given birth to her first child. She's devastated by the loss of her friend, joyful at the birth of her baby - and the baby won't stop crying, which brings despair. So many tears of ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is so beautiful.

Basically a fractured sort of lyric essay, a meandering meditation on crying. At times scientific, at times poignantly personal.

I felt it in my gut.

Well-written and touching.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was little my dad used to record onto VHS tapes my crying fits that he deemed overly dramatic and trivial, as a deterrent for temper tantrums. Later, as a terribly overly emotionally teenager and adult he would shake his head and ask me if I was crying about something real, or if it was the act of crying that I enjoyed. It's led to me being very confused when I cry at random moments about his death, about whether I'm crying from grief or performing grief.

Heather Christle, the poet and au
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poetic non-fiction/memoir hybrid ruminating on nature, philosophy, science and power of crying.
This book struck a chord with me and cracked something open within me, but at the same time (and I think this is my issue, not necessarily the book's) I wasn't really sure what it was doing. Sometimes a book can just be beautiful and thoughtful without taking you on an entire journey and I think that's what this was.
It touches on both the shame and the weaponisation of tears - particularly white wo
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Heather Christle is author of the poetry collections The Difficult Farm (2009); The Trees The Trees (2011), which won the Believer Poetry Award; What Is Amazing (2012); and Heliopause (2015). Her first work of nonfiction, The Crying Book, will be out in November 2019. A former creative writing fellow in poetry at Emory University, Christle’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Gu ...more

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