,

Suicide

Books about suicide, with suicide in the title, or in which a character kills (or tries to kill) themself—but not books by writers who committed suicide; there is another list for that already.

Résumé

"Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live."

—Dorothy Parker (1925)
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664 books · 507 voters · list created December 15th, 2009 by Phillip Edwards (votes) .
149 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Phillip 4935 books
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Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Adam (new)

Adam Um, what if the character almost commits suicude but dosent??? Can i vote? Its called Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson- great book.


message 2: by Phillip (last edited Dec 14, 2009 07:32PM) (new)

Phillip Edwards Funny you should ask that, I was just about to change the wording to include attempted suicide as well. Feel free to add it.


message 3: by Thom (last edited Dec 15, 2009 04:54AM) (new)

Thom Dunn Phillip wrote: "Funny you should ask that, I was just about to change the wording to include attempted suicide as well. Feel free to add it."

Dear Philip, I want to add non-fiction accounts of families struck by suicide and popular non-fiction about suicide in general. Should I put such here or start another list ? Excellent list topic, BTW, --Thom


message 4: by Phillip (last edited Dec 15, 2009 11:48AM) (new)

Phillip Edwards Non-fiction is fine - I'd already put Camus on the list, and your message reminded me of The Scent of Dried Roses by Tim Lott. I'll be interested to see what other books there are in that vein.


message 5: by Harold (new)

Harold Griffin Curious why Gatsby is such a run-away popular choice. I recall that Myrtle's husband killed himself at the very end, but was there any other discussion of suicide that my fossilized mind can't recall? It's hard for me even to think of Gatsby as a book involving suicide in any significant way, though in fact a suicide of a relatively minor character occurred.


message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Edwards I originally meant to stipulate the suicide of a major character, but then again the actions of minor characters can have a major effect (e.g. Little Father Time in Jude the Obscure) and Myrtle's husband does kill Gatsby before shooting himself which is a fairly significant plot development...but there are better candidates for the top spot for sure.


message 7: by Reese (new)

Reese Phillip wrote: "I originally meant to stipulate the suicide of a major character, but then again the actions of minor characters can have a major effect (e.g. Little Father Time in Jude the Obscure) and Myrtle's h..."

You make a good case, Phillip, for the view that the impact of what we label "minor" can be major. Like you, though, I think GATSBY certainly doesn't belong at the top of this list. The climactic event, Gatsby's murder, does not derive its significance from the murderer's suicide; nor is the importance of Gatsby's death increased one bit by Myrtle's husband's suicide. The fact that you, Harold, and I are all referring to the character who committed suicide as Myrtle's husband indicates how easily forgotten his life and death are. In saying this, I'm not suggesting that his suicide is of no significance; it has importance because it extends the long list of miserable experiences and losses
caused by the Buchanans' selfishness and "carelessness."

I didn't give THE GREAT GATSBY a spot on my list because I didn't want to increase the likelihood that it would wind up #1. It is, I believe, in the #1 spot because it offers a great story, because it is a revered book, because it contains beautiful prose, and because it is literature that does not have to be explained to be appreciated. But if we want to contemplate the causes and effects of suicide or feel the pain of a character who considers or commits suicide, GATSBY is not the book that we pull off of the shelf.


message 8: by Jc11king (new)

Jc11king Sorry, but nobody commits suicide in the Shawshank Redemption.

Maybe in the movie, but not in the novella


message 9: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl There's a book I could add, but I don't want to create spoilers for people who haven't read it. Oh well...


message 10: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl The Sorrows of Young Werther should be #1 on the list as it is not only about suicide, but is one of the ur-novels about suicide, and caused some suicides !


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