I tend to stay away from books that I know will be absolutely depressing, because I really don't like sad stories. But I read the Handmaid's Tale, and it didn't quite 'plunge me into a pit of despair' (I actually found 'The Robber Bride' more emotionally affecting). The 'sad' books I've read that stand out because of how they affected me are 1) 'Waiting' by Ha Jin; 2) 'The God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy; 3) 'Shalimar the Clown', by Salman Rushdie; 4) 'A Separate Peace', by John Knowles; 5) 'The Good Earth' by Pearl S. Buck.
'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell was pretty sad as well, actually. The movie is very different.
Recently, 'The Snow Child', by Eowyn Ivey.
As for painful reads - 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver. I never finished it.
Frustrating - 'Deathless' by Catherynne Valente
I will update with more details on each novel tomorrow.
Did some quick internet research on one of the books listed on the "books that will plunge you..." site - "The Girl Next Door", which was based on a true story. The interpretation as well as the true story are both unbelievably horrifying. The movie, "An American Crime" was also based on those same events. *shudder*
I was able to get some work done today, but was not able to finish everything I wanted to.
A Filipina lady I met the other day (staying at the same hotel) told me this morning that I "work so hard" (she's seen me working on my laptop during breakfast two days in a row). I hope I can still be considered hard-working. I worry about becoming lazy, losing focus, not being as efficient as I used to be.
No evidence of that so far... no one has criticized me at work, and I only have one project that is seriously behind schedule, but slipped deadlines are not always my fault...
I'm worried about this one project. I feel we really need to push back the date of project closure, so that we have a little room to breathe. I will email people on this tomorrow. :(
I woke up this morning right before my dream reached its climax -- I was just about to step into a Sigur Ros concert. For some reason, in my dream, Arashi was also scheduled to hold a concert in that same city, and I was thinking that they (Sigur Ros and Arashi) are somehow always linked. In real life, however, my (true) love for them is probably the only link between the two groups. :))