Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett.Read about the other books on the list.
Like most of humanity, or at least the contingent I choose to consort with, I thought this novel was full of magic and incredibly provocative. Patchett uses her trademark lyrical, transcendent prose to describe, of all things, a hostage situation. Multiple perspectives expose unexpected relationships among the hostages as well as help cultivate concurrent empathy for the hostages, terrorists, and crisis negotiator. Some of the tears, I’m sure, stemmed from the fact that the book had to end.
Bel Canto is among John Mullen's ten best birthday parties in literature and Joyce Hackett's top ten musical novels.
Also see: Hallie Ephron's ten best books for a good cry.