I have multiple books that I'm avoiding at the moment, but the big two are Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife and I am Malala. For some reason I'm in the mood where I just can't manage to read something sad. The recent Harry Potter reread managed to get me tearful, but then I'd also totally forgotten how emotional the Potter books are, and how much those kids and adults go through.
I have to be in just the right frame of mind to manage nonfiction dealing with suffering and injustice. Especially stories where justice does not triumph and good people (and especially children) suffer, and I know that these are events that actually happened. So that there's no way of telling myself it's "only" fiction, and no one really died. At least when I read Malala's story I'll know that no matter what she goes through, she gets a happy ending (at least currently, though not in her home country). The author of Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, Sushmita Bandyopadhyay, doesn't get a happy ending - because she died. In fact the main reason I'm reading Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife is because Bandyopadhyay went through so much to tell her story that I felt that was the one thing I could do honor her memory other than just feel sad about it. (It still seems wrong that it was so hard to track down her book to purchase - I'm still wondering if there's a story behind that distribution problem.)
I know that in real life people do suffer and die. But for some reason, it's harder for me to read such stories at certain times more than others. Somehow even if the end is happy, it doesn't mean it's any easier for me to read through the sadder parts, and it's those sadder parts I'll dwell on. That is, if I'm not in the right Reading A Difficult Book mood. It's something I have to psych myself up for. And these aren't the first books to make me feel the need to set them aside until I'm ready - another such book was The Plutonium Files. (Short version, medical testing without patient consent.)
So I'm looking at both of those books and as much as I want to read them, at the moment I'm reading other, less emotional works. Part of me thinks I'm kind of silly about reading this way, but at the same time, these are the sorts of stories that really should make you feel strongly about something. We'll see if I can't manage either them in a few more weeks.