Famous Book Characters: My Favorite Fascinating Personalities
Have you ever read a book. A really wonderfully fabulous book? And the book was so wonderfully fabulous, you immersed yourself completely in the narrative and at the conclusion of the story, you were sad to leave the famous book characters behind, and you almost felt sad? For me, that’s the hallmark of an excellent story. Characters so vivid, they are almost palpable. Stories so engrossing, they are almost impossible to step out of and back into the real world.
I love to introduce y’all to Fascinating Personalities. And I promise y’all….a great book is filled with Fascinating Personalities! Many of them are Famous Book Characters! Today, I’m going to share with you some of my all-time favorite fiction (and a couple of non-fiction) titles for your reading list! And all titles are linked to Amazon, if you’d like to get your own copy!
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Some of my Favorite Fictional and Non-Fiction Characters in Literature
I’ve always been an avid reader. Before this current season of “adulting”, I could absolutely curl up in a comfy chair and lose myself in hours of uninterrupted reading. It’s harder to find the time these days, but I keep a list of great titles mentioned by friends (Lindsley Lee and Leigh Juliano are two very trusted sources) and try to stay current with their suggestions. Below are some of my favorites…there’s many many others. So, let’s dive in!
In The Sanctuary of Outcasts
Do you love a great story about redemption in the most unlikely of circumstances….like a leper colony? In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil W. White is a personal true story memoir, and as funny as it is heart-breaking and deeply moving! Neil’s story of redemption makes him of my personal favorite famous book characters.
The Widow of the South
The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks fascinated me for several reasons. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and during college I attended church in nearby Franklin, which back-in-the-day was a quaint undeveloped town about 15 minutes outside of Nashville, and the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. In this novel, Carrie McGavock is an old woman who tends the graves of the almost 1,500 soldiers buried on her plantation following the Battle of Franklin, and while the story is fiction, the harsh reality of war is vividly expressed in this book. To see the real setting of this post, click here to read my Blog Post about Franklin, Tennessee.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Thanks to Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale is all the rage….and I think the series really does justice to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. But two other Atwood novels that are equally fabulous: The Robber Bride and Cat’s Eye. In each of these books, Atwood explores the nuances of the relationships between women, how we help each other, how we hurt each other, what makes us vulnerable, and what makes us stronger than we ever imagined. The female characters, certainly Offred, are all famous book characters.
Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.
Do you love the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Then you MUST read Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. by Sam Wasson. This book gives context to the underlying themes in the film, namely publicly exhibited sexuality, what does it mean to be an independent woman, subtly illustrated by an unconventional call-girl seudo-heroine, played in the film by America’s sweetheart Audrey Hepburn.
The Devil in the White City
On the totally opposite end of the spectrum is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Non-fiction that reads like a novel, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago is brought to life, while the serial killer H. H. Holmes brings death. Read this one with the lights on!
The Crimson Petal and the White
Set in Victorian England, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Fabor juxtaposes Agnes and Sugar….one woman the ideal high society wife, and the other a prostitute. Their lives become entangled, and the outcome is so unbeleivable….I’m gonna have to re-read this book right away. It’s sooooo good! These characters are in my Hall-of-Fame for Famous Book Characters!
The World Made Straight and One Foot in Eden
And finally….my favorite among this list: The World Made Straight by Ron Rash. This was a tough decision, because I also LOVE another of his novels One Foot in Eden. In both cases, the characters are part hillbilly, part saint, part devil, and all find themselves in impossible situations, mainly due to their own bad choices and fundamental character flaws, resulting in terrible and heart-wrenching conclusions. Difficult to read, and impossible to forget these fascinating personalities!
So, dear readers….I need to EXPAND my reading list! Please COMMENT below and let all of us know your favorites! Happy exploration via reading, y’all!!!!
P.S. For those of you who know my darling husband Will…he was SO excited when I told him about this Blog post…and he called me about 40 times while I was writing to offer his suggestions, as he is a voracious reader! BUT…..I strongly believe in only writing about what I actually know or have experienced, or in this case read. So….clearly….you should check out this post for his favorite books about NYC!
These are all going on my reading “wish list’. If you haven’t read In The Garden of Beasts by Larson, I highly recommend that you pick it up. I loved Devil in the White City, but thought “Beasts was outstanding. In that vein, I tend to find an author and then read everything by them. Here’s some favorite authors and my personal favorite of their works. If they are on this list they have multiple books to offer.
Isabel Allende, The Japanese Lover
Judy Blume, In the Unlikely Event
Tracy Chevalier, The Last Runaway
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
Sara Gruen, At the Water’s Edge
Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
Tilar J. Mazzeo, The Hotel on Place Vendome
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and leave YOUR favorites! Adding these to my list right now! Happy New Year, and thank you for following my Blog!
So many books, so little time. I will add your suggestions to my wish list on Amazon. I tend to gravitate toward books about strong women who endured the hardships and challenges presented to them in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
–Love Is a Wild Assault by Elithe Hamilton Kirkland, a Texas writer.
–Nothing Daunted, The unexpected Eduction of Two Society Girls in the West by
–Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
There are many others. I’ve read so many books about women who survived the Holocaust that I cannot remember specific titles other than Lilac Girls, which I am currently reading.
My very favorite book of all time is Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, my favorite author. How the title (an engineering term) relates to the story line, the main character, and the narrator is brilliant.
Keep up your interesting blog, Curious Cowgirl. I enjoy it.
Sandra, I LOVE you! Thank you for your kind compliment! I’m having fun!!! And your suggestions are brilliant! Many thanks for taking the time to share them!!! xoxo!
My favorite book of alll time is also Wallace Stegner- Crossing to Safety- a beautiful story of two couples who befriend one another at University of Wisconsin where both husbands are working as professors. It is just fabulous and I’ve re-read it many times! After reading your comment, I want to re-read Angle of Repose too!
LOVE this suggestion Sara! Thank you!!!!
I have to add a HUZZAH to this one too! Sara recommended Crossing to Safety to me almost 2 decades ago. I bought it immediately so it could sit undisturbed on my bedside table for a of couple years. But then I picked it up . . . . and discovered I could not put it back down. And, like Sara, have reread it several times. Beautiful.
HAHAHAHA! I have a similar bedside table….it’s like a tiny horizontal library! 😉 Can’t wait to read Crossing to Safety!!!! Happy New Year friend!!!
Great post. I 100% agree that there’s nothing like discovering a great new book!!!
Love this post Mary! I’ve added several titles to my “Read in 2018” list including “The Widow of the South.” I’ll add my current favorites (current = read over the holidays) “A Man Called Ove” and “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry” — both quick, satisfying reads that have given me characters that will live on in my head for a long time. xo
Leigh, I can’t thank you enough for adding to the list! See…..this is why I mentioned you in the post. You always have GREAT suggestions. thank you for being my Social Media Book Club President!!! xoxo!
My sweet Mary, I remember long, long ago when you told me that Margaret Atwood was your favorite author. While I’m sure that your “favorite” has ebbed and flowed over the years, I was glad to see her on your list and I think of you every time I read her books. I think you were in grad school at the time! Love your suggestions and can’t wait to read them. A recent read that I recommend is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Beautiful and heartbreaking story. Read on my friend. 😘
Nancy! Thank you so much for your comment!!! I’m so glad you have enjoyed Margaret Atwood too! I’ve had several folks recommend All the Light…it’s on my list now! Happy New Year friend!!!!