The first page of the Handmaid's Tale


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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A pile of colorful books


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.


Book cover of Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.


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!


Book cover of The World Made Straight


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!