Monday, April 2, 2018

Nine Characters I Liked From Books I Didn't

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Even in a book that's long and boring or has terrible people in it, there's often that one character who sticks out in a positive way. Here are some books I didn't care for and the characters in them that I liked.

1. The Wife of Bath (from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer)
I think she's probably everyone's favorite character in this book with way too many long and boring stories. She's not exactly a feminist icon by today's standards, but for a book from the 1400s written by a dude, she's a pretty self-actualized female character.

2. A-Through-L (from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente)
Don't hate me, but I couldn't get into this book. My favorite part was this character, a wyvern who thinks his father was a library. (I honestly don't remember if I liked the character himself or just the idea of him.)

3. Naomi (from Leviathan Wakes by S.A. Corey)
I wish Naomi had been one of the narrators of this book instead of the two assholes who actually narrated it. Then we would have gotten more of her self-confident leadership and less rhapsodizing about her boobs and how cute she is when she's angry.

4. Ruth Connor (from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold)
I actually liked this book until it turned into a bizarre trashfire at the 90% mark. But the only character whose choices didn't eventually irritate me was Ruth, who devotes her life to the legacies of the dead.

5. Darren (from None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio)
Even though he's a painfully stereotypical love interest, he's just about the only character in this book who doesn't say horribly offensive things at one point or another.

6. Betsy (from A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline)
Most of this book was about how sad and miserable the main character was because she was disabled. The bright spot was her friend Betsy, who was bursting with joy at all times and just wanted to bring happiness to everyone around her.

7. Aliena (from The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett)
I could not get into this book, which was long and about architecture and people being terrible to each other. It takes place in the 12th century, so it's notable that Aliena refuses to marry a nobleman just because she doesn't want to, even after he gets mad and "ruins" her, and she also manages to find her own way in the world and take care of her brother.

8. William Dobbin (from Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray)
This was another classic I couldn't get into because it was all a bunch of people being terrible. The one exception is Dobbin, who was kind of too good to be true, but he provided a nice counterpoint to all the stories out there about men stalking their true loves until they relent and marry them. He was respectful of the woman he loved and accepted that her feelings weren't mutual without being all weird about it.

9. Roberta Muldoon (from The World According to Garp by John Irving)
Roberta was the most well-adjusted person in a group of characters with weird neuroses, poor life decisions, and hang-ups about sex. Although she was the butt of several jokes as a transwoman in a book from the '70s, she herself was unfazed by just about everything and therefore was the rock that the other characters looked to for support and stability.

Which characters made bad books better for you?

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Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Einstein Never Used Flashcards and The Three Musketeers
Five years ago I was reading: The Westing Game and Mindless Eating
Ten years ago I was reading: Going Postal

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