Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a meme from The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's question is "What are your Top Ten Favorite Book Characters"?

1.  Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is an all-time favorite character for me.  I've read and reread this novel countless times, and Janie is just captivating for me.  Her journey is a search for love and a search for self.  Another character I love in this novel is Tea Cake, who is a guitar-playing, life-loving and vivid character.
2.  July Montgomery is a character I just met--I was enthralled by Rock Island Line by David Rhodes, and largely because of the character of July.  Rhodes includes July in Driftless, which I am currently reading.
3.  Owen Meany from John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany--who could forget this fateful boy with the squeaky voice?
4. I tried to read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky three times--it was like trying to quit smoking; the third try finally took!  Once I finally was in this novel's thrall, I fell in love with Raskolnikov.  Yes, I know, we always go for the bad boy.  Sorry nice guys!
5.  Tom Joad from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is a character who has stayed with me.  The Grapes of Wrath is an extraordinary novel, and Tom Joad is an extraordinary, ordinary man.
6.  If I have to pick a favorite novel--and please don't ask me to do this--I always fall back on Middlemarch, which has everything I love in a novel.  Dorothea Brooke, George Eliot's female hero, is a character I know as well as anyone in real life, and maybe a little better. She is earnest and moral, and wants to do the right thing--it just takes her most of the novel to figure out what that is and why.  I know this is cheating, but I can't resist adding the character of Caleb Garth, the quintessential good man.
7.  Anthony Trollope is one of my favorite novelists, and his woman characters are evidence of his sensitivity to the problem of women of the Victorian age--how should they live?  Within the constraints of their society, Trollope's female characters have moral complexity and live intentional lives.  There are so many wonderful female characters in Trollope, but I'm going to choose Alice Vavasor from Can You Forgive Her?
8.  Jane, Jane, Jane.  Jane Eyre, the plain orphan who becomes the salvation of her morally damaged employer and love, is an unforgettable character who can't be left off this list.  Charlotte Bronte is my favorite of the writing sisters, and Jane Eyre continues to be one of my favorite novels of all time.
9.  Richard Wright is the main character in the autobiographical Black Boy.  I've written in this space before about why Black Boy is one of my favorite books, and I'll simply urge anyone who hasn't yet read this American classic to drop everything you are doing and read this book.
10.  How did I get to ten already?  No fair.  Sigh.  Okay, this might be predictable, but I have to include Scout on this list.  Yes, Atticus is a great character:  he's the man we'd all like to be (I always want to be the guy, unless the girl is guy-like).  Atticus is the father we'd all love to have (my Dad was pretty Atticus-like).  But To Kill a Mockingbird is written in the voice of Scout, Harper Lee's work of genius.  To Kill a Mockingbird abounds with great characters, and Boo Radley, Dill, and even minor characters like Dolph are all unforgettable.

What are your Top Ten Favorite Characters?  If you want to join this meme, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your post to the link.


Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

What a great list!! I LOVED Jane Eyre!!

Daisy said...

How could I have left Jane out?? I knew when I was making the list there'd bound to be some I would later on regret not adding...

Rummanah Aasi said...

This is really hard. From the classics, in no particular order:

1. Heathcliffe from "Wuthering Heights"

2. Nick Carraway from "The Great Gatsby"

3. Holden Caulfield from "Catcher in the Rye"

4. Ophelia from "Hamlet"

5. Beatrice from "Much Ado about Nothing"

6. Tess from "Tess of the D'uberville"

7. Jean Valjean from "Les Miserables"

8. Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice"

9. Elizabeth Bennett from "Pride and Prejudice"

10. Jo from "Little Women"

bibliophiliac said...

@Coffee & a Book-Jane Eyre is eminently lovable!
@Daisy-that's the danger of lists--I could have made a list with 10 more, but top twenty is just too easy!
@Rummanah-your list is great-every character on that list came to mind as I was making my list!

Anonymous said...

Jane Eyre is on my Nook waiting to be read...I know...very bad. I did consider putting Janie and Scout on my list, but its been a long time since I have read those and I want to re-read first before I talk about them. Great post and have a good day!

Danielle @ everylastpage.blogspot.com

Stuck Between The Pages said...

Great list!! I must be the ONLY person in the WORLD who didn't enjoy To Kill A Mockingbird.. =/

Stephanie said...

This is a fun meme -- I really like your list. Jane Eyre is one of my favorites too.


Rummanah Aasi said...

@Stuck: No, you're not. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read it either. Unlike most people, I didn't have to read it for school. It's on my pile to read!

Julie said...

You've also shared a fantastic top ten list! I really loved this question and had fun with this meme.
I also love Jane, an amazing classic! I remember Janie and Scout too. My cousin has recommened A Prayer for Owen Meany to me before. Perhaps, I'll get to reading it a bit sooner now that you've mentioned it. :)

Anonymous said...

Owen Meany!I love him - one of my all-time favorites, as is Garp. I don't know what happened to John Irving in his more recent novels, but his early ones had THE BEST, quirkiest characters.