TTT: Books with Characters who Read

TTTI kind of disliked the openness of this question. I already have to pick my 10 choices, now you’re making me decide on the subject matter, too? It was too wide open—it could be anything. That felt more than a little daunting, so I pulled it back in to the subject matter at hand: books.

Behold, a list of 10 books with characters who read…

The Book Thief. An obvious choice, perhaps, but an excellent one. Liesel’s passion for reading, for exploring worlds beyond the terrifyingly violent one she’s in, was the entire reason I picked up this book in the first place.

I Capture the Castle. Cassandra is well-versed in poetry and literature, and because of this comes across beautifully in her writing. She even politely reads Stephen’s plagiarised and terrible original poetry, and doesn’t hate a word of it.

The Girl with All the Gifts. Melanie is a very clever 10-year-old girl who enjoys learning. She particularly likes read Greek mythology, drawing parallels and blending them with her imagination and the world around her.

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Technically not a character, as this is Lewis Buzbee’s memoir from a life spent working in bookshops and the publishing industry, but still. His bookish thoughts, observations and tales are wonderful.

The Book of Lost Things. After the death of his mother, 12-year-old David retreats into the world of books and stories, fantasy and imagination. Then his retreat manifests, trapping him in a world of fantasy. But does he want to get out?

Fahrenheit 451. Okay, so technically Guy doesn’t read the books he saves and secrets away, but it’s more the act and meaning behind his actions; the idea that books are powerful, that gets this book on the list.

The Art of Fielding. I guess both Owen and Guert count as characters who love books, but Guert is the only one of the two that I loved. He was perfect in his imperfection, flawless in his flawness. He loved books, his daughter, his lover, his school—all without reservation.

Breakfast of Champions. This is the book I am currently reading, It is witty and insightful and weird and I love it. Kilgore writes bizarre science fiction, the single copies of which he sends out in the hopes of getting published. The only place his stories end up are as filler for porn magazines, which he then buys in order to re-read his own work.

Walking on Glass. This is an odd, but very good, book. It focuses of three story lines, one centring around Steven, who believes he is trapped on Earth following his role in a galactic war. He reads science fiction in the hope of finding clues and messages.

Looking for Alaska. This book was a solid average for me: not bad, but not amazing. Alaska was a fascinating character, though. I can picture her room, piled with books, and it is wonderful. Of course, the fact that she never gets to read them all… less so.

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Looking for Alaska

lookingforakTitle: Looking for Alaska.

Author: John Green.

Summary: Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up – and utterly fascinating. Miles Halter could not be more in love with her. But when tragedy strikes, Miles discovers the value and the pain of living and loving unconditionally.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.5/5

Review: I decided to pick up a John Green book after watching several of his youtube videos and finding him to be a very intelligent and articulate person. So, despite the fact his books are quoted on tumblr like scripture by teenagers, i chose to read one. And, as is my wont, i began chronologically.

As far as i am aware, i had come across no spoilers for this book, but i somehow knew what was going to happen, knew that Alaska was a person and knew what the ‘looking’ was eluding to.

The front cover, blurb and back cover quote, in my opinion, do nothing for the book. If i had not already decided i wanted to read this book, nothing about the book itself would have compelled me to. It looks and sounds immature and awfully clichéd. (Thankfully) a perfect example of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ (or blurb or quotes).

I liked the chapter and book divisions; X Days Before/X Days After. The ‘before’ half of the book was, for me, the weaker half. It was the “normal” half. Boy makes friends, meets girls, enjoys life… It was very well written, made me laugh often and was enjoyable to read, but wasn’t overly thrilling or the kind of genre i usually like to read.

The ‘after’ half is what makes the book. The first half was just a very long prelude, in comparison. The first half sets the scene and the characters, the second half truly explores them. The second half is when i really began to care, about the characters and the situation they find themselves in.

There are, as tumblr can attest, plenty of quote-worthy one liners in this book, but the real meaning behind them is lost without the context of the story. Similarly with Pudge’s last words obsession; he often recounts the situation of the person’s death in order to give their last words their true meaning.

Although teetering oh so close to the “normal” fiction which i avoid vehemently, John Green’s writing is very compelling. Regardless of the subject matter, he makes reading it interesting. I plan on reading at least one more of his books, at some point, before deciding if the tumblr masses are crazily over-obsessed teenagers, or averagely-obsessed teenagers with good taste.