Sunday, November 12, 2017

Controversy in Fiction: Feminism and Female Characters

Welcome back to my mini-series, Controversy in Fiction. Each post can be read separately and in no particular order, as each one explores a different topic. This time last year, I posted on Feminism and Female Authors, and today, I’m here to continue the discussion, addressing issues that I didn’t review before.

Part 1 Summary:* Is feminism necessary within fiction? Some female authors still use pseudonyms today to help their books sell better (or to preserve their identities). Most classical writers are males, but most YA fiction today is written by women. Both genders fall into stereotypes. The world of fiction has come a long way over the centuries, progressing in equal representation between men and women.

But what is feminism today? And how does it apply to fiction, particularly to female characters?

* I would like to add to part 1: Female writers may be more numerous than they were in history, but they tend to receive more criticism than male authors. I follow lots of authors on Twitter, and one co-wrote a book with another author—one author was male, one female. They conducted an experiment where he took on her e-mails for a week and can confirm that all the negativity for the book was solely directed at the female writer. This bias needs to stop.



Disclaimer: This post may contain controversial opinions that are not necessarily the same as those of readers. While I have done my best to avoid stereotypes, some of my points are generalizations and may not apply to every situation and person. I have done my best to write objectively and mean no offense.

What is feminism?



Feminism (noun): 1) the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. 2) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women. (Dictionary.com)

Going by the dictionary definition alone doesn’t sound like something so controversial. But words are often more than their mere definitions, so I’ll give a brief overview of the waves of feminism in the United States:

1st Wave Feminism (Late 1800s, Early 1900s)

Emphasis on empowering women in politics, particularly allowing women the right to vote (suffrage).

2nd Wave Feminism (1960s-1990s)

Emphasis on anti-sexualization of women and anti-“oppressive” female objects (e.g. bras).

3rd Wave Feminism (Mid-1990s-Present)

Emphasis on typical “feminine” beauty and intelligence. Draws from Postmodernism.

4th Wave Feminism (Present)

Mostly undefined but current transition from 3rd Wave. Emphasis on gender equality and inclusion of women and men.

Please take into consideration that the above summaries are greatly simplified. Any mistakes are my own. For further reading on the waves of feminism, check out Martha Rampton’s “Four Waves of Feminism”.

How does feminism apply to fiction?


There are many ways. In historical fiction, you might have female characters who dream of taking on jobs that are not considered feminine or who advocates for women’s rights. In science fiction, you might have a revolutionary or a warrior who fights alongside her brothers in arms.

Feminism in fiction can relate the progression of women’s rights in history and it can empower female readers today.

Of course, constantly reading stories with male-dominant societies can be annoying, even for feminists. Readers don’t just want stories about the way the world is, they also want stories about the way the world can be. That isn’t to say that all stories have to be utopias, but they don’t all have to reflect a patriarchal society. On the other hand, writers should consider that a matriarchal society is not simply replacing the male characters with female ones. 

What’s the big deal with the Strong Female Character trope?


If any of this sounds familiar, it is. I briefly touched on Strong Female Characters in my last post on feminism in fiction, but here I’m going to go more in depth.

One misconception about strong female characters is that they all have to be not just equal to men but better than them, in brains and physical strength. And in this sense, nothing about gender stereotypes has changed. Not really. Instead of the women being classified as weak, now men are classified as stupid.

This misconception is really annoying.

Not only is it hard to relate to a Strong Female Character with all the emotional range of a teaspoon, but it’s also hard to admire a girl who can only lead a revolution. Drat, you mean I have to be able to lead a revolution in order to be admirable? Forget that. I’m going back to my garden to read a book! Never mind that it’s freezing outside…

Females can be physically strong, yes, but not all Strong Female Characters have to be. Many types of strength exist—physical, mental, spiritual, you name it.


Some great examples of Strong Female Characters include but are not limited to Valka from Among the Red Stars, Maerad from The Books of Pellinor, basically any of the women in Code Name Verity, Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic, Mimi from Full Cicada Moon, Amani from Rebel of the Sands, Dri from The Remnants trilogy, and Puck from The Scorpio Races.

Let’s chat! Where do you stand on feminism and fiction? Who’s your favorite strong female character? Do you think gender discrimination is a problem that still needs to be addressed in the publishing industry and the world of fiction?

***



Literary references: Gwen C. Katz’s Among the Red Stars, Alison Croggon’s The Books of Pellinor, Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, Marilyn Hilton’s Full Cicada Moon, Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands, Lisa T. Bergren’s The Remnants trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Poem: Lost as a Leaf

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a loop? Like your routine stays the same day after day while everybody else seems to be passing you by? Maybe you’re a student who feels like you’ll never be done turning in homework. Maybe you have a job and life seems like it’s the same from one day to the next. 

Sometimes I get such feelings.

I can’t say my life has ever been normal let alone boring. I haven’t lived in the same house for more than three years. But I still find similar routines popping up while it seems like most of my friends are progressing. Friends of mine have gotten engaged. Others have gotten married. Some of my friends have even gotten their dream jobs. And here I am still in school.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining. It’s just the way my life is for now. I’m in that loop of uncertainty. I keep finding myself confronted by that pestering question “What happens next?” Perhaps it’s a question that will never leave me, and that’s all right. I’m learning to live with the uncertainty. The following poem is a mix of life’s uncertainty mixed with inspiration from autumn imagery.

Here’s to the soon-to-be and recent graduates looking for a job. Here’s to the high schoolers wondering whether or not they want to go to college. Here’s to those confronted with a career change. Here’s to the Lost.

If you find yourself asking “What Now?”, this poem is for you.


[Lost as a leaf]

Lost as a leaf in the rivulet
scattered from schools of branches—
first sprung from seeds of imagination,
then grown in the hills of the mind
until creativity drifts down
                        down
            down
down to the stream,
caught in the current
spun round in the whirlpool,
in the gorge while the rest of the leaves
pass by—
in shades of orange,
in lights of gray—
from dust to dust,
lest you take hold,
shall fade away.

***

Let’s chat! What season inspires you the most? Do you ever find yourself facing uncertainties in your life? What kind?


Similar poems: Magpie, Pile of Words, and Shadows

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: Full Cicada Moon

Book: Full Cicada Moon by Marylin Hilton
Genre: Middle grade (MG), historical fiction, poetry
Awards: Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Children (2015)
My rating: 5/5 stars
One-word description: Inspirational



If somebody said they didn’t understand poetry, I would hand them this book. Beautifully written with unique imagery, Hilton paints a world that not only speaks to the mind but touches the heart.

While I was struggling through two other fairly boring books, wondering if any story could ever get better, it did. I put the other books down and picked up Full Cicada Moon. Wow, am I glad I did! An okay book, I may finish in a week or two. An excellent book takes a day or less. I’m pretty sure I finished this one in a couple of hours.

And man, can Hilton write! Not even one-hundred pages into the book, I had to stop and tell my mom she had to read it.

          “On this clear and moonless night,
          Mama and I wrap up in our winter clothes
          and go outside to watch and listen.
          The trees beyond our backyard from a torn-paper line
          between the snow and this sky
          filled with stars.”


You had me at snow and stars.

This book is about beauty and standing up for your dreams and making friends and culture. Not to spoil too much, I shan't delve too much further into the themes.  

          “I am
          half Mama,
          half Papa,
          and all me.”

Daughter of a Japanese immigrant and an African-American, Mimi doesn’t exactly fit in her new town in Vermont. If you’re looking for a book on diversity and what it means to truly be an American, Full Cicada Moon is it.

I even got goosebumps reading about the part where Mimi and her family were watching the Apollo 11 Mission, particularly when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. I can’t remember the last time a poem gave me goose bumps. Seriously, lyrical novels are now one of my favorite things. I. Need. MORE.

This is what a book is supposed to look like.

Of course, I had to give it 5/5 stars for vivid verse, excellent characters, and powerful themes. I would recommend this book to anybody interested in historical fiction, novels in verse, and excellent stories. Now, where to get a copy…

Let’s chat! Have you read Full Cicada Moon yet? If so, what did you think? What’s on your TBR for this fall? What do you think about novels in verse? Do you have any recommendations?

***

Similar posts: The Importance of Poetry and Book Reviews: Goodbye Days and A World Without You

Enjoy lyrical novels? You might enjoy Saving Red by Sonya Jones and Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.


How about middle grade novels with diverse characters? You might enjoy Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Young Fu Of The Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, and York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Why Writers Should Study Their Craft

Confession: sometimes I’m an arrogant writer. Perhaps studying for my MA in English Literature helped a bit. (It’s called a Master’s degree for a reason, right?) Perhaps it’s because I’ve written eight novel-length manuscripts, not counting Last of the Memory Keepers. But if there’s one method for humility that works great for writers, it’s giving your story to somebody else for honest feedback.

Last winter, I started writing a novel that I believe is my best yet. Even after several rounds of edits, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I decided to send it off to several critique partners. Their feedback was invaluable, and once, I had somebody advise me to read more and to pick up a book on writing.

“But I’ve got an MA in English Literature,” I thought. “I read blog posts on writing. And I read three books a week. What more do I need?”

Nonetheless, I picked up a book on writing. I own a couple. Why not read them? And boy, am I glad I did!


Books rock.


Seriously, though. Writers, if somebody advises you to read, why would you say no? Just do it! We write books. If you don’t take the time to read them, make time.


You don’t need a degree.


Maybe I’m not the one to advocate for this, considering I up and moved to England to learn about dragons and study swordplay study quality literature. But, it’s true. You don’t have to have your MA in English or even your BA to be a writer. I won’t tell you that you don’t even need a high school degree because that would be “irresponsible” despite the many writers who were dropouts and still managed to be successful.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a full advocate for education, and I’m a total intellectual. (I read Moby-Dick for fun, and I’m thoroughly enjoying Les Miserables.) But there is no secret ingredient to being a writer except writing. Writers can come from all vocations.

Nonetheless, effective communication is vital. And even if you have an editor, he or she should have some sense of what you’re trying to say. A bit of advice if you’re sending a story off to an editor, try to make sure your piece is as error-free as you can make it. This saves time and energy. And how else do you learn how to edit without knowing a bit of grammar and writing style?


Head and Heart.


As I mentioned, I’m a bit of an intellectual. Perhaps too much of one. After writing an essay, I have a hard time switching back to my writing voice. And often times, I struggle to convey emotions in my story. After all, I’m probably not going to stab a character write about cliffhangers in my essays.

I already knew that I can’t write an essay like I write a story. After all, professors don’t like fragments. Fiction readers. They just might.Likewise, when reading Writing the Breakout Novel, I learned that I wasn’t putting my voice into my stories nearly enough. Some of my prose was bland, to say the least.

“To set your voice free, set your words free. Set your characters free. Most important, set your heart free.” (Writing the Breakout Novel)

So… follow your heart? That’s not something they teach you in college. But I suppose you could say to an intellectual: implement your passion. What excites you to the point where you can’t sleep? What drives you? Harness that, and write about it.

I never would have figured this out if I hadn’t picked up a book on writing. Okay, maybe I would have come across a blog post eventually, but the bit of advice might not have come when I needed it. In all, I’ve found writing blog posts are a great place to start, and writing books can expand such information and help you fill in the gaps.


You never stop learning.


Need I say more? When you study your craft, you’re that much closer to perfecting it. How many people get to say that reading benefits their work? Sure, you may have to struggle through grammar at times, but there are so many, many ways to research for writing. You don’t have to read the dictionary, but make sure you read! Read books on writing. Attend a college course. Experience the world.

Quick! What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of research? What are some of your favorite books on writing? What are some of your favorite blogs for writers? (Yes, feel free to list your own!)

***



Literary references: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Controversy in Fiction: Monsters

Welcome back to my mini-series, Controversy in Fiction. Each post can be read separately and in no particular order, as each one explores a different topic. This week, for October I’ll discuss monsters. You’re welcome for the creepy picture. Do you feel tiny feet crawling up your arm?
 
I’m not much into horror books or thrillers, but I have picked up an occasional supernatural thriller. (Relax, Mom, you recommended them to me.) And let’s face it, it’s hard to read fantasy novels without running into a monster or two every now and then. As there are so many different types, I’ve decided to sort them by categories.
 
What’s so controversial about monsters, you might ask? Depending on the genre, readers might start to wonder how necessary they really are.
 
 
Disclaimer: This post may contain controversial opinions that are not necessarily the same as those of readers. I’m not here to talk about clowns, witches, or wizards. This post is strictly about non-human creatures. 
 

 

Natural Monsters

 
You don’t have to go far to find a monster in the natural world, and I’m not just talking about the spider living under your bed. (Please don’t freak out! I don’t know where the spiders live in your house.) And when I say natural, most of the monsters in this section are fictional. 
 
One particular monster that makes for some interesting stories are kelpies, a Scottish mythical creature also referred to as the water horse. Doesn’t sound familiar? The Loch Ness monster is one such beast based off kelpies. Aside from The Water Horse, I haven’t found a decent story about the Loch Ness monster. I now accepting book recommendations.
 
Another collection of monsters based off kelpies include the capaill uisce from The Scorpio Races. (And they’re making a movie! Squee!!! I can finally figure out how to pronounce that name.) Now the capaill uisce aren’t playful like the water horse. If anything, they will eat you. And your sheep. And your parents. How exactly does that make The Scorpio Races such an appealing story? Well, um… it doesn’t. But the terrifying nature of the water horses is such a great metaphor for the ocean. Usually it’s described as peaceful, but oftentimes people forget how dangerous it can be. (Writers, check out Writing about the Ocean.)
 
Another good example of a natural type is the monster from A Monster Calls. Literally, that’s what it’s called—the monster. (Maybe it’s not as original of a name as the capaill uisce, but at least I can spell monster!) While most parents wouldn’t want their kids reading a book about monsters, this one is part narrative, part graphic novel. And it’s not just about a creepy tree, it’s about grief and truth and stories.
 
Arguably, the monster from this book could fall under supernatural monsters, but I have listed him under natural monsters 1) because he is the embodiment of a yew tree and 2) because he does not have many the spiritual connotations aside from grief.
 
You could probably add dragons to this list. Then there’s the debate of which is the real monster—the animal or the human. Most people will go with the human.
 
 

Monsters Made from Experiments

 
Here we start delving more into the darker side of fiction. But I think we can all agree that experimentation to create monsters never ends well.
 
In Frankenstein, the novel’s namesake brings to life a being which he refers to as the Creature or the Monster. Yes, the creature is ugly, but aside from his ugly appearance, he’s not monstrous. Not at first. This book, I’d say is the poor results of what happens when one is called a monster too often—that’s what they become.
 
Yes, arguably, you could say the monster in this book came from a human, or multiple humans, but I have labeled him under experiments as he was not made of his own consent.
 
However, there are experiments that truly are monstrous. Take the mutts in The Hunger Games for example. In the film, they were just mutations bent on killing. In the book, they were made from the bodies of the slain tributes. That’s right. Rue was among them. Talk about creepy.
 
 

Monsters from Humans (or Elves, Hobbits, etc…)

 
Not to be confused with monsters made from experiments, monsters that come from humans or other sentient beings tend to be a willing participant in their change. Of course, there’s going to be some overlap, so feel free to debate my categorization.
 
In The Lord of the Rings, the orcs were once elves, twisted by the darkness. And the Uruk-hai were descended from orcs and trolls. (Yes, I’m going from the movies because I’ve seen them a million times. If you’ve studied the books closer than I have, correct me if I’m wrong.)
 
My main problem with the LotR has always been with the orcs and the Uruk-hai. Sure, the story needs a source of villainy, but can a creature be truly born evil? Spiders aren’t evil. (Though some Tolkien fans might argue differently.) They’re actually beneficial. Likewise, while people can come from horrible backgrounds, that doesn’t mean they all turn out bad.
 
 

Supernatural Monsters

 

Not to be confused with the show Supernatural. I’ve never seen it, and honestly, I never plan to. For me, this category is the most disturbing of all. They don’t just affect the body, but the soul.
 
One particular duology my sister is obsessed with is the Monsters of Verity. The first book, This Savage Song, is filled with three monsters, the Corsai, the Malachai, and the Sunai. And one of the main characters, August, is Sunai who just wants to be human. While the first book is dark, the second book Our Dark Duet is even more so. Though I may not agree with all views in the book, it is an interesting exploration of what it means to be human and what it means to be a “sinner”.
 
But the monsters don’t stop there.
 
Even at age seventeen, the dementors from the Harry Potter series creeped me out. There’s no way I could have read that book when I was thirteen.
 
Perhaps the most terrifying of all fictional monsters was Tash from The Last Battle. When I was a kid, my family and I liked to listen to the radio drama versions of the Chronicles of Narnia. One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to listen to music on my MP3 player. Unfortunately, it was on shuffle, and I just so happened to wake up to the scene where Tash came in. Listening to that part during the day is creepy enough. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.
 
Do monsters belong in fiction? I’d have to say, yes. Often, creatures may point out the monstrous in ourselves. The main concern is the level of fascination. How does one read about monsters without becoming obsessed them? Like with any fiction, some discernment is required. Before you hand a book off to a child or friend, know their maturity levels. And don’t be afraid to talk about the book’s content.
 
Again, these categories are not definitive. After all, how would you classify werewolves, and are they animal or humanoid? Often when it comes to monsters and fantasy, they blend the familiar into something entirely new. For a good example of a book that attempts to classify animals in a particular fantasy world Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a good example.
 
Looking for more monstrous books? Other monsters not mentioned in this post include, but are not limited to the Fae in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (long but worth it, historical fantasy), the yellow spotted lizards in Holes (not a creepy book, MG contemporary), Grievers in The Maze Runner (semi-creepy, YA dystopian), the Satan and his demons from Paradise Lost (classic literature, poetry), the demons from This Present Darkness (supernatural thriller), and the Sheolites from The Remnants trilogy (YA dystopian/fantasy).
 
Let’s chat! Which is your favorite monster from fiction? Are there any I left out? What’s your take on monsters? 
 
***
 
 
Film references: The Water Horse, The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings, and Supernatural.
 
Literary references: Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races, Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, C. S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Louis Sachar’s Holes, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Frank E. Peretti’s This Present Darkness, and Lisa T. Bergren’s The Remnants trilogy.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Poem: Ether

Truth: I have favorites among my own poems. This is one of them. I’ve been saving this one for a rainy day. (Read: when I’m so busy editing that I haven’t had energy to write poetry.) As it is raining as I type, and as this poem relates to weather and bright colors, I thought it fitting. Yet while this may be a poem about gray skies, it is not necessarily about autumn. It could apply to any season, really.

“That’s why Camilla and I got married,” said Denniston as they drove off. “We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It’s a useful taste if one lives in England.” (That Hideous Strength)

I wrote this piece while I was studying in England. It happened to be another cloudy day. Surprise, surprise. I was sick of the clouds and desperate for sunshine. Until I sat down to write. I decided to choose a new perspective, to put a twist on the typical attitude of “gray skies are depressing”. So If you happen to be feeling down about the weather, if it’s too cold outside to feel the kiss of the sun, if it’s too wet to go for a walk, this one’s for you. Take a step back. Read a good book. Make yourself a cup of tea. And, as always, enjoy a poem.


Ether

The sky is on default—a blank slate, a whiteboard—
What will you write? A sonnet of romance—
of the enchanted way the petals of water kiss your face?
Or a sarcastic comment on how horrid the weather is—
Bother, should have stayed inside!—damp, grey?

Before the water waltzes down, the white sky mimics
your imagination—an empty computer screen.
How will you personalize it? Set it with a picture
of a roaring waterfall in the lush Amazon?
Or a rotund retriever shaking the last bits of water away?

The red brick structures rise up like icons on your screen,
but no matter how many folders you open,
no matter how deep you go,
the blank slate will remain in the background, watching,
waiting for you to return to see its straight face.

Don’t just greet the powder blue skies and sunshine
bursting like a ripe orange—a grapefruit!—
for it’s the white canvases stretched across the earth
that holds the most potential for a painting.

***

Let’s chat! What’s your take on weather? Do you enjoy cloudy days or sunny ones? Or both? Which place, in your opinion, has the most stereotypical “dismal” weather?

Similar poemsCathedral, Shadows, and Riptide

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Character Types: The Bookworm

How do you make readers happy?

Give them books. Give them more books. Give them books with characters who like to read. Throw a gift certificate to their favorite bookstore at their face. Gift them a library card. Leave them behind in a bookstore. Lock them in a library. Give them books. Leave them alone while they’re reading the last fifty pages the whole book.

I’m sensing a pattern here…

Today, I’m here to write about the bookworm as a fictional character!


For my examples, I’ll be drawing from some of the main characters in Fahrenheit 451, the Inkworld trilogy, Anne of Green Gables, and The Book Thief. Please note that the characters in these books do not include all the fictional bookworms. Here are just a couple traits common for fictional bookworms:


1)      They tend to be counter-cultural.


Before he even discovers the joy of reading (after burning so many books), Guy Montag (Fahrenheit 451) enjoys going for walks in a world that is obsessed with speed and driving. In a world where reading is illegal, once he discovers how eye-opening reading can be, he practically gives up his life for books. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
But let’s face it, bookworms, if your house was on fire, how many of your books would you try to save?

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” (Fahrenheit 451)


Liesel Memminger (The Book Thief) first discovers her love for reading by stealing a book from a grave digger. And she continued to steal books, even saving one from a fire built by the Nazis to destroy books they didn’t agree with.

Okay, so you and I might have more ordinary bookworm origins. Perhaps your parents read to you when you were a child, your teacher introduced you to your favorite book, or you checked out a lot of books from the library. Either way, books can be eye-opening, and they teach readers to be more empathetic.


2)      They’re dreamers.


Mortimer “Mo” Folchart passed on his bookish appreciation to his daughter, Meggie. But Meggie doesn’t just want to read books. She wants to live in them. And she soon finds she gets more than she bargained for when she starts meeting characters her father once read out of a book.

“Her curiosity was too much for her [Meggie]. She felt almost as if she could hear the books whispering on the other side of the half-open door. They were promising her a thousand unknown stories, a thousand doors into worlds she had never seen before.” (Inkheart)

Like Meggie, Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) can often be found with her nose in a book or dream up stories. She even gets into trouble at school for reading Ben Hur during class, and more than once, her wild imagination gets her in trouble, whether its spraining her ankle by falling off a roof or by getting stuck in a sinking boat in the middle of a pond. But it’s still enjoyable to read about someone with such an imagination!

“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them—that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” (Anne of Green Gables)


3)      They’re easy to relate with.


Meggie Folchart carries books with her when she travels. I usually take along at least five books whenever I go anywhere—one to read, a backup in case I finish the first, my journal, a notebook for story ideas, and my Bible. Meggie carries even more, at least twelve. If that’s not admirable, I don’t know what is.

“‘What on earth have you packed in here? Bricks?’ asked Mo as he carried Meggie’s book-box out of the house.“‘You’re the one who says books have to be heavy because the whole world's inside them,’ said Meggie.” (Inkheart)

On the other hand, Anne often struggles with being stereotyped whether it is for her red hair or her talkative nature. And people misspell her name.

“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.” (Anne of Green Gables)

Dear Anne, try having my name. I’ve been called Aslan, Ashlyn, and even Ashley. How is that even remotely close to Azelyn? When you have the rare character who points out how often their name is misspelled, such as Anne, it’s easy to relate.


4)      They tend to inspire people to live better.


Except for Guy Montag. I don’t remember him being a very admirable character.
Mo, on the other hand, works as a book binder, treating his books with care and doing his best to look out for his daughter.

Likewise, Anne’s imagination may run off with her, but she taught many people in her neighborhood to love and be more accepting of the unusual. And most of all, she taught me to dream.

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” (Anne of Green Gables)

Finally, Liesel looks beyond stereotypes and her culture’s expectations and shows not only a care for books but also for people.

Other book-obsessive characters include, but are not limited to, Mr Norrell, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell; Marie-Laure, All the Light We Cannot See; Cadence, We Were Liars; Cress, The Lunar Chronicles; Kvothe, The Kingkiller Chronicles; Claus, Series of Unfortunate Events; and Aibileen, The Help.

Petition to authors: We need more male bookworms. Seriously, though. Why are most of the bookworms in fiction female? That’s not fair to all the guys in the world who like to read!

As a bookworm, I enjoy reading about bookworms. Sometimes, I even find my favorite characters giving me book recommendations.

Speaking of bookworms, the print edition of Last of the Memory Keepers is out! Be sure to add it on Goodreads and get your copy on Amazon

Let’s chat! Who are your favorite bookworms in fiction? Did I miss any? Have you ever been left behind or locked in a library or bookstore? What’s your most memorable experience as bookworm? 

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Literary references: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld trilogy, L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help