Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday Faves

Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but this week's Friday Favorite nomination is....*drumroll please*....character- driven stories.

I know what you all are thinking: Wahh, whahh.

I saw "Whatevs" to that wahh wahh.

Yes, I am just as big of a Harry Potter fan as the next. Yet--and please understand I'm not meaning to pick on HP, but it's a truly recognizable series--Harry Potter has woefully one-dimensional charaters; the whole series is driven by plot. Yes, the plot supports the thesis, and yes, the thesis is a classic one which deserves props, but still, any character-driven novel will stand above it, after the trials of time have faced it.

Characters are what make us want to know a story's ending. In ages past, our ancestors, no matter who they were or in what land they resided, sang us the histories of our forefathers in the stories of our tribes. Now I'm not about to get all hokey-pokey on you here, but the reason those stories, even the habit of telling stories, has survived is because the people within them were considered worth  remembering. This is how we came to have our heroes, our leaders, our  brethren, our songs and poems and histories.

Anywhosers, I thought I'd take a second to list some of my favorite character-driven novels, no matter how disputed. What are yours? Beware, I am particularly attached to the following books; disagree with my choices at your peril, for I shall defend them with my log off...

(in no particular order)

Song of the Lark
Tale of Two Cities (hated first chapters. Now read it at LEAST two times every year....what can I's wonderful and terrible and you have to read it)
Dharma Bums
Gone With the Wind
Anna Karennina (even though I still feel like I'm missing parts. Do I just not get certain aspects of Russian culture? Possibly? Probably...)
Pride and Prejudice
Heart of Darkness (hated it the first two reads; in love with it ever since)
Bananna Rose (hated it the first few chapters, loved it ever since)

I realize that these may be more or less character-driven to other readers than they are to me, but therein lies the beauty: These are all beautiful works, no matter how you look at them, because the people within them are so awesomely real. My opinion is that they are all mostly character driven.  In TOTC, GWTW, and even Anna K. and HOD, the main characters face things which propell them to act as they could only hope they would never have to ever act. In SOTL, Dharma, P&P and Bananna, the characters in large part face themselves, and the showdown is more than enough to move the storyline along to resolution. *sigh* My list of favorites is really much longer than this, but these were the first which sprung to mind (sprang? I should look that up) when I thought of this Friday's Fave.

By the way, I have never, ever, ever made it through The Catcher in the Rye. I took English classes specifically that went around that required reading because I could not STAND that m.c. Now I realize how good of a sign that is; I'm sure it is a fantastic read, as fantastic as everyone says it is. But do I care? Shall I ever read it? HELL NO! I may be an awful person for admitting this, especially for my field, but I do not now, nor have I ever, nor shall I ever have any intention of reading that novel. If I want to divulge in that kind of wonky, my-life-sucks kind of attitude, I'll call up an ex-boyfriend.

But I digress.

I'm a firm believer our stories, at large, tell our habits; that we find ourselves in our little tidbits of literature if we are willing to look hard enough. In what sort of story do I fit, or you? The kind that is character driven?

Let's hope so. Kinky clinky for those who want to star in their own novel...

p.s. TCE 2/3 of the way complete; I expect it to be up tomorrow some time.

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