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hedley1983 t1_itz6uo4 wrote

East of Eden by Steinbeck.


babobunny OP t1_itz9nnh wrote

I've read of mice and men by steinbeck and liked it, so will definitely check this out! Thanks :)


The__Imp t1_itzveck wrote

Of mice and men is a great book, and you do come to appreciate Lenny and George, but my take on it is that the for the entire book, essentially every choice is narrowly tailored for the emotional impact of the ending.

Both of Steinbecks other most popular works, East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath are much, much grander in scale. I think East of Eden was a great pick based on your criteria because the book is all about the characters, and there are many as the book spans a generation.

The Grapes of Wrath is exceptional too, his depression era novel. Over the course of the book you alternate between these generalized depiction of these okies heading west and the ongoing tale of the Joads, a down on their luck family fleeing the dust bowl.


porky63 t1_itzwopk wrote

>essentially every choice essentially is narrowly tailored for the emotional impact of the ending

I can't tell if this is supposed to be a criticism, because the phrasing sounds like one but the content is extremely positive.


The__Imp t1_iu0hhq0 wrote

No, not intended to be a criticism at all. It is a beautiful book. Not one of my favorites, but an excellent book, especially on the first read.

My point was simply that, to a degree, the characters themselves are tools for that emotional impact the book is building towards.

I like Lenny and George. But they don't feel alive to me the same way that Lee or Sam Hamilton or the Joads feel.

Ultimately, my point is merely that if OP likes the characterization in Mice and Men, where the characters are hampered by their need to fit in the box, if you will, of serving the sharply defined goals of the book, then he or she should like the characterization from Grapes of Wrath or East of Eden even more.


showturtle t1_itzux3s wrote

Steinbeck’s characters are outstanding. GOW is amazing as well. Tortilla Flats has some lovable idiots. Travels with Charlie is some great lite reading if you just want to relax and listen to him describe people.


i-opener t1_itz7cps wrote

Biff and Josh from "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal".

At least some of us know what to expect from Josh, being that he's Christ and all, but even that was subverted quite a bit. Biff came out of left field for me and the interplay between the two - chef's kiss! Natural?, check! Genuine?, double check! Well-written?? Triple check!!

I wouldn't consider myself a Christian but this book is in my top 5 simply for the impact, carried almost entirely by Biff.


Secret_Walrus7390 t1_itzgnju wrote

I'm three quarters of the way through this right now and have loved every second of it.


i-opener t1_iu08bc2 wrote

If it's your first time reading it, I envy you. :)


jackandjerry t1_itzmnc0 wrote

All Christopher Moore books have fun characters! Great rec.


Your_Daddy_ t1_iu0fo6m wrote

Christopher Moore books are so funny. While I was reading Lamb, I was waiting for my car tires to be done, and I probably looked like a weirdo giggling at my book.

The whole part of his experience in Indie - I thought was some made up fiction, since I am not very religious - but after I researched some of the topics, the book stays true to its Bible references.


Mystical_y t1_itz9n37 wrote

In classics, you should try {{The Picture of Dorian Gray}}. Very strong, fascinating characterization. Another (entirely different) book in this genre is Little Women, which is lovely. Try {{The Kite Runner}} by Khaled Hosseini if you're into drama/ historical/tragedy. It's beautiful.

In the thriller genre, I recommend {{And then there were None}} by Agatha Christie. Exciting all the way through.

As a bonus, I recommend reading Harry Potter :D yes, the first three books may be more children-esque, but they're still very enjoyable. Fun characters, wild story, great experience.


babobunny OP t1_itzcxg4 wrote

Gotta love your book taste: I've read all of them! I mean Agatha Christie books are just great comfort books for me at this point and the same goes for Harry Potter 😍


Mystical_y t1_itzd2x8 wrote

Oh awesome! Well, in that case, I'm obligated to recommend something else, aren't I :D


babobunny OP t1_itzdh03 wrote

I quite agree haha or share you want to read list, maybe I can get inspired!


Mystical_y t1_itze5sz wrote

there's so much to share :< have you read Anne of Green Gables? Sweet, sweet book.


babobunny OP t1_itzeflf wrote

Maybe as a kid, might have had like an audiobook of it, can't really remember it though. I'll have to give it a try again :)


Mystical_y t1_itzengg wrote

Ahh. It's one of those wholesome stories that leave a very nice after-feel. Do try:)

Mmm. The Diary of Anne Frank?


babobunny OP t1_itzerd5 wrote

Read! :D


Mystical_y t1_itzexin wrote

How about 1984 by George Orwell?


babobunny OP t1_itzfcfc wrote

That too, I had an intense classics period haha


Mystical_y t1_itzfhy5 wrote

(pants) Tess of the D'urbervilles.


babobunny OP t1_itzfqo9 wrote

Never even heard of! Exciting :D thanks for the enormous effort!!


Mystical_y t1_itzg5or wrote

I'm having great fun :D Tess is a heavy read, and personally the bleak landscape of the book got a bit too much for me. But many like it, so.

Fun travels in your reading journey! (Bonus: I love Roald Dahl's short story collection, Tales of the Unexpected)


babobunny OP t1_itzhawo wrote

Me too!! Add Fabienne66 on Goodreads if you have it and want to :)


Mystical_y t1_itzhp89 wrote



Mystical_y t1_itzi63m wrote

How to find you tho


babobunny OP t1_iu0bgnh wrote

Let me know if i can add you instead :)


Mystical_y t1_iu0c7p8 wrote

Yess, my username is Emma


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itzab4b wrote

Yes to The Kite Runner! For characterisation, I'd say Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns is my favourite of his.


Mystical_y t1_itzc861 wrote

A Thousand Splendid Suns is heartbreaking :<


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itzde4z wrote

I know 😭 I've yet to read 'And The Mountains Echoed' - it's on my bookshelf so it may be my next read (just starting The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende now).


Mystical_y t1_itzdsj9 wrote

'And the Mountains Echoed' is quite nice too. But the other two books of his are just better, imo. I haven't read the Japanese Lover. Got so much to read :D


AmeliaReid28 t1_iu0b3kv wrote

Also by Khaled Hosseini, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" such a moving story.


jettison_m t1_iu03082 wrote

Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all time favorite books. It's the only book I've read multiple times.


concrete_dandelion t1_itz79mg wrote

I like the way Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Kerstin Gier write their characters. LOTR is also a favourite of mine and I like the Hobbit very much and the Commisario Montalbanno series


babobunny OP t1_itzbvnq wrote

Yeah, I've read a few of them and like them! But I'll check out Commisario Montalbanno, I'd never heard of it before.


th3BlackAngel t1_itzher2 wrote

ASoIAF (the Game of Thrones books). So many great characters there to be honest.


tiranul t1_itz5cvp wrote

My favorite book is callied "villains by necessity" a traditional fantasy but its up to the villains to save the world.


anddingowashisnameoh t1_itz7wrg wrote

Thanks for the new book recommendation! Those paperback versions must be quite rare, they're pretty pricey.


babobunny OP t1_itz9rwg wrote

Sounds intriguing! I'll look it up, thanks! :)


QueenAnguissette t1_itzizxj wrote

One of my favorites! Haven't seen it recommended before. Loved rooting for the bad guys <3


BoshraExists t1_itz7rof wrote

My all time favourite author in term of well-written characters has to be Carlos Zafon and his glorious piece of a series "Cemetery of Forgotten Books".

The 4 novels are set in different decades and tell an interlocking story/stories that had me crying here and bursting a laugh there!

Not only are the well-depicted, but the characters also have back stories and their counterparts and/or enemies do too!


babobunny OP t1_itzbpuq wrote

Ugh that sounds perfect! Thank you for the recommendation!! 😍


BoshraExists t1_itzcnwa wrote

It's one of my favourite goth-inspired reads I hope you enjoy it as well!


L_Nathaniel_Adams t1_itzkg7a wrote

Robin Hobbs' Realm of the Elderlings.


Aulkens t1_itzsidp wrote

Her character work is just phenomenal!


Insanity_Crab t1_itzss9a wrote

Came looking for this, she really builds her characters up, makes you love them, gets you invested in there lives then makes you watch as she rips them apart piece by piece slowly destroying them and everything they love.

She's a 10/10 for me, Also love some Joe Abbercombie if you haven't tried his stuff.


Youre_a_tomato t1_itzmscw wrote

Charles Dickens, for me, writes the most interesting and unique characters. They all have their own distinctive and consistent voice and idiosyncrasies.

He really must have roamed London and talked to everybody. From nobles and paupers, children and ecclesiastical figures, country-folk to criminals, Dickens gives them all distinctive features and mannerisms.


showturtle t1_itzy14t wrote

Dickens is phenomenal. Tale of Two Cities is his best- Carton’s character arc is great.

Edit: I should clarify that what makes Carter’s arc great is that there really is no arc. He is essentially a shitty/unloveable person the entire book and then rises to a single heroic occasion - similar to inspector Javert in LM. I think sometimes seeing a character act entirely out of their nature can be just as satisfying as watching them develop over the entire course of a story- maybe it’s even more satisfying when it’s done right.


doowgad1 t1_itz6efa wrote

Walter Mosley. All his characters come off as real. The bad ones are bad, but you can see why they do what they do.

Philippa Gregory.


babobunny OP t1_itzbls2 wrote

Thanks for your recommendations, both authors sound interesting!


External_Grab9254 t1_itz8dj0 wrote

Perks of Being a Wallflower. It feels too real


babobunny OP t1_itzcfpp wrote

Would you say it's worth reading after having watched the movie? Thanks anyway!


slowrisy t1_iu06phe wrote

Yes! I liked the movie, but for characterization specifically you will get so much more from the book. Charlie’s voice is so real and informs so many of his actions in a way that the movie couldn’t reach. It’s beautiful.


_ellogovna t1_itz8bqk wrote

Six of Crows- the characters are kind of messed up but are really well written. They have great character development, personalities, backstories (not just like oh my parents died so now I’m bitter but actually how these stories affect them currently)

Wuthering Heights- again the characters are really messed up but that’s kinda of the fun of it

Of Mice and Men- really really good book it’s also super short

Normal people- personally I didn’t like the book too much but the characters were interesting.


Animal Farm- based on figures from the Russian Revolution it’s short and has great characters. Story is kinda boring tho.

The Cruel Prince- it’s Ya but it’s good. The characters are kinda different from your usual ya. (Dumb Fae Prince, messed in the head mortal girl (but not like the really feisty annoying ya characters))


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itzaemr wrote

Just finished Wuthering Heights today - Cathy (the elder) and Hareton are my faves. I also sympathise with Edgar and Isabella and the mess that they found themselves dragged into!


_ellogovna t1_itzas5z wrote

I’m only half way through but the characters were such a shock to me because I thought this was a love story like Pride and Prejudice or something! I’m loving it so far and def like it better than Pride and Prejudice lol


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itzc16p wrote

It's love but a different kind! I'm actually teaching Wuthering Heights to a class of 13-14 year olds, and they're finally getting into it (chapter 9 was the turning point)!

Confession: I've tried to read Pride and Prejudice at least 3 times now, but just cannot get along with it (and I'm an English teacher!) Might give Persuasion a go.


_ellogovna t1_itzdjfa wrote

I’m around your class’ age and I can say it’s a book that won’t appeal to most teenagers so I’m really glad they are starting to like it! I wish we did it as a novel study this year but my English teacher is the stuff of nightmares so I’m too scared ask her lol!


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itze1z4 wrote

Now they're understanding the drama of it, they're a lot more into it - they actually asked to continue reading the other day, but it was the end of the lesson so I had to send them off! Kudos to you for reading it independently - don't think I'd have been able to hack it as a teenager! Had to come back to some books as an adult that I just didn't 'get' as a teen (The Handmaid's Tale springs to mind).


_ellogovna t1_itzg2li wrote

That’s so good to hear!! Thanks for the compliment btw!!


babobunny OP t1_itzccy5 wrote

Great suggestions!! I agree with you on Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm, which are both great. I personally didn't like Wuthering heights so much but I agree that it wasn't the character writing’s fault.


juliaaargh t1_itza6rq wrote

the Master and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian.


showturtle t1_itzwsjp wrote

This is my go-to when I don’t know what to read. I love JA and SM- although, I think the books are more story driven than character driven. Over the course of 20+ novels spanning roughly 30 in-story years, there is very little arc to their characters; they are pretty fixed as people within the first few books. It makes sense- POB was a historian and probably more focused on events than people - he initially invented the characters as a vehicle to describe naval life during the Nepolianic wars. The entire climax of the first book (first battle of Algeciras) takes place with the main characters watching from captivity.


Almostasleeprightnow t1_iu00urz wrote

Though, I think they do evolve subtly, which is what is so great about it. You can see their core personalities are the samr, but certain things change over the time period, in their interests, the way they work with people and the way they think about their families. And to me, that is how people actually change.


showturtle t1_iu0bk2f wrote

That’s true. I do always enjoy the moments when JA is back home and trying to manage life as a husband/father.


Almostasleeprightnow t1_iu0lb0o wrote

Yes me too. I also love seeing SM go from being a complete loner (remember "sigh, another day" somewhere in M&C) to having a group of followers, basically all his people that he cares for as a quirky patriarch. (yellow admiral, I believe. )


stevs23 t1_itzk4zc wrote

To kill a mockingbird


preterintenzionato t1_itzoq4i wrote

I mean, as far as nuanced, well written character go, Lolita by Nabokov is a masterpiece


Traditional_Jicama26 t1_itzpyxl wrote

Robin Hobbs is the one fantasy writer where I am like, READ THIS NERDS, everyone ignores because the paperback is boring, and then someone reads it and is like, “This is incredible!”, while I stare at them angrily.


Insanity_Crab t1_itzt8uq wrote

Her books are incredible, I've never loved watching a person struggle as much as I did in the Farseer, Tawny Man and Fitz and the Fool trilogies. She pulls no punches with her characters.


Redneckshinobi t1_itztr6a wrote

Currently reading grapes of wrath by Steinbeck and wow his characters are so unique. I can't say I like many of them, but can understand their issues.


SovArya t1_itzfkk4 wrote

Pendragon by dj McHale


Ordinary_Vegetable25 t1_itzjno1 wrote

Mitch Rapp! Start with {{American Assassin}} by Vince Flynn.

Also James Reece in Jack Carr's Terminal List series (TV adaptation on Amazon Prime starring Chris Pratt as James Reece)


CryptoCentric t1_itzvhts wrote

Sam Vimes in the Discworld series. All his other characters are terrific, of course, but Vimes really stands out for all the slow and steady development--from a drunken racist to a solid and caring man.


ElectronicShoes t1_itzz9n3 wrote

Sea of Tranquility and Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.


babobunny OP t1_iu0afwc wrote

I did read station eleven and loved it, it really stuck with me (even after 4 years now)! So I'll give sea of tranquility a try, thanks :)


Derpyblur t1_iu069yr wrote

Les Mis. Jean Valjean is one of my fav protagonists ever


purple_lassy t1_iu09oog wrote

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

I feel like her characters are close friends. She is the best.


SuccotashCareless934 t1_itza7st wrote

Favourite characters include:

Kambili in Purple Hibiscus; Bahram/Barry in River of Smoke; George in Of Mice and Men; Kitty in the Crazy Rich Asians series


InfamousPrimate22 t1_itzgnzk wrote

May be you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb. The character arc is so pure.. it's like a good train ride with all the characters stuffed in a compartment and you get to watch them change infront of you


Farai17 t1_itzi7ee wrote

For me it's Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie. I also really really like Julian Barnes, although I've only read two of his books; The Sense of an Ending and The Only Story.


Farai17 t1_itzieqx wrote

For me it's Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie. I also really really like Julian Barnes, although I've only read two of his books; The Sense of an Ending and The Only Story.


cookiequeen724 t1_itzknhr wrote

Last year I read a Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and I'm still thinking about Count Rostov like he's my old friend! Highly recommend the book.


babobunny OP t1_iu0arjm wrote

That one's already on my to read list haha but good to know it fulfills this criteria too, thanks! 😍


KayMacleodBooks t1_itzli52 wrote

The Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Every character has great motives and you empathise with every side of the conflict.


Live_Tax7209 t1_itzmeub wrote

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Some of the most well thought out and well defined personalities and characteristics.


jackandjerry t1_itzn2ot wrote

Haruki Murakami - Wind Up Bird Chronicle of


waywardautumn t1_itzq3g9 wrote

You should try The forsyte saga by John galsworthy Also, age of innocence by edith wharton if you haven't read it already


ianbalisy t1_itzufvc wrote

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, I cannot recommend this book enough—one of the best of the century so far. The Left Hand of Darkness or The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin, of course.


showturtle t1_itzuh27 wrote

How has nobody mentioned Victor Hugo? His books are practically 400+ page character developments. His characters ARE the plot.


MissyBee63 t1_itzuw3v wrote

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, while the movie was great (Oscars for Penn and Robbins) the characters just come to life and his imagery his amazing.


cloudwalker0909 t1_itzvr7g wrote

My favourite characters are those of Dostoyevsky. Raskolnikov from crime and punishment is one of my favourite protagonists, as is the underground man from notes from the underground.


BuckedMallard t1_itzyxlc wrote

Lonesome Dove. Gus and Woodrow are two of the deepest characters I’ve seen in a book and their dialogue with each other feels so real


MortarMaggot275 t1_itzzf2p wrote

Glokta in The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.


Helkattt t1_iu00ibu wrote

The coldest winter ever by sistah souljah she describes each character so vividly. This book definitely should be a movie but it may just ruin it


Hai-Etlik t1_iu04n63 wrote

Steven Brust and Terry Pratchett both do a really good job of giving their characters a distinct voice.

Brust is able to write one character narrating another in a way where you can hear the distinctive qualities of both of them.


Judas_priest_is_life t1_iu052i9 wrote

Joe Abercrombie does a pretty decent job with his characters. After I finished the first trilogy I found myself thinking "Man I'd love to have a whole book set about a year after to see what everyone is up to".


syram06 t1_iu07yyo wrote

Stoner by John Williams. The protag is realistic in where he's stoic with the narcissistic and manipulative people in throughout his life, and yet still never backs down from his passion for teaching, reading, and studying literature.


bookreader018 t1_iu098t2 wrote

I’m going to throw The Help and Kindred out there


BasedArzy t1_iu09msu wrote

“Buddenbrooks” by Thomas Mann
“Play It as it Lays” by Joan Didion
“East of Eden” by Steinbeck


MaximusJCat t1_iu0akc4 wrote

Two of my favorites:

Horns by Joe Hill

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir


tesscole4922 t1_iu0b5ej wrote

Books written by Kathleen O'Neal and Michael Gear. Lucia Robson, Bonnye Mathews, Gene Brown, to name a few.


happy-cosmos t1_iu0b829 wrote

One of my favorites is "Blink of an Eye" by Ted Dekker. Great story, wonderful characters, life changing lessons. When I first read the book, it was called "Blink" but was changed some time later. Its the same book but may show up in either version when you search.


ruzgardiken t1_iu0btcu wrote

the first law trilogy. Joe Abercrombie is a master at good character work


tmoney144 t1_iu0bzh5 wrote

The Sun also Rises by Hemingway. One of those books where everyone kinda sucks, but you feel for them anyway.


silverpenelope t1_iu0cikd wrote

Have you read Jane Austen? Dorothy Sayers Lord Whimsey mysteries, Jeeves and Wooster novels by PG Woodhouse. Gloria Naylor who mostly wrote in the late 80s, early 90s wrote amazing characters--try Linden Hills and Mama Day. Sue Townsend Adrian Mole novels are all character. And, try The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. His characters aren't always likable, but they're characters.


CrazyCatLady108 t1_iu0csoe wrote

Hi there. Per rule 3.3, please post book recommendation requests in /r/SuggestMeABook or in our Weekly Recommendation Thread. Thank you!


Your_Daddy_ t1_iu0fjf7 wrote

Needful Things and The Stand by Stephen King


ardardardar t1_iu0i0yh wrote

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles! The Count is just this absolute golden retriever of a human but still has complexity and emotional depth.


ipakookapi t1_iu1xudl wrote

The Berlin Diaries and A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood.

The first is written from Weimar Berlin just as the nazis are taking over, and about how people in every day life is reacting to that. The movie Cabaret is based on it, but in the original it's a gay man befriending a sex worker, not a straight romance. Same thing as
Breakfast At Tiffanys.

The other is about a middle aged gay man mounrning his passed partner, reading Ruskin conservative art history on the toilet and yelling at kids to get of his lawn. It was made into a very sexy and pretty good film by fashion designer Tom Ford, but the vibe is very different, and as a grumpy middle aged queer, I prefer the book.

His characters are more real than plenty of people I have met in real life.


Violet351 t1_itzm35o wrote

The Discworld books


nautilator44 t1_itzupvj wrote

Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. One of the main characters (Kaladin) struggles with depression throughout the series. Some of the passages and interactions are just beautiful.