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Series: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational Characters

The Broke and the Bookish, a brilliant book blog, 
hosts a weekly top ten list meme.

I like this meme because I like lists. I like this meme because it reminds me of the Top 5 lists from High Fidelity (by Nick Hornby as a book, starring John Cusak as a movie). And I like this meme because it causes me to think long and hard about book-related topics. So here goes:

Top Ten Inspirational Characters 

(I’ve decided to rank these in backwards order, just for a change.)

10. Rob Fleming in High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
(Reflecting on life and relationships, owning a struggling independent business, Top Five lists, what’s not to love?)

9. Alexander Mackenzie (Mac) in Eight Cousins & A Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
(The first celebrated bookworm who, through patience and perseverance, gets the girl in the sequel.)

8. Linda Strong in Her Father’s Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
(Kick-ASS female lead, WAY before her time. Doesn’t necessarily end up with the guy in the end, it’s open to interpretation, and I love the thought of her continuing out her life long after the book has ended.)

7. Jerusha “Judy” Abbott in Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
(My first epistolary novel. Haven’t looked back since. Read this pre-attending an all women’s college, but I kept reminiscing about Judy’s school days while going to college myself.)

6. Pollyanna Whittier in Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
(I had to get my optimism from somewhere, didn’t I?)

5. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
(A girl with a large vocabulary who’s not afraid to use it!)

4. Jo March in Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott
(Smart, sassy, book-lovin’, hearth-yearnin’, strong woman who ends up with the person and job everyone least expects but is the most perfect.)

3. Laura Ingalls in The Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Precocious, precious, and pretty.)

2. Elnora Comstock in A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
(Oh, the emotion, the struggles, the independence, the strength, the heartache, and finally, the making of her own way.)

1. Scarlett O’Hara in Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley
(Scarlett finally fulfills her potential by growing up but never losing the imp inside.)


Thanks to Two Bibliomaniacs for making the distinction between FICTIONAL Inspirational Characters and Real-Life Inspirational Characters found in books.

While I don’t have a complete book list, I thought it was important to add these five people I’ve found to be tremendously motivating, both in words and in actions:

1. Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl by Mariane Pearl
(Read years before the movie was made, her strength, intelligence, and love has proved to be an unflinching model of behavior.)

2. Angelina Jolie in Angelina Jolie: Notes from My Travels by Angelina Jolie
(More than just a pretty face, she makes the most of what life has given her to help both herself and others.)

3. Naduah-Cynthia Ann in Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer
(The White mother of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, she was recaptured by Whites after years of living with her Comanche family and forced to re-assimilate. A heartbreaking exploration of what racial and cultural identity really means.)

4. Abigail Adams 
(As independent and free-thinking as she could be in her time, defines the very notion of “the woman behind the man”.)

5. Stephen Fabian in Clearing Away Clouds by Stephen Fabian
(Dad. ‘Nough said.)


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9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational Characters

  1. Jo March almost made my list and Anne Shirly is a great choice. I keep meaning to read High Fidelity – I need to just do it.

    Posted by TwoBibliomaniacs | January 18, 2011, 2:01 pm
  2. I love that you have Rob from High Fidelity on here. Fantastic book and he's such a fun character to follow.

    Posted by Red | January 18, 2011, 3:53 pm
  3. I like that you separated out real inspirational characters. I included one real person in my list, but a historical novel was based on her. Jo and Anne definitely made my list as well-they are such amazing characters!

    Posted by MJ | January 18, 2011, 5:02 pm
  4. I included a 'real' person, too, from a memoir I had read. Makes it so great to have someone inspirational be a real person!

    Posted by Shanyn | January 18, 2011, 5:40 pm
  5. Judy Abbott! I had totally forgotten her! It's time for a re-read of Daddy Longlegs.

    Posted by Birdie | January 18, 2011, 7:14 pm
  6. If I could only pick one, she would be Jo 🙂

    Posted by Peppermint Ph.D. | January 19, 2011, 3:35 am
  7. Great choices! Anne made my list as well. I also loved seeing some of my other favorite heroines such as Jo and Scarlett.Reading Lark's Top 10

    Posted by Andrea | January 19, 2011, 5:02 am
  8. I found your blog through a post on Emily's Reading Room, and I rushed over to comment. Why? Well, Mac. He was my first literary crush, and it's always delightful to meet a fellow Mac-lover. (There's definitely a post percolating about him in the works.) Followed! PS. So cool that you went to Simmons for your MFA. I've heard great things about the program. (Also, Kristin Cashore!) I "just" finished up undergrad at Tufts. Boston bibliophiles, whoo!

    Posted by S.L. Bookworm | January 21, 2011, 6:49 pm

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