Literature Love: Who are your favorite characters?

For Literature lovers, the characters of a book are much more than just words on a page. They become real, and you find yourself furnishing them with thoughts, idea, histories and pasts beyond what the author has provided. You yell at them when they do something stupid, you cry with them when they experience tragedy, and you walk with them through their adventures.

I’ve been (re)reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it occurred to me just how much I love the character of Samwise Gamgee. He is loyal and strong, even though he doesn’t realize his own bravery. Upon first reading, some may think he falls Frodo like a lost puppy, but Tolkien had much bigger plans for this little hobbit, and as you read on his character is truly revealed. The valiant Samwise that we all were rooting for (or at least I was) is revealed and put to the test–over and over. He is not without flaws and along the way he makes his fair share of mistakes. Nor is he the brightest bulb in the Shire, but his dedication always shines through.

Looking back, there have been many literary characters whose attributes I have admired and enjoyed. I once wrote an essay for entrance into my college’s Honor’s Program on Atticus Finch, a man whose actions were heard and felt throughout the country. He is another one of those characters who we could spend hours praising his accomplishments.

But my choice in favorites isn’t based solely on the positive attributes of a character. After all, there are some villains you just love to hate. My favorite characters are those that make me stop and think, that hold my attention long after I’ve laid the book down. I love the characters who make me care– about them, about the story, about another character even. Or sometimes, my favorites are simply those that make me smile.

Here’s a brief list of some more of my favorites:

1. Emma Woodhouse from Emma

My dad once told me I reminded him of Emma Woodhouse. Wheither or not this was a compliment, I’ve yet to decide. But nevertheless, I absolutely adore Emma. She fails to see what is right before her, being too caught up in daydreaming and scheming. But her heart and mind are always on others, be it her overly anxious father or less fortunate friends. She makes mistakes, as do all of us, but she realizes these faults and tries to make amends. Jane Austen gave her the perfect amount of wit, with just a dash of ignorance.

 

2. Sherlock Holmes

I’m a bit of a Sherlockian, and I can’t help but absolutely love this character. While Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock’s creator, may not have been the biggest fan of his creation, years of audiences have begged to differ. He is such a complex character, with much of his history left unknown (not that succeeding authors haven’t tried to fill in these blanks), and not much is even known about his feelings in the time of the stories. He keeps to himself, busying himself with odd hobbies, and applying his mastery skills of deduction to just about any seemingly unsolvable crime. There is so much to him, even inconsistencies that are primarily due to Doyle’s fading interest in his biggest success, but fans like myself have come up with our own hypothesise to cover these irregularities. Holmes has become more than a literary character, he has evolved into a universally identifiable persona. In fact, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who think he was a real person (well, he is to some of us).

 

3. Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man

What’s not to love about this silly, constantly inebriated duo? They are fun and funny, and just plain adorable. Set within Dashiell Hammet’s noir novella, they are a perfect contrast to the dark events, without taking away from the suspense or drama. Oh, and their dog Asta is pretty swell as well. They make me smile, and thus are some of my favorites.

 

 

So who are your favorite characters? Now that I’ve rambled on about mine, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions.

 

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Will Tumblr get Tossed?

My first thought was that Tumblr must be some distant cousin of Flickr. Social media sites ignoring the use of the letter ‘e’ (still looking for a scientific explanation behind that).  This was more than a year ago, when the site was still getting off its feet and riding on the road of uncertainty. Even after its success, it took me a while to hop on board. Finally, I took the plunge, using my Communications major as a justification signing up for yet another social networking platform. It’s been about a month now, and I must self-consciously admit– I’m hooked.

The Tumblr site to me seems like a more visual, less organized Twitter. While your posts don’t need to be fewer than 140 characters, I personally tend to ignore the longer passages. The greatest benefit is the visual aspect– no need to click away to another page to view pictures and, more importantly, gifs. While my experiences on Tumblr are still relatively limited, I’ve found the community to be littered with positively every imaginable gif known to man. Than again, I say ‘littered’ like  bad thing. In fact, Tumblr has brought out in me the absolute geek and fan-fanatic. Unlike my twitter and blog, where I try to maintain a certain level of professional posts and demeanor, Tumblr has quickly become my guilty pleasure. Not that the material is inappropriate, but it certainly is without educational benefits. Instead, my favorite posts (is that even the correct lingo?) include gifs from my numerous favorite television shows.

But enough about me and my utter television/film nerdiness. Back to my initial point in writing this post. During my own use of Tumblr, I couldn’t help but wonder how often the platform was used at a professional level. I have one friend who uses Tumblr for the local publication she writes for– that seems like a reasonable and intelligent use of the site. However, unlike Twitter or Facebook pages for companies and brands, I feel like Tumblr isn’t nearly as professional. Once again, this is simply my opinion on the matter, one I’ve gained from only a limited introduction to Tumblr.

I decided to look into the overall use of Tumblr, and found a some interesting facts. For instance, it was only in early 2010 that Tumblr really hit its stride. Within 6 months, Tumblr doubled its page views. People were starting to catch on to this new fad, with nearly 25,000 people a day signing up for profiles.

I discovered that some of the most popular professional users of Tumblr are mainstream media. Tumblr was another medium through which they could publicize their stories. Everyday bloggers (like myself) also caught on, enjoying the ease the platform provided for posting pictures as well as words.

While the businesses that use Tumblr come from various fields, there remains a high presence of media outlets and personal bloggers. Especially in comparison to the rise of Twitter use among big name corporations (i.e. Fortune 500 companies), Tumblr remains a more personal and  social platform. That’s not to say that a company wouldn’t have any success with the website. I think one of the more endearing factors about Tumblr is the lax environment and community. For this reason, small- and medium-sized organizations are among the first professional groups to turn to Tumblr.

But what about everyone else? What do they, and you, think the benefits of Tumblr are?

One article I found explained Tumblr’s success as such: “Many attribute it to a thrust for the ‘tweener’ social media site – more content than Twitter, less than a full blog… Many use Tumblr as a simple alternative to WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad with quick blogging, reblogging, and feed integration options that allow for faster, more automated methods of running a blog.”

Right now, I’m hooked on the site, but how long will my interest in my own obscure obsessions last? How many Princess Bride or Sherlock (BBC) gifs can one possible watch before wanting more? Overall, I wonder if Tumblr will survive to become the “next big thing.” This, in many ways, will be dependent upon industrial adoption of the platform. Will companies make profit from this website? Can they use it to their advantage? Will it really make a difference with their consumers?

What do you think? Will it last? Do you use Tumblr? What are the benefits? Negatives?

I would love to hear opinions from more ‘experienced’ users.

‘Unputdownable’ Penguin’s Classics

While this may not be new news, nor is it even American, I was still thrilled to stumble upon a print campaign that Penguin Book in Malaysia did to represent the “unputdownable” nature of some of our favorite classic novels. While I admit that my initial attraction to this campaign came when one of the books featured was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, I find the whole campaign in general incredibly charming. The agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, is based out of Malaysia, which is where this campaign ran in 2009. I only found the pictures after randomly ‘surfing’ the web, but I’m happy to have stumbled upon them and share them with you. So what do you think?