I saw that this was the prompt for this week and I HAD TO DO IT. One thing I noticed while putting together this list is that often the best names in books, from a functional standpoint, are the most simple; a long, beautiful name can be distracting and/or hard to pronounce. But on the other hand, those long beautiful names can be so fun!
Here are my top 10 favorite character names (from books):
Misty of Chincoteague. As a kid one of the first proper names I ran to figure out how to pronounce was Chincoteague. I still love saying it and reading it. Plus, the horse is called Misty. This just a genius combination and I don’t care if you disagree, you are wrong.
Betsy-Tacy. Besty and Tacy are such epic BFFs that they go by a single name, and I love it.
Rodian Romanovitch Raskolnikov. I mean, if you’re going to have a moral breakdown and murder an old lady with an ax, you might as well have as epic a name as possible.
Kamala Khan. It really rolls off the tongue and can sound both cute and badass (which is impressive, just like Kamala).
Fai D. Flowright. It’s ridiculous and flowery, just like Fai. But appearances can be deceiving!
Tristen Conn. Elizabeth Bear is the one of the best at beautiful and usable character names.
Jane Fairfax. I love all Jane Austen names equally but Jane Fairfax is my favorite.
Atomic Robo. I sometimes enjoy names that teach you about the character’s key physical traits. Plus Atomic Robo is simply fun to say.
Newland Archer. Nobody does illustrative names like 19th century authors. Edith Wharton’s are more fun than, say, Thomas Hardy’s or Henry James.
Winnie-the-Pooh. There is no reason on God’s green earth that a name like “Winnie-the-Pooh” should work, and yet it does.
Today’s theme was a “Summer Freebie,” intended to help us recommend books for summer vacation, on the beach, or whatever. Personally I don’t think my reading increases during the summer, and I don’t think I understand the term beach read, but hey! Freebie! Gonna do what I want!
And what I want is: classics.
I love classics. Sure, a lot of them are boring. Sure, a lot of them are real downers. Sure, a lot of them use weird techniques like stream-of-consciousness so you don’t know which way is up much less which character is doing what.
But all of them are significant in some way, and more importantly, a lot of them are just plain entertaining, good books. “Some of my favorite books are classics!” she protests while clutching her totebag.
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: Detectives! Crime! Occasional murder!
The Europeans by Henry James: Romance! Snobby relatives! Summer?
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons: Woodsheds! Reform! Romance?
Another Country by James Baldwin: James! Effing! Baldwin!
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: Pirates! Treasure! ISLAND!
Kim by Rudyard Kipling: Spies! India! SPIES?
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery: Found family! Romance? Nature!!!
Hamlet by Shakespeare: Ghosts! Murder! Duels!
Beowulf: Monsters! Mayhem! Madness!
Persuasion by Jane Austen: Love! Friendship! Persuasion???
When I pick up a book that I know nothing about, what things on the cover, blurb, or in the pages immediately draw me in and make me want to read it?
Competency: I love me some competency, whether it’s at politicking, face-punching, or basket-weaving. Example: anything by Timothy Zahn
Dragons: especially shape-shifting dragons! Examples: the Wings of Fire series by Tui Sutherland and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Moral person thrown into court intrigue: Best when mixed with 1 and 2. Example: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Beauty and the Beast retellings: I mean, I really like fairy tale retellings in general, but I’m a sucker for B&B. Example: Beauty by Robin McKinley
Bodyguards: I will drop everything to read any sort of bodyguard story. Just accept it. Example: King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (although I would love that book anyway)
Hate-to-love romance: Typical, I know, but they’re just always so entertaining. Example: the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Victoriana with magic: I don’t care for historical fiction, but I love adding magic to a historical era and seeing what happens – especially Victorian England or Regency England. Example: A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede
Complex family stories where they fight but also love and support each other: especially if romance is secondary and as long as the characters are well-drawn. Example: Sarah Dessen’s books
Banter: If someone throws quotes at me from a book that make me laugh, I am very likely to pick it up to read myself. Example: anything by Sarah Rees Brennan
School stories: especially if its fantasy but really any as long as it’s about making friends and following your dreams (although what’s confusing about this is that I don’t care much for Harry Potter). Example: Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce
This week’s prompts was “All about the visuals” whether it be comic books, graphic novels, picture books, etc etc. After way too much thought and much too long of a list, I settled on my top 10 favorite manga. Please note: not the top 10 best manga I’ve ever read, simply MY FAVORITES. Tl;dr don’t fight with me about the quality, I like what I like the end.
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa: “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!” Besides being a phenomenal story and brilliantly crafted, I want to hug it to pieces. Filed under: Science And Municipally-Approved Books, Found Family
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya: It’s like a love story except there’s twelve of them and friendship conquers all also they turn into animals????? Filed under: Formative Literature, Squad Goals
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP: Time-travel space-travel adventure of my heart tbh Filed under: Too Many Clones, Too Many Feels
Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori: It’s like a love story except there’s six of them and they think she’s a boy at first but then she’s not but they would die for each other and also they like to wear costumes and role play???? Filed under: It’s PG I Swear, Funniest Stories
Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki: This one is really rewarding to reread – there is a lot going on and a lot of threads that are set up early and carry through. Filed under: I’m Upset About A Lot of Dead Historical Rebels, Found Family
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata: It’s like a love story except- oh wait no it’s not a love story, it’s a death story, Light, please stop, what, wait what are you doing no oh no that’s a lot of blood. Filed under: Hugs for All, Things I Shouldn’t Love As Much As I Do
D.N. Angel by Yukiri: Fair warning, I’m pretty sure this series is on indefinite hiatus. But it’s still one of my favorite stories about teens. Filed under: Disguises Galore, Thieves With Hearts of Gold
Tactics by Sakura Kinoshita: This is another one on indefinite hiatus. TokyoPop’s demise ruined my manga upbringing, basically. Everything I know about Japanese folklore I learned from this series. Filed under: Oh No I Love Everyone So Much, Why Am I Crying Again
Tokyo Babylon by CLAMP: This one is set up as an episodic romcom and then suddenly Plot Twist and it turns into a murderous rampage leading up to the apocalypse and I love it with all the tiny black monsters of my tarred soul. Filed under: Why Am I Crying Again, Perfection
Ghost Hunt by Shiro Inada: Sometimes I forget how much I love ghost stories, and then I read something like Ghost Hunt and experience pure joy while clever characters investigate hauntings and try not to get murdered. Filed under: Be Safe, That Guy is Probably Dead the Whole Time
This week’s prompt is a FREEBIE, so I am going to bless you all with my top 10 Star Wars books (canon, Legends, comics, whatever).
Survivor’s Quest by Timothy Zahn (Legends): As you may know, I adore Timothy Zahn’s stories (Star Wars and other), so I’m not sure how to pick a favorite but it is probably this one. Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade go on a treasure hunt/quest/fact-finding mission to find a crashed Old Republic ship, in case it has Jedi artifacts on board. It turns into a very suspenseful mystery and of course they run into a shadowy military organization with sketchy motives and there’s fencing and fighting and torture and revenge and true love. Or whatever. Filed under: The OTP, New Stormtrooper Friends, Abandon Ship
Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka (Canon): This is a miniseries comic about Poe’s parents and takes place during and after the Battle of Endor. Greg Rucka is another fave, the art is great, and the characters are wonderful. Filed under: Luke Cameos, Marry Me Shara Bey?
Knights of the Old Republic: Commencement by John Jackson Miller (Legends): This is the first volume of the Knights of the Old Republic comic run. It went a little downhill after the first couple of volumes but this opening story is one of my favorite Star Wars stories. Filed under: Dream Team, Framed, Save The Dream
X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole (Legends): Okay, I need to accept that this entire post is just me gushing about how much I love Star Wars. I LOVE THIS SERIES OF BOOKS but especially Stackpole’s volumes, starting with this one. He introduces a bunch of excellent characters like Corran Horn and Mirax Terrik, along with turning minor but awesome characters from the movies into great protagonists. Filed under: SPACE PILOTS, Wedge Antilles Is The Real MVP
Star Wars: Year By Year A Visual History by Ryder Windham (nonfiction): This is a “coffee table” history/trivia book about the people behind the Star Wars movies and franchise. It’s really nerdy and interesting, and starts with George Lucas’s career and continues into the present. Star Wars events are laid out chronologically alongside “real world” events. Filed under: Did You Know, Fascinating!
Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss (Legends): This is set during the Clone Wars and is a fast-paced military story about a squad of clone commandos and their baby Jedi general. Filed under: I Love Everyone In This Bar, Found Family
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover (Legends): I don’t understand why we don’t have more Luke books or movies like this. This is the perfect Luke book, the rest of you can go home. Filed under: Star Wars Journalism, Space Adventures
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpshyn (Legends): I don’t like dark books very much, and I don’t like books about bad guys very much, but I really love this book about a decent guy who goes bad and it’s all pretty dark, so, I don’t know what to tell you. Filed under: Sith Lords Are Our Specialty, The Rule of Two
Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston (Canon): I love Ahsoka and I love E.K. Johnston and this is a wonderful, small-scale story about one of the best Jedi ever. Filed under: Found Family, Rebels, I Love Everyone In This Bar But Mostly Ahsoka
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher: I expected the Shakespeare Star Wars books to be gimmicky and shallow but the author put a lot of work into them and it shows. These books made me approach Star Wars in a whole new way, even though I’ve grown up on them and know them inside out. Filed under: Clever Words, Amazing Illustrations