Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to either
a) name the authors that should be on reality shows/have their own television shows
or b) write about whatever you want!
I chose option b. Therefore, I decided to make my Top Ten Tuesday list my top ten Likable Books, Unlikable Characters. I defined this as when I found overall books to be enjoyable, despite of (or in some cases, because of!) mean, evil, or generally unpleasant characters.
1. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
I just finished this tale of murder and betrayal on a quiet Vermont college campus. Pretty much every character in it is awful in their own special way. There’s not one but two murders, abuse, incest, drug abuse, lying, backstabbing…really, anything you can think of.
2. A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin
It’s cheating a little bit to list all five of these books under one heading, but morality is such a central part of the entire’s series theme that I felt justified in lumping them all together. There are only a few unambiguously evil characters in Martin’s books (Gregor Clegane and Ramsay Bolton immediately jump to mind) but the characters with shifting moralities tend to the most interesting. Watching Jaime Lannister evolve from the selfish, misguided Kingslayer into a much more humble man, for example, is highly engaging.
3 & 4. The Last Werewolf and Talulla Rising, by Glen Duncan
Our heroes are werewolves who kill and eat people. And enjoy it. Enough said?
5. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
Cathy, Cathy, Cathy. It’s rare to find a true female sociopath represented well, even in fiction, but Steinbeck’s prostitute/murderer/child abandoner is the pinnacle of the form.
6. No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
No TTT of mine would be complete without a McCarthy novel. I chose NCfOM because Anton Chigurh is one of the most terrifying antagonists I’ve ever met: pitiless, emotionless, and completely incomprehensible, more like a natural disaster than an actual human being. His bizarre brand of morality served, to me, to heighten the book’s premise that life is random and often cruel.
7. Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Much like Duncan’s books above, we are asked to sympathize with a creature that is no longer human, and depends on killing humans to survive. The creepy thing is, we do.
8 & 9. The Magicians and The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
The Beast is terrifying. Reading about it swallowing a girl whole and biting off Penny’s hands sent pure, primordial fear through me, in a way that really doesn’t happen very often. Though Reynard is in the sequel far less than the Beast is in the first book, he is still a complete nightmare.
10. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Based on a chilling true story, In Cold Blood is a fascinating character study of two murderers.