I read. If I could, I would read most of every day. My entire house would be one big pile of books. Books are really my only vice, after drinking. As I read, I tend to fall in love with the characters; they become old friends to me. I especially enjoy when an author devotes several books to a particular character. I see it as an opportunity to visit an old friend. This is one of the reasons that I loved the Hardy Boys so much when I was a kid. My A-List today, therefore, lists some of my favorite characters from the books I've read recently.
Jack Reacher(Lee Child) I like Jack Reacher for the same reason that I loved Jack Bauer from 24; he gets things done. This character is decisive; a man of action. If he says he will do it, it gets done. Those kind of men don't exist anymore, not in this litigation-happy world, so to find one in a book is a treat. Reacher wanders about, living out of hotels, after he leaves the military. He uses his military training sort of as a mercenary investigator, except that he doesn't look for work. He doesn't look for trouble, but trouble certainly finds him. And when trouble does find Jack Reacher, he is more than happy to smack that trouble silly.
Augustus McCrae(Larry McMurtry) Who wouldn't love Gus? Philosopher, cowboy, lawman, smooth talker, romantic...hard to beat that. Lonesome Dove is such a great story that I've read that book more than any other. The reason is Gus. His relationship with Woodrow Call was certainly an odd pairing, but there was never any doubt that the two were fierce in their friendship. That kind of loyalty is rare these days, but it is admirable.
Stephanie Plum(Janet Evanovich) I actually DO laugh out loud while I am reading about Stephanie; sometimes I am laughing so hard that my husband thinks that I am having a seizure. Stephanie is not a detective. She is a bail bondsman. A bad one. Stephanie only has a job because of her cousin, she has trouble making ends meet, and her cars are continually destroyed. I am not sure if it would be safe to hang around with Stephanie Plum, but I know that it would be hilarious.
Eric Northman(Charlaine Harris) I really don't care for Sookie Stackhouse. She's too whiny and passive for my tastes. However, Eric Northman is another matter. He's smart, devious, decisive, and ruthless. He knows what he wants and he makes every effort to get his way. Yet Eric can be thoughtful and loving, too. He never shies away from a fight or a challenge, but meets it head on. I like that in my novel characters. So while I'm not too keen on Sookie, I read the books for Eric.
Tyrion Lannister (George R.R. Martin) This character is a dwarf. He's a dwarf in a horribly dysfunctional family. He was not supposed to live. Yet Tyrion is a survivor. He is intelligent, he is insightful, and he is witty. He can think on his feet, quickly, even if he's too small to lift a sword. Tyrion manages to keep all the various threads of palace intrigue straight, and he is smart enough to keep his mouth shut.
That's my A-list. Are there any literary characters that catch your fancy? Do tell!