Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner. This post contains spoilers so kindly skim it if you don’t want too know in detail.

I love publishing a post on Tuesday because of The Broke and The Bookish‘s ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘. It is a weekly meme/feature that encourages bloggers to discuss about books. Today’s topic is ‘Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels’.

At first, I had trouble coming out with a list of character-driven books because I wasn’t sure of the characteristics. I consulted my best friend Google, who suggested this link for clarification. Once I had understood the difference between character-driven and plot-driven, I came out with this list. 🙂

Strong-willed women in Victorian era

Character-driven classic romance

‘Jane Eyre’ & ‘Emma’

‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is one of many fictional characters that I admire. Despite her low social status, she is independent and intelligent. She possesses a strong sense of self-worth and dignity, as indicated in this quote:

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!”

Furthermore, Jane is unwilling to compromise her beliefs and principle. I really like it that when Jane found out about Bertha Mason, she would not lower herself to the part of a mistress so she left Mr Rochester. As fate would have it, Jane and Mr Rochester were reunited at the end.

‘Emma’ by Jane Austen

At the start of the novel, I did not like Emma because she was self-conceited, spoilt and immature. Despite her shortcomings, I like that she was uninterested in looking out for a husband of her own. She made a few errors in judgement but with the guidance of and advices from Mr Knightley and Harriet Smith, she learned from those mistakes and became a responsible lady. I also like that Emma’s love interest is present right from the very beginning of the story, as opposed to that romantic hero in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. He had always been there for Emma.

Marriage of convenience

‘Devil in Winter’ & ‘Kiss an Angel’

‘Devil in Winter’ by Lisa Kleypas

This book is one of my favourite re-reads. If you have read ‘It Happened One Autumn’ (book #2 in Wallflowers series), you would know that Sebastian St Vincent is a selfish womaniser. In ‘Devil in Winter’ (book #3), Sebastian and Evangeline “Evie” Jenner agreed to a marriage of convenience. It was a pleasant surprise to read how Sebastian became a better man. I just love the quote below because it indicates that Evie noticed the change in him and wanted to take their marriage to the next level:

“Life was too uncertain to waste time. There was no guarantee that Sebastian would be faithful to her. She had nothing but hope—and the instinct that although the man she had initially married was not deserving of such faith, the man he was becoming just might be.”

If you’d like to find out more about Sebastian’s transformation without reading the book, click here.

‘Kiss an Angel’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Daisy Devreaux was a flighty rich girl who was forced into marrying a no-nonsense circus worker named Alex Markov. Despite her flaws, Daisy had a big heart and likeable personality. Even though she has never worked hard before, her time in the circus has taught her to be hard working and appreciative of the value of money (as showed in the quote below):

“I’m not making any long-term predictions. One day at a time is the most I can manage right now.” She caught her bottom lip between her teeth and frowned. “All I know is that I have to do this.”

“Daisy, it’s too much work.”

“I know.” She smiled. “That’s why I have to do it.”

I just enjoy everything about this book: character growth, the plot, the humour and even the circus setting. ‘Kiss an Angel’ is another book that I enjoy reading repeatedly.

A single woman in a modern world

'P.S. I Love You' & 'Bridget Jones's Diary'

‘P.S. I Love You’ & ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’

‘P.S. I Love You’ by Cecelia Ahern

I choose this novel because of the way the author sets up the character to grow emotionally. I love it that Gerry sets monthly tasks for Holly in his love letters. It was really tough facing life after the death of a loved one. However Holly had the support of her family and friends. It was a pleasure to read Holly transforms from a naïve, husband-dependent young woman to a woman ready to face any life challenges.

If you would like to read Gerry’s love letters, visit this link. My favourite letter is the fourth one. ❤

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ by Helen Fielding

I haven’t read the book yet but have watched the movie. Hence I’m evaluating the book based on the movie.

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is relatable – Bridget is a normal everyday woman who struggles with her weight, smoking, drinking and men. I first watched the movie when I had self-esteem issues so I could identify with her character. Yes, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is fluffy but it does teach readers/movie-goers one important lesson: to truly accept yourself. That line spoken by Mark Darcy “I like you very much. Just as you are.” shows that people who really love you will accept you regardless of your flaws.

Coming of age tales

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' & 'About a Boy'

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ & ‘About a Boy’

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky

The book was a speedy read (two days) for me yet it was rich and thought-provoking. It was great to read Charlie grew from a socially-awkward introspective teenager to a more participative and not-so-shy young man. ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ touches on issues such as social belonging, first love, peer pressure, familial relationship, student-teacher relationship and even mental health. The epilogue left me gobsmacked and I am not going to divulge more!

Plus points: As an avid music lover, it excites me that Mr Chbosky made a playlist of songs for Charlie. Another thumbs up to the author for making book references.

‘About a Boy’ by Nick Hornby

I shall write based on my movie experience since I haven’t read the original source. The movie, which starred Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette, was well-made.

This story shows that age does not define maturity. Will, a 30-something man, thinks he is cool and acts like a college boy. Marcus is a 12-year old boy who has an old soul. Despite their different personalities, I like the interactions between both characters because they learned so much from each other.

Multiple character arcs

'Lord of the Flies' & 'The Lord of the Ring'

‘Lord of the Flies’ & ‘The Lord of the Ring’

‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

If you like observing/learning about group behaviour, then this book is a fine example. ‘Lord of the Flies’ is about a group of schoolboys who were deserted on an island after a plane crash and had to survive on their own. There are 3 characters (Ralph, Jack and Piggy) that readers could analyse and compare based on their leadership potential. Ralph was elected as leader because of his charisma and likeability. Jack wasn’t happy with Ralph’s promotion so he formed his own group to rule. Piggy was intellectual but due to his unfavourable physical appearance (overweight, spectacles-wearing), other boys overlooked his opinions.

As the story progresses, readers learn more about their characteristics and leadership capabilities. I was shocked by the twist and the ending left me unsatisfied. Nevertheless, the book was a good read and deserves a space in my bookshelf.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien

I have only seen the movies therefore I’m using them as a guide. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a good example to study multiple characters. What I like about Frodo is that he took his responsibility very seriously. He had never gone out of his hometown before nor been in a life-or-death situation. Yet he willingly accepted the risky challenge despite his limitations. My favourite character in the movies is Aragorn. Despite being an heir to the throne of Gondor, he was unfazed by the title. He had a pure heart and wasn’t tempted to steal the ring for his own use. As the plot thickens, Aragorn became comfortable with his royal identity and led an army of men to defeat enemies in Mordor.

If you’d like to learn more about ‘LOTR’ archetypes, visit this link.


Do you agree with my choice of character-driven novels? Perhaps you could recommend me your favourite character-driven books. Feel free to share your comments and/or links in the box below.

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Banned Books Week: 21st – 27th September 2014

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read in the United States of America. It was launched in 1982 as a result of increased number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. American Library Association (ALA) estimates that more than 11,300 books have been challenged and/or banned since 1982. The top three reasons cited for such actions are:

  1. the material is considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contains “offensive language”
  3. the materials is “unsuited to any age group”

ALA has compiled frequently challenged books according to year. Top 10 challenged books in 2013 are as follows:

No. Title Author Reasons for challenge
1 Captain Underpants (series) Dav Pilkey Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2 The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
3 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4 Fifty Shades of Grey E.L. James Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
6 A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl Tanya Lee Stone Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
7 Looking for Alaska John Green Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9 Bless Me Ultima Rudolfo Anaya Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
10 Bone (series) Jeff Smith Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Banned Books Week 2014 will be celebrated from 21st till 27th September. This year’s focus will be on graphic novels because they are frequently subjected to censorship despite their serious literary content and popularity as a genre. Find out more info at this website.

Book community from librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists to teachers and readers will celebrate the week by hosting a variety of activities. Check out ALABanned Book Week and Read Write Think to find out more about the activities.

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) celebrates Banned Books Week with a special banner

My friends & I will have our first book club discussion on 27th of September. Our book of choice is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which still finds itself on the banned books list. You could read more about this ban here.

Are you going to celebrate Banned Books Week? How are you celebrating it? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts/ideas with us in the comment box below!

Check out this slick ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ poster

A poster for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ was unveiled yesterday. I love the slick look! Katniss Everdeen is dressed in black clothing from top to bottom. With her archery gear and body suit, she looks like a superhero albeit a reluctant one.

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ coming to cinemas worldwide starting November 2014

The dark poster is a stark contrast to the previously released propaganda of ‘The Capitol’. The all-white poster features President Snow as well as emotionally-suppressed Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason.

The Capitol’s propaganda

Do the posters pique your interest in the movie? If you are still not convinced, check out the teaser trailer below.

SS Readers Corner has a complete set of ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy. Read the book(s) before the movie’s release. The tentative release date in Malaysia is 20th November 2014.

Are you excited for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’? What do you think of the posters?

The Paperback Book Club: September 2014 meetup

Dear book lovers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor,

Last week, I wrote about my online discovery of The Paperback Book Club. The Paperback Book Club is a Kuala Lumpur-based book group that meets every month. September meetup is set to take place as follows:

Book: ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley (Goodreads reviews)
Date: 13th of September 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Nook Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral (map)
Who is invited? Anyone aged 18 years and older
What will be discussed? Themes, characters, plot, style, takeaway points from the book, etc.

One of the many covers of ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley

If you have not finished reading the book or are feeling rather shy, you are still welcome to take part in the meetup. RSVP at the website if you are keen to join the discussion.

Have fun!

For latest news on the meetups, check out their official website and/or Facebook page.

Join Penguin Books USA’s chat with Ally Condie

Penguin Books USA is using social media to conduct a virtual book club! Every month Penguin Books USA will announce a staff-selected book for the club. Twitter followers are encouraged to ask questions about the book as they read, and to look out for announcements on “mini book club meetings” during the course of the month.

This month’s pick is Matched by Ally Condie. Here is a synopsis:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

‘Matched’ by Ally Condie

Fans of the book, take note! @penguinUSA will chat with @allycondie on Thursday 28th of August 2014 from 1 pm to 2 pm USA Eastern Time (1 am to 2 am Friday for those in Malaysia). To be part of the chat, be sure to include hashtag #ReadPenguin in your tweet(s).

For more details on the book club, please visit and bookmark this page and/or follow @PenguinUSA on Twitter.

‘The Giver’ out in Malaysian cinemas on 4th of September

Last week, I wrote about the anticipation of ‘The Maze Runner’ movie. Those who are fans of Young Adult and/or dystopia genre(s), kindly take note. There is another book-to-movie adaptation that will be out next month: ‘The Giver’.

Here is a brief description of the book plot:

Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

SS Readers Corner has a copy of ‘The Giver’. If you would like to rent and read it, please drop us a visit.

‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry

‘The Giver’ will be released in Malaysian cinemas on 4th of September 2014. Press the ‘play’ button to watch the trailer.

For more information on the movie, visit the official website and/or Twitter.

Malaysians get to watch ‘The Maze Runner’ ahead of the rest of the world

There is a lot of hype on ‘The Maze Runner’ ever since 20th Century Fox bought the rights to adapt the book into a movie. ‘The Maze Runner’ is the first book in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. If you don’t know much about the book (and movie), here is a brief description:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade — a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up — the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

The trailer for the movie is out now. Click the play button to watch it.

Good news! Malaysia’s cinema-goers will be amongst the first people in the world to watch the movie. The movie will be released in Malaysia on 11th of September 2014, which is a week ahead of the United States of America. 🙂

International release dates for ‘The Maze Runner’

For latest news on the movie, visit the official website, Facebook pageTwitter and Instagram. Ease your search by typing hashtag #MazeRunner in your social media account(s). Fans in Malaysia can get localised updates via 20th Century Fox Malaysia’s Facebook page (see the embedded post below).

ps: Mr Sam (the owner of SS Readers Corner) is in the midst of purchasing ‘The Maze Runner’ series. Once the books are available for rent, I will make a ‘New Arrivals’ announcement. So watch out for that announcement in the near future.