Happy Galentine’s Day!: My Favorite Female Characters

Hi everyone! So, until about half an hour ago, I had no idea what Galentine’s Day was. All I knew was that it happens to be today, February 13th, and I saw it mentioned on Twitter a few times. But, as this article has so helpfully told me, Galentine’s Day is a day for celebrating women. Or, as the article says, ladies celebrating ladies. It was first mentioned on an episode of Parks and Recreation, and while I admittedly haven’t seen very much of the show (I’m so sorry please don’t hit me), I thought the idea sounded pretty cool. And then that made me want to write about some of the favorite lady characters I’ve read about. The only thing is that I have to head to bed soon so if this is slightly less coherent then usual, you have my sincerest apologies. Okay cool female characters go.

Hermione1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowing

Hermione was the first character that popped into my head when I was thinking about this post, and there are many, many reasons why. Hermione is so purely awesome–she’s smart, she’s brave, she’s kind. But she’s also very human and flawed. She’s amazingly good at magic, and I wish I was half as hardworking as she is, because then I would be so much better at not procrastinating on, oh, everything. We all know Harry and Ron would be totally lost without her. Plus, she’s a total bookworm, so of course I relate to her on a deeply personal level.

2. Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora PierceAlanna

If there is one book character that makes me want to bow down and gush about how cool I think she is, it’s probably Alanna of Trebond. Alanna is without a doubt one of the most awesome characters I’ve read about–she disguises herself as boy for years as she trains to be a knight of the realm in her home of Tortall. Of course, this isn’t easy, especially when she finds herself making a very, very powerful enemy. I think what I love most about Alanna is how fiery and tough she is. She is completely herself (despite the whole disguising herself as a boy thing), and she’s also feminist in a way that makes my heart do a tap dance of joy. If you have yet to read the Song of the Lioness series, for the love of God, please do. Alanna is fantastic. And I am endlessly jealous of the fact that she can both swordfight and do magic.

Lizzie Bright3. Lizzie Bright Griffin from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

I read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy a long time ago, and I really need to pick it up again, but Lizzie Bright Griffin had a lot to do with why I loved it so much. She’s smart and clever and not afraid to speak her mind, and she changes the life of Turner Buckminster in a myriad of ways. She’s brave, too, even in the face of the prejudice and racism she faces from the white people near where she lives. She truly is bright, in every sense of the word. Just please don’t make me talk me talk about the ending because tears. There will be tears everywhere. (Also, this book is both a Newbery and a Printz Honor, which I think is pretty cool.)

Lizzy Bennet4. Lizzy Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

Oh, Elizabeth Bennet. Jane Austen referred to her as “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print,” and I don’t blame her in the least. We’re reading Pride and Prejudice for my English class right now, and I love being able to rediscover how much I adore Lizzy’s character. She’s intelligent and witty and kind, while also being flawed. She’s very human, and so, so much fun to read about. I think she’s definitely my favorite character in the book, with Darcy coming in as a close second.

Hazel5. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

>sobs violently into pillow<

Ahem. Anyway.

Hazel is one of my favorite things about The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel has cancer, yes, but that is by no means all there is to her character. I love her voice in the novel, the way she describes things and the things she says. I love that she says things like, “Suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.” She’s smart and nerdy and honest, and has a bit of a smart mouth, which means I’m pretty much guaranteed to like her. Also, she has such a love of books, and I am a sucker for characters who love books. (Also people who love books.) (Also she loves poetry, so extra points.)

Phillis6. Phillis Wheatley from Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons by Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi’s books are so ridiculously good, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons is one of her best. It covers years of Phillis Wheatley’s life, from childhood to adulthood, and I loved being able to read about her character. Phillis is tough and smart, not to mention kind and complex. She adores writing, and I loved reading about her discovery of it, of her writing the poems that people still read today. I couldn’t put this book down, and part of me (or all of me) wishes there was a sequel could I keep reading about Phillis forever.

Amelia7. Amelia McBride from the Amelia Rules! series

The Amelia McBride comics are some of my favorites in pretty much ever. I remember devouring these books when I was in elementary school, and they can still suck me in. Amelia is the glowing main character and narrator, and I loved reading about her adventures with her friends, superhero escapades and all. She’s spunky and clever, and doesn’t always know when to keep her mouth shut, which somehow makes her even more likable. The Amelia Rules! books are some of my favorite graphic novels of all time, and a lot of that is due to Amelia herself. Not to mention that her Aunt Tanner is absolutely awesome.

Alexandra Bergson8. Alexandra Bergson from O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Alexandra is arguably one of the coolest characters in fiction ever. She grows up on the prairies of Nebraska, and almost single-handedly turns their family’s plot of land into a prosperous farm, with help from her brothers and friends. Alexandra is incredibly intelligent and smart, and I wish I had some of the persistence and energy that she does. Then again, thank god I don’t live on the prairie, because I wouldn’t survive a day.

Little Women9. Beth and Jo March from Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

Believe it or not, I actually hadn’t read Little Women until just this past Christmas, >ducks to avoid thrown tomatoes<, but I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed reading about all the March sisters, but Beth and Jo are without a doubt my favorites. Jo is endlessly spirited and clever, and Beth is the kind of character I want to hug for ages and then make cookies for. I loved Jo’s spunkiness, as well as reading about her writing, and I wish I could be even half as sweet as Beth is. There’s a reason I was sitting up in bed weeping in the middle of the night when I got to you-know-what. They may just be my favorite characters in the entire book. (Also, it thrills me to no end that Katharine Hepburn plays Jo in the movie adaptation. It seems so fitting.)

Dealing with Dragons10. Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

This was one of my favorite fantasy series as a kid, and it still is. Cimorene is a princess, sure, but she doesn’t exactly want to be, nor does she want to get married. So, of course, she runs away and lives with a dragon. And that’s just the beginning. Cimorene is adventurous and smart and wry in a way that I love, and her friendship with the dragon, Kazul, is actually one of my favorites in the whole series. I have half a mind to go back and read about Cimorene all over again. Plus, she makes an excellent cherry jubilee.

There are many, many other characters I could think of to add to this list, but I’m afraid that’s all for now. Also, I should really be getting to bed. So Happy Galentine’s Day to all, and to all a good night!

Bookish Quote of the Day: “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” —Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

P.S. Yes, I know that quote is magnificently out of season. Please don’t judge me. I miss our Christmas tree.

P.P.S. Also Flavia de Luce from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. A precocious 11 year old chemist who solves mysteries and has a specialty in poisons–what more could you want?

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To Be Read: Summer Edition

Hi everyone! It’s summer! A time for ice cream and beaches and getting sucked into books instead of doing your summer homework. And, despite the fact that it’s almost the end of July, this post is about what I want to read before school doors open once again (>muffled sobbing<). So, without further ado. . .

1. PrisPrisoner of Night and Fogoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

This book sounds unlike anything else I’ve read. It centers around Gretchen Müller, a seventeen-year-old living in pre-WWII Munich. Gretchen is a “Nazi darling,” as the book’s summary proclaims, but all her beliefs are challenged when she meets Daniel, a young Jewish reporter. After hearing great things about this and then spotting it at the library, I couldn’t resist. (Image credit goes to the author’s website, because the Powell’s Books website didn’t have any image for it, hmph.)

2. Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Guys! It’s the sequel! To Countdown! And it’s about Freedom Summer and it’s like if a scrapbook and a novel got together and had the best baby ever.

(Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)

3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I’ve been meaning to read this ever since I saw the Wishbone episode about it, I kid you not. Now that someone’s been kind enough to lend it to me for the summer, I really have no excuse. I just hope Catherine Morland gets out alive.

 

4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This book got a rave review from the awesome book blog Writer of Wrongs, and it sounds great. Lara Jean has a box of love letters, one for every boy she’s had a crush on. Of course, those letters have never been sent. . .until they are. And as if that doesn’t sound interesting enough, I really love that cover for some reason. Prettttyyy.

5. Everything in the Percy Jackson universe, by Rick Riordan

Yep. EVERYTHING. I haven’t read any of the Percy Jackson books in forever, or anything after the first two books in the series that comes after that, The Heroes of Olympus. Now that Heroes of Olympus is ending this fall, I figure I better get a move on. Will I finish all of them before the summer is out? No way. Let’s just hope I don’t get sucked into the Rick Riordan Vortex, never to return.

6. The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

Yet another series I haven’t read in forever. One of these days, I’m just going to dive back into Alanna’s world of sword-fights and magic and everything else. You know, if my heart hasn’t been ripped out by Rick Riordan first.

 

I’m sure I could think of more books to add to this list if I tried, but I think I’d better stop here, before it grows to the length of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend, and with that I shall bid you adieu!

P.S. Any special books on your summer reading list?

P.P.S. I just finished rereading the novel The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette, and as a result I am kind of a mess. It was like watching the “Doomsday” episode of Doctor Who all over again. HISTORY WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME.

Bookish Quote of the Day: “One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” –Writer Jeannette Walls

 

And Now I Gush About: Fandoms!

Okay, okay, stay with me. I know it’s been a while. . .

First of all, I have two apologies. Whoot!

One: I’m sKeep Calm-Fandomorry I haven’t posted in ages. . .again. . .>meekly offers you cupcakes and Emily Dickinson poetry<

And two: I’m sorry this isn’t a book review. It is book-related (as a lot of books are the basis for fandoms), but it isn’t a review, and I realize I haven’t done one of those for a while. Unfortunately, though, I watched the finale of the second season of Sherlock yesterday, and I’m too emotionally overwrought to really focus on a review. So. . .um. . .blame the BBC? Actually, ignore my excuses. Just stop right here.

Anyway, I’m thinking this is going to be a kind of feature now, maybe, where I basically aimlessly blab about what I love about a book/author/other-writing/book-related-thing. Am I even making sense? Ergh, moving on. . .

So, I am a member of a lot of fandoms. Harry Potter, Harry Potter LoveDoctor Who, Hetalia, Sherlock (OH MY GOD SHERLOCK). . .the list goes on for a while. If I could be a Professional Fangirl, I would. If you know anyone who will pay me to look at Tumblr and YouTube and to just cry/laugh/fall over, then for the love of fanfiction, send them to me. I am serious.

One of the things I love about fandoms (there are a lot of things I love about fandoms) is that there is so much to see. There’s art, stories, GIFsets, and more, all created by people who love something unconditionally and can come together to just go nuts over it. To just celebrate it with other people and say things like, “I found the most amazing fanfic today,” and “Look at David Tennant’s hair in this!” and “THIS GIF THIS GIF THIS GIF THIS GIF ASDFGHJKL;”

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch

Of course, it’s not all just blogging picture after picture after picture after video of Martin Freeman and/or Benedict Cumberbatch. (But, again, if you’ll pay me. . .) People also talk about stuff like why something is, or how it works, or WHOA THIS TOTALLY EXPLAINS THAT THING!!!

Or, they form awesome things like the Harry Potter HPA LogoAlliance, which uses fandom-ness and love to make the world a better place. Seriously, check it out. Being in a fan community can actually lead to some pretty interesting discussions and creations. What, you think we just randomly surf the internet all the time?

I love how, if you’re in a fandom, you can just have fun and love something, with other people who love it, and do something meaningful with it.

Not to mention all the amaaaaaazing fanfictions there are out there.

And music.

And fanart.

And. . .

Literary Quote of the Day: “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” —Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling.

P.S. My school, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, has a school newspaper! It’s online, and we’re hoping to really get some traffic going to the site, so, you know, if you want. . .

P.P.S. If you require some information on how to take care of a fangirl/fanboy, this video could be very instructive (Warning: Bit of a Sherlock spoiler):

Bookette: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Hi! So this is my second Bookette, and as you can see, it’s about Harry Potter. There’s really not much else to say. Have a great day everybody!IMG_2768[1]

Literary Quote of the Day: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”–Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Introducing. . .The Bookette!

Hi! So a little while ago I had this idea, and I’m not really sure how to describe it, so I’m just going to show you a quick photo:

IMG_2742[1]

I call this little number a “Bookette.” This one is, of course, a Bookette of the Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank during her time spent in hiding from the Nazis. I guess a Bookette is just a picture relating to a book. Or something like that. (Great, I had an idea and I don’t even know how to freaking define it.) But, yeah, there it is! I’ll probably be posting more of these in the future; it’s just something I thought would be fun. And I apologize; this is my first one, so it’s not all that creative or neat. But anyway. Have a spectacular day!

Literary Quote of the Day: “Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if. . .if only there were no other people in the world.”The Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank.

It’s Ron Charles!

Okay, so for those of you who don’t know (and you should), Ron Charles is a fiction book reviewer for the Washington Post. But he is ALSO your Totally Hip Book Reviewer, helpfully swooping in to save you from the dastardly deeds of those books that would seek to bore you/irritate you/cause you to worry about the current state of the literary world. Well, okay, not exactly. Basically he tells you about ones that don’t do that, as well as just generally making fun of other literary happenings, which he excels at. Here’s his first video, I hope you like it!

Normally, this would be the end of a post, but I’ve been thinking of adding in something new: A Literary Quote of the Day. At the end of every post, I’ll add in a quote from a book, author, poem, or some such thing that I find particularly humorous, heartbreaking, or just plain cool. And, if you have a quote you’d like to suggest, just leave it in the comments and I’ll put it in. But absolutely no spoilers, because they’re ungodly if unbidden. So, anyway, because this book has so many awesome quotes, the first ever Literary Quote of the Day is: “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” –John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.

P.S. You can probably expect at least a couple more quotes from that book in the future. Because, you know, it’s awesome. Have a good Friday! (Because it’s Thursday night, and “Have a good day” would be pretty pointless.)

The Newbery Approaches. . .

Sorry, but this is not a regular post on Girl Knows Books. I apologize. Instead, this is an aimless think-aloud on something that has been on my mind a lot today–who will win the Newbery Medal and Honors? (And the Caldecott, of course.) The results are due to be announced January 23, a.k.a. tomorrow, and I am very curious. I’ve recently been looking at several blogs and websites, just to see what everyone else thinks will happen, because I have no idea. Frankly, I don’t know if I’ve really been reading a lot of books that were published in the last year, so I can’t offer a lot of suggestions. There is one, though, that I have heard mentioned a couple times: Okay For Now, by Gary D. Schmidt. This name may sound familiar to you because I published a post a while ago on one of his other books that I enjoyed. I would definitely be pleased if this book won the Medal, because I’ve always found Schmidt’s writing to be really good and very captivating, and it seems like it’s about time he got the gold. Plus, I’ve actually read this one, and can vouch for it.  Another book that seems to be a high competitor for the Newbery is Breadcrumbs, written by Anne Ursu. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book, and just got it from the library. I cannot wait to read it, having read something else by the author and definitely liking it. Yet another that keeps cropping up is A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. I can’t offer a lot of info on this one, except that I’m intrigued. It looks different, and it looks good.

So, now that I’ve had my say, what do you think? What are you rooting for?