Because we’re more housebound at this time of year, a recent Facebook posting, on the home page of World Literature Today (https://www.facebook.com/worldlittoday), really caught my fancy. It asked its readers the following question:

If you could live the life of any one literary character,

who would you choose and why?

the-count-of-monte-cristo Isn’t this a great question?

At once, I was somewhere else; in this case, combing my mental bookshelves, trying to find THE book, THE download (1)story, where that literary character lives.

What first seemed simple and fun has turned out to be a challenge. My first problem is having my thoughts flooded by characters emanating from my most recent literary experiences, by which I mean not only what I have read, but also what I have watched on television—such as adaptations of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I guess I’ll need some time to really dig. I want to get this right!

Then there is the issue of gender: would I be a man or a woman? Because part of the thrill of this recasting of my life is that I can be ANYONE in literature, at any time!

I’m still thinking. It might take a little while. download

The passionate reader has lived vicariously through the adventures and sorrows of hundreds of characters, but not every one of king-arthur-rpgthese has evoked the same empathetic experience, or the same sense of joy, of excitement or of intimate understanding.

So I am leaving the question with you as well:

If you could live the life of any one literary character, who would you choose and why?

  If you’re struggling for inspiration, you can go to the Facebook link posted above and click on the comments left by others readers.

The Why component is as important as the Who, so stop, think,  and when you have decided which life you might have lived, please leave us a comment.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” 
― George R.R. MartinA Dance with Dragons

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”

― Joyce Carol Oates



  1. I have three:
    1. Scarlett O’Hara:
    Tho’ she was a “spoiled rich kid” when things got bad, and she lost everything she didn’t give up. Scarlett had a strong will to succeed, even tho she did use Rhett’s money.

    2. Eve Dallas(from J.D Robb’s In Death Books.):
    Had an abusive childhood, now works as a LT in the police dept, and she really kicks butt. Eve is strong willed, smart, and doesn’t let her past keep her from doing her job. Which is solving murders and standing for the dead.

    Benefits of being The Undead: never gain weight, superhuman strength, and you get to live in an interesting and mysterious castle. ‘Course the downside, drinking blood, no chocolate and no daylight and the ever constant threat of someone putting a stake through your heart. But I always found Drac. to be a cool and romantic dude, fangs and all. 🙂


    1. Lorraine,

      I love your choices!
      The contrast between Scarlett O’Hara and Eve Dallas in an interesting one. You admire resilience.
      If you were to become them, would you want to live their backstories, or just come to life where the novels start?

      I suppose having to live the characters’ backstories isn’t really part of the question, is it? Few of us would want to go back in time, I suspect.

      As for Dracula, what’s the use of never gaining weight if you can’t eat chocolate? 🙂

      Is it the Bram Stoker character you would become, or an Anne Rice vampire, or someone else (someone from Twilight perhaps)?
      Have you read many vampire novels or series?

      Thanks for your comments. We’ll see which characters we hear from next.

  2. I know I have seem slow of late, mainly it is that I try to limit my daily hours on the computer. I receive and send copious emails of some length. But when you say ‘alter ego’ I think of the author ‘The Goldfinch”. Love this book and no space here to continue…..words don’t scroll.

    1. Hello Gwen, almost two months have passed since you posted this comment. Did you see, yesterday, that Donna Tartt was awarded the Pulitzer prize for fiction yesterday for “The Goldfinch”?

      I’ve found that Pulitzer prize winners provide a brilliant reading list. Several of my most unforgettable reading experiences have been drawn from there. I think I’ll write a blog about it!

      I am starting “The Goldfinch” today.



      1. Pulitzers…happenstance had me read Scarlet Sister Mary a Pulitzel winner of 1928 by a Julia..[forgot] Interesting depiction of the Gullah people off the coast of S Carolina.
        Got to finish today Empress Dowager Cixi..by Jung Chang which has some astonishing pic when I thought there was so little left of that period…Last empress of China.

  3. Hello Gwen,

    I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the Comment function: it should work, I’m not sure what the problem is.
    The author of “The Goldfinch” is Donna Tart.
    Do you mean you would wish to be the author herself, or do you mean that you would choose to be the boy who is the protagonist of the story, Theo?

    I haven’t read the book, but I am intrigued.

    1. Hi- I guess I go on and on never suffering from writer’s block but it makes others suffer. Will see this time how far I go. I meant that it was first time I have really envied the skill of writing and would have liked to have been the aut. of this book. Saw her interviewed on PBS Newshour and she remarked that she wished the reader fun when they read. Long book and I am thankful for e-reader Kobo but will get this in paperback when poss for a
      young man of 15 who needs a hero and bless him, he reads.

  4. Hello Gwen,

    You have given me the urge to read that book! I will pick up a copy as soon as possible.
    If you would like to hear Hilary Mantel in other interviews, you can also hear her with the extraordinary Eleanor Wachtel, first in 2004, and then again in 2012.

    Here are the links:

    Another beautiful, rather astonishing book that I think you would love and that would be wonderful reading for a teenage boy is David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green which, for a variety of reasons, is perhaps my favourite book ever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s