Cool Stuff from the Selectors: Complex characters for complex times

I think that we can all agree that these are strange times.  

At the start of lockdown, many of us were getting creative, keeping up the exercise, showing positivity, getting outside and almost making the most of it. As time has gone on we are being encouraged to do what we need or please, so If I want to sit on the coach all day eating the Easter eggs that I actually bought for my children well that's just fine! As fiction selector, I have noticed that I have gone through my own process when looking at fiction to read or buy. I started off thinking about the titles that had a positive vibe, people overcoming adversity, perhaps seen as flawed by society but somehow managing to make the best of their lives. Our UPLIT booklist has a good number of these titles to get into.

However as time has gone on I seem to have had my lot with positivity, and have been thinking about those titles I have read over the years where the characters are not only fascinatingly flawed but are rather unpleasant. Reading these books can be frustrating as the characters often behave appallingly, but at the same time they are the people you love to hate.

Complex characters for complex times

List created by naneek

If you want to read about nice characters doing good things then this is not the booklist for you! If you prefer your characters to be complex, at times unlikeable but always interesting, then you should find something to suit you from this list

View Full List

Two titles that I have yet to add to this list as they are not available on eBook at present are Death of a She Devil by Fay Weldon and Disgrace by J.M Coetzee. I read these books many years ago but both have characters that have stayed with me.

Death of a She Devil:

But this is wonderful! This is exhilarating! If you are a she-devil, the mind clears at once. The spirits rise. There is no shame, no guilt, no dreary striving to be good. There is only, in the end, what you want . And I can take what I want. I am a she-devil!"

 I want revenge. I want power. I want money. I want to be loved and not love in return.


“he knows too much about himself to subject her to a morning after, when he will be cold, surly, impatient to be alone.”
“His mind has become a refuge for old thoughts, idle, indigent, with nowhere else to go. He ought to chase them out, sweep the premises clean. But he does not care to do so, or does not care enough"
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