Fat Books & Thin Women

30 Day Book Meme, Day 16
August 17, 2011, 5:09 pm
Filed under: 30 Day Book Meme | Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite female character:

When I started reading Tamora Pierce I was in the ninth grade. One of my friends found the first book in Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, the creatively titled Alanna: The First Adventure, read it in about a day, then loaned it to me. I’m not the sort of person who can’t put a book down – I read so many books at one time that I don’t think of a fast read as an indicator of quality – but, dear god, I could not put this book down. I read it during lunch, I read it when I was in the weight room for gym class…I carried this book everywhere I went.

What makes Pierce’s first series, especially for a teenage girl, is the character of Alanna. Here’s a teenage girl who has a dream and goes after it. Disguised as a boy, Alanna trains to be a knight – the first female knight in Tortall for generations – and though she trains hard, it’s never the sole focus of her life. She has friendships, romances, peripheral adventures; she’s an admirable character, one who accepts her gender but not its limitations.

Alanna is the sort of female character I wish we saw more often, not just in young adult fiction but in fiction generally. Katniss Everdeen rivals Alanna, Hermione Granger comes close for using her book smarts to repeatedly save her male friends, but Alanna was the first female character I found who I could identify with so fully. That’s what is remarkable about Pierce’s character: that Alanna is both someone we can recognize and someone we can aspire to be.

Pierce’s female characters are the perfect counterpoint to Twilight‘s Bella and her ilk. Rather than throwing their lives away for a man, or viewing their purpose in life as revolving around a man, Pierce’s characters put men and romance in their place: sometimes central, sometimes shunted to the side in favor of work/war/other stuff. And unlike Bella, who has a vampire baby eat its way out of her belly, Pierce’s characters know what birth control is and how to use it.

30 Day Book Meme:
Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

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I’ve been meaning to read this series. I’m trying to get back to some of the greats I missed when I was young (just read Anne of Green Gables for the first time). I’ve heard only good things about Tamora Pierce and this seems like the place to start. Plus I’m always looking for great books for my nieces.

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