Thursday, January 31, 2008


This week's Booking Through Thursday question

This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

Quirky huh? Lets start with a definition:

Quirky - having or full of quirks

Hmmm, that doesn't really help

Quirk -
  1. A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy: "Every man had his own quirks and twists" (Harriet Beecher Stowe).
  2. An unpredictable or unaccountable act or event; a vagary: a quirk of fate.
  3. A sudden sharp turn or twist.
  4. An equivocation; a quibble.
  5. Architecture A lengthwise groove on a molding between the convex upper part and the soffit.
When I think of quirky characters I definitely think of those with idiosyncrasies outside the norm. There is no doubt in my mind that it takes quite a skilled author to take those quirky characters that populate book world, and make them into characters that do not eventually irritate and annoy.

When I was trying to think back to books that I have read not in the not too distant past and which I have quirky characters, the first series I thought of was the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - her books are chockful of them! I do wonder if in some cases the quirkiness that started in her earlier books have not become the characters in the later books. By that I mean that there are certain things that you know the characters are going to do in every book. Lula is going to maneuvre herself into clothes that are too tight and too skimpy, Stephanie is going to be inept, Grandma Mazur will be just a tad crazy! Not that I don't like that, because I know now what to expect, but in a lesser series it could definitely become tiresome.

How about some other examples - Amelia Peabody and family from the mystery series of the same name by Elizabeth Peters. I definitely don't get tired of them. It seems that cozy mystery series seem to give us more than their fare share of quirky characters. Another one that came to mind was Phryne Fisher from the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerrie Greenwood. Maybe it is that quirkyness gives the author a hook to carry a book on - something that can carry through a series of books without having to come up with completely new characteristics every time.

Thank goodness that there are some authors out there that are skilful enough to come up with quirks, and quirky characters, that don't irritate after a while. There are some that just don't have that skill, or who think that being quirky equate to being bitchy or horrible in other ways!

I am sure that there are loads of examples, but for now this will do!

*Definition from


  1. I agree that Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Amelia Peabody has lot of quirky characters. And they're lot of fun :)

  2. I have not read either of the series. Book blogs offer us such wide choices.

    This was a fun prompt. I am coming across so many weird characters!

    Here is my response!

  3. I like a good quirky character as well.

  4. I love that you've given us a definition! Maybe that will help me come up with an answer today. I'm feeling stumped.

  5. I love the Plum series, especially Ranger and Grandma Mazur. And I read where Evanovich based some of the characters in the Plum series from characters in earlier books.
    I've heard quite a bit Elizabeth Peters, and being a fan of ancient Egypt I have to try her books.

  6. I've heard a lot of good things about the Stephanie Plum series -- I'll have to give it a try!

    Happy BTT, and thank you for your kind welcome. :)

  7. I definitely believe that a good quirky character is all in the skill & talent of the author. An author who's got great characterization skills can make the most unlikely character come alive and seem real.

  8. I thought about Grandma Mazur as well, but even there I found that while I loved the first books I eventually got irritated by the series and haven't read the last four.

  9. I've read only the first two of the Peabody mysteries and I agree that the characters are quirky. Especially her husband. :)

  10. I have added Elizabeth Peters to my authors to read. I LOVE Evanovich, so if 2 of you like both authors, I should check her out!

  11. I love the Stephanie Plum series it is so funny. I haven't read Peabody but she sounds interesting

  12. Grandma Mazur is one of my favorite of the quirky characters. She's such a hoot! Lulu is pretty great too. I never grow tire of those two.

  13. I haven't read the characters you've mentioned. I definitely like quirky characters in books, but whether or not they are believable depends on the author's talent.