We often read books about restless children looking for adventures, angsty teenagers going out to save the world, and boisterous youth seeking some change in their mundane lives. But how often do we read books about unwilling protagonists thrust into adventure? Protagonists who are perfectly happy with their uneventful lives, detesting social interaction? Protagonists like us—introverts?
Nearly all my favorite protagonists are enthusiastic extroverts, loving the dynamic and unpredictable lifestyle. But that aside, I personally, prefer to know exactly what will happen in the next minute of my own everyday life. And compiling this list made me realize that I was not alone: these introverted protagonists hated social interaction just as much as I did, choosing a life sheltered from all the spotlight that comes with adventure.
1. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
Imagine preparing to have your dinner peacefully, after a whole day of doing nothing, when there comes a dreaded knock upon your door: a visitor, and a hungry one at that.
In Tolkien’s The Hobbit that’s what happens to poor Bilbo Baggins, a peace-loving hobbit who hates unannounced guests just as much as me. But courtesy demands he offer this stranger (a dwarf) his dinner, and yet Bilbo’s nightmare doesn’t end there. Twelve more dwarves accompany the first, and before long there is a whole party (plus a wizard!) in his house as he watches by in silent horror.
And then, worst of all, these dinner guests want him to leave the comfort of his little hobbit hole and go on an adventure to reclaim their lost kingdom! Alas, poor Bilbo! We introverts can quite understand his dilemma: to leave his peaceful life behind or go on an adventure (like his heart secretly desires)?
Get The Hobbit here, if you haven’t read it yet!
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Auste
While we cannot call Elizabeth Bennett, the protagonist of Jane Austen’s most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, an introvert (she totally isn’t), Mr. Darcy certainly is one.
Initially appearing aloof and proud, as he keeps away from everybody at the ball, Elizabeth immediately dislikes his manner. But as the story progresses, she realizes that underneath his aloofness, is a heart so noble and kind that she couldn’t help but fall in love.
Darcy’s crippling social anxiety makes him often misunderstood by those who don’t know him… Mr. Darcy, the kind of man we introverts desperately hope to find!
Get the book here.
3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
One of the many fears of an introvert is confessing their feelings to someone. We’d rather bottle it all up and wait till the feeling dissipates (suffering in silence) than go through the painful ordeal of opening up.
This is how Lara Jean is, the protagonist of Jenny Han’s bestselling novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Instead of confessing to her crushes, she writes letters to them… but never sends any, keeping them all stored in a jar.
But one day, to her absolute horror, she finds out that all her letters have been mailed to the respective recipients, and she’s left to deal with the consequences. The book is now a major motion picture, but I’d recommend you read the book before watching it.
You can find the book here.
4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson
Lizbeth Salander is the secondary protagonist of Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. First book in the world-renown series, Millenium.
Although possessed with exceptional hacking skills and a taste for gothic clothing and tattoos, Lizbeth is actually a highly introverted character.
Playing a central role in the investigation of the missing scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, Lizbeth is nevertheless misunderstood and her intentions often misjudged due to her withdrawn personality—something fellow introverts can relate to.
You can get the book here.
5. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is a household name. We’ve all read at least one of his bestselling stories.
In his very first solo novel, Neverwhere, he revolves this story around an introverted character, Richard Mayhew, who leads an ordinary, uncomplicated, and uneventful life. Until he finds himself in this alternate version of London, called London Below.
Richard is an example of an introvert who finds hidden courage when thrust into extreme circumstances – a tale all us introverts can be inspired from!
Get the book here.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.
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