Recommended Reading from Susan Cain, Author of Quiet
Introverts in Literature
1. Ferdinand the Bull, from the classic children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf. Ferdinand is a young Spanish bull who prefers to sit quietly under a tree, smelling the flowers.
2. Margaret Schlegel, from Howards End, by E.M. Forster. The introverted intellectual, perpetually concerned with the underlying meaning of people and things.
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3. Jane Eyre, from the book of the same name, by Charlotte Brontë. A classic bookworm with gumption, Jane Eyre opens her story by telling us that “with [a] book on my knee, I was then happy.”
4. Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The classic brooding romantic hero, Healthcliff remarks that “guests are so exceedingly rare in this house that I and my dogs, I am willing to own, hardly know how to receive them.”
5. Patroclus, from the wonderful debut novel, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. In this retelling of the Iliad, Miller explores the deep friendship between gentle, retiring Patroclus and the god-like Achilles. Patroclus turns out to possess a quiet power that only fully reveals itself at the end of the book.
6. Sherlock Holmes, in A Study in Scarlet. Arthur Conan Doyle describes his fabled detective as “a man that is [not] easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him.”
7. Vicky Austin, in Meet the Austins, by Madeleine L’Engle. Vicky is every introverted teenager’s dream character: quiet, sensitive, philosophical, and somehow compelling enough to play leading roles in five of L’Engle’s wonderful young adult novels about the Austin family.
8. The Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Andersen. The consummate sensitive, introverted character of children’s literature.
9. Gandhi: An Autobiography. In which Gandhi, one of the world’s great transformative leaders, explains how his shy and quiet nature helped him lead a nation.
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