20 best books on character – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Are you looking for a book that will inspire you, challenge you, and help you grow as a person? Look no further! In this article, we have compiled a list of the 20 best books about character. Whether you’re searching for a book on character development, moral values, or personal growth, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to dive into these captivating reads that will leave a lasting impact on your life.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by J.K. Rowling

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling is an enchanting tale that takes readers on a magical journey into the world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This captivating book about character introduces us to the young and resilient protagonist, Harry Potter, who discovers he is a wizard on his eleventh birthday.

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is a mesmerizing book about the enigmatic essence of the human spirit. F. Scott Fitzgerald masterfully crafts a tale that delves into the depths of the human condition, exploring the intricacies of our desires, ambitions, and flaws.

This spellbinding novel can be best described as a ‘book on character’, as it intricately weaves a tale of love, obsession, and tragedy through its vivid cast of characters.

Set in the bustling 1920s, the story revolves around the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who is deeply infatuated with Daisy Buchanan, a married woman from his past. As the narrative unfolds, Fitzgerald delves into the motivations and desires of each character, exposing their true nature and the consequences of their actions.

The Great Gatsby is not merely a ‘book about character’, but a profound exploration of the human psyche. Through the lens of Gatsby, Daisy, and their entangled relationships, Fitzgerald examines the themes of the American Dream, wealth, and the corruptive power of ambition.

This ‘character book’ is a captivating journey that will leave readers pondering the complexities of human nature and the choices that shape our lives. Fitzgerald’s prose, laced with elegance and poetic beauty, paints a vivid picture of the Jazz Age and the allure of the upper echelons of society.

With its timeless themes and unforgettable characters, The Great Gatsby remains a classic in literature, reminding us that beneath the glitz and glamour lies a story of humanity, passion, and the pursuit of elusive dreams.

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a book about character that captivates readers with its timeless tale set in the 1930s. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel explores the power of empathy and the importance of standing up for what is right, making it a truly unforgettable book on character.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is an enchanting book on character that takes readers on a delightful journey through the intricate world of 19th-century England. Set against the backdrop of the opulent Regency era, this timeless classic captures the essence of human nature, relationships, and societal norms with remarkable insight and wit.

At its heart, Pride and Prejudice is a captivating book about character, where the characters come alive with their quirks, flaws, and virtues. Austen’s masterful storytelling introduces us to the spirited and fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, whose wit and intelligence make her an unforgettable heroine. Alongside her are the charming and proud Mr. Darcy, the vivacious and kind-hearted Jane Bennet, and an array of colorful characters that add depth and humor to the narrative.

In this enthralling character book, Austen weaves a tale of love, misunderstandings, and personal growth. The novel explores themes of social class, marriage, and the transformative power of self-reflection. Through the lens of Elizabeth’s journey, readers witness the consequences of pride and prejudice, and how these attitudes can shape our perceptions and relationships.

With its sparkling dialogue, elegant prose, and astute observations about human behavior, Pride and Prejudice remains a beloved classic that continues to resonate with readers of all ages. Austen’s ability to create multidimensional characters and intricate relationships is truly remarkable, making this book on character a timeless masterpiece that has stood the test of time.

The Catcher in the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is a mesmerizing book on character, penned by the legendary author J.D. Salinger. This masterpiece delves deep into the world of adolescence, exploring the complexities and struggles faced by its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. With a captivating narrative and vivid descriptions, Salinger crafts a character book that captures the essence of youth, rebellion, and the search for identity.

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit is a mesmerizing book on character that takes readers on an epic adventure through Middle-earth. Written by the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien, this enchanting tale is a character book filled with bravery, wit, and unexpected heroism.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a fascinating book on character that takes readers on an unforgettable journey along the Mississippi River. This timeless masterpiece explores the complexities of human nature and offers profound insights into the essence of humanity.

The Lord of the Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, written by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a captivating epic fantasy series that delves deep into the realms of Middle-earth, exploring the intricate web of alliances, betrayals, and triumphs that shape the destiny of its characters.

Often hailed as the ultimate “book on character,” The Lord of the Rings transports readers to a world where hobbits, elves, dwarves, and men embark on an extraordinary quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the malevolent Dark Lord Sauron.

Through the trials and tribulations faced by Frodo Baggins, the humble and resilient hobbit chosen to bear the burden of the Ring, readers witness the remarkable growth and transformation of not only Frodo, but also the diverse ensemble of characters who accompany him on his perilous journey.

From the wise and enigmatic Gandalf the Grey, to the valiant Aragorn, the elf princess Arwen, and the loyal Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings is an immersive character-driven saga that explores the depths of courage, loyalty, sacrifice, and the indomitable power of friendship.

As readers become ensnared in the rich tapestry of Middle-earth, they are captivated by Tolkien’s intricate world-building, his meticulously crafted languages, and the profound moral dilemmas faced by each character. The Lord of the Rings is a true masterpiece that continues to captivate readers of all ages, reminding us of the timeless power of a truly remarkable “book about character.”

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is a thrilling dystopian novel written by Suzanne Collins. It is a captivating book on character that takes readers on a rollercoaster journey into a world where survival and morality collide.

The Da Vinci Code

by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code is a sensational book on character, penned by the brilliant Dan Brown. This gripping novel takes readers on an enthralling journey through the realms of art, history, and religion, all while unraveling a riveting mystery.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is a captivating book about the power of character. This enchanting tale takes readers on a journey through a magical wardrobe into the mystical land of Narnia. In this wondrous world, children discover that their true character will be tested and their choices will shape their destiny.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is a thrilling book about identity, resilience, and the power of character. This gripping novel takes readers on a dark and complex journey as they follow the lives of two unforgettable protagonists.

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a captivating character book that will leave you both heartbroken and inspired. The story revolves around two extraordinary teenagers, Hazel and Gus, who meet at a cancer support group. This book on character explores their unique perspectives on life, love, and the complexities of living with a terminal illness.

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Embark on a remarkable adventure through the pages of The Alchemist, a transcendental tale that will leave you spellbound. This masterpiece by Paulo Coelho is not just a book on character, it is a transformative journey that delves into the depths of the human spirit.

Set in the mystical landscape of Andalusia, Spain, the story follows Santiago, a young shepherd who yearns for something greater in life. Guided by his recurring dream and a chance encounter with Melchizedek, the king of Salem, Santiago embarks on a quest to find his Personal Legend – the true purpose of his existence.

As Santiago traverses the vast desert and encounters a series of captivating characters, he learns invaluable lessons about resilience, faith, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. The Alchemist is not simply a book about character, it is a profound exploration of life’s universal truths.

Through Santiago’s transformative journey, Coelho delves into the essence of the human condition, urging readers to reflect on their own desires, fears, and aspirations. The Alchemist invites us to question our own beliefs, challenge societal norms, and embrace the unknown with unwavering courage.

Coelho’s lyrical prose and philosophical insights make this book an enchanting and enlightening experience. The Alchemist is not just a character book; it is a soul-stirring masterpiece that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind.

So, are you ready to embark on this extraordinary odyssey of self-discovery? Open the pages of The Alchemist and let Santiago’s remarkable journey ignite the fire within you, inspiring you to chase your dreams and uncover the true depths of your character.

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett, is a captivating and thought-provoking book about the power of character. Set in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, the story revolves around the lives of three women whose paths intertwine in unexpected ways.

This mesmerizing tale delves deep into the complexities of human nature, portraying the struggles, triumphs, and resilience of its characters. Stockett skillfully crafts a narrative that explores the depths of each character’s personality, revealing their flaws, strengths, and the transformative journeys they embark upon.

This book on character captivates readers with its authentic and relatable portrayals. Through the eyes of the protagonist, Skeeter, a young white woman who aspires to become a writer, we witness the courage and determination it takes to challenge societal norms and fight for justice.

Stockett’s masterful storytelling not only highlights the individual character growth of each woman but also sheds light on the collective power of unity and empathy. The book beautifully illustrates the ripple effect that one person’s actions can have on an entire community, ultimately shaping and transforming the lives of those involved.

The Help is an engaging and poignant character book that explores themes of racism, identity, and the indomitable human spirit. It reminds us of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity, and the profound impact that acts of kindness and understanding can have on shaping a better future.

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, is a captivating book on character that takes readers on a powerful journey through the lives of its deeply complex and unforgettable characters.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray is not just any ordinary book on character, it is a mesmerizing masterpiece that delves into the depths of human nature and morality. Written by the legendary Oscar Wilde, this timeless classic is a thought-provoking book about character that explores the corrupting influence of beauty and the consequences of one’s actions.

Set in the vibrant and decadent world of Victorian London, the story revolves around the eponymous character, Dorian Gray. Handsome and charming, Dorian possesses a remarkable portrait that captures his youthful beauty. As he indulges in a life of hedonism and immorality, he realizes that while his image in the portrait remains eternally flawless, his own soul becomes increasingly tainted.

This captivating character book takes readers on a journey through the dark corners of human desires, as Dorian’s sins and vices gradually consume him. With each immoral act, the portrait ages and reflects the true ugliness of Dorian’s soul, while he continues to maintain an outward appearance of youth and innocence.

Wilde’s rich and witty prose paints a vivid picture of the consequences of unchecked desires and the destructive power of beauty. The novel raises profound questions about the nature of morality and the choices we make, ultimately exploring the idea that true character lies not in appearances, but in the depths of one’s soul.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a book on character that challenges societal norms and invites readers to reflect on their own values and beliefs. It is a haunting and unforgettable tale that serves as a cautionary reminder of the consequences of living a life devoid of virtue. Prepare to be enthralled by Wilde’s brilliant storytelling and discover the timeless truths hidden within the pages of this extraordinary masterpiece.

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is a remarkable book on character, unlike any other. This mesmerizing novel delves deep into the human spirit, exploring resilience, self-discovery, and personal growth. Set in early 20th-century Georgia, the story revolves around the life of Celie, a young African American woman who endures unimaginable hardships and abuse.

Celie’s journey is an emotional rollercoaster, as she navigates through the complexities of love, family, and faith. Through her letters to God, Celie finds solace and learns to find her own voice, ultimately transforming from a submissive and silenced individual into a powerful force of strength and determination.

This book about character is a testament to the human capacity for survival and personal transformation. Walker’s exquisite storytelling and vivid imagery bring the characters to life, allowing readers to connect deeply with their experiences and emotions.

The Color Purple is a character book that challenges societal norms and explores themes of feminism, race, and identity. It is a powerful reminder that even in the face of adversity, one’s spirit can rise above, and true liberation can be found within.

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief: A Tale of Character and Resilience

Welcome to the world of The Book Thief, a mesmerizing novel that transcends the boundaries of time and space, transporting readers to Nazi Germany during World War II. Markus Zusak’s masterpiece is not just a book on character, but rather a poignant and heart-wrenching journey that explores the depths of humanity, courage, and the power of words.

Set in the fictional town of Molching, the story revolves around Liesel Meminger, a young girl who finds solace and escape in the world of books. But this is not just any ordinary book about character; it is a character book that highlights the resilience, strength, and compassion that can be found even in the darkest times.

Liesel’s life takes an unexpected turn when she is sent to live with a foster family, the Hubermanns. In the midst of the chaos and brutality of war, Liesel discovers the power of words and storytelling. With the help of her foster father, Hans Hubermann, she learns to read and becomes enamored with the magic that lies within the pages of books.

As Liesel’s love for literature grows, she also becomes entangled in the dangerous act of stealing books, hence earning her the title of “The Book Thief.” Through her stolen treasures, she discovers the transformative power of words, not only for herself but also for those around her.

The novel is narrated by Death himself, providing a unique perspective on the events unfolding in Liesel’s life. Death serves as a silent observer, witnessing the triumphs and tragedies that shape Liesel’s character and the lives of those she holds dear.

With vivid and evocative prose, Zusak invites readers into a world filled with unforgettable characters, including Liesel’s best friend Rudy, the enigmatic Jew hiding in her basement, and the relentless bombings that haunt their every step. Through their stories, the novel examines how individuals are shaped by their circumstances and how the choices they make define their character.

Ultimately, The Book Thief is far more than just a story about books or characters; it is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of friendship, love, and the written

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

The Giver: A Captivating Tale of Identity and Individuality

The Giver, a remarkable book on character penned by Lois Lowry, takes readers on an unforgettable journey through a dystopian society. Set in a seemingly perfect world where everything is meticulously controlled, this character book delves deep into the complexities of human nature and the importance of individuality.

In this book about character, readers are introduced to Jonas, a young boy who lives in a community devoid of color, emotion, and personal choices. As he approaches his twelfth birthday, Jonas is assigned the rare and prestigious role of the Receiver of Memory. Through this role, he discovers the truth about his seemingly utopian society.

As Jonas receives memories from the Giver, an older man who holds the community’s collective memories, he begins to question the world he thought he knew. Witnessing both the joy and pain of the past, Jonas realizes that a life devoid of emotion and personal experiences ultimately strips away the very essence of being human.

This enthralling book on character explores the importance of embracing one’s uniqueness, challenging societal norms, and the power of memory. As Jonas navigates through his internal struggles, readers are compelled to reflect on their own lives and the value of their own experiences.

Lois Lowry’s masterful storytelling and thought-provoking narrative make The Giver a timeless classic that resonates with readers of all ages. This mesmerizing character book serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of individuality and the courage it takes to stand up against conformity.

Immerse yourself in this extraordinary tale that will leave you pondering the true meaning of humanity and the importance of embracing your own unique character.


After exploring a wide range of books about character, it is clear that these literary works offer invaluable insights into the complexities of human nature and the development of character. Whether you are seeking inspiration, guidance, or a deeper understanding of the human condition, these 20 best books about character are a must-read. From classics to contemporary works, these books delve into the depths of what it means to be human, inviting readers to reflect on their own lives and the characters they encounter. So, grab a cup of tea, cozy up with one of these books, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.