English Professor, University of Memphis
"Oh, Skink! Skink's a recurring character in Carl Hiaasen's books. He's a former governor of Florida, a former English teacher and a one-eyed giant of a man who stalks the Everglades, lives off roadkill and tries to stop all tourism and development in his beloved state. In a way, Skink is a demented version of another fictitious Florida hero, the great Travis McGee."
"It would be the Cat in the Hat, because every time I feel sad, I read that book and feel better. And the Cat, he's such a menace. I can relate to that, at times -- I think I dated him."
News Anchor, ABC30
"I like Dagny, the main character in Atlas Shrugged. There was a passage in the book that said the hallmark of a second-rater is resentment for somebody else's accomplishment. And Dagny was a first-rater. She was courageous and true to herself, and she understood the value of being free to make money. She valued the freedom to succeed and fail, and I think that's really important."
AV Consultant, O.K. Productions
"Cyrus Harding, from Jules Verne's Mysterious Island. It was the first big book I read and a great adventure story. It has a shipwreck, some pirates and a group of castaways dealing with the adversity of nature. Cyrus was a civil engineer and model citizen. He knew enough to help the others survive. If he'd been on that show Survivor, he'd probably help them build a high-rise."
Assistant Director, Millstone Fine Arts
"It's Stephen from the novel I just read, A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice. Going through high school, he's the outsider, the frail kid who gets bullied, and even his boyhood friends exclude him from their friendship and ultimately become his worst enemies. At the end, his childhood friend is actually trying to kill him because of suppressed homosexual beliefs. It's kind of a coming-out story."
Graduate Student, Washington University School of Social Work
"It would have to be Phineas Gage, who sounds like a character in a novel but was actually a real person -- a railroad worker who got a steel rod through his head and as a result changed from a nice, popular man into a major jerk. He's a tragic character whose story lives on in my psych textbook."