You don’t have to be Ebenezer Scrooge himself to not be a people person, or to become frustrated by constant cheer, especially around the holidays. Everyone’s all a little grumpy sometimes, and some more so than others. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a kind heart and good intentions. Indeed, some of my favorite characters are famously grumpy, and I actually love that about them, because unlike most of us, they don’t feel the need to put on a happy face when they’re just not feelin’ it. They’re purely themselves, take them or leave them. Still, beneath the gruff exterior, you’ll often find a heart of gold, which is what makes these characters—and the books they’re in—worthy of Keeper Shelf status. Here are a few of my favorite books with characters whose bark is worse than their bite.