The pleasures of reading are multifaceted and numerous. We read to experience new worlds, to see life through another’s eyes, to gain a sort of wisdom unique to the deeply personal conversations that reading offers, and to see ourselves in the characters we love. Naturally, part of seeing oneself in a book character relies on whether or not that character is also a reader. There are countless bookworms gracing the pages of literature’s vast history. Though impossible to name them all, we thought we’d compile a list of some of our favorites.
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Hermione Granger is testament to the immense power of the written word. Without her and her razer-sharp book smarts, Harry Potter’s story would have been much different. Perhaps much shorter.
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Though Jane Austen presents us with many options for inclusion in this list, such as Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey, we’re going with Elizabeth Bennett. This character stands apart from her social circle and environment, and her uniqueness is bound, in part, to her love for literature.
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Scout’s love for reading in instilled by her father, Atticus, a learned man who knows the lessons in empathy that a great book inspires. Harper Lee’s masterpiece is an example of just that kind of book.
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Matilda is an intellectual child and “A Reader of Books,” as Dahl describes her. Because of this, she finds herself on the outskirts with her parents and others who don’t quite understand her. Though Matilda contains flights of fancy, such as the protagonist’s perhaps allegorical telekinesis, the trials of a booklover are at the heart of this story and resonate strongly.
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Salinger’s protagonist struggles to fit in, to understand and accept the world as he sees it and to make meaningful connections with others, which is as fitting a description of a book lover as there ever was. One of his famous lines is “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot,” which characterizes his confused adolescence, his humility, and his capacity for attempting to better understand the world by looking to literature.
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In a world filled with fighting, careless bravado, and sharp swords, Tyrion Lannister sets himself apart by being as, if not more, dedicated to keeping his mind sharp. He does this by the one tried and true method: sitting in a library and reading.
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Another fan favorite, Jo March seems to be most at peace and at home when she is in her attic reading. Her avid love of literature inspires her to write her own stories.
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Through all the hardship the Nolan family faces, Francie is able to gain a temporary reprieve by immersing herself in her reading. She is a great example of the rich, alternate worlds one can inhabit by simply picking up a great book.
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Zusak’s title points directly to his protagonist’s love for reading. During WWII, books were not easy to get. So Liesel Merminger begins stealing them from a wealthy acquaintance. This serves as yet another reminder of the beauty one can find in books, particularly during dire circumstances, as well as the lengths we will go to experience that beauty.
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As the title suggests, Cath is as devoted a fan as possible when it comes to the fictional Simon Snow book series. She becomes so inspired by reading and rereading these books that she attempts to write her own homage to the Simon Snow series. The term for this, as we’re sure you already know, is fanfiction.
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In part, it’s their love of reading that brings John Green’s characters together. Hazel’s favorite book, and its complicated author, figure heavily in the novel’s plot.
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Bradbury’s dystopian masterpiece takes place in a world where books are outlawed and “fireman” are assigned the task of burning them. One such fireman, Guy Montag, becomes ambivalent about his job and begins hoarding confiscated book that he decides to read to see if they have any value. Of course, as we all know, they most certainly do.
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