Books are a great company to have, especially if you’re a young introvert. The worlds and characters you encounter in books can be just as stimulating as the stuff we find in real life. Everyone’s had those days when a book is all you want to be near you. Those are some of the best days! However, being a devout reader can get a little lonely sometimes outside of the actual reading experience.
The bookish youth today have it pretty good with online book communities so easily available. Communities devoted to a variety of genres and authors spring up everywhere you search on social media. This hasn’t always been the case for everyone, though.
I don’t remember having other readers around me to share my love of books with when I was younger. I couldn’t express the joy of buying a new book or learning about a new author. The only people I knew that shared this love of books, reading, and writing were the characters on some of my favorite shows. I could relate to their love of books and writing even though they were just fictional people on the screen. Most importantly, they showed me that being a reader is pretty cool! Not that I needed someone to tell me reading is cool, but seeing people on television that love to read is a pretty big deal.
And so in chronological order, here are some of the characters that I shared my book-loving experiences with.
Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
Not only does Lisa play the saxophone and excel at school, but she enjoys reading and referencing books in her everyday life. Coming from a family that doesn’t read many books, Lisa’s reading made her different from her family in the same way I was different from my family. Her reading list is quite impressive for an eight year old.
Ginger Foutley from As Told by Ginger
While Ginger didn’t always have a book in her hands, she did have a pen! Ginger’s journal writing would eventually lead to her writing her own book as an adult. She was the typical pre-teen, concerned with boys and her social standing in school, but she always came back to her journal to write. She’s one of the reasons I started journaling when I was in middle school.
Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
We all want to be Rory, let’s face it. She’s read so many books—books you’ve probably never even heard of. And she has no shame in showing her love of books. To see a girl so enthralled by books and learning was revolutionary for me. She had her faults and made mistakes, but she still got back to the books and her writing in order to realize her journalistic dreams.
Poussey and Taystee from Orange Is the New Black
Poussey and Taystee are the most recent bookish characters on this list and Praise Norma for that. These two break the mold of what a typical reader “should” be. Look at the characters I have listed above: white, straight, and not in prison. (I should note that Taystee is straight, and the actress that plays Rory, Alexis Bledel, is Latina.) These two genuinely care for the physical state of their books and the ideas inside them. I only wish they had been around when I was younger.
I’ve since found different outlets in which I can share and discuss my love of books, but these characters—with the exception of Poussey and Taystee—were all I had back then. I’m glad shows like Orange Is the New Black are bringing back characters like this and in a diverse way at that. There’s nothing to lose in having more characters like these for people to enjoy, so let’s hope future shows will bring us these characters!