Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

I do love books with bookish characters in them! Just reading this topic there are several who jump out at me immediately and I am sure several others that will pop into my mind. What we are looking at here are those characters who love to read – perhaps as a hobby, perhaps as a career, whether librarians or booksellers, teachers or writers….

I shall also endeavour to restrict myself to modern literature, avoiding the classics because that could be a whole new list all of its own! Jane Eyre, Lizzie Bennett, there are so many readers out there!


All the characters in Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

This whole novel revolves around a single story, following the people affected by it from Anna and Omeir in 1543, to Zeno Ninis and Rex in the brutal camps of the Vietnam War, to Konstance the final survivor of a deep space mission. All of whom are kept alive and sane by the same story from Ancient Greece.

Nina Hill from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina Hill works in a bookshop, losing herself in her beloved books and her trivia teams as a way of managing her panic attacks and social anxiety. But Abbi Waxman gently and carefully ensures that the real world as a way of finding Abbi.

This was such a sweet little book and I loved Nina’s horror in the opening pages when a customer returns her copy of Pride and Prejudice because nothing much happens!

Simon Serrailler from the Simon Serrailler Series by Susan Hill

I have so many issues with this series – I’m never sure whether it is a soap opera or a detective novel… or basically both at the same time, which is fine. Serrailler’s relationships with women are far more problematic, as is the heavily middle-class context…

But it is lovely to see Simon Serrailler as a detective, and his sister as a doctor, coming home and picking up a book to read.

Guylain Vignolles in The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean Paul Didierlaurent

Man! This was a book I read a while ago and there’s not much I remember except that Vignolles was rescuing books from his job as a book pulper, reading aloud on the train what he had rescued…

What I do recall was that it was very very sweet and charming.

Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I couldn’t not include Liesel here, could I?

I mean, she steals books. From Nazis. Genuine hero.

Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I know I said I’d try to avoid classics, and this is undoubtedly a classic…

But Scout and Jem Finch, taught to read on their father’s knee, and Scout who

could not remember when the lines above Atticus’s moving finger separated into words, but I had stared at them all the evenings in my memory, listening to the news of the day, Bills to Be Enacted into Laws, the diaries of Lorenzo Dow—anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

Liesel Weiss in Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Eva Jurczyk

Not in my humble opinion the greatest book in the world, but I did like the bookish world it created and the rare books cited were real and genuine – and the cycle of book selling conventions and the community amongst these rarest and most niche book collectors was astounding.

Alas the thriller aspects did not quite gel for me…

Brother William of Baskerville in The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

I adored this book. I remember adoring it!

I remember very little else about it.

Aristotle. Lost books. Tragedy and Comedy. A lot of description of an archway or doorway as I recall, and the sound of pigs being slaughtered. And heavily heavily allusive, as you would expect of Eco, and of any novel where the main character is Brother William of Baskerville!

Thursday Next in The Eyre Affair series by Jasper Fforde

Who wouldn’t want to slip into the pages of a novel, and leap into Thornfield House, Satis House or Netherfield Park?

Our plucky heroine Thursday Next loves books so much she is able to read herself into them and become a member of the internal book police! That is dedication!

Meggie and Mortimer Folchart, The Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke

Very much a companion to The Eyre Affair, the Inkheart series features Silvertongues – people who are able to read items and characters out of books and into the real world…

The Queen in The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

What would happen if the Queen became a reader of taste and discernment rather than of Dick Francis? The answer is a perfect story. The Uncommon Reader is none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. She reads widely ( JR Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton Burnett and the classics) and intelligently. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. She comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with much that she has to do. In short, her reading is subversive. The consequence is, of course, surprising, mildly shocking and very funny.

The Unseen University Librarian in The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett

He’s a librarian. He’s an orangutan!

What more needs to be said? Unless it is by Sir Terry himself

 The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian’s opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be.

Someone out there was about to find that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge.

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes


May 17: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read (bonus points if you tell us how long it’s been since you got them!)
May 24: Book Quote Freebie (Share your favorite book quotes that fit a theme of your choosing! These could be quotes about books/reading, or quotes from books. Some examples are: quotes for book lovers, quotes that prove reading is the best thing ever, funny things characters have said, romantic declarations, pretty scenery descriptions, witty snippets of dialogue, etc.)
May 31: Comfort Reads (Share which books or kinds of books you turn to when you need to escape. You can either share specific titles if you love to re-read, or you could share qualities of books you look for in a comfort read.)

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters”

  1. Oh, that’s a gorgeous cover for Inkheart! I had Nina Hill on my list today as well 🙂 I have The Name of the Rose on my TBR too so I’m glad to hear that you adored it (even if you remember nothing else about it, relatable, lol). Great list!

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  2. I’d forgotten what a good book The Eyre Affair is. Of course it has bookish characters…they like to go on vacations into books! Cloud Cuckoo Land. I love that book. Love it! Thanks for visiting.

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  3. So many good books 😊 The Book Thief is a beautiful book and I love Liesel! I also enjoyed reading The Reader on the 6.27. A couple of these books are still on my TBR. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was really good, so I want to read Cloud Cuckoo Land as well. I also would like to read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

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  4. Oh, Nina Hill could have made my list. I own it, but still need to read it. 🙂 Great list!

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  5. I often think there’s not enough bookish characters out there, but also, I realize there’s LOTS of book themed novels I haven’t yet read. A topic like this is always fun because then maybe readers can discover some new characters or books! Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

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