Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

"Tope Ten Tuesday" in a white font mimicking handwriting on navy starry skies

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

This prompt was a surprisingly hard one. You’d think, given that bookworms are the ones reading the most books, that we’d see more of them in fiction – self-inserts and all that. But I suppose a bookworm on a quest would be a bit of a disaster. My definition is not just “someone who likes books” but “someone who’d honestly prefer to be sitting with a book than people and who has made reading a major part of their life.”

Tilly and her grandparents

Book cover for TILLY AND THE BOOKWANDERERS: girl hold a book as pages and characters swirl around her on a red background

Tilly’s grandparents own a bookshop, the Pages and Co that gives the series its title. AND both Tilly and her grandparents have the ability to bookwander – read themselves into stories. You don’t get much more bookish than that!

Beginning with TILLY AND THE BOOKWANDERERS, the Pages family find themselves drawn into all sorts of book-related adventures (and dangers) in this MG series that manages to preserve the magical sense of every bookworm’s dream while still giving a sense of danger and threat to propel the books along.

Violet, Alice, and Katie

Book cover for THE FANDOM, with the title and author name (Anna Day) in front of thorns

With a similar “characters fall into books” central idea as the above, THE FANDOM and its sequel THE FANDOM RISING take a very different approach.

Violet, Alice, and Katie are mega-fans of a (fictional) book called The Gallows Dance. But when a meet and greet with the actors of the film adaptation goes wrong, they find themselves in the book. This YA shows the more probable awfulness of being sucked into a book (to be fair, this book is a dystopia, vs the classics in Pages and Co.) Either way, these girls have made The Gallows Dance a major part of their life – which might be their only way to escape.

Everyone in the Paper and Hearts Society

Book cover for THE PAPER AND HEARTS SOCIETY: title on yellow above a girl reading on a bench

The entire cast of THE PAPER AND HEARTS SOCIETY are absolutely book-mad. This group of friends, and new-comer Tabby, are all members of the book group created by Olivia that gives the book its title. One of their number, Ed, even works in a bookshop in the final book.

This adorable UKYA contemporary trilogy follows the various bookish hijinks the society gets up to (Austen evenings! Bookish road trips!), through the eyes of three different members. It also tackles subjects like bullying, burnout, and book bans.


Cover for DARK SKIES - a sword spearing a book in front of a shield with a running horse motif around the edge against a purple background

Lydia, from the DARK SHORES series and a narrator of DARK SKIES (which happens at the same time as DARK SHORES) is a glasses-wearing (a rare-rep in fantasy), book-loving girl who’s unfortunately caught up in politics no matter how much she’d rather be in her adopted father’s library.

When the politics catches up with her, she’s swept a world away into an adventure that could change everything. And unfortunately that unasked for adventure takes her away from her beloved library and into a situation where there’s very little time to read.


Cover for RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard. Inverted silver crown dripping blood above the title

The outcast researcher living on the fringes of court, Julian is Mare’s (pretty reluctant) ally and teacher in RED QUEEN. His study is a haven crammed with books that feels like a relief every time Mare enters it to escape the dangers of the silverblood world. He’d much rather be working on his history, arm-deep in old files, than dealing with the vicious court around him.

He is probably my favourite of the recurring secondary characters in this series, and I loved actually seeing his research for once in the companion, BROKEN THRONE.


Book cover for THIS VICIOUS GRACE: title in red on beige with border of branches, leaves, books, and daggers

Dante is the love interest bodyguard from the upcoming THIS VICIOUS GRACE. Full of secrets and adamant that he’s worse than MC Alessa thinks (even though he is mostly protecting her because he could see she was in dire need of help), he is the sort of silent and glaring LI common in YA. Except he’s nearly always reading a book in private.

Be that picking up her romance books, nose-buried in an old history book, or getting frustrated that her worried pacing is distracting him from his latest book, where Dante is, a book is not far away.


Kitay, from THE POPPY WAR trilogy, very much sits in the “nerdy one” archetype – though this brutal series definitely takes him away from the more innocent book lover as he, like all the cast, face war in many, awful forms.

The most “Kitay-moment” that stands out to me is from the start of the second book, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC, where he has been effectively tricked into redoing a city’s accounts by the simple method of “bet you can’t do better.” And then doesn’t want to leave the task (and is annoyed when his work burns.)


Book cover for THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP: title in white in front of old book shelves

A third books-come-life entry on this list? Oh yes – they are the perfect book to find bookish characters in. And also a really fun premise that has so many ways of feeling new. (If I’d read INKHEART, that book would probably also be on this list!)

For this adult fantasy, meet Charley, an academic in Victorian literature from THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP, who also possess the ability to bring characters to life. Unfortunately, literary characters are causing havoc in the city, and Charley isn’t the one who read them out.


Book cover for THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY: title in gold surrounded by border on green leather

For this entry, instead of books coming to life or characters journeying into books, we have a multiverse that is stabilised by The Library. In order to do so, The Library collects and protects books key to each world.

Enter Irene, a librarian of THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY that gives the series its name. A good book should be read – and protected. Unfortunately, there are rogue librarians, a war for dominance over the multiverse between the dragons and fae, and dangerous secrets about The Library itself…


Book cover for THE TETHERED MAGE: A blue outline of a flacon on a yellow background, with the image of a girl inside the body.

Another reader who’d far rather be in a library than involved in politics, Amalia’s shopping expedition for rare books at the start of THE TETHERED MAGE finds her magically connected to a mage. From there, she’s catapulted onto the stage of international politics as her home empire sits on the edge of war with the witchlords to the north.

It’s time to step into her role as heir to one of the most powerful families in the empire, and hope that all her time reading has given her the knowledge to navigate a world on the edge of destruction – and parties on both side who want to profit from it.

Which bookish characters would you add to this list?


15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

  1. I, interestingly can’t seem to think of any bookish characters (I’m sure there’s one somewhere I’ve read, but not where that was such a defining part of the character that when I think ‘bookish character’ that one comes to mind) that I’ve read. I am writing one that I think might qualify.

    Hmm, are there any at all that I can think of? Vanyel in Magic’s Pawn reads, but I wouldn’t call him any sort of bookworm. There are instances of characters reading in books that I can think of … but I can’t actually remember any book-lovers right now! Though I am certain there is one, somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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