Skip to Content

20 Famous Bookworms in Literature and On Screen

20 Beloved Fictional Bookworms in Literature and On Screen

Bookworm Characters in Literature

Books about bookworms are some of my absolute favourites and I always feel a sense of kinship with the characters who have always got their heads stuck in a book.

These are just a few of my favourite and most famous bookworm characters from literature and arguably some of the best fictional characters in literature.

I have mostly kept this list to bookish characters from modern fiction as there are just so many fictional bookworms in classics (I mean, TVs and YouTube didn’t exist back then!).

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Hermione Granger is now one of the most famous book characters of all time thanks to the popularity of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. And she herself is an avid reader.

Where would Harry Potter be without Hermione to read up on everything for him? This girl may not have been born into a magical family but she’s more well-read than 99% of the wizarding world!

Hermione was often mocked for being so bookish but it was her bookish nature that got Harry and Ron out of a scrap every single time.

Hermione’s research sussed out who Nicholas Flammel was, that it was a basilisk haunting the pipes, that Remus was a werewolf and more.

Even at the very end of the series when they go hunting for horcruxes, she manages to stash away piles of books in her tiny bag! When in doubt, go to the library.

“I got this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading.”
– Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Buy Harry Potter online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Matilda Wormwood from Matilda

Matilda is often named as children’s favourite Roald Dahl novel and it’s easy to see why. The story is funny and sweet with some moments that are pretty darn thrilling.

I wish I could’ve been there to see the demise of Miss Trunchbull and throw my own sandwich at her!

Matilda is a neglected young child with absolutely horrible parents. The family sit in front of the television set each evening to eat their dinners and there’s no appreciation for reading or learning.

But Matilda’s life takes a turn for the better when she discovers the magic of the library.

Matilda is the youngest female bookworm on the list but she’s definitely the most well read out of any of these for her age.

She’s well ahead of the rest of her age group when it comes to reading and has read all the grown up books that even the grown ups haven’t read!

She was the ultimate inspiration for young bookworms and continues to be one of the most beloved bookworms in literature.

“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
– Matilda, Roald Dahl

Buy Matilda online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire

One of my favourite Throne of Glass quotes is “Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

And no one demonstrates this statement better than Tyrion Lannister. He lives in a dangerous world where battles rage and swords clang.

However, born a dwarf, Tyrion has never been a master of the sword, instead, he is a master of words.

Whilst those around him pride themselves on their swordsmanship, Tyrion earns his place as one of the most important and intelligent characters in the Song of Ice and Fire series by using the knowledge he has gleaned from the pages of books.

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone”
– Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones

Buy A Song of Ice and Fire online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

There are so many bookworms to choose from in Austen’s works but I’ve gone for the absolute classic Austen heroine – Lizzie Bennet.

Lizzie has never had time for the frivolous activities expected of women during her time, favouring instead to fill her life with books and her mind with knowledge.

Of course, this does no her marriage prospects no favours and her mother despairs.

But Lizzie seeks an authentic life with some she truly loves instead of marriage for social status. She was one of the OG feminists reminding us that it is what it is in our minds that matters most, not the clothes we wear or dances we go to.

Special mention goes to Caroline Bingley for this line: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!”

Buy Pride and Prejudice online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief

Liesel, our eponymous book thief, grows up in the worst of times – WWII Germany. She appreciates the importance of books even before she has learnt to read and routinely steals those that she can get her hands on.

Her foster dad, Hans, soon teachers her how to read and she becomes enamoured by reading. It becomes her escape from the harsh world she lives in.

However, as time goes on her attitude changes. She still loves reading but also appreciates the immense power that books can have upon someone’s life. A poignant lesson for us all!

‘I have hated the words, and I have loved them’.
– The Book Thief

Buy The Book Thief online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel Grace is a very sick young girl and her life mostly consists of hospital appointments. Then she meets Augustus and sparks fly.

The pair exchange their favourite novels, which is the perfect start to their romance. It is Hazel’s last wish to meet her favourite author, the author of the book she gave to Augustus, so the pair set plans in motion to track him down and travel to Amsterdam. Such dedication!

Check out my review of The Fault in Our Stars here.

RELATED: The Fault in Our Stars Amsterdam Guide

Buy The Fault in Our Stars online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Cath Avery from Fangirl

Cath from Fangirl is one of the ultimate bookworms and, unsurprisingly, fangirls. She is a massive fan of the “Simon Snow” series (ahem, Harry Potter) and even writes her own fan fiction based on the series. The story centres around Cath’s life at university as a shy bookworm whilst her twin sister is living it up.

In contrast to her sister, Cath prefers the company of book characters to real people and is the very definition of introverted. Cath’s the kind of girl who goes to the midnight launch party of the new book in her favourite series aka my kind of gal.

Check out my Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell review here.

Buy Fangirl online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

Bilbo loved to read about adventures so when one came knocking at his door he was off before you could say dragon-fire. Then when he came back, of course, he wanted to share that story with others who didn’t have the opportunity to leave the safety of the shire.

Bilbo demonstrates how books can broaden the mind and encourage us to grab life by the balls when an opportunity to explore presents itself.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.
– Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring

Buy The Hobbit online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird

Scout Finch is an unusually intelligent young girl for her age, which is no doubt down to the father figure she looks up to. Scout can read long before the other children in Maycomb and her father always did a lot to make sure her mind was nurtured in the right way.

The story is set in 1930s Alabama and which wasn’t the most progressive of times or places to say the least. However, Scout learnt more than what was expected of young girls at the time through books, human contact and playing outside with the boys.

Atticus Finch has always instilled in his daughter a strong sense of right and wrong and that is something readers should take away from this book too.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
– Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Buy To Kill a Mockingbird online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Caelena Sardothien from Throne of Glass

When I picked up the Throne of Glass series I didn’t expect to find the heroine to be quite such a kickass and feisty bookworm.

Caelena Sardothien, orphan, deadly assassin and queen frequently refers to her love of reading and how she cannot be without her books. In fact, I dedicated a whole section of post on Throne of Glass quotes to her one-liners about books!

“Her salary as King’s Champion was considerable, and Celaena spent every last copper of it. Shoes, hats, tunics, dresses, jewelry, weapons, baubles for her hair, and books. Books and books and books. So many books that Philippa had to bring up another bookcase for her room.”
―Crown of Midnight

Buy Throne of Glass online now: Amazon | Book Depository

Bookworm Characters in Films & TV

Next up we have famous bookworms on screen in these shows and movies for bookworms. Be sure to add these movies and series to your watch list if you’re looking for movies about bookworms.

Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls

Anyone tried to the Rory Gilmore reading challenge? It’s a very long list of every book ever mentioned in Gilmore Girls. One day… one day I will make it through it! There are 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls and 153 episodes.

During those episodes, Rory manages to mention a whopping 339 books. That’s 2.2 books per episode! I think that’s enough to make Gilmore Girls the ultimate bookworm TV show.

Some books that she mentions as her favourites include: Alice in Wonderland, The Bell Jar, Anna Karenina and more. Bonus points for a bookish ex-boyfriend as Jess Mariano was also a bookworm!

RELATED: Rory Gilmore Reading List (Episode by Episode)

Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons

Lisa Simpson comes in as a close second to Rory Gilmore and gets bonus points for the diversity of books she reads.

There’s Harry Potter on her list, of course, but also The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and some Jane Austen too. And remember she’s only 8 years old! She’d definitely put me to shame even today.

“When I’m sad I open up a book and ignore the world.”
– Lisa Simpson

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

So technically Belle belongs in the list above but most people are more familiar with the beloved Disney character Belle. She traded her freedom for her fathers and went to live with the beast but soon finds that things aren’t all that bad.

The beast is a lonely soul and one who is in possession of the most glorious library. Now I’m sat here waiting for my prince to come along and present me with a library full of books from ceiling to floor…

“Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big…”

Check out my review of Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling!

Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You is one of my all-time favourite romcoms. Julia Stiles stars as the protagonist with Heath Ledger as the love interest.

It’s the most unlikely of romances with headstrong Kat absolutely hating Patrick at first. She scorns her little sister’s obsession with boys and makeup and social status, preferring to bury her head in a book.

In the end, she even writes her own little piece of poetry to express how she feels – like a true literature lover. Plus, 10 Things I Hate About You is a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming the Shrew so there’s an extra literary reference there.

“Romantic? Hemingway? He was an abusive, alcoholic misogynist who squandered half of his life hanging around Picasso trying to nail his leftovers.”

Rapunzel from Tangled

Rapunzel has spent her life locked in a tower, supposedly for her own good. She’s never seen the outside world but she’s read all about it from the books she devours.

In the song “when will my life begin” she mentions that she fills her days reading “a book or two or three” and later she even rereads them! She had a lot of time on her hands in that tower…

Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail

Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail runs an independent bookshop in New York that she inherited from her mother.

Across the road, there’s a branch of a chain of mega bookstore chain Fox Books. It’s the same story we’ve seen in the real world today of Amazon putting physical bookstores out of business.

Unfortunately, things don’t end well for “The Shop Around the Corner” but Kathleen gives all she’s got to try and save the store, even launching a neighbourhood rally and going on television. And for that, she deserves a big round of applause from us bookworms.

Lucas Scott from One Tree Hill

Lucas Scott, played by Chad Michael Murray, is still one of my ultimate TV crushes today.

He’s a bit of a nobody at school and is suddenly thrust into the limelight when he joins the basketball team where he must play alongside his half-brother Nathan Scott.

He’s not your typical jock at all as he has a passion for reading and is really rather introverted.

His best friend is the equally book smart Hayley James and he often quotes literature in relation to whatever’s going on in his life.

He clearly favours classics and some books he mentions include: Brave New World, Catch 22, East of Eden and Of Mice and Men. Lucas Scott also wrote his own book entitled: “An Unkindness of Ravens”.

Tasha Jefferson from Orange is the New Black

Tasha Jefferson, better known as Taystee, is the prison librarian in Orange is the New Black. She is one of the funniest and happiest characters on the show who keeps morale up but she’s also one of the most well-read inmates.

In one episode, she’s seen clutching a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which is her good friend Poussey’s favourite book.

Later, Suzanne claims Poussey said “page 70” to her, in reference to a quote in her favourite book. Whilst Suzanne assumes that she means a Maya Angelou book, Taystee corrects her and says it must be from Alice in Wonderland. A good bookish friend will always get the reference!

Check out my post on 10 reasons why Orange is the New Black Season 3 Sucked.

Will Thacker from Notting Hill

Will Thacker, a classic bumbling British guy, and independent bookstore owner in Notting Hill is basically my ideal guy.

He lives a quiet life, running his small bookshop when one day a famous actress walks through the door.

Obviously this unlikely couple son fall head over heels in love and it’s one of the best Julia Roberts rom coms!

Although the travel bookshop seen in the movies wasn’t a real bookshop, it was based on a real travel bookshop a few roads away.

Sadly this bookshop closed in 2011 but it was replaced with Notting Hill Bookshop, which is still worth a visit for fans.

Check out this post about the 15 best bookshops in London.

Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom

Books often play a key role in Wes Anderson’s whimsical creations and Moonrise Kingdom is no different. Protagonist Suzy Bishop packs six books in her suitcase when she ups and leaves with Sam on their adventure.

Unfortunately, the six books are entirely fictitious but Wes Anderson did write the parts of the stories that were read aloud by the characters. I know that if I were to ever run away, I would be dragging a very large suitcase of books with me too!

So there’s a list of 20 fictional bookworms that I admire. Have I missed any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

Oh, and Joey Tribianni gets a shoutout for reading Little Women in season 10 of Friends.

This post was first written in 2015 but was updated in 2019.

Pin now, read again later!

Zoe

Friday 29th of May 2020

All of these are faves, especially Rory Gilmore! I also loved Emma from The Mother-Daughter Book Club series. Cozy childhood books :)

Christine

Tuesday 15th of October 2019

I love this list, and I'm so glad to see Kathleen Kelly on it! Looking over this list, these characters are in general are so developed and deep which gives a great boost for people who are like them. My son has always been an avid bookworm and taught himself to read when he was 2, so I think reading Matilda in particular helped him be more proud his natural giftings and to be encouraged that he's a little different :)

Hannah

Sunday 19th of May 2019

Great list, but you forgot Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices series! Some of my favorite quotes about books come from her... "It was books that made me feel perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me and I with them" and "One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us." :)

Laura

Sunday 19th of May 2019

That would be because I have not read the Infernal Devices series yet! I have read the Mortal Instruments and I know people say the former is better so now I know there are some bookish quotes featured I'll have to bump it up my list. Thanks for the heads up!

Sarah Bailey

Friday 16th of October 2015

Haha this is amazing, good to know that book people love books ;) x

legolegislegimus

Thursday 30th of July 2015

Great list and a perfect Hermione gif!

Laura

Monday 14th of September 2015

I know right?! It sums her up so well!! Thanks for stopping by :)