“Nerd life is so much better than regular life.” John Green

I love when I can nerd out with a fictional character. When they are nerdier than I am, it’s time to party. If we’re being completely honest, I often read books because the character in a novel or on a TV show mentions a book in passing and I want to know the reference and glean every last drop of meaning out of that literary moment.

Perhaps this resonates with you and you have your own bat cave full of favorite nerdy characters. If there are any book nerds I left off the list, let me know. 

Toru | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Toru from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Toru reads everything from Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann to Beneath the Wheel by Herman Hesse. I bought both of these books after my first semester teaching this novel, so I could understand the reason Murakami chose them. Toru and another character even bond over their love for The Great Gatsby.

Rory Gilmore | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Rory from Gilmore Girls

I never gave this show a chance until I found a pin on Pinterest that led to Rory Gilmore’s reading list and includes every book she ever read or discussed in the entire series. This made me want to know her better and so I started watching it, although I have only seen part of the first season.

Belle | Top 10 Literary Bookworms

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Perhaps it’s been a little while since you’ve seen the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. I encourage you to take a moment and delight in just how wonderful of a character and role model Belle is for young women. She loves books, so naturally, I love her. She might be the best book nerd in the history of book nerds.

Liesel | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Wait a second- this little girl barely knows how to read and she’s stealing books from rich people while the Nazis burn the rest? I want to know her. Since I’m of German descent, I’ll just pretend we’re related. This is really a heart warming story, well, as heartwarming as can be with the grim reaper narrating it.

Hazel Grace | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The paradox of Hazel Grace is that she reads and enjoys serious literature and also enjoys reality TV. These are not mutually exclusive. I suspect she is just like so many young girls reading her. Now, I will admit that when I read this, I Googled the fictional book, Imperial Affliction that propels the plot forward and takes the characters to Amsterdam. I really wanted this book to be real, but alas, it is only real in my imagination. 

Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Top 10 Literary Bookworms

Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

One of Charlie’s teachers challenges him with extra reading. This moment in the text makes me happy to be an educator. Some teachers care, and they really make a difference. Goodreads has a list of books Charlie reads, if you’re interested. 

Mad Men | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Don Draper from Mad Men

When he’s not gallivanting around making every bad decision possible, he’s reading fairly insightful books that speak to the cultural moment in which Mad Men is set. Here is New York Public Library’s full list of books mentioned on Mad Men.

Daria | Top 10 Literary Bookworms


Here you have the sarcastic, book-loving idol of my 14 year-old self. According to Daria, society is stupid, and she’s not afraid to say it. It’s a huge critique of the anti-intellectual culture, but the greatest irony of all is that it aired on MTV every week. 

Guy Montag | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Oh, man. The premise of this book makes me so sad. They burn books. Writing that sentence gets me teary eyed, and no, I’m not kidding. I love the spirit of rebellion for the sake of books that this novel celebrates. It also criticizes reality television years before its debut, which is a reason in itself to read this book.

Yambo | Top 10 Fictional Book Worms

Yambo from The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

At the beginning of this novel, Yambo loses his episodic memory but can remember everything he’s ever read. Right after regaining consciousness, someone asks his name, and he replies, “Call me Ishmael.” Book lovers are sure to enjoy the interesting ways Yambo’s memories align with their own memories of the characters they know and love are brought to life in interesting new ways.

Now tell me, who are your favorite book nerds from literature, television, or movies? 

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6 Responses

  1. I googled Imperial Affliction too! And Fahrenheit 451 made me sad as well 🙁 And Belle is the best! 🙂 love this post.

  2. Oh my gosh, Belle is my favorite character…mostly due to the fact that she loves books!! Annnnd that sweet little piece of fringe that always falls into her eyes. I wanted to be her when I was little, and I wanted that library (:

  3. The first list I’ve seen not to include Hermoine. Nice to see Norwegian Wood mentioned. A wonderful book. Nice to see Hazel Grace in there. Augustus could have gone in too.

    1. There are so many more! Murakami’s protagonists alone could have filled the list. And you’re right, I could have definitely included Augustus.

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