Books with Characters Who Read

tumblr_lcwupgBQRR1qb8ugro1_1280Last week I was walking past a used bookstore that had a number of books displayed on a shelf outside the store. One of the books – The Library by Sarah Stewart – caught my eye. I spent over 10 minutes thumbing through this children’s book (illustrated by David Small) and ultimately bought it. It’s now sitting on my coffee table where I can look at – and smile at – the cover featuring a young girl with her nose in a book dragging a wagon filled with books behind her.

First published in 1995 (and currently targeted for children ages 5-9), it tells the tale of Elizabeth Brown who entered the world, “skinny, nearsighted, and shy.” Elizabeth didn’t like to play with dolls or do the other things little girls usually did. Instead, she loved to read; clearly a girl after my own heart. In fact, Elizabeth does a lot of the things that I did as a young girl including reading in bed with a flashlight under the covers and starting her own lending library.

Each day Elizabeth walks into town in search of only one thing:

“She didn’t want potato chips,

She didn’t want new clothes.

She went straight to the bookstore,

“May I have one of those?””

Reading the tale of Elizabeth Brown, and looking at David Small’s delightful illustrations, has me longing for romance heroines who read. In a post here about heroines and hobbies over two years ago I mentioned that some of Jayne Ann Krentz’s heroines love to read. But lately I haven’t come across many romances in which the heroines love to read.

One that comes to mind is Helen Brenna’s 2011 release, Redemption at Mirabelle. In my B review at AAR I noted that one of the highlights of the book for me is the heroine’s conversion to being a romance reader. When the heroine Marin first arrived at Mirabelle Island to recover from a series of personal setbacks, her sister gave her a romance novel and suggested that she read it. Marin was scornful at first but was quickly enthralled by the romance. For the rest of the book, in addition to finding a wonderful hero, she spent a lot of time reading romances. This was fun for me and I’d love to read some more romances featuring readers – either heroines or heroes.

Do you have any good suggestions? And even better, can you think of any contemporary romances in which the heroine reads e-books on a tablet or e-book reader, or listens to audiobooks?



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23 Responses to Books with Characters Who Read

  1. maggie b. says:

    I loved the scene in Suzanne Brockmann’s The Unsung Hero where the two secondary characters are eating lunch and reading a romance. Julianna Deering has a series about Drew Farthering which are Inspy romances. Both the hero and heroine love mystery novels.

  2. Paola says:

    I can think of Valancy from L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle and the heroine of Eva Ibbotson’s A Company of Swans reads a lot.
    “Loneliness had taught Harriet that there was always someone who understood – it was just so often that they were dead, and in a book.”
    And Sugar Beth from SEP’s Ain’t She Sweet? read romances and the writer hero at the end writes a romance just for her.

    • LinnieGayl says:

      I haven’t read either of those books, Paola. I love that quote, though! Believe both may be somewhere in my TBR pile.

      I forgot about Sugar Beth!

  3. leslie says:

    Dana Steele who is one of the characters in Nora Roberts’ Key trilogy is reader. A librarian who lives in an apt full of books isn’t happy unless she has about twenty books open and ongoing. She’s one of my favorites, her book involves “stepping into a book” to solve her challenge.

    I’m pretty sure we have “The Library” somewhere in our house…..I remember my son filling his wagon full books after reading it when he was a little tyke. Good memory.

    • LinnieGayl says:

      What a sweet memory, Leslie! Oh yes, Dana Steele. And how she hid the hero’s book (can’t remember his name) under another cover. When she first got her quest she went out and picked up tons of books to do research with.

  4. Katie (kat) says:

    Not from a book but the character of Fosca in Stephen Sonheim’s musical, Passion, is a voracious reader and sings about why she reads. I really love the story (and Donna Murphy is superb as Fosca) but it’s not your typical love story. Anybody else a fan?

  5. Cynthia Sax says:

    In NJ Walters’ Thread Of Destiny
    the heroine finds a steamy erotic romance in the attic and reads it.
    (grins) I like my romances spicy.

  6. maggie b. says:

    Forgot to least a favorite reader, although not a heroine or romances. Tyrion Lanister from Game of Thrones. Love him!

    • Katie (kat) says:

      Yes, Tyrion is awesome! I love it when he slaps Joffrey around but that he is avid reader is good too! :)

  7. Eggletina says:

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society begins with two characters corresponding and bonding over their love of reading and books.

  8. Neyly says:

    The main characters in The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry are an independent bookstore owner and a sales representative from a publishing house.

  9. Blackjack1 says:

    Miranda from Anne Mallory’s _Seven Secrets of Seduction_ is a secret author of editorials and one of her articles draws the attention of the hero who comes to her uncle’s bookstores in search of the writer. He ultimately ends up hiring Miranda to redesign and organize his very extensive library and her decisions on how to organize his books are shaped daily by how she feels about him. There are some funny scenes of him trying to find particular books to no avail until he figures out her feelings about him by unraveling the library system. Love Anne Mallory and hope she returns to romance writing soon.

  10. Mary says:

    Sookie Stackhouse from the Southern Vampire series is a big reader. Also, Charlaine Harris has another character Aurora Teagarten who is a librarian. Hermione Granger
    Jo March
    Tyrion Lannister
    Francie Nolen in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  11. Mark says:

    Cinderman by Anne Stuart is a paranormal category romance I read years ago. IIRC, the hero had a large personal library and Heyer was among the authors he read.

  12. Gayathri says:

    I just read the “The Lady Most Likely” – in that one of the heroines is reading Persuasion (hiding away in the library). She comes across as a reader.

    The other reader heroines are in Julia Quinn’s books – I believe in Splendid, the heroine’s cousin starts off on reading Shakespeare. When she is introduced as a heroine in a later book, she meets the hero when she is reading.

  13. Joanne says:

    catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

  14. Gail says:

    Kristen Ashley has a contemporary from her Colorado Mountain series, “Breathe”. Faye is a librarian who has a book or ereader in her hand all the time. The hero even goes to sleep while she reads in bed at night. Very good book.

  15. Tori Kanno says:

    When you pick up a best selling book, you pick up the power to lift your soul and take your dreams to a place of true fulfillment. The mediocrity of this world, gives way to the enormous possibilities of your spirit. Grabbing a great new best selling book to read, is like taking hold a slice of the eternal promise of the human spirit.

  16. Paola says:

    Jane, The Fox & Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault.
    It’s not a romance, but a wonderful graphic novel and the Jane of the title is Jane Eyre, the book the main character reads to escape the bullies in her school.

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