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The best book lovers on TV, ranked.

Katie Yee

August 9, 2021, 11:30am

So it’s National Book Lovers Day. What? You forgot? You didn’t prepare?! You mean you didn’t get your favorite book lover a gift?!? Well, at least we know what it should be. (A book. In case that wasn’t clear.) To commemorate this totally necessary national holiday, I have decided to rank the best book lovers on TV. I know this is going to get heated. I know there will be dissenting opinions and that I’ll inevitably accidentally leave someone off, but the important thing to remember, friends, is that we all love books.

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Dan Humphrey_Gossip Girl

#8: Dan Humphrey of Gossip Girl

To be fair, I’m only a season and a half into the original Gossip Girl, but Dan Humphrey seems like the worst. He bills himself as a sad boy from Brooklyn, which was fun for a little while, but the second it’s revealed that he has ~literary~ aspirations, it’s all over. This punk somehow got published in The New Yorker at the sweet age of 17 (and maybe The Paris Review, too?) and then he had the audacity to start not turning in stories to his mentor? And don’t even get me started on the way he blatantly hangs out with people with the sole purpose of writing about them with slightly changed names. (Did Dan Humphrey invent autofiction?)

Joe Goldberg_You

#7: Joe Goldberg of You

Yeah, it’s this actor again. Here he is, working in bookstores, stalking/murdering people. (Honestly, maybe this is just Dan Humphrey in an alternate universe?) Ladies, never trust a man you meet in a bookstore. Even if they don’t end up being serial killers, they’ll probably try to mansplain Kurt Vonnegut to you, and that’s a special kind of death.

Bernard Black_Black Books

#6: Bernard Black of Black Books

Everyone knows that loving books and lowkey hating people go hand-in-hand. Bernard Black is all of us when people are interrupting our Independent Reading Time.

Pearl Warren_Little Fires Everywhere

#5: Pearl Warren of Little Fires Everywhere

There’s a very short scene in Little Fires Everywhere in which Pearl and her new friend, Trip, are hanging out at the library, and it’s honestly very cute and a beacon of light in this otherwise incredibly intense show. Also, Pearl is a poet, and a pretty good one at that.

Jane the Virgin

#4: Jane Villanueva of Jane the Virgin

Look, our 23-year-old hero just loves love and romance and books and wants to write her own story. She’s got some good influences: a little Sandra Cisneros, some Isabel Allende. When most book lovers on TV clock out after referencing Jane Austen once or twice, she’s a consistently genuine reader with excellent taste.

the good place

# 3: Chidi Anagonye of The Good Place

Sweet Chidi! There’s a brief moment in The Good Place when he thinks the system didn’t match him to a soul mate, and he says, “That’s okay. My soul mate will be… books.” Big same! Would’ve loved to put him first, but I Immanuel Kant. I had to subtract points for the fact that he only reads dead philosophers. (Not into my philosopher puns? C’mon! David Hume-or me.)

Liza Miller_Younger

#2: Liza Miller of Younger

Liza loves books so much that she’s willing to work for an assistant salary as a grown-ass woman in her 40s. And you know what else is cool about Liza? She doesn’t just name-drop all the old classic books she’s read by old white guys and deem that a personality. She’s genuinely excited to try new things in publishing and find debut writers. Good on you, Liza.

Jess Mariano_Gilmore Girls

#1: Jess Mariano of Gilmore Girls

You might have been expecting one Rory Gilmore to round out this list, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s always been Jess. He loves books so much that he stole a book from Rory just to leave her a few notes in the margins. Also, he has the correct opinion about Ayn Rand. When he goes to California, basically the first place he visits is a bookstore. In fact, Jess loves books so much that he wrote one and then decided to dedicate his days to working at a small press where, as far as I can tell, he’s paid so little he has to live upstairs with several poet roommates who also work at the small press. That’s how much he loves books!

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