Looking back on my childhood, I realize just how many bookish girls influenced my life. I looked up to these fictional characters, and thought they were the absolute coolest because they loved reading and school and 'nerdy' things like that. Hey, I still think they're the coolest. They shaped my reading habits. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up, who cared if they didn't actually exist? It was all about what they stood for. So here are some of those girls who I owe a lot to, thanks for always being there for me.
1. Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is my homegirl, for real. I wanted to be just like her growing up. I wanted a baby blue convertible, I wanted to solve mysteries, and my oh my did I want her wardrobe. To me, she is the ultimate Smart Girl. The first book I ever tried to write at the tender age of ten, ended up being some kind of Nancy Drew fanfic. I used to read Nancy's books with my grandmother and I was in awe how she was able to always catch the bad guy, despite the sticky situations get found herself in. Nancy was always thinking one step ahead. She is independent, girly, and intelligent. She was my childhood superhero.
Fun fact: Did you know that ladies like Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonya Sotomayor, Hilary Clinton, and Laura Bush cite Nancy Drew as a major influence in their lives? You keep good company, Nancy.
2. Hermione Granger
Where do I even start with Hermione Granger? She has a thirst for knowledge and wants to know everything about everything. What I love most about Hermione is how she always goes straight to the library in times of crisis, convinced that she can find all the answers she needs in a book. That's a good way to go through life, if I do say so myself. She has a kind heart, a passion for equality for humans and magical creatures alike, and a stubborn side. She had to work hard to catch up to kids who had magical tendencies their whole lives, girl was all about studying, but she wasn't afraid to cry. Hermione was so very real. Let's be real here, we ALL want Hermione Granger and a rocket ship...
Fun fact: Hermione is regarded as a top feminist character by many critics for her character development and what she stands for. Four for you, Hermione Granger.
3. Rory Gilmore
Okay, so Rory isn't a character from a book or anything, but sweet baby Jesus she is everything I aspire to be in life. She's the epitome of the bookish girl. Rory always had a book with her, she sometimes even had two in her purse because what if she finished the first one? Ever since Rory, I've always kept a book with me--even if it is on my kindle on my phone. When I was in tenth grade, I read The Fountainhead because Rory did. That was when I realized that we had different taste in books, but still. She opened my eyes to the classics, and I have her to thank for my love for Sylvia Plath. Like Hermione, Rory was all about good grades and studying until her eyes went blurry. She had to get into an Ivy League school, had to be a journalist. For the longest time, I put myself on the Rory Gilmore path to success. I wanted to go Ivy too (didn't, but that's okay), and ended up majoring in journalism (I also learned our writing style is very different too). I still see a lot of Rory in myself and use her ambition when I find myself getting off track and procrastinating.
Fun fact: After graduating from Yale, Rory goes on to be a reporter for Barack Obama's campaign before he even becomes president. Coincidence? I think not. In my mind, I like to think Rory had a lot to do with his election, and then she went off to marry Jess and live happily ever after.
4. Samantha Parkington
Samantha wasn't necessarily a bookish girl, even though she had her own book series, she wasn't a big reader or anything. But she was adventurous and loyal and had one of the biggest hearts. For some reason, whenever I think of Samantha, I think of her at school. Were there a lot of scenes of Samantha at school in the books, or was it just something I created for myself when I was playing with my dolls? Even at the age of eleven, Samantha was progressive beyond her years. She fought alongside her aunt for women's suffrage and rights--to me, she is such a large influence in my feminist ideals. She broke the rules of being a typical girl growing up in the Victorian times. She climbed trees and rebelled against what was proper. She was the rebel I always wanted to be.
Fun fact: Even though she was retired in 2009 (and let me tell you how upset I was when I found out...she was my very first American Girl doll after all), she was brought back by popular demand in 2014. I guess she wasn't done being a rebel!
5. Jo March
Jo March is another one of those classic bookish girls. Every picture that exists on the internet has her holding a book. Life goals. Not only was she a big reader, but she loved to write too! She was the role model in fiction I needed growing up because that's exactly what I wanted to do too. Jo was a troublemaker with a sense of humor to boot, but she always put her family first. And she was incredibly independent. I mean, she rejected Laurie's proposal (aka the love of her life. Laurie and Jo = OTP forever) because she doesn't want to leave her sisters. That's love right there.
Fun fact: Jo went to New York City to pursue a writing career. I mean, can you get any cooler than that? Not possible.
6. Anne Shirley
When I was younger, I was incredibly biased towards Anne because when you have the same name as an awesome literary character like her, there's no going back. Anne was a dreamer with a huge imagination. She always saw life in such an optimistic way but she somehow always found trouble. remember that time she accidentally got drunk on wine because she thought it was raspberry cordial? Good times, man. Anne was so feisty and took matters into her own hands, and she was also super competitive in school. She and Gilbert were always competing for the top spot in their class. I loved seeing how important school was to her, even though sometimes it felt like she was only doing it to get under Gilbert's skin. Hey, if it works, it works.
Fun fact: When she got older, and I mean, decently older, Anne would write poems and short stories. Gotta love those girls who write.
Did your favorite bookish girl make my list? Who inspired you, growing up? I'd love to hear all about her!