The 90s were a simpler time. Millennials nation-wide are constantly experiencing nostalgia for the pop culture wonderland that this decade is known for. But there’s a sharper edge to the sadness for book lovers. The entertainment of the 90s provided us with some beloved bookish characters that shaped our own love of literature. These are some of the characters we have to thank for connecting with our inner bookworms:
1. Wishbone From Wishbone
The 90s produced some great television dogs such as Spike from Rugrats and Comet from Full House, but Wishbone was of a higher caliber. He introduced us to literary classics in a way that made them fun and interesting (and when necessary, more suitable for kids than the originals). Whether Wishbone was playing Sherlock Holmes, Romeo Montague, Victor Frankenstein or Rip Van Winkle, he gave us our first look at the books we’d read as teens and adults, sans-dog.
2. Topanga Lawrence From Boy Meets World
Topanga spoke to the neurotic, straight-A student in all of us with her unabashed love of school and reading. She was the Hermione of her trio before we had Hermione to look up to, and in the 90s, she was the girl who told us it was a good, important thing to be intelligent and to care about what you’re taught. She helped us embrace our love of books, learning, and the wisdom of George Feeny.
3. Daria Morgendorffer From Daria
Daria was known for her antisocial ways and dry-as-a-bone sarcasm, but she also constantly had a book in her hand. She wasn’t afraid to step away from things or people that didn’t interest her, and to choose instead the warm embrace of reading. And all that reading she did really honed her wit, helping her to make fun of her sister Quinn or head cheerleader Brittany without them noticing.
4. Kathleen Kelly From You’ve Got Mail
The 90s gave us a long list of memorable romantic comedies, but You’ve Got Mail was one of the very best. Kathleen Kelly, owner of The Shop Around The Corner, showed us the kind of future that was possible for book lovers. Kathleen got to live in New York City, walk to work on crisp fall mornings, be around books all day, and fall in love with Tom Hanks. As a book-loving child, this movie introduced me to my ideal version of adulthood.
5. Belle From Beauty and the Beast
In the 90s, Belle was one of the only Disney characters who cared about reading, and she really cared. She was the favorite Disney princess of almost all 90s bookworms, because she perfectly understood how important books are, especially the way they can transport you and engage your imagination. Her reaction to seeing the Beast’s library spoke to us on a spiritual level, and we considered it even more moving than the yellow dress dancing scene.
6. Kat Stratford From 10 Things I Hate About You
Kat Stratford was a feminist, book-loving hero who stood out among other leading ladies in 90s teen movies. Watching her lay out exactly why Hemingway isn’t all he’s cracked up to be was a defining moment for readers watching. Kat taught us the importance of questioning authority, taking a stand, fighting the patriarchy and reading The Bell Jar. She was a warrior, and we loved her for it.
7. Matilda Wormwood From Matilda
The film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda was absolutely essential to the making of a bookworm in the 90s. This movie taught book lovers to stay true to ourselves, even if we’re surrounded by people who don’t see any value in the stories that mean so much to us. We all harbored a passionate hatred for Matilda’s terrible parents and fervently wished for a Miss Honey of our own. And that whole telepathy thing was pretty cool, too.
Thanks to these characters, we bookish millennials can look back on the 90s with an extra twinge of nostalgia, because that’s when our love of reading was truly solidified.
YouTube Channel: Book People
Featured image via Book Riot