Having never played Animal Crossing before, fans like Destiny @ Howling Libraries totally sold the game to me through their own enthusiasm back when it came out in March. Animal Crossing quickly became a daily staple for me and an excellent way of avoiding the world. While it’s a privilege to be able to stick my head in the sand from time to time, I will say I am immensely grateful for it. And of all the things in the game, my absolute favorite is the villagers.
They are so stinking adorable guys. I wish my real life neighbors were this cool.
I’ve been wondering for a while how I could combine Animal Crossing and book blogging, especially after seeing other creators like Kim @ DIY-Not successfully share their enthusiasm for ACNH on a non-gaming platform. Then, as I was talking to my villagers about how I got stung by a bee that one time, it occurred to me… a lot of my villagers read. A lot.
Take Julia, for example. She’s one of the prettiest villagers I’ve seen in the game, and she’s got the most calming, lovely home. I really expected her to be a fashion guru or to be out in front of her house doing yoga more often, but no. Julia is almost always reading. I often have to interrupt her reading to chat, and trust me, she’s a lot nicer than I would be if I was in the middle of a great book and some random kept showing up to give me bugs.
Granted, not all of my characters are heavy readers. Take Dom, my jock ram:
I mean, he tries. He’s sort of one of those people pleaser villagers that really loves Naruto-running in the plaza, but also is really excited that you’re excited about a thing… but he’s not a reader.
The jocks and the cranky villagers may not often read, but a lot of my other villagers seem to love it! So today, if you haven’t already guessed, I thought I’d introduce some of my reader-villagers and their thoughts on books, or whatever book they’re reading, or various bookish-related things.
I apologize for some of the screen cap quality – all these conversations were random interactions, so the angles aren’t always amazing.
My first reader-type character was Ava. She’s a normal-personality chicken, and was my first mystery island recruit. Her house came fully stocked with a bookshelf that I still don’t have and I’m a little annoyed TBH. I guess I haven’t played enough yet to earn it. *weeps*
Ava reminds me of one of those sweet grandmotherly types in movies that is always reading one of those thick novels by one of three authors and is hopelessly devoted to them. And she’s always turning up for book clubs that aren’t really book clubs.
Which is good because…
I mean, who here can say they’ve never turned up to a book club discussion and had to guiltily admit that they never read the book? We all have the best intentions, right? But sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. There was another, shinier book. Or, lets be honest, we had to binge Netflix. Oops!
The happiest village on my island is Peanut. She’s a pink squirrel and was my second-to-last lot. At the time I recruited her, I remember being disappointed because I had just recruited Static (another squirrel) and I had a peppy villager (Twiggy). Now that we’ve become better acquainted, Peanut is one of my must-keeps. And she’s really good at starting up conversations, even about books!
For example, when trying to explain a TV show in conversation with Hopper, my cranky penguin villager, she’s not deterred when he says…
Nope! Rather, she jumps right on board with a “no problems, my friend, I got you!”
Poor Hopper. No way he’s going to get out of reading that series or watching that TV show with Peanut now. In fact, she even goes on to say they’re on episode 600… so these two will be spending a lot of time together soon.
As it turns out, there’s a good reason why Peanut prefers TV shows to books.
Sometimes, the letters the villagers decide to send are so random and amusing. But I guess it’s nice for misery to have company – I absolutely cannot read in the car either. I want to! Sometimes I try to! But that’s something I grew out of after about age 9, so like Peanut, um, perhaps it’s best to just wait until we’re parked.
And if you’ve got to read… apparently chewing gum does totally help?
There are also villagers who seem to want to be cool and read stuff, but don’t always understand the appeal. But like, they try. Really hard.
Take Cranston. By the way, Cranston is a totally under appreciated villager. He’s got bugs in his floorboards that whisper DIY recipes to him. So you know. He’s that guy. But seriously his dialogue is so random and he’s so childish, he’s freaking adorable.
Also, if Cranston is one of your villagers… he gets really excited about hats. Give him hats. By his own admission, he looks excellent in hats.
Although Cranston isn’t a villager that reads, he still indulges me with bookish talk from time to time. Sometimes, it’s even a bit wise. Sometimes.
Finally, I haven’t even introduced you guys to my biggest reader yet. She’s the cutest character (even though I’m not a big fan of her house) but OTHERWISE she’s such a gem, and that’s Lolly. Lolly is a grey-striped cat villager with a normal personality and honestly with all the bird and squirrel villagers I have on my island, no wonder she’s happy living on Tortuga.
But Lolly grabbed me from the very first moment she visited my campsite.
That is why everyone takes vacation days, right? To go out into the solitude of the wilderness without wifi or a cell signal to catch up on the dreaded TBR backlog?
Obviously from this moment, I knew Lolly and I were destined to be best friends. And she hasn’t disappointed! Almost every conversation with her is bookish. She’s another one that Peanut can get talking to, and at one point, the two of them decided they were going to go all undercover to buy a gift for Bam, one of the jock villagers.
And honestly, I can’t blame her excitement, because who wouldn’t love to go undercover to act out your favorite espionage novel? And she got totally excited about it. Like, really really excited.
Like telling the other villagers about being in a spy novel excited.
Lolly embodies most of us bookish types, I think, and our love for reading. Unfortunately, that also includes the downsides. You know the moments – getting behind on reading challenges. The overwhelming size of our TBRs. That moment when we’re reading a book and we don’t like it and it kills our motivation and we end up in a rut.
Even when we have social obligations and have to go spend time with humans instead of reading. The absolute horror.
She also experiences those happy moments. Like finding a new book that you’re in love with and totally didn’t expect. The charm of curling up under a cozy blanket to read a favorite book. Or of being able to cancel social obligations and “oh no I guess I have to read this book now nooooo”.
You guys know those moments, right?
Still, I think for the most part, Lolly’s favorite part of reading is the imagination part. So many convos I’d had with this villager cumulate in how something reminded her about this book or that book, and she’s really excited about it. Like most of the reading community, Lolly seems to be the type that loves to be able to sit down with a book and completely immerse herself.
Which, I mean, I get? I’m totally that person. It’s why I like fantasy books. And, like Lolly, I’m totally that person who tries and name-drop books in conversations… with readers and non-readers alike!
So obviously I know that these are just all virtual characters with coded dialogue (trust me, I know – Hopper and Static have the same exact script and while I like it in general, I’m getting tired of the repetition) but it’s just super fun to log into to dig up my daily fossils and poof! There’s Lolly wanting to chat about books? I guess the villager personalities were one thing I didn’t really expect going into Animal Crossing, and I was so delighted to discover them.
And I love how many bookish villagers I’ve got. 😀
Do you play Animal Crossing: New Horizons and if so – do you have any bookish villagers? Who is your favorite villager? Do you see any here you wish you had on your island (I’m curious, but not looking to trade <3). Let me know all your ACNH thoughts in the comments!