Your favorite idiosyncratic family of fast-talking ladies is back with Netflix’s revival of Gilmore Girls. If you weren’t a fan during its original 2000-2007 run, you’re probably not going to be interested in the four all new, ten-years-later, 90 minute episodes available to view on Netflix starting today. If you were a fan, you probably know that single mom Lorelai Gilmore was raising her teenage daughter to be quite a bookworm. Over the course of the shows seven seasons, Rory read or talked about 339 specific books.
In 2013, writer and Gilmore-fan, Patrick Lenton compiled a list of the all those books and created the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge to encourage himself to break out of his bad reading habits and try out some books that he’d never read otherwise.
The list is full of classics and some not-so-classics, but they’re all worth a shot. Here are some of my favorites, all available in the Eisenhower collection.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
I’m sure the Reading Challenge list will grow after we’ve all had a chance to watch the new episodes. I’ll add an update after finding out what Rory’s been reading lately.
After binge watching the new episodes, I’m happy to report that Rory has been busy, not reading, but writing. Her friends and family are still heavy readers though, so here are a few of the literary references from Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Episode One: Winter
Lorelai digs through Rory’s luggage looking for a prequel to Huckleberry Finn. At Richard’s funeral a copy of Leaves of Grass is given a place of honor on top of his casket alongside Euclid’s Elements and others. When she learns that Rory is essentially homeless Lorelai tries to see the bright side comparing her daughter’s life to On the Road. To cope with her husband’s death, Emily Gilmore begins purging her possessions, influenced by The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up.
Episode Two: Spring
Rory’s friend Paris mentions The Art Of War in a lecture to students. David Foster Wallace and his famous essay Consider The Lobster come up at an interview.
Episode Three: Summer
Lorelai is relaxing poolside reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild while Rory reads Anna Karenina. Stars Hollow’s resident playwright claims to have been mentored by Edward Albee, author of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Rory mentions Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman in a very obscure insult.
Episode Four: Fall
Wild comes up again as Lorelai attempts to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She also compares her mother’s never-evolving nature to that of Dorian Gray‘s. Jess, one of Rory’s exes, is seen reading My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard.