The countdown for Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival is now in the single digits in terms of weeks. But one thing that isn’t are the amount of books Rory Gilmore has read. Rory, the well known book lover, lives “in two worlds, one is a world of books.” She almost always has a book with her, and stashes her reading material in drawers, shelves, and under her bed. When author Patrick Lenton compiled a list of all 339 books that were read, referenced, or shown in the Gilmore Girls series, book-loving GG fans rejoiced. They checked the list, and started hunkering down for a long read.
But unfortunately, unless you have infinite time (and lots of money), chances are you may be a long way from finishing the “Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.” Sure, you’ve probably read a handful as a reading assignment, but 339 books sure is a lot, and you may not feel up to the challenge. But you don’t have to read the whole book list. This is especially true, if you (like me), can relate to Lorelai’s trouble with getting through Proust. Luckily for you, I’ve scoured Rory’s book list, and have nail-bitingly narrowed down the 339 list to just 20 books that any book lover should read.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This is a classic that isn’t too thick or difficult, and has some of the best literary characters. Written by a woman, and featuring a smart heroine, this is a book for every Gilmore lover.
2) Night by Elie Wiesel
An incredibly quick read, everyone should read this. Why? It’s a horrifying slice on the terrors of the Holocaust, and superb writing.
3) Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
Gilmore Girls lovers know that this book was one of Rachel’s (Luke’s ex) faves, and that Rory liked it as well. Besides that, this is a memoir of one kick-ass woman. She lived in Africa in the early twentieth century, separated from her husband, and continued to manage her four-thousand acre farm on her own.
4) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Another quick read, this book is weird and enlightening, just like Gilmore Girls (OK, maybe not exactly like Gilmore Girls, but still).
5 ) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
This book deals with supposed happiness and normalcy, but also with boys viewing – and making assumptions – about the lives of five sisters. Books featuring women are favorites of Rory Gilmore, and this is one of the best somewhat-modern book from the 339 list.
6) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
This is an excellent book for any aspiring journalist, and is also important to read in today’s refugee crisis. The story focuses on an exiled Iranian colonel and his family. This is a wrenching story, and another book superior to the movie based on it.
7) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Question sanity, reality and the ways mental health is dealt with in this memoir. The book is about a young woman’s experience in a mental health hospital, and it is riveting to the core.
8) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
If you haven’t read it, now is the time. Magical, witty, clever, and with strong female characters. Nuff said.
9) The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
If you’ve never read any of Shirley Jackson’s stories, you need to. All of the stories are riveting, and oftentimes shocking, and you’ll be glad you took to reading them.
10) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
This novel is relatively modern, deeply moving, and the type of book that is hard to put down. It deals a lot with identity, and isn’t difficult to read or keep up with.
11) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Paris Geller has read and liked the book, and can you get more praise then that? Romantic, clever, and full of memorable characters, if you are going to read any Austen book, start here.
12) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
Funny, funny, funny. David Sedaris produces books you actually laugh out loud to, and it is no small wonder that a Gilmore would read, and love this book.
13) Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
Personally, I see a little bit of Jess Mariano in Holden Caulfield. Here is another easy read, and being an excellent book to reference, it’s a good way to familiarize yourself with American literature.
14) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
A story about feminism, motherhood, and a woman’s needs and wants? This is a classic, and although you may initially feel as if you are reading something for school, you’ll quickly get hooked by the story.
15) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Yes, this is a children’s book, and it is also a children’s book that has increasingly been overlooked. Read this if you love animals, a large vocabulary, and smart spiders and girls.
16) The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Another book centered around the Holocaust? This needed to be on here, because if you didn’t read it for school, you really should. Anne Frank wrote with hope, love, and a honesty about her situation, and should be read by all generations.
17) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Another American classic that you may think should belong on a school reading list then on here, the book deserves to be read nonetheless. I have a feeling Lorelai wouldn’t want to read it, but the book takes you on adventures you never knew you wanted to go on.
18) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
This is really a play, but it is one of the best ones out there. It examines a marriage between a middle-aged couple falling apart. Depressing? Yeah, but wonderfully written.
19) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The only novel written by Sylvia Plath, this is a book written for women, by a woman, and about a woman. It follows a young Esther Greenwood in a 1950’s New York City. She’s ambitious, a hard worker, and has a number of relatable experiences, realizations, and breakdowns.
20) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Start on the path of enlightenment with this book. If you are afraid it’ll be over your head, don’t worry. The book uses simple and elegant language, and is a good introduction for Westerners interested in Eastern philosophies.
Take a look at the list yourselves, and tweet as @LitDarling for any Rory Gilmore-read books that you that need to be on this list!