The Rory Gilmore Reading List

Gilmore Girls ended seven years ago and it’s still my favorite show. I’d like to pretend I don’t plan my mornings around ABC Family reruns of it, but I’m not a liar. I’d also like to pretend I didn’t wear out my first set of DVDs and have to buy another but you get the point. The show never gets old. The writing is pithy and intelligent, the characters are well-written and complex, and I think I learned half of what I know about obscure pop culture references from watching it. But the best part of the show, in my opinion (besides Jess Mariano), is the emphasis on good literature.


Rory Gilmore was my role model since I was about nine years old, and whenever she read a book, I put it on my list. She’s also got great style and apparently a secret tunnel into a well-stocked Anthropologie. I read an article once about the hundreds of books mentioned on the show and from that moment on, made it my mission to read a lot of them, if not all. Here’s a bunch on my TBR or my Read list, what I loved, how it’s mentioned, and some pretty boys thrown in for good measure.

1. Rory tells Dean to read Anna Karenina:

Bakery 1

I read Anna Karenina a couple of years ago and remembered how it was one of Rory’s favorite books, and for very good reason. The girl’s got taste.

2. Jess asks Rory if she’s read Please Kill Me:


This book is on my TBR list. It’s an oral history of the punk movement, according to Jess, and it sounds spectacular.

3. Rory and Jess fight over The Holy Barbarians:


Rory’s description: “It’s written by a Venice Beach Beatnik about Venice Beach Beatniks.” Sold.

4. Rory leaves a college party to read Atonement:tumblr_lpruxtk4Yw1r1vggvo1_500

I have never done this. Um….it may not have been Atonement but I’ve definitely chosen reading in favor of drunken college shenanigans many times in my life. Although I do love shenanigans.

5. Jess steals Howl from Rory, proceeds to charm her:


Jess takes Rory’s copy of Howl and writes his thoughts in the margins, prompting Rory to nickname Jess “Dodger” from Oliver Twist, another much-loved book!

6. Rory and Jess fight over who is worse, Hemingway or Ayn Rand (spoiler alert: it’s Hemingway):


According to Rory, Hemingway is “painful” and no one can write a thirty-page monologue like Ayn Rand. I first learned about The Fountainhead from Rory and it’s on my TBR pile. I also completely agree about Hemingway and find it nearly impossible to finish one of his novels!

7. Dead Souls


Rory freaks out because she was watching The Brady Brunch Variety Hour when her Harvard application came, and made a deal with Lorelai to tell people it came when she was reading Dead Souls. When I found out the author was Russian I bought the book, circa 2003. I still haven’t read it.

I’m realizing now that so many of these have to do with Rory and Jess. He was kind of a jerk, but I loved how much he and Rory bonded over books and challenged each other. I am also kind of a sucker for a bad boy. Shocking, isn’t it?

**Aside: researching this post I came across the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge! How many Rory books have you read? Take the quiz! Post your results in the comments! (My score is 66/339. I have got to get reading.)



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  • Who knew it covered lit like that!

  • Gilmore Girls is my favorite show, too! I also saw that article and made it my mission to read all the books mentioned on the show. Although I’ve only read 50 of them so far, so I still have quite a way to go!

    • Me too! Although I’m confident I’ll skip ones like “who moved my cheese” haha!

  • I used to be obsessed with this show! I had all 7 seasons on DVD. Ah, the days before Netflix.

    I read “The Fountainhead” in high school and was maybe a bit too influenced by it… just to warn you, it’s dogmatically libertarian and borders on sociopathic, in my opinion.

    But funnily enough, I’m reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” at the moment and I love the way Hemmingway writes! So perhaps you’ll find something of value in Ayn Rand’s crazy writings after all. Honestly I’d recommend “Anthem” over “The Fountainhead.” It’s much shorter and gets the same points across.

    • I’m libertarian in fundamentals, though I hope not sociopathically so, so that’s actually one of the reasons I wanted to read it to begin with! How were you influenced by The Fountainhead? And how goes Hemingway? (He’s so painful to me 🙂 )

  • I’m definitely still hooked on this show! I grew up with Rory! I think she’s a year older than I am, so for the whole time the show was on, she was so incredibly easy to relate to! I’m also a bookworm and have been in a major slump lately! I’d forgotten that someone out there had compiled a list of all the books she’s seen reading or heard talking about on the show! I should check that out again!

    • I love these giveaways! Keep em coming 😉 and thanks for stopping by! Rory is still one of my favorite characters.

  • I just love the show! Rory is my role model, and i really like the way she always have a book for read, i think some day i’m gonna be like her, but with more fashion in my life hahaha oxox from Colombia