Rory Gilmore from the iconic 2000s series Gilmore Girls is one of TV’s biggest bookworms. Throughout the series and the revival, 408 books are read, with some fans undertaking the Rory Gilmore book challenge. Though the series has ended, Gilmore Girls seems to be a staple of fall, as people cannot get enough of Lorelai and Rory’s witty banter, cozy sweaters, and the beautiful Connecticut autumn leaves.
Though Rory’s reading list is impressive, there are some titles missing that I believe she would enjoy. Without further ado, here is a list of the top five books I would recommend to Rory Gilmore.
5. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A short but sweet read, 84, Charing Cross Road is a book I would recommend to any bibliophile. Composed of the real twenty-year correspondence between a freelance writer in New York and a used book dealer in London, 84, Charing Cross Road ultimately is about friendship. Though the two never met in real life and had very different lives, their love of books brought about a rich friendship. 84, Charing Cross Road is full of laughs and tears as Hanff allows readers to peek into her beautiful friendship with Frank Doel. Rory reads several diaries throughout Gilmore Girls, and, as a huge bookworm, 84, Charing Cross Road is a great light read for not only her but any lover of reading.
4. Dune by Frank Herbert
Although Rory was not an avid science fiction reader, I do think that Dune’s intense worldbuilding, politics, and commentary would draw her in. Especially after the success of Dennis Villeneuve’s 2021 movie adaptation, Rory would give in to the hype.
Dune takes place in a distant future in which humans have colonized outer space and established a feudal system, dependent on the spice trade. For generations, various noble houses have exploited the Freeman of Arrakis for their planet’s spice production.
Paul Atreides, a gifted young man destined for greatness, undergoes an epic quest in which he learns to navigate the complex, dangerous world of Dune’s politics and environment. Formatted in a similar style to the classic Greek heroes, Dune is a commentary on the white savior narrative and the oil trade in the Middle East. With iconic quotes such as, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer.”, it is evident why Dune continues to inspire generations years after its initial 1965 release. With a great balance of imaginative and intellectual, I think Dune would be a book that would inspire Rory to look outside her literary comfort zone.
3. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
The novel that exploded on BookTok in 2020, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, follows an unnamed protagonist that attempts to drug herself to sleep for an entire year. The novel is a satire of the “sad girl” genre as it critiques the upper-class white American culture. That being said, the novel has been praised for opening up the conversation on dissociative feminism and for breaking away from the “girl boss” feminist trend of the 2010s.
Rory Gilmore has been critiqued for being the ultimate example of white upper-class privilege, and though she critiques the system, she sometimes forgets her own privilege. I think Rory, in her 20s, would have enjoyed My Year of Rest and Relaxation, and perhaps the satire would have made her a bit more self-aware.
2. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Do books have the power to influence generations? Author of The Hours, Michael Cunningham, argues yes. Following three women across three generations, each having been impacted by the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Rory is seen reading several works by Woolf, including Mrs. Dalloway, therefore the premise alone would draw her in.
The novel is slow-paced and reflective, as the reader is given a glance into a day in the life of Clarissa Vaughen. Vaughen is a woman in New York hosting a party for her AIDS-stricken friend and ex-lover, Mrs. Brown, who is planning her husband’s birthday party, and Virginia Woolf herself as she writes the novel Vaughen and Brown are reading: Mrs. Dalloway. Each woman must face a battle with mental illness and their own traumas. The Hours is a love letter to Virginia Woolf as it employs her stream-of-consciousness style and is a very fulfilling read. Being both a classics fan and a Virginia Woolf admirer, Rory Gilmore would simply have to read it.
1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The bible of dark academia, of course, The Secret History, is my number one recommendation to Rory. A prep school and ivy league graduate, Rory is the embodiment of academia. Though the novel is a criticism of the intensity of academia culture, the novel blurs the lines between passion and obsession.
Following a group of classics students studying at an elite private college in rural Vermont, The Secret History is the story of the murder of their friend Bunny. The further these students delve into the cultures of ancient Greek and Roman society, the further detached they become from reality. The famous quote, “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it,” sets the dark gothic tone of the novel, and sucks the reader into this insane realm of study. Loosely based on the author’s own experiences at Bennington College, The Secret History is a must-read for Rory Gilmore.
For more fall book recommendation lists, click here.