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Ultimate Rory Gilmore Reading List: In Order, By Episode

If you’re a bookworm and you love Gilmore Girls, it’s time to undertake the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge!

Gilmore Girls on Netflix - Rory Gilmore Reading List

Rory Gilmore is one of the lead characters in Gilmore Girls and one of the most famous fictional bookworms of all time.

She takes books everywhere from her daily bus ride to the school canteen – even to a debutante ball!

I’m currently rewatching Gilmore Girls from the very beginning so I thought I’d note down all the book and literary references made in the series to make my very own Rory Gilmore reading list.

Whilst a number of people have previously published the entire Rory Gilmore reading challenge before, I’ve decided to do something a little different.

My Rory Gilmore reading list is episode by episode and will be updated as I finish each season of my Gilmore Girls rewatch.

Not only does it list each book that is mentioned, but also all authors and other literary tidbits.

The Rory Gilmore book list is mostly made up of literary classics so, to be honest, it’s a rather intimidating list.

I hope that during the course of my lifetime, I can make my way through a large chunk of the books mentioned in Gilmore Girls.

How many of these Rory Gilmore books have you read?

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Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 1

Starting from season 1, I’ll be listing all the books Rory Gilmore read in these episodes.

Season 1, Episode 1

It’s clear from the very first episode of Gilmore Girls that Rory is a massive bookworm. She’s incredibly smart and earns a place at Chilton School, a top private school, which means she changes schools in episode one.

Dean is the new boy in town and even though he’s only just arrived in Stars Hollow, even he has noticed that Rory brings a book with her wherever she goes.

Books mentioned:

Jack Kerouac – A man passing through Stars Hollow approaches Lorelai whilst she is enjoying her sixth cup of coffee that morning at Luke’s Diner and she says he’s a “regular Jack Kerouac”.

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – This classic is mentioned in Rory’s English class on her last day at Stars Hollow High.

Steven King – Lorelai says she would rather reenact a Stephen King novel than ask her parents for money.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Rory is walking Dean over to the grocery store so he can ask about getting a job. He asks how she’s liking Moby Dick and Rory says that this is her first Melville (though she knows that’s clichéd).

Dean admits that the reason he knows what she’s reading is that he’s been watching her. Creepy…

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – Dean goes on to say that he knows Rory comes out and reads under the same tree every day. Last week it was Madame Bovary and she was so absorbed that she missed two boys getting into a ball accident right in front of her nose!

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen 

Season 1, Episode 2

In episode 2, it’s Rory’s first day at Chilton School. The first class we see her in is English and lots of classics are mentioned.

The teacher explains that they’re going to compare two literary masters, Tolstoy and Dickens, in the next class.

Books mentioned:

Leo Tolstoy – The English teacher notes that Tolstoy was heavily influenced by the likes of Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Balzac and George Sand to name a few.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – These Dickens novels are cited as major influences on Tolstoy’s writing.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Miss Patty makes the girls walk around the barn with the book on their heads during their dance class to practice their balance and posture. She says if they drop the book then Harry will die and there won’t be any more books – quelle horreur!

Season 1, Episode 3 

Rory’s grandfather encourages her love of reading and finds the two below books for her:

A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.R. Mencken

My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken (first edition)

Season 1, Episode 4

In this episode, there’s a Shakespeare test at school so a large number of Elizabethan writers and works by Shakespeare are mentioned in quick succession. They include:

Authors: William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, John Webster

Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare  – Paris notices Rory revising on a bench in the school grounds and snidely recites this to her to intimidate her.

The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare

Richard III by Shakespeare  

Sonnet 126 by Shakespeare – Rory is revising at home with her mother and notes that all Shakespeare’s sonnets have 14 lines, except Sonnet 126 which has 12 lines.

Sonnet 145 by Shakespeare – Rory further notes that the sonnets are all written in iambic pentameter except for Sonnet 145 which is in tetrameter.

Season 1, Episode 8

By this point, Dean and Rory are now going out and even sharing book recommendations.

Books mentioned:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Dean gives a Jane Austen book back to Rory and he seems to have liked it (and googling tells me it was Northanger Abbey!). 

Hunter S Thompson – Dean then says that he thinks Rory should read Hunter S Thompson, a 20th-century American author and journalist (very different to Austen).

Charlotte Bronte – Rory also gives Dean some delicious rocky road and says he can repay her by reading some Charlotte Bronte. 

Season 1, Episode 9

This episode is about Rory’s first dance at Chilton. She manages to convince Dean to come along with her but, of course, she’s also got a book with her.

Books mentioned:

The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

Season 1, Episode 10

It’s Christmas in Stars Hollow! Of course, Rory gifts Dean a book to read. Though it’s never mentioned again whether he actually reads it…

Books mentioned:

Metamorphoses by Franz Kafka  

Season 1, Episode 11

Max Medina, Rory’s English teacher, is now dating Lorelai. Weird! But as a fellow book nerd, we stan. Lorelai goes over to Max’s place and he has a large, beautiful bookshelf that I’d love to explore.

Books mentioned:

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – Lorelai says she wishes she’d read this book so she could drop things like “as Marcel Proust once said” into conversation and make herself look smart.

New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson – The collection itself is not mentioned but Max recites the first line of poem 258 from Emily Dickinson’s collection, which begins “There’s a certain slant of light“. 

RELATED: 15 French Classics Every Francophile Needs to Read

Season 1, Episode 12

This episode is where that iconic picture of Rory reading comes from. Yknow, the one of Rory reading on a bench?

Books mentioned:

Unabridged Journal of Sylvia Plath – Rory is reading this outside of Dean’s school and this is the picture of Rory reading that everyone is familiar with. Rory then asks Dean about arranging a double date with Lane and his friend Todd. Then they make out. A lot.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams – Lorelai names Rory’s chick for a school project Stella, a character from this famous play.

Season 1, Episode 14

Rory’s grandfather, Richard, is going to Madrid on business and mentions he might bring back a copy of a Cervantes play for Rory, though he does not say which.

Authors mentioned:


Season 1, Episode 15

In this episode, Rory’s father, Chris, makes a sudden appearance in Stars Hollow. Of course, Rory takes him to the bookstore, Stars Hollow Books.

Books mentioned:

The Compact English Dictionary – This may be called a “compact” dictionary but it’s absolutely enormous and includes every word ever recorded in the English language. Rory gushes about it to Chris who wants to buy it for her but, rather awkwardly, his credit card is declined.

Season 1, Episode 16

In this episode of Gilmore Girls, we see Rory and Dean celebrate their 3 month anniversary! Shockingly, Rory doesn’t bring a book along to their date but she does bring a copy of the New Yorker. She also mentions her favourite book in this episode:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Rory reveals that this is one of her all-time favourite books. Dean tries to read it and can’t get into it but he says he’ll try again for her. 

Season 1, Episode 17

So Dean and Rory have broken up. And it’s poor Rory’s first heartbreak! She’s pretty cut up after the break up and tries to take her mind off it in a few ways in this episode. 

Books mentioned:

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee – Rory suggests going to see this play at Stars Hollow theatre on the day after she breaks up with Dean to take her mind off it.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – When Rory mentions that she is going to Madeline’s party, Lorelai is shocked that she’d want to attend a Chilton party. “Why don’t you stay home and read The Bell Jar? It’d have the same effect.” Ouch.

Season 1, Episode 20

And we’re onto the last episode of season one for the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge!

Books mentioned:

Ulysses by James Joyce – Rory sits outside Doose’s Market reading Ulysses whilst Lane buys what she needs because she’s avoiding Dean. Ah, first heartbreak.

Out of Africa by Karen Blixen – Lorelai buys this book on Luke’s behalf for Rachel, Luke’s ex who is back in town. She says Rory told her it was good so thought it was a good buy. You can always rely on Rory for a good book recommendation!

The Art of Fiction by David Lodge – Max Medina tells the English class that this is a remarkable manifesto that’s still applicable to fiction today.

Henry James – Rory is studying Henry James in English class and Mr Medina expects a full report on his desk by next week.

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge: Season 1 Summary

Whew, what a lot of books! Here’s Rory’s reading list and authors mentioned in Gilmore Girls so far.

S1 – Rory Gilmore Reading List in Order

  1. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. Madame Bovary by Flaubert
  4. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  7. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  9. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  10. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  11. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  12. A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.R. Mencken
  13. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
  14. Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  15. The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare
  16. Richard III by Shakespeare
  17. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 
  18. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  19. Metamorphoses by Franz Kafka
  20. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  21. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
  22. Unabridged Journal of Sylvia Plath 
  23. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tenessee Williams
  24. The Compact English Dictionary
  25. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
  26. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  27. Ulysses by James Joyce
  28. Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
  29. The Art of Fiction by David Lodge

S1 – Authors Mentioned in Gilmore Girls in Order

  1. Jack Kerouac
  2. Steven King
  3. Herman Melville 
  4. Leo Tolstoy
  5. Charles Dickens
  6. Dostoyevsky
  7. Honoré de Balzac 
  8. George Sand
  9. Mencken
  10. William Shakespeare
  11. Christopher Marlowe
  12. Francis Bacon
  13. Ben Jonson
  14. John Webster 
  15. Jane Austen
  16. Hunter S Thompson 
  17. Charlotte Bronte
  18. Franz Kafka
  19. Emily Dickinson
  20. Sylvia Plath
  21. Cervantes 
  22. Henry James

And that’s all for season 1 of Gilmore Girls! Do you dare to take on the Rory Gilmore book challenge?

Let me know how many of these books mentioned in Gilmore Girls you think you’ve already read in the comments below.

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 2

Season 2, Episode 2

Rory’s a bookworm and Dean knows it. So he says “…we’ll go to a bookstore I could watch you browse for 6 or 7 hours”. Love the sound of browsing for hours and hours, less keen on having starey Dean there.

Rory says she’s studying the following at school:

  • Shakespeare
  • Obscure Russian poetry

Season 2, Episode 3

Lorelai’s wedding to Max is just a few weeks away and Sookie has organised a bachelorette party for her. She decides to give Chris a call – a fateful decision as it makes her realise that Max may not be the man for her.

Books mentioned:

Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman – Rory asks Lorelai if she wants to pack it when they go on a road trip to avoid getting married to Max. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Lorelai and Rory head out on their road trip and stop at a B&B that Lorelai said she vaguely knew the owner of. However, the B&B has changed a lot since Lorelai’s last visit and the new owner named it the Cheshire Cat after the character from Alice in Wonderland.

Season 2, Episode 4

Rory has had one dream since she was little and that is to go to the prestigious Harvard University. Lorelai and Rory head off to Boston to visit the college and Rory falls in love with the campus and even sits in on a lecture!

When she enters the library she says: “Oh my” “It’s the biggest library I’ve ever seen!” The oldest library in the USA, 13 million volumes, I’ve read like 300 books and I’m 16. 

Books mentioned:

Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Seneca – Rory pipes up about stoicism in Harvard lecture.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – This is the next book students will be studying in the Harvard lecture Rory wandered into.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Rory sits reading this on the sofa at her grandmother’s house whilst her mother and grandmother bicker about the gift that Emily bought her for her wedding.

Season 2, Episode 5

There’s a new boy in town to shake things up for Rory and that’s Luke’s nephew Jess. When he is introduced to Rory he takes a peek at the books in her room and picks one up and takes it with him. Later, he presents it back to Rory:

“I just wanted to put some notes in the margins for you. I’ve read this about 40 times.”

“I thought you said you didn’t read much?”

“Well, what is much? Good night, Rory”

“Good night, Dodger.”

“Oliver Twist!”

Books mentioned:

Howl by Allen Ginsberg – The book Jess picks up in Rory’s bedroom.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Season 2, Episode 10

The rivalry between Dean and Jess is intensifying with each passing episode and Rory is struggling to keep the tension from bubbling over.

Meanwhile, Lorelai invites the whole town to an elaborate feast complete with Elizabethan costumes and horse-drawn sleigh rides!

Books mentioned:

The Iliad by Homer – Paris Geller states that rereading the Iliad three times is not doing anything for her. Perhaps unsurprisingly.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – Lorelai jokes that her parents are the Joyless Luck Club as they’ve been squabbling for weeks.  

Season 2, Episode 12

Rory’s grandfather Richard has now retired and has a lot more time on his hands. He finally pays a visit to Stars Hollow to spend the day with Rory and Lorelai.

Books mentioned:

Gustave Flaubert – Richard describes all the things he’s noticed in his surroundings since he retired, including a first edition Flaubert behind his Churchill biographies.

Rory shows her grandfather her room noting that books are everywhere – even under the bed and in the drawers. When she opens her drawers we can spot a few book titles including:

Season 2, Episode 13

It’s now obvious that there’s something blossoming between bad boy Jess and bookish Rory.

In this episode, they go on their first date of sorts as Jess and outbids Dean at the town basket auction, winning a picnic lunch with Rory.

When they’re sat on the water’s edge exchanging book recommendations you can’t help but be convinced that Jess is a much better match for Rory than boring old Dean.

Rory agrees to read the painful Ernest Hemingway if Jess will try Ayn Rand. Whilst they both agree she was a “political nut”, Rory concedes that “nobody could write a 40-page monologue like she could.”

Books mentioned:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Ernest Hemingway

The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman – Rory gives it to Lorelai when she gets home from the pizza with Jess. Lorelai had previously mentioned she wanted to read it whilst they were watching the film Julia as Jane Fonda was playing Lillian Hellman.

Being the mature 30-something mother she is, Lorelai makes a Hellman’s mayonnaise joke.

Season 2, Episode 14

  • The Mourning Bride by William Congreve – Paris is angry that Tristan isn’t interested in her and Louise makes a reference to the famous line from The Mourning Bride: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

Season 2, Episode 15

Lots of titles are added to the Rory book list in this Gilmore Girls episode as there’s a charity book sale on in town, the Buy a Book! Fundraiser.

Rory is there picking up more titles than she can carry (she’s been there for over 2 hours!) whilst Dean looks pretty bored.

She picks up a whopping 3 stacks of books but Dean just wants to watch Lord of the Rings.

Here’s what Rory picked up:

When Rory goes to pay, we see Kirk haggling over the price of a book but Gypsy refuses to entertain the idea of haggling at a fundraiser. The book is…

Jess is cleaning out the gutter at the Gilmore residence and Lorelai invites him in for lunch. Of course, it’s Chinese takeaway and the pair talk about Luke and his healthy eating habits.

  • Euell Gibbons – Jess jokes that even Euell Gibbons, a food writer and celebrity, wasn’t as healthy as Luke.

Jess picked up Rory’s bracelet from Dean after she drops it and now wants to put it in her bedroom to make it look like it was always there. Whilst he’s in there, he pokes around her bookshelves.

We know Jess is an avid reader too and at the end of the episode, Luke comes home to find Jess reading with music blaring loudly in the flat.

Season 2, Episode 16

Lorelai is out of town for the night and Dean wants to come over and spend some alone time with Rory. However, Rory says that she wants to take inspiration from JD Salinger and do her laundry. Warning bells should be dining! 

After telling Dean that she wants to be alone that evening, Paris turns up and later Jess. The three of them have a takeaway in Rory’s house and debate a number of famous writers:

  • Jack Kerouac
  • Franz Kafka
  • Charles Bukowski
  • Jane Austen

Jess also shares that he can’t get into poetry: “Jeez just say it already, we’re dying already”. A sentiment I’m sure many can relate to!

Then the phone rings. It’s Dean, he’s coming over. Rory panics and tries to get Jess to leave before Dean sees him but obviously Dean is already coming up the drive as Jess is being shoved out the door.

And he’s not pleased.

Jess says he’s wearing a Frankenstein scowl and warns him not to get all “West Side Story” on him.

What’s more, the episode’s title, There’s the Rub, is a reference to a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To die, to sleep – to sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.”

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge: Season 2 Summary

Dean or Jess? Jess or Dean? A new bookish beau is on the block and that led to lots of bookish conversations in Gilmore Girls season 2. Here are all the books mentioned.

S2 Rory Gilmore Reading List in Order

  1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  2. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
  5. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  7. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  8. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  9. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  10. The Iliad by Homer
  11. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  12. Gustave Flaubert
  13. Summer of Fear by T Jefferson Parker
  14. The Scarecrow of Oz by L Frank Baum
  15. Contact by Carl Sagan
  16. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  17. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
  18. The Mourning Bride by William Congreve
  19. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee
  20. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  21. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  22. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  23. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  24. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  25. West Side Story

s2 Authors Mentioned in Gilmore Girls in Order

  1. Shakespeare 
  2. Seneca
  3. Ernest Hemingway
  4. Ayn Rand
  5. Euell Gibbons
  6. JD Salinger
  7. Jack Kerouac
  8. Franz Kafka
  9. Charles Bukowski
  10. Jane Austen

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 3

Season 3, Episode 1

There are no book references in episode 1 of season 3 but there is a reference to Oscar Wilde. Sookie is shopping for furniture and holds up a very frilly lamp to Lorelai, asking if it’s manly. Lorelai says “In an Oscar Wilde sort of way, absolutely.”

Season 3, Episode 2

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Season 3, Episode 11

Paris and Francine are at war at school and things are getting dirty. Rory decides to meet with Francine in a parking lot but Paris soon finds out and accuses Rory of being “Brutus”.

Books mentioned:

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (character reference)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Eloise at the Plaza by Kay Thompson

Season 3, Episode 12 

The feud between Paris and Francine continues and Paris is still giving Rory the cold shoulder. The two have a heated argument outside the headmaster’s office but this time Paris calls Rory “Judas”.

Books mentioned:

 The Bible

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Season 3, Episode 13

Rory and Lorelai are telling their grandparents about their dream to backpack around Europe that summer after Rory graduates from high school. Unsurprisingly, Emily is horrified! 

Emily Gilmore then sends a big box of travel books she finds at home.

Books mentioned:

Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves

Rough Guide to Europe by various authors

Hidden Romantic Gems of the Restaurant WorldNB. This seems to be a fictional text. Luke is reading it before he takes Nicole to dinner. Jess teases Luke mercilessly about it, Luke thinks because she’s a lawyer she must like the finer things so wants to take her somewhere nice.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Jess recommends this book to Kirk who is still in Luke’s Diner late at night because his TV is broken. Kirk doesn’t like this suggestion. 

Season 3, Episode 14

The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton

Season 3, Episode 15

Rory mentions Mark Twain.

Othello by William Shakespeare

Season 3, Episode 16

I’m with the Band by Pamela Des Barres

Season 3, Episode 17

There’s a meeting of the “Poe Society” in honour of writer Edgar Allan Poe.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

Season 3, Episode 18

Hamlet, the eponymous character from Shakespeare’s play, is mentioned.

Season 3, Episode 19

This episode is all about Lane’s band and… Prom! Rory manages to persuade Dean to go to Stars Hollow Prom with Lane and Dave.

Harry Potter by J.K. RowlingThe Harry Potters is a suggestion for Lane’s band name. They’ve got their first gig coming up so need to finally come up with a good name.

Other suggestions were “We are the We” and “Follow Them to the Edge of the Dessert”. Great stuff.

James Bond by Ian Fleming – Dean doesn’t want to wear a tux but Rory tells him tuxes are very “James Bond” and that’s not geeky.

Henry VI by Shakespeare – Dave asks Lane’s mum for permission to take Lane to the Prom and she quotes a line of literature at him.

Dave spends the whole night reading the Bible to try to figure out whether she means yes or no but it turns out the quote wasn’t from the Bible at all.

Instead, it’s a line from Shakespeare. But Lane’s mum is so impressed that Dave read the entire Bible in one day that she allows him to take her.

Season 3, Episode 20

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

Henry VI by William Shakespeare

Season 3, Episode 21

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Season 3, Episode 22

Books mentioned:

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Authors mentioned:

William Faulkner

Jane Austen

Eudora Welty

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 4

Season 4, Episode 3

Books mentioned:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Haiku (Volume 2) Spring by R.H. Blyth

Season 4, Episode 4

Books mentioned:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Season 4, Episode 5

In this episode, three classics of the 1920s and 30s are mentioned.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Season 4, Episode 6

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway

Hans Christian Andersen

Season 4, Episode 7

Stars Hollows’ Festival of Living Art is back and people from the town dress up as old portraits and paintings then stand perfectly still on stage to be admired.

An odd tradition to say the least… Sookie also finally goes into labour!

Books mentioned:

The Bible

1984 by George Orwell

Oscar Wilde

Season 4, Episode 10

At the end of the last episode, Rory saw Paris kissing a certain professor. Something that seems totally un-Paris who is usually very proper. Nonetheless, Paris is having a love affair with her professor, Asher Fleming, Rory’s grandfather’s friend.

Books mentioned:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Season 4, Episode 11

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

Season 4, Episode 12

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Season 4, Episode 13

“Did anyone think Sylvia Plath wasn’t crazy but was just cold?”

Season 4, Episode 14

Paris’ feud with their fitness fanatic roommate continues and she hilariously says that a crater is caused by the roommate’s large boyfriend sitting down on the sofa and Gandalf the Grey is still falling down it.

Season 4, Episode 15

Whilst no books are explicitly mentioned in this episode, there are a few literary references.

Lorelai says: “It’s just when I picture letter writing, I picture Charles Dickens.”

There’s another Lord of the Rings references as Lorelai says: “Me wants them! My precious!”

Season 4, Episode 16

Emily Gilmore mentions a book she is reading for her upcoming book club meeting.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Season 4, Episode 17

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Season 4, Episode 18

Lorelai refers to Luke as “Bilbo Baginpuss”, a reference to a famous hobbit in The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R Tolkien. He’s grumpy because he’s not fond of babies and Sookie brings her newborn into the diner with her.

Books mentioned:

Richard III by Shakespeare

Macbeth by Shakespeare

Season 4, Episode 19

The Trial by Franz Kafka

Season 4, Episode 20

Luke is one of the least emotional fictional characters out there (unless if that emotion is anger or frustration). He’s definitely not the sappy type and he doesn’t read much.

In this episode, he goes to the bookshop and buys a series of self-help tapes and self-help books to help him figure out his love life. And he makes a shocking revelation.

Shocking, to him, that is. We, the watchers, have been well aware of his feelings for Lorelai for a long time!

The book he picks up is a fictional book called “You’re Not Alone”.

Season 4, Episode 21

Whilst Jess may have laughed at Luke for reading self-help books about romance, we see Jess reading a copy of the fictional “You’re Not Alone” book, hidden inside a copy of Punk Planet magazine.

At the end of the episode, he approaches Rory with a proposition for their future so it must’ve had some pretty sound advice in there.

Books mentioned:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Season 4, Episode 22

I love the end of Season 4 as a romance between Luke and Lorelai finally starts to manifest itself! Luke asks Lorelai on a date but she starts to panic about this and says:

“Maybe he just needed to get out of the house, and since I’m currently one of the women sitting home, thinking, “If I could only find a man like Aragorn,” he picked me.”

Yep, another Lord of the Rings reference.

Meanwhile Rory reels of a list of authors that she doesn’t have to think about anymore, including:

Geoffrey Chaucer


Niccolò Machiavelli

Franz Kafka

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 5

Season 5, Episode 1

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Daisy Miller by Henry James

Season 5, Episode 2

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Other literary references:

Emily scares Lorelai by accident and rolls her eyes saying “Like I’m Dracula”.

Lorelai calls someone Dean Moriarty, a character from Kerouac’s On the Road.

Lorelai calls Luke chivalrous and he says he’s a “regular Lancelot”, referring to a knight from the Arthurian legend.

Author mentioned:

Henry James

Other literary references:

Jeeves – Shaken, not stirred, please, Jeeves.

A quote from Fleming’s James Bond and Jeeves refers to Wodehouse’s famous character.

Season 5, Episode 3

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Author mentioned:

Robert Frost

Season 5, Episode 4

Authors mentioned:

Charles Dickens

Rory and Lane are talking about her relationship with Zach and she jokes that “in 20 years, slap each other on the backs and say, “wha-ho, good times”. Rory then says, “So you’ll be Dickens’ characters in 20 years?”

Season 5, Episode 5

Rory’s grandfather goes to visit her at Yale and asks what she’s been reading recently.

Rory says she’s really into PG Wodehouse right now whilst Richard has just finished the 6th and final volume of the Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire.

He started it in 1968 so it only took him 36 years to finish it!

Books mentioned:

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Authors mentioned:

P.G. Wodehouse

Marcel Proust

Season 5, Episode 6

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as a History by Norman Mailer

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Authors mentioned:

Gore Vidal

Gabriel García Marquez

Season 5, Episode 9

A Girl from Yamhill by a Beverly Cleary

Like Water for Chocolate trans. Carol and Thomas Christenson by Laura Esquivel

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Season 5, Episode 10

Yoga for Dummies by Georg Feuerstein and Larry Payne

Season 5, Episode 12

My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh

The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene

Arthur Miller is also mentioned when Miss Celine, Emily’s personal stylist says:

“When I was dressing Marilyn for her wedding to Arthur Miller, I told her, I said, “Marilyn! Wear a flat hat on your head. It will remind him of a book.” She didn’t, and we all saw how that turned out.”

Season 5, Episode 13

Lorelai says to Luke, “Hey, stop being such a Nancy-boy about the pants. Think Hemingway ever gave a crap what his pants looked like?”

Season 5, Episode 15

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein

Book character Tom Sawyer is also mentioned.

Season 5, Episode 17

He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Richard mentions this book noting that this copy is a hundred years old with some beautiful engravings.

Other references:

Zack also says to Lane, “His eyes. Red, like the fires of Mordor.”

Season 5, Episode 20

Ethics by Spinoza

Season 5, Episode 21

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Season 5, Episode 22

The Illiad by Homer

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 6

Season 6, Episode 3

Captain Ahab (a character from Moby Dick)

Season 6, Episode 4

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Revolution from Within

The Rigveda

The Bible

Nicholas Nickleby – Jackson mentions sitting through hours of hell whilst watching Sookie’s cousin’s production of Nicholas Nickleby.

Season 6, Episode 5

Molloy by Samuel Beckett

Season 6, Episode 6

Richard says “it’s usually at this point in the John le Carré novels where things start to go horribly wrong”.

Season 6, Episode 7

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Season 6, Episode 8

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Season 6, Episode 9

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

Primary Colors by Joe Klein

Season 6, Episode 10


The Chronicles of Narnia

Season 6, Episode 11

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Season 6, Episode 13

Sweeney Todd (a character from The String of Pearls: A Domestic Romance)

Season 6, Episode 16

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – The title of the episode, Bridesmaids Revisited, takes inspiration from this English novel.

David Foster Wallace – Rory is editing an article for the Yale Daily News and tells the writer to cut down their prose so she doesn’t have to publish a newspaper the size of a David Foster Wallace novel.

The Bhagavad Gita – Megan (a bridesmaid at Logan’s sister’s wedding) mentions a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic Mahabharata and one of the holy scriptures for Hinduism.

Season 6, Episode 17

Charlotte’s Web

Season 6, Episode 20

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Rory Gilmore Reading List – Season 7

Season 7, Episode 1

Cormac McCarthy

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Moneypenny (a character from James Bond) – Rory says “oh my God. You’re turning British. Do you have a secretary named Moneypenny?!”

Season 7, Episode 3

Charlotte’s Web

Sexus by Henry Miller

Season 7, Episode 5

Rory refers to author Samuel Johnson and says “Samuel Johnson said, “When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.””

Season 7, Episode 6

Lorelai lists several famous couples that Christopher and her could be. She includes author F. Scott and Zelda.

Season 7, Episode 8

Ironweed by William Kennedy – Logan says “You clearly think you are. Why? Because you read Ironweed? ‘Cause you saw Norma Rae?”

Season 7, Episode 9

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Season 7, Episode 14

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

Rory says Eva Luna is Allende’s best work, acknowledging most people love House of the Spirits.

Season 7, Episode 15

The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyer

Mitchum Huntsberger recommends this book to Rory but she says she’s already read it and loved it.

Season 7, Episode 17

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Season 7, Episode 18

Authors mentioned:

Herman Melville
Jay McInerney
Louise Erdrich

Season 7, Episode 20

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Season 7, Episode 21

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

This episode’s title refers to Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and is said by Paris before they graduate.

Season 7, Episode 22

The last book ever mentioned in the main series of Gilmore Girls has to be one of the least interesting:

Robert’s Rules of Order by General Henry M Robert

Rory Gilmore Reading List – A Year In The Life


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

John McPhee

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller


William Shakespeare


Edith Wharton

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Dorothy Parker

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Noam Chomsky

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth (though the episode wrongly refers to the quote as being from Longfellow!) How could Rory let this happen?!


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

David Mamet

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge
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Editor of What’s Hot?

Laura is an award-winning travel and book blogger based in the UK. She studied French literature at Oxford University and is now an IP lawyer at a top law firm in London. She was named UK Book Blogger of the Year in 2019 and loves to combine her passion for books and travel with literary travel.

Chithira Sevvalli

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

In S2 E3 Rory refers various quotes for Lorelai's wedding invitation. First she suggests a quote by Sinclair Lewis and then Lord Byron's but Lorelai goes with a "not so romantic" quote by Benito Mussolini.

In S2 E8 Rory tells Jess, "I guess that’s what you have to do when you’re trying to be Holden Caulfield, but I think it stinks.", coz he causes trouble for Luke. Holden Caulfield is a character from J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye". Earlier in the same conversation Jess refers to the town meeting as, "Those things are so 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'". It's a book by Harper Lee.

In S2 E19 When Rory is trying to tutor Jess, he keeps on distracting her instead of studying. And as one of those attempts to divert her attention from teaching him, he asks he if she has read "Please Kill Me", Oral History of the Punk Movement.

In S2 E20 Lorelai gifts Rory "The Little Locksmith" by Katharine Butler Hathaway. Also, in the same episode Lane and Rory talk about Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker.


Monday 14th of August 2023

Great list! I appreciate the detail as I’ve been trying to write them down in order as I re-watch also! I noticed you missed one from S2 E5. Rory has her first day back at Chilton, and while she’s waiting for the Franklin meeting to start (even though she is actually late!) she sits down and starts reading “Selected Letters of Dawn Powell”.


Thursday 4th of May 2023

Hey, great project! Just wanted to make a little clarification: In S01E02 you say "Leo Tolstoy – The English teacher notes that Tolstoy was heavily influenced by the likes of Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Balzac and George Sand to name a few". Actually, he says that they previously saw Dostoyevsky's biggest influences were Balzac and George Sand. Thanks!


Tuesday 7th of February 2023

I see The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron on other lists. You didn’t come across it while watching?


Monday 18th of December 2023

@Christel, I'm really interested in this as well, because no one ever clarifies where exactly they have seen it in the series


Thursday 19th of January 2023

Would it be possible to get a pdf of this list?