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The Ultimate Gilmore Girls Reading List

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For most of my adult life, whenever anyone asks what my dream job is, I've had the same answer: public librarian in Stars Hollow, where Gilmore Girls takes place.

The TV series about a witty mother-daughter pair -- plus the residents of the world’s most picturesque Connecticut town -- is about to be rebooted, with four new episodes coming from Netflix around Thanksgiving.

Book-lovers everywhere are rejoicing; the GG universe is full of literary references, and fans have devoted countless lists and blog posts to celebrating the 339 books mentioned on the show. A super-fan even created the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge to read them all.

As a professional book recommender and a major Gilmore fan, I've craned my neck to see Rory's bookshelves and squinted at the paperbacks Jess shoves in his bag. And, in the nine years since the show ended, I've had plenty of time to think about the reading tastes of the characters and imagine the books I wish they’d picked up since the series finale. (Like any true fan, I'm pretending Season 7 never happened.)

So, until I'm hired full-time at my dream job, here's a list of books that I'd recommend to the citizens of Stars Hollow if I were behind the reference desk at the SHPL.

lorelai

Lorelai: The Mastery of Love by Miguel Ruiz. Luke is the one who listens to that self-help book on tape in Season 4, admits to himself that he loves Lorelai, and becomes a viable partner. But Lorelai arguably needs more help in that department than Luke ever did, so it's time for some solid relationship advice from a New Age-y bestseller.

rory

Rory: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Aside from being an incredible story, this novel about an escaped slave’s attempt at freedom would work for Rory on a number of levels. It’s big in the current zeitgeist, and it’s high-conceit historical fiction with a great nod to Gulliver’s Travels, which she’s certainly read by now. A true book-lover’s book.

luke

Luke: My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten. Our all-time favorite Luke moment comes when he helps out his sister by selling her jewelry at a Renaissance Faire for a brief flash in Season 5. Even though he refused to wear a costume, we’re pretty sure Luke secretly loved it, and we want nothing more than for him to speak in fake old timey English on the morrow. Also, it’s fun to imagine Luke stalking around, carrying a YA novel with a sweet maiden on the cover. Huzzah!

chris

Christopher: Operating Instructions and Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott. Chris has never quite been up to the challenge of being a parent. These two memoirs — one from Lamott alone, about raising her son, and one from her and her son together after he becomes a parent — might help.

emily

Emily: Paris in Love by Eloisa James. Something about this light autobiography of an American woman spending a year in Paris reminded me of Lorelai’s Europe-loving, high-society, prim-but-vicious mother from the moment I read it. Emily would likely resent the social-media aspect of the book, in which the author uses her own Facebook posts to tell the story… and that resentment would help Emily enjoy it even more.

sookie

Sookie: Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. This chef memoir is inspiring and brave and awesome. If Sookie ever left Stars Hollow, she’d be just as hard-core.

jackson

Jackson: Growing Tomorrow: A Farm-to-Table Journey in Photos and Recipes by Forrest Pritchard. Jackson was doing farm-to-table cuisine before it had a name. Remember when he slept with his zucchini and sang to his persimmons?

lane

Lane Kim: The Beat of My Own Drum by Sheila E. It’s obvious, right? Drumming + awesomeness = Lane.

mrs kim

Mrs. Kim: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. We just want to see how the Kon-Mari craze would jive with Mrs. Kim's rigid antique-store aesthetic. Would she love it or hate it? Would she have kept the special marriage jug?

dean

Dean: Feminism: Reimagining the F-Word by Nadia Abushanab Higgins. Dean has some really outdated ideas about women's place in society (Donna Reed episode in Season 1, we're looking at you) and he needs a crash course. This easy-to-read, super-current work of nonfiction touches on feminist icons, history, sexual assault, body positivity, and intersectionality.

jess

Jess: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. Somehow, we suspect that hyper-literate Jess didn't catch any waves when he went to California in Season 3, but his rebellious soul's surfing memoir/travelogue/coming-of-age story might speak to him.

logan

Logan: Forget books — someone just drop Logan off in the middle of a desert, or an ocean, or as far away from Rory as possible. #TeamAnyoneButLogan

paris

Paris: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. In some alternate universe, Paris could have taken a seriously wrong turn and gone very, very bad. This smart, dark, satirical, weird YA novel about fan culture and its creepy consequences could have reflected Paris' intensity if she'd unleashed it on the world in a really messed-up way.

doyle

Doyle: The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This novel about college debauchery that ends in murder will help Doyle see through the pretense of the rich, popular kids (read: Logan) and gain confidence in his own innate awesomeness.

kirk

Kirk: Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Aside from the awesome title, this book has practical tips from the creators of Freakonomics about training yourself to work creatively and solve problems — just what Kirk, the consummate jack-of-all-trades, needs for his career path.

taylor

Taylor: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. After his sad defeat in the town selectman election, maybe Taylor should go back to the basics with this classic and learn how not to be so... Taylor-ish.

patty

Miss Patty & Babette: Gossip by Beth Gutcheon. Stars Hollow’s favorite busybodies would devour this understated novel about the subtleties and rivalries between lifelong friends like themselves.

michel

Michel: Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky. Our favorite French concierge would find common ground with Tomsky in this behind-the-scenes page-turner. Maybe he could have picked up some tips and talked Lorelai into letting his chow-chows work the front desk.

Any other recommendations? Want to fill in more secondary characters or guest stars? Leave a comment below.

All cast images via the Gilmore Girls Wiki.

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Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Like the ~idea~ of this list

Like the ~idea~ of this list but hate the snide comments and digs about Logan. Librarians, especially reference librarians, are supposed to be inclusionary and there is a wide swath of Gilmore fans who love Logan, this fellow librarian included. So way to isolate with that. Logan would probably be a big reader of non-fiction, and probably into Malcom Gladwell and the like. Rather than rudely dismiss him you could’ve included something like “The Practicing Mind” by Thomas Sterner or “Great Work” by David Sturt or “Creativity, Inc” by Ed Catmull to acknowledge the hopeful shift from writing things down in his idea book to actually bringing them to fruition. I can also see him reading Chernow or Isaacson biographies. Also, a lot of these suggestions seem too easy and too literal - Sookie's a chef so recommend a chef's memoir, Michel works in a hotel so recommend a hotel memoir, Lane plays the drums so let's have her read a book on drums. Then there's the flip side of the totally out there Luke helped at a renaissance faire so let's have him read a YA book about them. Has Gwen Glazer actually taken a readers' advisory course? Has she ever actually seen Gilmore girls? So off base.

@Kate I think you might be

@Kate I think you might be overthinking this, just a little maybe? :) I don't know what exact reader advisory courses one needs to take to be an expert on Gilmore Girls referrals, but I am really into Gwen's "librarian is in" podcast. I think she and Frank are spot on 99% of the time. (It took me a little while to get into one of Frank's suggestions.) She's recommended books to me during the Friday Twitter threads, and I've loved them all. That said, I totally get where you're coming from when you feel passionately about a show or fandom and want everyone to have the same headcanon. I was extremely displeased with the Harry Potter Cursed Child play in that same "wait, what? My favorite characters would never do/say/be like that!" So I get it. But I disagree. ;)

This comment is hilarious

Great list, Gwen, what a fun idea! I hope you do more for other TV characters in the future.

@Kate, this whole piece is a

@Kate, this whole piece is a bit tongue in cheek. They are fictional characters. While I am #TeamUnsure (not #TeamLogan but not really #TeamJess either), I tend to agree that Logan would be more prone to read newspapers and not as many books. But to chastise her for not liking a fictional character and vocalizing that is a tad unfair. This is a "fun" piece, not everything has to be serious!!!

#teamlogan (and #teamgwen)

Honestly, Logan would have the family helicopter specially deliver a fully charged kindle full of books were he in the middle of the desert or on a yacht somewhere in the Mediterranean (far more likely, I'd say) and wanted to read something. I don't think it's a big deal that Gwen skipped over him, or that she suggested occupation-specific memoirs for Sookie and Michel (although a book about RV-ing through the National Parks would have been fun for him if there's one out there, and if not, perhaps they should write that in for the reunion series!). Furthermore, I think it's a bit much to suggest that Gwen is off-base here, particularly in what is so clearly a lighthearted, fun post. Gwen and I might not agree about #teamlogan, but Gwen's posts and recommendations are always worth checking out. I hope your library patrons feel the same way about the books you recommend to them.

Lighten up?

I almost spent $200 to go to the real "stars hollow" this fall and even I get the Logan joke.

But Logan will still need a

But Logan will still need a book to read in the middle of the desert!

Good point

You make an excellent point! Let's go with Kelly Link's short stories -- Get in Trouble or Pretty Monsters. They're short enough for someone with a limited attention span and whip-smart (which we'll begrudgingly admit that Logan would probably respect).

Love this!

What a GREAT idea for an article and such fun suggestions for our beloved (and not so-beloved) citizens of Stars Hollow. I'm happy to know that my fellow librarians love GG as much as I do. Special shout out for the "Luke Can See Her Face" reference - one of my favorite moments of the series.

Love it!

Love the list and the article!

Great list

I love the list, and I thought the Logan joke was the best part. LOL

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