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What Did Rory Read After Gilmore Girls Ended?

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Beulah Maud Devaney

Staff Writer

Beulah Maud Devaney has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, New Statesman, Buzzfeed and New Internationalist. Read her literary newsletter here. Follow her on Twitter: @TheNotoriousBMD.

While we at the Riot are taking this lovely summer week off to rest (translation: read by the pool/ocean/on our couches), we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Wednesday, July 8th.

This post originally ran June 17, 2015.

rory gilmore reading

Did you know that Rory Gilmore read 339 books during 7 series of Gilmore Girls? 339. At first glance that’s only 48 books a year, but let’s consider the fact that while doing all that reading Rory also graduated from Yale, began covering Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and took part in various hilarious japes that separated her from the printed word (dance marathons will do that to you, as will descending into an abyss of ennui while living in your grandparents’ pool house).

The girl was a machine and she wasn’t just reading 15 page-long novellas and adult coloring-in books. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Grapes of Wrath, Finnegan’s Wake, The Fountainhead, Swann’s Way, Rory was grappling with some hefty tomes and she wasn’t a book snob. Among all those Dead White Guys, Rory was also finding time to read bestsellers like The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Carrie, The Da Vinci-Code, Harry Potter, and The Godfather. Not only that but she was also pretty diverse with her reading. Obviously there’s always potential for improvement but she managed to venture quite far outside the white-is-right curriculum she was being taught at Chilton: The Kite Runner, Reading Lolita in Tehran, The God Of Small Things and The House Of Spirits are all standouts.

Rory was a fantastic reader and we should all bow down to her ability to, apparently, read the entire The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism without turning into a gibbering wreck. There’s hours of fun to be had comparing reading lists with her, and then hours of bitter self-recriminations when you realize you’ve only read a fraction of her list (I got a struggling 84 on this checklist). But what about post-Gilmore Girls? What was Rory reading on the Obama campaign trail? What book was in her purse at Lorelai and Luke’s wedding? Most importantly: what was she reading on the day she turned up at my house and asked me to be her best friend and help edit her first novel? Well, wonder no more! Here is Rory’s post-Gilmore Girls reading list!

Inspirational Women (always a fave GG genre)

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Heroines by Kate Zambreno

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Underground Girls Of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic Novels (because Huxley and Orwell can only take a gal so far)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Feminism (because The Second Sex and Backlash were, surely, only the beginning)

ain’t i a woman by bell hooks

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Sister Outsider by Aurdre Lorde

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny

Bestsellers (another shout-out to Rory’s lack of book snobbery)

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Big Books (because Rory would have torn through 1100+ pagers like a beast)

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Just Really, Really, Good Books (because Rory wouldn’t have let these beauts pass her by)

Graceland by Chris Abani

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo

Of Bees And Mist by Erick Setiawan

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

*Disclaimer: the Rory reading lists linked to here are composed of every book referenced in Gilmore Girls and it has been pointed out that she might not have completely read all of them. But! We also have to assume that she was probably reading between series (because she is a real person) and I like to think that Rory was a pretty conscientious reader who would have got around to all these books at some point. Yes, even The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.