Turtlenecks, pumpkin spice and countless reruns of Gilmore Girls – the three essentials to start anyone’s fall season off right. But why does Gilmore Girls resonate more with its cult following during the fall than any other time of year? Maybe there’s something about sporting a cozy cardigan, drinking a warm cup of coffee and curling up to a good book in the crisp New England air (oh, how a Florida girl could dream).
But what is the key to having a hot-girl-fall? It isn’t the knitted grandpa sweaters or the Birkenstock Boston clogs (at least not entirely), but rather having the right book on-deck! Over the course of the show’s seven seasons (plus the more recent A Year in the Life revival), the mother-daughter duo have read and alluded to hundreds of books and characters. So why not revisit some of Rory Gilmore’s personal favorites?
Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, by Silvia Plath
Nothing screams autumn more than Sylvia Plath; she was the definition of a struggling artist and much of her work alludes to tales of her own personal suffering, betrayal and defeats. She is the epitome of the “cool girl” persona who does not fit into the bounds of normalcy. This journal is one of her many posthumously published works, and is an exact and complete transcription of diary entries that she kept over the last 12 years of her life; much of which was written during her time at Smith College in 1950s Massachusetts (not too far from where the Gilmore girls call home).
The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
Allende’s 1982 debut novel, The House of the Spirits, is a story of the del Valle and Trueba families, beginning before the start of World War I and spanning across generations. With the incorporation of magical realism, the novel chronicles a riveting family story from the perspectives of two different generations – that of a 'machista' grandfather with his heart stuck in the past, and a progressive, open-minded granddaughter with her mind set on the future. It is a story which intertwines a family’s personal conflicts with that of Chile’s political struggles throughout the century.
The Shining, by Stephen King
One of Rory’s must-reads is Stephen King’s, The Shining. The suspenseful story follows writer Jack Torrance and takes place in the secluded Colorado Overlook Hotel, where an evil lurks behind every door. Jack, seeking solace in the solitude of the hotel, accepts the duty of caretaker and moves his family to the Overlook for the winter months; taking it as an opportunity to cure his alcoholism. He also wants to let his creativity flourish and finish his incomplete work. But, as his young son Danny begins to see visions and sense an unnerving presence in the hotel, Jack slowly falls into the hotel's grasp. He slowly goes insane.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
Before the movie adaptation starring the fabulous Florence Pugh and Timothée Chalamet (and their monologue that captivated TikTok), the spirits of Jo and Laurie were written in Louisa May Alcott’s 19th century coming-of-age novel. She explores the adolescence of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (which is loosely based on her own life and that of her sisters). Alcott revisits her youth to dissect the themes of love, growth, and discovery. The themes that are all too familiar given we each experience them during our own years of adolescence.
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Known as one of Rory’s favorites, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina was a necessary addition to this list! Set in 19th century Russia, is a ‘domestic drama’ led by love, tragedy and everything in between. Tolstoy turns the life of an average person like Anna into a story of over eight hundred pages long; he reminds us that all stories are worth writing about. Like the reader, she’s just a normal person, living an ordinary life, with ordinary problems, in a world just as messed up as our own.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
We all know and love Jess Mariano – the archetypal ‘bad boy’ who swoops Rory off her feet, leaving the viewers wishing it were them instead. But as the only character in the show who comes close to Rory in her love for reading, he’s more than meets the eye. One of the biggest milestones in their relationship is marked by McNeil and McCain’s rendition of the history of the punk movement – another interest which Jess and Rory both share. He offers to lend her his copy during one of their study sessions, and their story only picks up from there…and what’s more characteristic of fall than a bit of romance?
This season, do yourself a favor. For the first time ever (or even in forever): light a candle, grab a drink, snuggle up to a blanket and lose yourself in a book. Flip through the pages all night long until the sun comes up…after all, it’s what Rory Gilmore would do.
Sofia Ramos is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When she's not surfing Twitter or re-organizing her Spotify for the millionth time, you might catch her chugging coffee and procrastinating at Library West. You can reach her on Instagram, @sofience.