After 6 months of reading, the Rory Gilmore challenge is officially over. These past 6 months have been a huge learning experience when it comes to my reading. I realized that I should never tackle a complicated 933 page book without research, and that sometimes rereading a book can reveal a new found love for it. With this challenge, it opened my eyes to how often I neglect unread books on my shelves. Maybe they’re too long, maybe they’re too complicated. And yes, I’m talking about Great Expectations and Ulysses. But if Rory could do it, so could I.
Rory Gilmore is often looked at as a role model for academics and bookish people. Ever since my Tumblr days, I’ve seen Rory Gilmore as this ultimate bookish persona. I think Rory does a great job at being this persona, and that the books in the show hold a lot of value. However, I find that Rory’s reading list throughout the seasons show a lack of diversity, revealing that Rory’s education was predominantly focused on the Western canon (straight white male authors). Of the 339 books listed in the show, not even 25% of the books are written by people of colour. Not only that, but there is a severe lack of LGBTQ+ representation as well.
Now, given that the show ran from 2000-2007, I understand that diversity may not have been the forefront of the books, and the books typically read in an academic environment. I still find it quite strange that given that Rory went to Yale, she wasn’t exposed to more diverse books and authors. At the top of my head, I can think of Chinua Achebe, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, etc. These authors and their work were available at the time, and were extremely important in the literary world, but Rory seems to not have encountered them. I feel like even with the show’s revival, there hasn’t been new diverse books added to the list except for Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
With all of this being said, I think the Rory Gilmore challenge is fruitful in providing a glimpse into the Western canon of literature. If you didn’t take any English Literature courses in university, and wanted a taste of what type of books might be on the syllabi, I would recommend this list. It’s a fun list to read from, and gives lots of different genres, and stories to read. However, I do not think it’s a definitive list of literature as a whole. I think there are many weaknesses to this list, that can’t be added on to unless the Gilmore Girls revival gets one more season.
With that, here are the books I read for the Rory Gilmore challenge:
– The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
– The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (a non-fiction book).
– Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (a reread).
– Howl by Alan Ginsberg (n author I never read before pick).
– Eva Luna by Isabel Allende (a book by a BIPOC author)
– The Little Match Girl by Hans Christen Andersen
– Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (a children’s book)
– Rapunzel by The Grimm Brothers
– Snow White and Rose Red by The Grimm Brothers
– Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (another reread)
– Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (a classic)
– Ulysses by James Joyce (a book that intimidates you)
As for the winners of the giveaway, I announced them on my Instagram page a couple of days ago. It’s saved into my Rory Gilmore challenge Instagram highlight. I hope everyone that participated in this challenge was able to read a lot of books they never though they’d read, and that you challenged yourself to difficult books, just like I did with Ulysses.
I will be posting a Ulysses review soon. How could I not with how much time I spent reading it? I also have a lot of opinions on this massive novel, so don’t be surprised if my blog post about it is rather long.
If you participated in this challenge at any point, what was a book that you absolutely loved reading?