The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Rory Gilmore reads a lot of books. A lot of books. 339 in the original series, if Buzzfeed is to be believed. And who doesn’t trust Buzzfeed?

Meanwhile, I’m a bad English major. There are so, so many books I should have read that I haven’t ever opened. But it’s really hard to know where to start in that whole “filling the gaps in your reading” thing. I love lists and that rush of accomplishment at checking things off them, but a good “must read” list is hard to find. There are a million of them, all with different things, all skewed or flawed or biased in a million ways. And the whole idea of “must read books” kinda bugs me, because “must read” according to who? According to boring old conservative white male professors? Some random critic at a newspaper? Why do they get to decide? But I need some kind of outside list, to remind me of the things I’ve been meaning to read and introduce me to the things I might otherwise have missed out on.

So, I’m attempting the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, a classic of online book nerdery. Take the list of books that Rory mentions during the course of Gilmore GIrls, and read as many as you can. It’s not a definitive must read list, but it’s a good list, or at least a varied one. It has the classics, but it also has a lot of non-fiction, feminist essays, modern novels, iconic children’s literature, poetry, science fiction and fantasy and trendy self help books and mega bestsellers and all sorts.

I’ve read 57 books on the list. 55, before I dipped my toes in the water and finally read 1984 and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I just finished today. And let’s be real. I’m not going to read all 339 books on this list. I wouldn’t read another word of Faulkner if you held a gun to my head (I read roughly half of The Sound and the Fury for the Literature GRE before I lost all will to live. Never again). But with the combined powers of the library, the local charity bookshops and the wonders of out of copyright ebooks online, I’m going to give the list a good try. There’s a lot of stuff there that I want to read, along with a lot of stuff I’ve never heard of, and it’s fun to have a reading challenge. I have a lot of other reading to do at the same time, but making any mark in the “omg, you’ve never read this??” pile is a good thing to me.

At least, I’m going to tackle the “A”s, because there’s a bunch on there I want to read, and a list of 15 (or 13, minus the two I’ve read before) is far more manageable than one over 300. We’ll see after I finish those. But so far, it’s fun!

Two (plus 55) down, only… 282 to go.

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