So I’ve just started reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – number 7 of 339 books on on Rory Gilmore’s reading list (and I recently discovered I had only read 38 of them. That’s a score of 11% and well below average.) It’s shameful really – how on earth can I consider myself well-read if I count The Very Hungry Caterpillar among my top ten reads of all time?! Okay maybe I gave it a three out of five, but still, not exactly mind altering stuff is it?
I found out about the reading challenge, as per, through the reading community on my Instagram feed. In short, it lists all the books Rory Gilmore is seen reading on the show Gilmore Girls – which if you haven’t seen before you should definitely give it a go and see if it’s for you; I think it’s fabulous.
I used to watch Gilmore Girls after school sometimes with my mum and have recently started re-watching on Netflix. The show itself is broadly about a mother and daughter duo and their lives in a small town called Stars Hollow. Rory is 15 years old when the show starts; she’s a smart cookie who dreams of attending Harvard and, in a broad understatement of her character, she reads a lot of books. Her mother is a fast talking, coffee addict who ran away and had Rory aged 17. The series has generated a lot of buzz again recently since the release of revival series A Year in the Life last year. It’s set 10 years after the original series and has inspired a fresh collection of fans to watch the original episodes. Lauren Graham’s autobiography Talking as fast as I can was also released last year and is definitely on my tbr.
*edit* Weirdly, as I was writing this a copy of the book was delivered to my apartment! Massive thanks to my friend Kell for the surprise! *end of edit*
Anyway, as it’s having a re-vamp I’ve decided it’s about time for me to have one too! What better time is there to start improving my reading and tackling this challenge than right now (I mean, other than yesterday or last year?)
So, in an effort to feel better about myself I’m setting myself a target of 45/339 by New Years eve 2017. That means reading another 7 books from the list by the end of the year! Here’s a quick summary of the next three I plan to get started on:
(1) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
I’ve seen so many references to this book it doesn’t bear thinking about. The quote above I always found particularly pertinent. This is book number 7 on the list and is one I picked up in a local thrift store. Tolstoy is a Russian writer who in this, his ” first self-proclaimed novel”¹ tells the story of Anna, a married woman, and her sustained affair with Count Vronsky. It’s said to be lightly satirical and is widely respected for engagement with politics and social class as well as more micro and individual issues such as family and gender.
Most readers tend to comment on its length though it is notably shorter and less character dense than his other well known work War and Peace (1869) which, coincidentally, is also on our list.
(2) The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne
“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”
Have you ever seen Easy A? I watched it the other day. The film was partially inspired by Hawthorne’s controversial novel and is a hilarious reminder of the avidly discussed and widely cited story of The Scarlet Letter, number 265 on the Rory Gilmore Reading List.
The novel opens with the punishment of Hester Prynne, a convicted adulteress, in front of a crowd of townsfolk who mock her from afar demanding from her the name of the man who caused her pregnancy. She declines and is made to wear an embroidered ‘A’ for ‘Adulteress’ on her dress.
Though it was originally subtitled ‘A Romance’ it has been said that it more closely examines feelings of guilt, religion and issues of the law. It’s one I always wanted to get to into and I can’t wait to make a start on it later this year.
(3) Beloved by Toni Morrison
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
I am for-ev-er catching hold of quotes from this book from all sorts of articles, click-bait, and compilations but haven’t got around to reading it just yet. It’s number 21 on the list and you’ve probably heard the name before (but I wont spoil what it refers to.)
The protagonist Sethe is an escaped slave who travels to Cincinnati, Ohio with her daughter and the novel follows her story. It explores mother-daughter relationships and (whilst not at all the same genre) seems to link nicely the Gilmore Girls theme of today’s post.
It’s a pretty highly acclaimed read and I don’t want to research it too thoroughly before reading – I like to read without too much of an idea of what to expect. But I am eager to get started.
So, those are my next three Rory reads; I look forward to updating you on my Gilmore inspired, no doubt coffee-fuelled and impossibly slow reading experience.
Find out your score here and get started on your next Rory read!
Have a nice weekend!
– Cat –