Rory Gilmore’s Guidebooks

by Liz Keating '24 on October 9, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Three of the most iconic books that Rory Gilmore reads in Gilmore Girls

With fall just beginning, there is no better time for your annual Gilmore Girls rewatch. Rory, Lorelai, and all the residents of Stars Hollow provide the perfect backdrop for all things fall. Gilmore Girls isn’t complete without one of the most popular bookworms, Rory Gilmore. Throughout the seven seasons, Rory is seen reading or mentioning reading over 500 books. From classics like 1984 by George Orwell and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy to some more eclectic choices for a teenage girl, like The Art of War by Sun Tzu and George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg, there is no question that Rory is a true bookworm who will read just about anything. It’s daunting to decide where to start on a list of 500 books, so here are some of the most iconic books mentioned throughout the seven seasons.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

One cannot start a Rory Gilmore reading list without mentioning her favorite novel, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Rory lends her first boyfriend, Dean, her favorite novel in hopes of discussing the novel with him, but the language flies over his head, as he says that the book was too long and depressing. Luckily, he agrees to re-read it for Rory’s sake. Anna Karenina is the tragic story of Countess Anna Karenina. She is a socialite and married woman, and the reader follows her doomed love affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. The novel is widely regarded as a pinnacle of realist fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is one of the first books mentioned in the entire series. Rory’s first love interest, Dean, mentions to Rory that he notices her reading underneath the same tree every day after school. He goes on to say that she was so immersed in the story that she didn’t even notice one of her classmates getting hit in the face. Madame Bovary is the first novel of Gustave Flaubert and follows a classic plot line of a married woman becoming bored of provincial life. What makes this story stand out is the language used throughout it, showing that written words are sometimes inadequate while trying to convey deep human emotion.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand  

In the second season, Rory finally meets her love interest, Jeff, who is an equal academic match to herself. While discussing their shared love of literature, Rory mentions that she attempted to read the book when she was 10, but ultimately failed. However, she tried again when she was 15 and loved it. Jess is shocked that Rory would enjoy a book concerning right-wing libertarians and “political nuts.” Rory clarifies that she enjoys it as a piece of literature, saying, “Yeah, but nobody could write a forty-page monologue the way that she could.” In The Fountainhead, the reader follows a ruggedly individualistic architect named Howard Roark. Howard battles against conventional standards and refuses to compromise his ideals. The novel reflects her iconic, yet famously well-known views that the individual is more valuable than the collective—Definitely an interesting read for a 15-year-old.