List Challenge: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

I was a die-hard Gilmore Girls fan back when it was on TV. I’ve rewatched the series several times and am excitedly awaiting the release of the the new episodes on Netflix.

There were many reasons I liked Gilmore Girls, and one of those reasons was that Rory loved to read. She would throw out literary references faster than I could catch them. I never kept track of the references, but thankfully, someone else did.

I present to you: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge! (Also, see below for this embedded list.)

According to the list challenge, throughout the entire seven seasons,”Rory Gilmore was seen reading 339 books on screen.” Some of the comments on the list challenge beg to differ. Some commenters mentioned that some books were only mentioned, not read. Others mentioned that only other characters read the books mentioned and not Rory. Another commenter disagreed with The Divine Comedy  and Dante’s Inferno  being listed separately because one is a part of the other [I happen to agree!]

I delved a little further and found Buzzfeed wrote a list as well, titled, “All 339 Books Referenced in ‘Gilmore Girls'”. There are also a number of lists on GoodReads as well with different book totals. One cited 355, while others separate the books out by season. There is even a Richard Gilmore book list.

I found another post that lists 338 book references. This blog post even references a  Wiki article that lists all references in each episode and a link to the Rory Gilmore Book Club on GoodReads.

So many books, not enough time! Speaking of time, it’s time to get reading.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I’ve only read 40 of the 339 books. How many have you read?


Where do I start?  The story is rather confusing, illogical, and well…creepy.  The majority of the book is from the point of view of this guy named Gregor.  He’s a normal, average, boring  generic guy who just happens to wake up one day transformed into a bug – specifically a cockroach.  The “why” and the “how” are apparently not important to Kafka, though to me they are a big deal.  Perhaps in the journalist in me that needs the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of an event.

Nevertheless, Gregor is now a giant cockroach.  And his family proceeds to freak out.  I would too if I knocked on my brother’s door wondering why he didn’t get up at his usual time, only to find a giant cockroach in his room instead of him.  Interestingly enough, his sister (and family) seem to known Gregor’s mind is still there and proceed to take care of him by feeding him rotting food and cleaning his room.  Of course they can’t stand to look at him so Gregor hides under the couch when his mother or sister comes around.

Gregor the Cockroach attempts to communicate that he desires to keep a picture by plastering his cockroach body onto a picture.  Mother screams and they decide not to remove Gregor’s furniture from his room.  This whole time we hear the inner dialogue of Gregor who sounds depressed about his new life as a cockroach.  The family begins to have more money trouble since their source of income was Gregor’s job and well…he currently unavailable to work.  They rent some rooms out to boarders who essentially boss the family around and then demand to have the cockroach destroyed.

Gregor’s sister finally gives up on her brother.  Little does she know he was saving to send her to a university the following year.  His parents give up on him ever returning to a human form.  And in such a sad state of despair, Gregor the cockroach dies.

And then the family moves out of the apartment and begin to live a happier life now that Gregor is dead.

Yeah – told you it was illogical and creepy.  There are parallels to Gregor’s life and the life of a cockroach.  Both are unwanted creatures at the bottom of the food chain who lead rather dull and boring lives.  My biggest criticism of this book is that I just don’t understand the point Kafka was trying to make.  We all could wake up and find ourselves transformed into cockroaches?  Our families are better off without us?  Humans are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things which is comparable to cockroaches?

I’m also trying to figure out why this is a “classic”.  What lessons are to be learned that makes this worth reading generation after generation?  In my English class, this was the last book we read and my least favorite.  I finished thinking “that’s it?”  I would have enjoyed a more in-depth novel of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but there was a distinct plot that was explored.  In Metamorphosis, I see none.

Help me out…am I missing something?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

This very interesting book by Robert Louis Stevenson is one I knew of for many years, but had not read.  Who hasn’t heard the phrase “a Jekyll & Hyde personality”?  The book is quite succinct and to the point.  In fact, I thought it would be a bit longer than it actually is.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a classic horror story (but of course not by today’s standards of blood, gore, and screams) that was published near the end of the 19th century.  Many theories have been proposed as to why this story was written and how exactly is it horrific.  During my in-class discussions of the novel, my professor noted that concurrently published with this novel were the beginning theories of psychology.  The general public was terrified of the potential harm, and even good, that this new discipline offered.  How can you be you, but not really be you?  Can there really be more than one person inside you’re head?  Stevenson took these theories and fears and penned them into this novel.

Instead of focusing on the internal struggles that psychology was trying to explain, Stevenson switched the physical and the mental to create a character that could physically change yet was conscience of both people.  The character of Dr. Jekyll creates a potion that enables him to change into Mr. Hyde.  Jekyll enjoys this freedom, a way to experience the world with no consequences to himself.  Unfortunately, the character Mr. Hyde becomes self-aware and feels threatened by Jekyll.  Quickly the story takes a turn for the worst and Jekyll looses control over Hyde.  Unable to take control back, Jekyll knows the only way he can kill Hyde is to kill himself.  With the last bit of potion left, Jekyll writes his last will and commits suicide.  By the time the narrator, a lawyer, finds Jekyll, his body has turned back to Hyde, however the body is deceased.

The novel is presented as a who dunit novel.  The lawyer encounters some strange tales by people and decides to investigate.  Readers eventually find out that the lawyer’s interest lies with the new will given to him that in case of disappearance or death of Dr. Jekyll, all of Jekyll’s estate is to go to Mr. Hyde.  The odd part – “in case of disappearance” has the lawyer troubled.

Of course it is well-known now that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person, but for me, that isn’t the point of the story.  I am drawn to all the psychological threads that Stevenson weaved into the story.  He was able to comprehend and understand the fears of society and re-tell them in an entertaining format.  Jekyll fears that his has discovered that everyone has a Mr. Hyde, a “pure evil” side inside them.  Could Stevenson be alluding to the fact that each person has a side of them that they can never escape?  Or that our “pure evil” side will eventually destroy humanity?  Or on a more surface level, is there anything we can do about our fear of the unknown?

Perhaps Stevenson tried to explain that life is a transformation, we are born neutral and we transform into adults.  We have both a “good” personality and a “bad” personality and who we become will be a direct result of the events that form our transformation.