Buy, Borrow, Bypass: Books Referenced In the Gilmore Girls Pilot

It was recently announced that Washington Depot, Connecticut (the real-life inspiration for Stars Hollow) will be hosting a fan festival in October.  Essentially, they are recreating picturesque Stars Hollow for three days.  Festival events will include a knit-a-thon, coffee at the hardware store, a troubadour wandering the town, and viewings of the pilot and finale episodes.

So in celebration of this dream-come-true (well, for those of us who have a Gilmore Girls podcast, a Gilmore Girls blog, flew to Austin, TX for the reunion, and own more Gilmore Girls mugs than forks) here are my thoughts on all of the books referenced in the pilot episode!

On the Road by Jack Kerouac Book CoverOn the Road by Jack Kerouac

A Beat writer and his friends take an epic roadtrip. The story of Sal Paradise’s (Kerouac’s alter ego) journey of self-discovery introduces him to places and people previously unknown to him.

The curmudgeonly old lady in me did not enjoy this book. I spent the entire time thinking “get a job!”. However, Kerouac’s writing was almost enough to remove the tennis balls from my walker. And some of my favorite characters in literature are the ones that hold different values than me. But the story of a group of self-indulgent young white men just didn’t grasp at me the way most “find yourself” narratives can.

Verdict:  BYPASS  ::awaits the angry comments::


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

A teenaged Huck Finn and his escaped slave friend, Jim travel down the Mississippi River and shenanigans abound.

Although originally published in 1884, the racial and social commentary in this book is still relevant today. Written as a children’s story, the tale of this boy and his friend is still as important today as it was in 1884. And Huck Finn is just a better person than Tom Sawyer.

Verdict: BUY


Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin Book CoverRosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary is pregnant with her first child and demonic forces seem to be at work in her once-beloved apartment building.

If you enjoy a good horror story, this is a must-read. The level of creepiness has yet to be replicated for me. Note: Don’t read this book while you’re gestating a human being.

Verdict: BUY


Moby-Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville

Captain Ahab spends his life pursuing the white whale that has taken his leg and haunted his every day since.

I have to admit, I have never been more glad to get to the final page of a book (okay, Ulysses may have won that coveted first spot). Melville’s writing is beautifully descriptive. Sometimes, too descriptive. I feel like I now know more about a whale’s molars than I will ever need to know. But the man sure knows how to write a sentence.

Verdict:  BORROW


Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Book CoverMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

A bored housewife embarks on a life of frivolity and philandering, to tragic ends.

As Madame Bovary has been described as “the original Desperate Housewife”, this tale is full of intrigue and consequences. A classic tale of a life wasted, this book reminds me to really evaluate the kind of happiness I seek in my own life and how to value the truly important things.

Verdict:  BUY


The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen Book CoverThe Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

A young girl struggles on the streets as she uses the only valuable thing she possesses.

SO DARK. This book will make you marvel at what used to pass as children’s stories back in the day. And this one is particularly tragic… and I may have cried all over my copy a time or two. Not something I would necessarily read to my 3 year old at bedtime, but Hans Christian Andersen’s ability to take something so heartbreaking and make it beautiful is a gift.

Verdict: BORROW


These are, of course, just the humble opinions of one person who was crazy/genius enough to name her daughter Lorelai.  But there’s one thing that cannot be argued… Gilmore Girls makes for a fantastic reading list!