The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Someone challenged me to a duel.

It wasn’t a duel with swords, but that’s what it felt like. My cousin challenged me to see how many books I had read from a list of 100 African-American authors. The list was hosted on a reading challenge website and while I was delving into it, I stumbled upon The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. Rory Gilmore, fictional character read 339 books in six years. How about you? How many of these books have you read?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know Gilmore Girls was one of my favorite series of all time. Although my favorite character was Lorelai (the mom), I considered myself more like the daughter, Rory, a great student/perfect child/best friend to everyone who knew her, who made time for reading even though she had a hectic school schedule and was preparing to attend an Ivy League college.
Over the course of the show (which ran for seven seasons), Rory’s character was pictured reading or holding or heard discussing 339 books, all listed here.
The reading challenge is for you to see how many of them you’ve read, and maybe to read all (or most) of them – perhaps over the course of eight years, like Rory did 🙂
I wonder how many of the books Alexis Bledel (the actress who played Rory) read but that’s another question for another time.
Since I first posted the challenge on my Instagram page, lots of my fellow readers have weighed in, wanting to try the challenge so I decided to post it here in a list version that you can copy and check off as you read them.
When I first saw the challenge, I had only read 37 of the 339. Since then, I’ve added a couple of titles. I’d love to hear your number. How many of these books have you read? 

  1. 1984
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Alice In Wonderland
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  5. An American Tragedy
  6. Angela’s Ashes
  7. Anna Karenina
  8. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  9. The Archidamian War
  10. The Art of Fiction
  11. The Art of War
  12. As I Lay Dying
  13. Atonement (novel)
  14. Autobiography of a Face
  15. The Awakening
  16. Babe: The Gallant Pig
  17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
  18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
  19. Bel Canto
  20. The Bell Jar
  21. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  22. Beowulf
  23. Bhagavad Gita
  24. The Bielski Brothers
  25. Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women
  26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  27. Brave New World
  28. Brick Lane
  29. Brigadoon
  30. Candide
  31. The Canterbury Tales
  32. Carrie
  33. Catch-22
  34. The Catcher in the Rye
  35. Charlotte’s Web
  36. The Children’s Hour
  37. Christine
  38. A Christmas Carol
  39. A Clockwork Orange
  40. The Code of the Woosters
  41. The Collected Stories
  42. The Comedy of Errors
  43. The Complete Novels of Dawn Powell
  44. The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton
  45. Complete Stories of Dorothy Parker
  46. A Confederacy of Dunces
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo
  48. Cousin Bette
  49. Crime and Punishment
  50. The Crimson Petal and the White
  51. The Crucible
  52. Cujo by Stephen King
  53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  54. Daughter of Fortune
  55. David and Lisa
  56. David Copperfield
  57. The Da Vinci Code
  58. Dead Souls
  59. Demons
  60. Death of a Salesman
  61. Deenie
  62. The Devil in the White City
  63. The Dirt
  64. The Divine Comedy
  65. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  66. Don Quixote
  67. Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway
  68. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  69. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
  70. Eleanor Roosevelt
  71. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  72. Ella Minnow Pea
  73. Eloise
  74. Emily the Strange
  75. Emma
  76. Empire Falls
  77. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective
  78. Ethan Frome
  79. Ethics
  80. Europe Through the Back Door
  81. Eva Luna
  82. Everything Is Illuminated
  83. Extravagance
  84. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
  85. Fahrenheit 9/11
  86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
  88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
  89. The Fellowship of the Ring
  90. Fiddler on the Roof
  91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  92. Finnegans
  93. Fletch
  94. Flowers for Algernon
  95. The Fortress of Solitude
  96. The Fountainhead
  97. Frankenstein
  98. Franny and Zooey
  99. Freaky Friday
  100. Galapagos
  101. Gender Trouble
  102. George W. Bushisms
  103. Gidget
  104. Girl, Interrupted
  105. The Gnostic Gospels
  106. The Godfather
  107. The God of Small Things
  108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  109. Gone with the Wind
  110. The Good Soldier
  111. Letters to Judy
  112. The Graduate
  113. The Grapes of Wrath
  114. The Great Gatsby
  115. Great Expectations
  116. The Group
  117. Hamlet
  118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  121. Heart of Darkness
  122. Helter Skelter
  123. Henry IV, Part I
  124. Henry IV, Part II
  125. Henry V
  126. High Fidelity
  127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  128. Holidays on Ice
  129. The Holy Barbarians
  130. House of Sand and Fog (novel)
  131. The House of the Spirits
  132. How to Breathe Underwater
  133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  134. How the Light Gets In
  135. Howl
  136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  137. The Iliad
  138. I’m With the Band
  139. In Cold Blood
  140. Inferno
  141. Inherit the Wind
  142. Ironweed
  143. It Takes a Village
  144. Jane Eyre
  145. The Joy Luck Club
  146. Julius Caesar
  147. The Celebrated Jumping Frog
  148. The Jungle
  149. Just a Couple of Days
  150. The Kitchen Boy
  151. Kitchen Confidential
  152. The Kite Runner
  153. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  154. The Last Empire
  155. Leaves of Grass
  156. The Legend of Bagger Vance
  157. Less Than Zero
  158. Letters to a Young Poet
  159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
  160. Life of Pi
  161. Little Dorrit
  162. The Little Locksmith
  163. The Little Match Girl
  164. Little Women
  165. Living History
  166. Lord of the Flies
  167. The Lottery
  168. The Lovely Bones
  169. Love Story
  170. Macbeth
  171. Madame Bovary
  172. The Manticore
  173. Marathon Man
  174. The Master and Margarita
  175. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
  176. Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman
  177. Me Talk Pretty One Day
  178. The Meaning of Consuelo
  179. Mencken’s Chrestomathy
  180. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  181. The Metamorphosis
  182. Middlesex
  183. The Miracle Worker
  184. Moby Dick
  185. The Mojo Collection
  186. Moliere: A Biography
  187. A Monetary History of the United States
  188. Monsieur Proust
  189. A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister
  190.  A Moveable Feast
  191. Mrs. Dalloway
  192.  Mutiny on the Bounty
  193. My Lai 4
  194. My Life as Author and Editor
  195. My Life in Orange
  196. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe
  197. My Sister’s Keeper
  198. The Naked and the Dead
  199. The Name of the Rose
  200. The Namesake
  201. The Nanny Diaries
  202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature
  203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  204. The New Way Things Work
  205. Nickel and Dimed
  206. Night
  207. Northanger Abbey
  208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
  209. Novels 1930-1942
  210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man
  211. Of Mice and Men
  212. Old School
  213. On the Road
  214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  215. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  216. The Opposite of Fate
  217. Oracle Night
  218. Oryx and Crake
  219. Othello
  220. Our Mutual Friend
  221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
  222. Out of Africa
  223. The Outsiders
  224. A Passage to India
  225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition
  226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  227. Peyton Place
  228. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  229. Pigs at the Trough
  230. Pinocchio
  231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
  232. The Polysyllabic Spree
  233. The Portable Dorothy Parker
  234. The Portable Nietzche
  235. The Price of Loyalty
  236. Pride and Prejudice
  237. Property
  238. Pushkin: A Biography
  239. Pygmalion
  240. Quattrocento
  241. A Quiet Storm
  242. Rapunzel
  243. The raven and other poems
  244. The Razor’s Edge
  245. Reading Lolita in Tehran
  246. Rebecca
  247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  248. The Red Tent
  249. Rescuing Patty Hearst
  250. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  251. R Is for Ricochet
  252. Rita Hayworth
  253. Robert’s Rules of Order
  254. Roman Fever
  255. Romeo and Juliet
  256. A Room of One’s Own
  257. A Room with a View
  258. Rosemary’s Baby
  259. The Rough Guide to Europe
  260. Sacred Time
  261. Sanctuary
  262. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
  263. Daisy Miller
  264. The Scarecrow of Oz
  265. The Scarlet Letter
  266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend
  267. The Second Sex
  268. The Secret Life of Bees
  269. Secrets of the Flesh
  270. Selected Hotels of Europe
  271. The Selected Letters of Dawn Powell
  272. Sense and Sensibility
  273. A Separate Peace
  274. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
  275. Sexus
  276. The Shadow of the Wind
  277. Shane
  278. The Shining
  279. Siddhartha
  280. S Is for Silence
  281. Slaughter House Five
  282. Small Island
  283. The Snows of Kilimanjaro (book)
  284. Snow White and Rose Red
  285. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy
  286. The Song of Names
  287. Song of the Simple Truth
  288. The Song Reader
  289. Songbook
  290. The Sonnets
  291. Sonnets from the Portuguese
  292. Sophie’s Choice
  293. The Sound and the Fury
  294. Speak, Memory
  295. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
  296. The Story of My Life
  297. A Streetcar Named Desire
  298. Stuart Little
  299. The Sun Also Rises
  300. Swann’s Way
  301. Swimming with Giants
  302. Sybil
  303. A Tale of Two Cities
  304. Tender Is the Night
  305. Terms of Endearment
  306. Time and Again
  307. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  308. To Have and Have Not
  309. To Kill a Mockingbird
  310. Richard III
  311. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  312. The Trial
  313. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
  314. Truth and Beauty
  315. Tuesdays with Morrie
  316. Ulysses
  317. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
  318. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  319. Unless
  320. Valley of the Dolls
  321. The Vanishing Newspaper
  322. Vanity Fair
  323. The Velvet Underground and Nico
  324. The Virgin Suicides
  325. Waiting for Godot
  326. Walden
  327. Bambi
  328. War and Peace
  329. We Owe You Nothing
  330. What Colour Is Your Parachute?
  331. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
  332. When the Emperor Was Divine
  333. Who Moved My Cheese?
  334. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  335. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
  336. The Wizard of Oz
  337. Wuthering Heights
  338. The Yearling
  339. The Year of Magical Thinking
Please comment below with your number. 

15 Comments Add yours

  1. I think I have read 14. hehe I’ve got some catching up to do! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love a good reading list! I’ve read 42 so far and there’s a lot on there that I hope to read soon 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are 43 I read (start to finish) and 3 I tried…but just couldn’t get through. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Eliza says:

    I’ve read 73 of them…. but I was homeschooled and basically spent the last half of college and the first few years out of college learning to function as a normal human being, which is way more important than reading every good book ever. So those 73 books could be considered to have come at somewhat a high cost. But don’t tell my mom that, because she would be really upset. ;P

    Also, just to continue my “every list isn’t necessarily a helpful list” rant from last time… (haha) I didn’t love or even like ALL of the 73 books that I’ve read from this list… Heart of Darkness was pretty much just upsetting, and Beowulf was one you just keep trying to process the words halfway before turning the page because it’s so archaic (or maybe that was just my translation…)… I guess you could argue that there is something to be gained from any reading, but I also figure that there is a limited amount of time in my life, and a limited number of books to be read, so I’d rather they be uplifting or with clear reality-checks / insights for me to benefit from… which might be a completely spoil-sport attitude when here people are just trying to have a good time with a fun Gilmore Girls list. Oops!!!

    😉 Reading over the list was helpful in a “oh, I’ve heard great things about that one, I should check it out!” way, and several of my all-time favorite books ARE on the list, so I’m not totally a hater….

    Looking forward to hearing about your reading adventures this year, and your book recommendations!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Run Wright says:

      Haha. I love your comment, Sarah and I absolutely agree with you. There are books on this list that I don’t plan to read just because they’re not how I want to spend my time. I am not a fan of stories featuring blood and gore and darkness and vampires. I’ve read one Stephen King novel about 15 years ago and don’t plan to read another. That’s just not entertaining or uplifting or enjoyable to me.
      But some of the “important” books are indeed listed here – like I think everyone (and definitely every college student) should read 1984 just because Orwell and the Orwellian society is mentioned so often in literary and academic circles.
      Thanks so much for sharing your views. And no, I won’t tell your mom if you don’t tell mine – I wasn’t homeschooled but my mom is a teacher and supervised my education. I think she would be disappointed I’ve only read 30-something from this list.
      What are you reading now? And is there anything you saw on the list that made you say, “Oh, I should definitely go read that soon?”


      1. Sarah Eliza says:

        I agree, it is important to have a shared culture of books and ideas… and I actually kept thinking about your post and that I needed to come back and clarify… I DO read silly, fun, fluffy books… not everything I read is insightful or profoundly uplifting… but YES, completely agree with what you said that it is all about choosing how to spend our time. 🙂

        I’ve been rereading a couple of books about dog training because we might be adopting our second soon… and also a mystery novel called Maisie Dobbs… totally fluffy and fun. I also started All The Light You Cannot See which was recommended by a couple of blogger buddies, but my e-library check-out expired (*sigh*) so I’m waiting to finish it… the beginning was amazing anyway! I’ll let you know about the rest once I get my hands on it again…

        From the list, I definitely need to read Beloved! And The Year of Magical Thinking… and at least TRY to read The Sound and the Fury, but no guarantees I’ll finish that one from what I’ve heard. ;P Any from the list you would recommend to me as must-read??

        Liked by 1 person

  5. texerinsydney says:

    I’ve read 32 of them. (If “The Dirt” is the one by Motley Crue, then I’ve read 34, but I’m doubting that’s the book Rory was reading.) I have another 10 or so, I SHOULD have read in school, but chose Cliff’s Notes instead. Shame on me, I know. I swear I’ve tried to read Our Mutual Friend on 3 separate occasions because it is a girlfriend’s favourite, and she gave me a copy…but I can’t do it. Dickens and I don’t get along. I have two of these that I’ve picked up at a secondhand bookstore throughout my adventures. They are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read: The Secret Life of Bees and The House of Sand and Fog.


  6. Craig says:

    62, there are a lot on the list that are on my ‘to be read’ shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Good for you, Craig. About how old were you when you read the first one on this list?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Craig says:

        I want to say 8 so yeah I’ve had a lot of time

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Run Wright says:

        Interesting. What was the first book? Sorry if I’m prying. I’m just curious.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Run Wright says:

        Mine was probably Anne Frank: Diary of a young girl. I was probably about 8 too. Either that or Shane which was the first big-person novel that I ever owned.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Craig says:

        Charlotte’s Web for me. Found it in a desk one day in class and read it over the following few weeks. First ‘big person’ book would probably be the Lord of the rings ones on the list a few years later followed by Stephen King and moving up through high school etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Run Wright says:

        I love the progression. I’ve never actually read Charlotte’s Web. Gotta remedy that ASAP.

        Liked by 1 person

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