‘Gilmore Girls’: How Many Books Were Mentioned in the Series?

Gilmore Girls, a cult classic, may have drawn its audience in with witty banter and a delightful mother-daughter relationship, but the more viewers watched the series, the more complex it became. Several of the characters were incredibly well-read, and literary references were frequent in the series. In fact, more than 300 books were referenced during the show’s seven seasons, and it would take even the fastest of readers years to get through the catalog.

Gilmore Girls referenced more than 300 books during the show’s seven-season run

Rory’s interest in a good book is apparently what drew her first boyfriend, Dean Forrester, to her. He told her that on a particular afternoon, a chaotic scene unfolded before her very eyes, but she failed to notice because she was so absorbed in her book. Books would become something of a theme for the couple, and throughout the show’s run. Pretty much every genre of literature was mentioned, read, or referenced. During her relationship with Dean, she mentioned Moby Dick. Dean referenced Hunter S. Thompson and even gave Jane Eyre a shot.

Rory became infatuated by Jess Mariano partially because he also liked to read, although there were clearly other reasons for her interest in him. Elle points out that Jess was particularly interested in Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. He also referenced High Fidelity, and Rory sarcastically calls Jess “Dodger,” from Oliver Twist during his time in Stars Hollow.

The characters in the show mention everyone from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Stephen King. While the exact number of books referenced in the series is somewhat up for debate, most sources suggest there were 339 literary references during the series. Gilmore Girls completed its run with 153 episodes. That means the show’s characters referenced 2.2 books per episode.

Richard Gilmore had his own extensive reading list

Rory wasn’t the only reader in the family. Richard Gilmore had a voracious appetite for literature, although his tastes focused more intently on the classics and hefty memoirs. During the show’s seven-season run, Richard referenced everything from The History of the Peloponnesian War to Euclid’s Elements. He also mentioned the 700-page behemoth, A Monetary History of the United States.

During his separation from Emily Gilmore, Richard also finished The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, a six-volume deep dive into the Roman Empire. According to Bridger Putnam, it would take a person more than 73 hours to finish the entire work. Richard mentioned that it took him more than 30 years to get through the monumental read.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life had plenty of literary references, too

While the Gilmore Girls revival certainly had some flaws, it did manage to deliver plenty of literary references. Over four, two-hour-long episodes, the beloved characters referenced at least 17 different books; 19 if you assume Lorelai Gilmore was talking about Lord of the Rings and Trainspotting the books instead of the film adaptations.

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Emily embraces the concept of minimalism and references Marie Kondo multiple times while cleaning out the Hartford mansion. Lorelai and Rory also reference two books that have been hailed as life-changing. Lorelai takes off on a hiking journey after reading the 2012 hit, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. In the memoir, Cheryl Strayed chronicles her 1,100-mile hiking journey that led to self-discovery. Jack Kerouac is also referenced during the revival. Business Insider notes that Kerouac, famed for On The Road, was one of Jess’ favorite authors.

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Paris Geller mentions The Art of War, Jess is seen reading My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Rory brings Anna Karenina to read poolside. Even Taylor jumps in with the literary references. He chooses to name-drop Edward Albee, who he claims mentored him in college to prove he s capable of producing a play. Albee is the author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women. The latter work earned Albee a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.