Gilmore Girls might be the ultimate show for readers. The series’ original seven-season run featured no fewer than 339 references to books, with the characters’ reading habits often playing a central role.
Of course, it isn’t the only program populated by passionate readers. To celebrate the return of Gilmore Girls to the small screen in November, we took a look at what some of our favourite fictional booklovers have on their reading lists.
What we’re really saying is that you don’t have to feel guilty about putting down your book to watch TV every once in a while.
Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
When reading-obsessed Rory doesn’t have her nose in a book, she’s dashing off literary references in the show’s famous rapid-fire dialogue. The studious Rory never goes anywhere without a book, including her high school dance. In her valedictorian speech, Rory pays tribute to her love of reading in a way any booklover can relate to: “I live in two worlds. One is a world of books.”
On Rory’s Reading List: Atonement by Ian McEwan
Although Rory reads her fair share of classic literature, she also reaches for more contemporary books like Atonement. Ian McEwan’s brilliant historical novel tells the story of two lovers in England torn apart by betrayal and war.
Poussey Washington and Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, Orange is the New Black
The inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary are frequently seen reading, but Taystee and Poussey have the best access to the prison’s impressive book collection due to their job in the library. When a bed bug infestation results in the library’s books being burned, the two friends hold a “book funeral” to pay their respects to the lost volumes. Poussey makes an impassioned speech about their love of reading, honouring some of their favourite titles.
On Poussey’s Reading List: The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
Poussey mentions author and hip hop artist Sister Souljah in her speech for the burned books. The Coldest Winter Ever is a page-turning bestseller about the daughter of a New York drug dealer.
On Taystee’s Reading List: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
When she spots this time-travel romance novel while sorting books with Poussey, Taystee gushes about the steamy love story between WWII nurse Claire Randall and a “big, sexy, outlaw type.”
Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
Brainy Lisa isn’t afraid to tackle big literary tomes despite being only eight years old. Lisa devours books of all genres, including poetry, biography, history, and
comics. Unfazed by her family’s hilarious shenanigans, Lisa stays grounded through her curiosity about the world and insatiable appetite for books.
On Lisa’s Reading List: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Just like Lisa, Rory Gilmore read this semi-autobiographical novel by poet Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar is an intense and personal exploration of mental illness that drew attention for its parallels to the author’s life.
Don Draper, Mad Men
Enigmatic ad man Don Draper reads an eclectic selection of iconic books on Mad Men, taking inspiration from poet Frank O’Hara and learning about Japan from Ruth Benedict. No light beach reads for Don–the season six premiere begins with Don reclining on the Hawaiian sand reading Dante’s Inferno.
On Don’s Reading List: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
A spy novel isn’t too much a stretch for Don, a character notorious for living a double life. John le Carré’s Cold War classic follows a British intelligence officer in a newly divided Germany.
Other bookish characters to watch for inspiration:
- Alex Dunphy, Modern Family
- Richard Castle, Castle
- Daria, Daria
- Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds
- Dick Solomon, 3rd Rock from the Sun