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by Emposia Writing Team November 26, 2019
Gilmore Girls has taught me a lot over the years. I’ve (re)watched the seven seasons and the reboot more times than I can count at this point, and I love it every time.
I’ve always connected with Rory and Lorelai, and I’ve felt like they taught me so much. The Gilmore Girls have taught me about love, family, pop culture, to find the things I love, whether fashion, coffee, Pop-Tarts, or books – and to never be embarrassed to love them as much as I do. I’ve also always loved books, and I think that Rory has taught me a lot about being a bibliophile.
So, here are 22 lessons that the youngest Gilmore Girl has taught me about living the life of a Bibliophile.
When Rory and Dean first started dating, they went to a dance together. After the dance they went to Ms. Patties to spend some time alone and Rory asked Dean to hold her purse. He commented on how heavy her little purse was and asked what she could possibly have in it that would be so heavy. She pulled out a book. Dean teased her for having a book at a dance and she responded with “it’s a habit” and shrugged.
I’ve always thought this was a great little moment because (a) it spoke to who Rory was, and (b) also spoke to how us bibliophiles need to be comfortable with who we are. So, pick up a book. Put it in your bag and carry it everywhere.
Plus, you never know when you’ll be bored, or alone, or falling asleep reading to a tall handsome boy in a bean bag chair.
Throughout the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls, there are multiple instances in which Lorelai gives Rory a hard time for having multiple books with her. On any given day Rory would have her school books, a bus book, a backup bus book, a lunch book, and a backup lunch book, and one other just in case. When Rory and Lorelai went backpacking across Europe after Rory graduated from High School, Lorelai had to negotiate how many books Rory took on their trip.
So maybe we don’t need to carry quite as many books on any given day as Rory, but sometimes a girl needs a backup book when her book just isn’t doing it. Sometimes we need to switch up the genre or the tone of the book. Sometimes Anna Karenina is just too sad to read on the bus.
This is a little straight forward, but really, there is no such thing. If Rory teaches us nothing else, she shows us that we can never own enough or read enough books.
One of my favorite Gilmore Girls moments is when Rory and Lorelai visit Harvard. They are walking around the campus, coffee and paper map in hand, and they spot one of the Harvard libraries. Rory nearly has a nervous breakdown at the sheer volume of books in that singular library on campus. She goes into a classic Gilmore Girl word spiral about how she’s wasted her life eating and breathing instead of reading.
Of course, we will never be able to read alllll of the books, but we can definitely try. And with some of these tips on how to read more books when you don’t have time, we shall read them all.
I have a lot of books, and so does my husband. We’ve taken a few lessons of creativity from Rory since we moved into our very, very tiny apartment. We, of course, have the typical bookshelf in the living room and one in the hallway, then we have them on ledges and shelves in the bedroom, piles stacked on top of one another.
Some are in a cabinet, others in dresser drawers. There are a few under the bed, and on top of the old roll-top desk in our living room. Basically, if there is a flat surface, high ceiling, nook, or floor space available, it can be a home for a book. I’ve always loved that scene where Rory shows Richard (her Grandpa) how she has stored her books on shelves, in drawers, and under her bed.
Books are beautiful. I love the colors and textures that books bring to a space, so why not display them (I mean some of us have no choice, but still). Whether you’re the type to color-code, alphabetize, or organize by genre, books add a beautiful touch to a space. Add them to your coffee table, dresser, desk, or countertop. PLUS, its creative storage (2 lessons in 1) 😉
The only moment out of the entire Gilmore Girls series that makes me cry…Every. Dang. Time. is when Rory gives her valedictorian speech at her high school graduation. In the speech, she talks about the wonderful people in her life, some of which are fictional (I mean they are all technically fictional, because Rory Gilmore is fictional, but you know what I mean).
She talks about being in a boat with Huckleberry Finn, and “riding a sad train with Anna Karenina”. She expresses the thing that all of us avid readers know to be true. Books take us to places that we’d never get to see in real life. They allow us to explore alternate worlds, meet incredible people, and relive our favorite seasons like Halloween. When we read we get to experience things our real lives could never give us. We get to be people we aren’t. Reading is magical, and it is a gift. Reading gives us a million lives.
I just think this is such a sweet sentiment. Dean clearly had no interest in walking around the bookstore or browsing the town book sale, but he did it for Rory because he wanted to spend time with her and he knew how much she loved it. And I got to say, I think it’s one of the most pure and romantic things Dean does for Rory.
This also makes a great date if you and your significant other BOTH love books.
I LOVE a good used-books sale or store. There is something special about knowing that you’re sharing a world with someone else you’ve never met. Also, used books are great for the environment and pocketbook.
More than once, we see Rory roaming the rows of used book sales, spending hours looking through books that have been loved and need a new reader. There is a great scene between her and Dean in which she has been looking through the stacks for hours and he is clearly bored to death, but he encourages her to keep going because he likes to see her happy.
These are the kinds of moments that I know Dean really did love Rory because he did not love books. I think the only thing better than having a Dean is having a Jess who would roam those stacks with you.
I am Team Jess allll the way. One of my favorite parts of Rory and Jess’ relationship is their shared love of books. Though Jess was the “bad boy” boyfriend he was actually so kind and smart. I really believe that he was the sweetest out of Rory’s boyfriends.
Throughout the series I don’t think there was a single time that Jess didn’t have a book in his hand, back pocket, or on a seat next to him. When Jess first showed up in Stars Hollow, he and Rory quickly bonded over their mutual love of reading. Even before they were together, they often got together to talk about books and characters, they argued about storylines and authors. They swapped books and challenged one another’s opinions, and they broadened one another’s horizons.
Jess and Rory flirted so hard over books and it was honestly so cute and so pure. Their relationship started with books, and books remained a large part of their relationship, even long after they weren’t together. So, what I take away is, sometimes books will give you a great opening to get your flirt on.
I hate writing in books, I am one of those people who you can’t really tell if I’ve actually read the book or not. I have rules if people borrow my books, and I am a little crazy about it. I’ll never dog-ear a book or highlight a novel. HOWEVER. If Jess Mariano was to write little notes and opinions in the margins of one of my books, I would be All. For. It.
Throughout the Gilmore Girls series, Rory got lost in her books over and over again. Dean explains to Rory early in their flirtation that he first noticed her because she had been sitting outside reading while a guy was hit in the face with a football, there was blood everywhere, yet Rory had no clue.
When Rory started at Chilton, she was always reading at lunchtime, which for her, was an easy way to get-away from the drama and awfulness of her first year at Chilton. Some of us don’t love school, or we feel out of place, but books can give us a space to escape. Sometimes when we are stuck in a space we don’t like, books can give us a door to another world, and sometimes that’s what we need.
I love old books, libraries, and used bookstores because they all smell…comfortable. At Yale, Rory gives a tour to a future student and she stops to smell the books in the library. It’s kind of a quirky and funny scene, and of course Logan happens to see it happen, but it says something to me.
Sometimes when you’re having a bad day or you just need a minute, going to a place with old books can be comforting and relaxing. Of course, I’m not saying to go sniff old books, but sometimes books, particularly old ones, are very comforting.
Throughout the Gilmore Girls series Rory gives different people in her life books. Lane may not believe that a book is the ‘most romantic’ gift (as she tells Rory when Rory tells her that she’s bought a book for Dean for Christmas), but I’m here to tell you Lane was wrong! If you have not figured it out already, I’m fully team Jess, but even if I wasn’t, Jess grabs my heart with his love for sharing, gifting, and receiving books.
Aside from her romantic relationships, Rory and her Grandpa gift one another books multiple times over the seven seasons. Gifting a book can mean so much because it is like sharing worlds with people you care about. Sometimes I almost feel protective over the books and worlds I love and sometimes sharing those worlds is weird and almost makes me jealous, but it can also be exciting!
Giving a book as a gift can be a wonderful way to share something that can feel so personal, but it can also be a great way to show a real effort and intentionality in picking out a book that you know they’d love. There is something intimate and special about giving a book to someone. Sometimes giving a book you love to someone can be an amazing way to connect, but picking out a book you know that someone will love is also so special and thoughtful.
I’ve always loved that little moment when Rory first starts school at Yale where she attends a class on literature. When the class ends she hangs back in the classroom, she takes a moment to look around her new environment, she takes a deep breath and says:
Sometimes we all wish that we could get graded on or make money for reading, but alas we can’t all experience that. But we can take a moment to appreciate being able to have the time, space or freedom to read and talk about books, especially in a space such as this blog.
In the Gilmore Girls series, Rory and her Grandfather work on a “to-read” list together so that he’s always got it on hand to help her “fill in some holes” in her personal library. I ALWAYS have an ongoing want-to-read list available to my husband, mom, and anyone else who asks so that if they ever blank on what to get me for a holiday or birthday, they have a full-proof list at hand. They will never need to guess about whether or not I will like a book, and I will never have to pretend to like or read a genre I’m not into.
*just a tip – Pinterest and GoodReads are great resources for this!
One Christmas break, Rory is desperate to make a little cash, so Lorelai swings her a job working for Andrew in the Stars Hollow’s bookstore. This job seemed perfect, and in many ways was, but it was also a little dangerous for Rory. I think she may have spent more on books she stumbled upon at work, than what she actually made working there. So, I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
After all, Rory, at the end of the scene where she’s surrounded by books she was planning to buy, says “this was a great idea” with a giant smile on her face. So – a bibliophile working at a bookstore, genius or terrible idea? You decide.
I’m just going to leave this here…
Rory has a wide breadth of interests which meant her book collection reflected that, try reading outside of your norm, you might be thankful. I am not good at taking this lesson to heart, I tend to stay in my lane, but occasionally I branch out and I almost always enjoy it. I think it is also good to do this because sometimes our tastes change and we don’t even realize it until we read outside of our norm. So, read something a little different!
When Rory and Jess are together, they argue a lot about books and authors, but they are always pushing one another outside of their normal reading tendencies.
In particular, there is an episode where they make a deal that if Jess gives Jane Austin another shot then Rory needs to give Bebowski another shot. I don’t know if either of them ever comes around to the other’s author choice, but something more than that happened. By taking the other’s recommendation, they learned more about the other. When we read the things that we may not love but someone we love loves, we learn more about who they are. Again, I think it comes back to the magic of sharing worlds with people.
Okay, so this last one isn’t a lesson from Rory, instead it’s a lesson from the other Gilmore Girl. In the reboot of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai goes on this crazy and spontaneous trip to “do Wild” – the book, not the movie.
One of the things I like most about this adventure is the “joke” (I hate to use that word, but I think that was the writer’s goals with the on-going bit) that the book and movie were NOT the same adventure. I have always loved books far more than the movies, in fact I cannot think of a single instance where I liked the movie more than the book… ANYWAY.
The movies often take liberties with the stories and characters in our beloved books, and sometimes they are completely different stories, but that isn’t even why I love books more. Books have details and little moments the movies can’t add. Unless a movie is two or three times the length a typical movie is, they’ll never be able to have all the little moments, feelings, and dialogue that happens in the book version.
Books have a special ability to allow readers to experience what the characters experience, and, usually, to know the thoughts and feelings of at least one of the characters. Movies miss this. I think it is important that we recognize that movies cannot be the same as a book – and for most of us bibliophiles, the book will always be better.
Here's Dési from Pastel Pages sharing her reading vlog for the Gilmore Girls readathon:
Let’s Meet in the Comments
Are there any lessons you’ve learned from the Gilmore Girls? Any thoughts on the lessons I’ve shared? Any fictional bibliophiles you’ve learned lessons from?
Feel free to find me on Instagram or go to the comment section below to chat about the bibliophile lessons you’ve learned from your favourite characters on tv, in movies, or in books!
Stay Cozy & Happy Reading,
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