Television’s greatest bookworm could soon return to our living rooms. Sources have reported that Netflix will revive Gilmore Girls in a series of four “mini movies.” That’s right, Rory Gilmore is coming back, and you’d better believe she’s bringing an extensive reading list.
If you’re not familiar with the show, Gilmore Girls tells the story of single mom Lorelai and her brainy, book-obsessed daughter Rory. It aired on the WB and CW networks from 2000 to 2007. You might wonder why anyone in publishing would care about a fictional character from a television show that was cancelled eight years ago and originally aired on a network obsessed with teenage drama and vampires. Rory Gilmore is no Oprah. She doesn’t have book club stickers. She doesn’t even have a Colbert Bump. What’s the big deal?
The key to this mystery is Netflix and internet time. Gilmore Girls made all its episodes available for streaming in 2013, which allowed the already sizable fan base to grow and brought the show back into the cultural conversation. At the same time, the internet had changed. Think about it: Gilmore Girls went off the air in 2007. Memes were just becoming a thing. Grumpy Cat hadn’t even been born! Buzzfeed and Tumblr weren’t yet glimmers in their creators’ eyes. Streaming video, DVRs, and the things that let us screengrab, gif, and obsess about our favorite shows online either didn’t exist yet or weren’t widespread. Through it all, the internet never forgot its favorite mother-daughter team, and Rory’s reading habits received just as much scrutiny as the characters’ love lives.
A casual search will bring you countless sites that allow you to compare your own reading history to the list of 339 books Rory reads over the course of the series. Then there’s The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, in which Patrick Lenton chronicles his efforts to read through the whole list. Even before the Netflix revival was announced, people speculated about what Rory’s been reading since last we saw her. It’s safe to say that hers is one of the most closely monitored reading lists in television history. I’d be surprised if whatever books Rory is reading in these new mini movies don’t see a bump in sales.
As for what those titles might be, Rory has broad, sometimes surprising taste, and she’s never been afraid to look outside the mainstream for her reading fix. I’d like to think that after her time working for the Obama campaign, Rory’s political radar is finely tuned. She’d relish something like Untangling the Knot, which puts a personal spin on the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Or maybe, as a young girl who read a lot of old, dead white guys, she’d be interested in exploring her relationship to their books by reading The Ghosts Who Travel With Me. Of course, Rory was never one to ignore trends. She would definitely keep up-to-date with the best in YA fiction. A Series of Small Maneuvers, with it’s delicate portrayal of a complicated father-daughter relationship, would be right up her alley. And sure, I suppose she could read some non-Ooligan titles too. What do you think we’ll see Rory reading when the show returns?