Monday, August 16, 2010

Gilmore Geek

I'm joining the D.A.R.

There it is. I've said it. I may be the youngest member in three states, but I'm joining. I like the patriotic vibe of the organization, and when I found out that I'm related to someone who participated in the Revolutionary War on some level (my fifth great-grandfather was a Hessian soldier and George Washington's personal bodyguard), the first thing I did was look up the local chapter of my D.A.R. Now I've collected all of my genealogy data, my application is being filled out by my chapter's registrar, and I'm on my way to a lifetime of fundraisers and tea parties. Woohoo!

I guess I didn't anticipate that my application to the D.A.R. would spark this comment: "Oh, the D.A.R.! You mean like on Gilmore Girls?"  What? Huh? What is this Gilmore Girls of which you speak?

Oddly enough, a fast-talking, literary gal like myself had never seen an episode of Gilmore Girls. I'd been told it was a show I'd like, but I never actually watched it.

Until now.

It's got the D.A.R. in it? Suddenly, I'm all about it! I've gotten the DVDs from the library and I am almost done with season two. I'd be done with it already if it had not been relegated to naptime-only watching. I'm sure my son would learn something from it, if only how to talk at light speed, but I've not let him get too interested in the television yet. That way he won't end up like his mother, rotting away in front of a flickering screen with the hopes of hearing the precious letters D...A...R...

But I digress.

The main thing I've taken away from my Gilmore Girls viewing is how much knowledge I lack in the area of modern American fiction. I was an English major in college, and I did a lot of reading, to be sure. Most of my reading was made up of early English fiction-type stuff. Gulliver's Travels. Moll Flanders. Pamela. The Monk. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Maybe a little bit of Jane Austen and Aphra Behn thrown in for good measure. You know—that kind of stuff. I did take American lit, too, but the most recent pieces I read were Emerson and Thoreau. Nothing 20th century. Needless to say, there are major gaps in my understanding of American writing.

Since I've started watching Gilmore Girls, I've gotten the literary references they've made, but I've felt like a dummy because I haven't actually read them. Modern stuff just never really appealed to me, and then I got out of the phase where I engaged in meaningful debate over literature. I read simply for pleasure now, and sometimes that stuff just doesn't seem—pleasurable. I feel more comfortable with the older stuff. Mostly because I've just never tried anything else.

So here it is: The Gilmore Girls Reading List. I'm sure it's not complete, as they do talk really, really fast sometimes, but these are the ones I remembered to jot down in the hopes of reading. Soon. Some are classics, some are modern. There are some I've already read and might like to read again, so I've marked those with an asterisk. Likewise, the ones I'm dreading the most I've marked with two asterisks. Some people are referenced in the show with no particular work associated with the reference, so I just chose a popular one. This is not an exhaustive list—this is just through season two. If it keeps up at this rate, I'm going to have to read a book a day for the rest of my life to catch up. Here we go:

Madame Bovary* by Gustave Flaubert
Moby Dick** by Herman Melville
Howl by Allen Ginsberg
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Swann's Way** by Marcel Proust
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Paker, et al.
Tales of Poe* by Edgar Allen Poe
Alice in Wonderland* by Lewis Carroll
Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen* by Hans Christian Andersen
The Inferno* by Dante Alighieri
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Iliad* and The Odyssey* by Homer
The Complete Tales of Washington Irving* by Washington Irving
To Kill a Mockingbird* by Harper Lee
A Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken
Gone with the Wind* by Margaret Mitchell
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath, et al.
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Candide* by Voltaire
Lots of Shakespeare
Lots of Jane Austen
Lots of Hemingway
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Jane Eyre* by Charlotte Brontë
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn* by Mark Twain

OK, I'm done. I'm just going to depress myself if I put any more here. Fortunately, I've read quite a few of them. If you want to let me borrow one of the others, that'd be swell!

Look out, world! I'm about to get smarter!


  1. Oh, my goodness, Rachel ... I think we were separated at birth. I have thought about joining the DAR many times, but have been too lazy to get all the geneology paperwork rounded up (I saw it when I was little, but then no one seems to know what happened to it.) I am the 6th great-granddaughter of Robert Morris, who was one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.

    And I LOVE Gilmore Girls. My husband even put the Season One DVDs in my stocking last year. I'll warn you it goes off track morally in some big ways in later seasons, but the early seasons are wonderful!

    Great list ... Now to just find the time ...

  2. Most of what's on there (of what I've read, anyway) is actually pretty good. But Moby Dick is rough. Seriously rough.


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