Calling all fans of Gilmore Girls + books! This is the ultimate 2021 reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list.
So, since I was challenging myself to read more books from the Rory Gilmore book list in 2021 by monthly theme, I decided to go public with it and make it a full reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list.
The themes for my reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list are pretty vague (i.e., easy) and were chosen seasonally so your reading can be relevant to the time of the year.
Below are the monthly themes, with 5 personalized recommendations for each month (I spent SO much time researching the books for each month to give you the best recommendations), but you can also feel free to personalize your reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list with your own picks.
Reading Challenge for the Rory Gilmore Book List
January: A Book Adapted to Film
Since we will all be stuck inside in January for *multiple* reasons, I thought it would be fun to recommend books you can also watch on film. Below are five films I loved (but ironically haven’t read any of the books yet). I will probably pick The Time Traveler’s Wife myself.
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
February: African American History Theme
Since February is African American history month, I thought it was important to choose this theme and the five selections below. I honestly want to read / re-read them all, but I will probably select Beloved. I think it’s already on my bookshelf.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
March: Irish Setting and/or Author
And because in March we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I selected five books from Irish settings/authors for this month. I honestly don’t know what to pick for myself here, but I am leaning towards something by James Joyce.
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
- Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
- Ulysses by James Joyce
April: A Book About Nature
In April, we will likely be anxious for Spring books, so I really dove deep and did a bunch of research to pick some of the best books about nature on the Rory Gilmore book list for you. You can get away easily with a children’s book or dive into some poetry, like me. I think I will tackle Thoreau for this one.
- Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten
- Contact by Carl Sagan
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
May: Asian Author and/or Themes
For Asian American history month, I selected books by Asian (and Indian) authors. I’m really excited to jump into The Joy Luck Club since I have always heard about it but never read it.
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
June: WW2 Themed Book
June is the month in which D-Day occurred, so I decided it would be a good month to read a WW2-themed book. I am looking to re-read The Diary of a Young Girl myself, but I also highly recommend Slaughterhouse-Five, which I read in high school and loved.
- The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1200 Jews by Peter Duffy
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
July: A Book of Adventure
In July, we will be in the heart of Summer, and I can’t think of any better time for an adventurous book. I’m looking to read Wild because I love Cheryl Strayed’s writing so much.
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
August: A Classic Book
Summer is also a great time to dig into classic books, particularly if your kids are doing so and want to read together. Below are 5 of my top picks. I really want to reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I read in high school and loved, but if these picks aren’t interesting to you, check out the full Rory Gilmore book list, because it contains SO many classics to choose from.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
September: A School Setting
- The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (See my review of Harry Potter with book pairings.)
- Old School by Tobias Wolff
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles
October: A Thriller
There’s no better month for thrillers than October. There were A LOT on the Rory Gilmore book list, including a few Stephen King novels, but I selected my 5 very favorite recommendations for thrillers. I’m looking to finish Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I started in 2020 but didn’t finish.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (one of my favorite books of all time)
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
November: A Non-Fiction Book
November is non-fiction month, so it’s the best time to dive into one of the MANY non-fiction options on the Rory Gilmore book list. Below are five of my top picks. I am really interested in What Color is Your Parachute?
- I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (See my tribute to Kitchen Confidential.)
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.
- Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
- What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles
December: A Holiday Themed Book
And of course, in December the theme is a holiday book. Luckily, the Rory Gilmore book list contains 5 great options. I will probably read The Little Match Girl because I read all the others already. (See my list of the best holiday books.)
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ( See my review of Little Women with book pairings.)
Instagram Story Template to Track Your Reading Challenge
I love creating bookish Instagram story templates, so I created one where we can track our reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list. Feel free to save it to your phone and use it by super-imposing book covers on the prompts for each month. Be sure to tag me @TheRoryGilmoreBookClub.
FREE Printable PDF of the Rory Gilmore Book List
Lastly, to easily track your reading challenge for the Rory Gilmore book list, you can also get a printable PDF of the full list when you sign up for my weekly email newsletter — a quick, warm and fuzzy email with curated book pairings. If a good book leaves you wanting more after you turn the last page, this is for you. It’s like Reading Rainbow for women.
After you subscribe, the PDF freebie will be delivered straight to your inbox. Click the image below to subscribe: