When Rory is cleaning out her locker at Stars Hollow High, the viewer can identify at least three of the books she has piled up in there.
One is The Second Sex by French philosopher Simone Beauvoir, a 1949 work which is a seminal text in modern feminism. The book speaks frankly about teenage girls and their sexuality, which could be important information for Rory. It is also very critical of marriage as an oppressive instution which leads women into domestic and emotional slavery: does this have any effect on Rory’s understanding of relationships? The book does seem to have informed Lorelai’s views, who is committment-shy, not interested in cooking and housework, and highly focused on her career. We may wonder if Rory borrowed the book from her mother: especially as the book discusses the difficulties of mother-daughter relationships.
Another is Mistress of Mellyn, a 1960 Gothic romance by popular British novelist Victoria Holt (pen name of Eleanor Hibbert). Set in Cornwall in the 19th century, a young governess finds romance with her employer, but there is some mystery over the fate of his first wife which the girl investigates. The book has a similar plot and themes to classics such as Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This literary romance became an immediate bestseller upon publication. Could this choice of novel show Rory’s desire for romance?
You might be able to spot Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America by American author Robert Skimin, published in 1984 – the year that Rory was born. It’s an epic historical saga about a Japanese-American family, covering the years from the early twentieth century to the 1980s. It may be telling that the book involves multiple generations, and a man’s search for power for himself and his sons – but in the end it is his granddaughter who triumphs.
If nothing else, the books demonstrate the wide range of Rory’s reading.