Rory’s Bookshelf

When Rory shows Richard her bedroom, he checks out her bookshelf. Here are some of the books we can see:

Summer of Fear

A 1993 serial killer novel by T. Jefferson Parker, who writes bestselling police procedural novels set in California. Parker is a journalist who turned novelist – perhaps a tiny hint of where Rory’s career is eventually headed.

The Scarecrow of Oz

A 1915 children’s book by L. Frank Baum, the ninth in his series of Oz books. The Wizard of Oz is a touchstone for Gilmore Girls, and this seems to be a little nod to the land of Oz. The Scarecrow from the original story is the magical helper (the one who didn’t have a brain, but was actually quite smart), and the human protagonists are a man and a little girl from California.

Contact

A 1985 science novel by scientist Carl Sagan. The heroine is a scientist named Ellie who showed a strong aptitude for science and mathematics from a young age, and has been left emotionally bereft by the loss of her father, with a problematic relationship with her mother. Contact with an alien civilisation allows Ellie a strange chance to reconnect with her memories of her father. It feels like something that would resonate with Rory. Ellie is also from California. The novel was a bestseller, and made into a film in 1997, starring Jodie Foster. The film might have given Rory an interest in reading the novel.

The Apocalyptics: Cancer and the Big Lie

Edith Efron was a journalist who began her career at the New York Times Magazine, became a member of Ayn Rand’s circle and wrote for her magazine, and then became editor of TV Guide at the height of its popularity. She was critical of what she perceived as “liberal bias in the media”, but provided a strong voice on race relations (Efron had a biracial son during 1950s segregation). She later wrote for the libertarian publication, Reason. The Apocalyptics is a 1984 exposé of the cancer industry and a criticism of environmental policy which Efron saw as being based on “bad science” (basically saying Rachel Carson etc were all a bunch of doom-merchants). It’s an obscure, controversial, and extremely heavy-going work. An intriguing insight into Rory’s interests.

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

A 1974 non-fiction book by oral historian and radio broadcaster Louis “Studs” Terkel. An exploration of what makes work meaningful for people, based on interviews with people from all walks of life. It was a bestseller, and turned into a Broadway musical in 1977, and a graphic novel in 2009.

A book by “Tobias Allcot”

This seems to be a fictional book which would have been created by the props department as a slightly odd joke. Tobias Allcot is the name of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author in the film The Man from Elysian Fields, directed by George Hinkenlooper; James Coburn portrays Allcot. The film wasn’t released until September 2002, but had been shown at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2001.

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