Mission: Gilmore Girls Reading List

Once upon a time, I was infatuated with the fast-talking, witty beyond reason dramedy Gilmore Girls. Set in a halcyon town in New England, spunky single mom Lorelai raised her prodigal daughter Rory. They were best friends, ran an inn and had the cutest problems ever conceived by the CW. I miss the days before vampires ruined teen fiction. 

Like I said, Rory was a prodigy and nerdy before nerdy was cool. She was articulate and verbose and that allowed for a lot of cultural references. Those included 250 book references. Rory read a lot. So as the current state of popular literature is buzzing over the kind of books Fabio would pose fabulously on the cover (ahem, Fifty Shades of Grey,) I'm kicking it back to the early 2000s. Thank you too much time on Pinterest for giving me this idea. 

This is the alphabetical list of books read by Rory Gilmore throughout the series. I crossed out the ones I've already read — though some were so long ago I might read them again. Technically, some of the titles are plays or short stories, but they encompass a range of styles and genres that make this a solid list. Maybe some of my bookworm friends will join me on the mission to complete the Gilmore Girls Reading List. Maybe not. It's a daunting list. 

The Books in Order (I hope)
1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Cousin Bette by Honor'e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I'm with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inferno by Dante
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys' Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal 


Furniture refurbished

I found the best man chair ever for Gareth. Real leather, studded rolled arms and the piece de resistance- it reclines. For under $50? I'm winning.


Basil Seedlings Live!

It took a while, but the basil buds finally poked through. I heaved a huge sigh of relief. The tomatoes are also growing with some over an inch long already.


Seedling Success!

The little tomatoes have poked through the soil today! I'm still waiting on the basil, which is outside as per the recommendation on the seed packet. If I don't see something soon I'll end up taking it in or reseeding.


Fool's Gold Throw Pillows

A few weeks ago while rummaging through the remnants section of JoAnn Fabrics, I found a beautiful length of chocolate brown and metallic gold with red accents. The pattern was like a '60s mod version of the Eye of Sauron. I was sold.

As fate would have it, this weekend I found two matching pillow forms buried in the As-Is section of Ikea. One was looking pretty junky covered in fuzz, but for five shiny quarters each I could learn to get past the weird look. "I will slipcover this in my awesome fabric!" Once again, I was sold.

The problem — my yard long section was not quite wide enough to cover both sides of the 18 inch pillow forms. I was pouting; then I took advantage of my secret weapon. Having a seamstress as a mom means having a guest room converted to a fabric and vintage clothes storage room. It took about five minutes to find a matching chocolate brown corduroy with alternating thick and thin railing. It had just a hint of sheen.

Now, for construction! Cutting the 19 inch square was super easy. I did almost pin the pieces together backwards. Pillows must always have right sides facing each other! However, no amount of pinning will prevent corduroy from "walking." It sort of squishes under the foot of the sewing machine and loses the perfect symmetry you worked for. Solution? Tiny tucks as you go along will account for the walking. When you see a bubble, press down on both sides as it approaches the foot so that it makes a little fold.

Here's a little more unsolicited advice for throw pillow construction. At the corners, make two or three stitches on a diagonal before continuing along to the other side. Also, never underestimate the needed size for stuffing your pillow into the case. I did and ended up ripping up the seams. This proved that the whole backstitch over your starting stitches around the opening thing is pretty useless. As long as you are a decent hand stitcher after the fact, you'll be totally fine. Here's your proof.

Doesn't it work to perfection with my headboard?


Am I Green Thumb or All Thumbs?

Guard your gardens, world. I'm preparing to document my pitiful attempt at cultivating life. Yesterday I bought my first seed packages and today I planted my babies in their starter pots. I chose the plants I consider most useful to the kitchen: red currant tomatoes and basil genovese.

Since the first hours yield nothing more to photograph than dirt, I've decided to only post pictures pending my success next week. Until then, I leave you with this little factoid — basil is actually a member of the mint family. See? Already a more knowledgeable gardener.


The Fool's Gold Headboard

Looked through a furniture catalogue lately? As you daydream about how much better your life would be with an overstuffed armchair or the perfect coffee table to accent your area rug, you catch the price tag at the end of the caption. You would end up a very comfortable homeless person.

I decided to end the madness. I followed through on a threat I've been invoking for months, perhaps you can relate, and I made it myself.

That gorgeous tufted headboard cost less than $100 in materials and required about 16 hours of labor- not including time spent shopping.

Yes, the suede back colored like red wine with copper flower buttons and a scrolling camel back top is actually cheap plywood, some warped 1x4s and sale foam padding. Lucky for me, my parents have a mini workshop set up in the garage. Every tool I required was at the ready. I got to use the circular saw, compound miter saw, skil saw, power drill, staple gun and even an electric knife from the '70s usually meant to carve turkey.

If you're looking to create your own luxurious bedroom furniture, please take my advice and wait until there's a sale at your local craft store. Unless you have eight feet of high density foam just lying around, it will be the most expensive purchase of your shopping list. Seriously, I got it for half off and it still cost $53. I had to wait at Joann's for an hour to get my piece cut on sale day, but it was worth it to stay on budget.

The real trick is to assess what you have and what you want to accomplish and create a sensible compromise. I wanted my headboard to be huge. However, I'm no skilled woodworker and plywood sheets are sold in 4' x 8' sheets. On top of that, foam is only 2' x 8' so somehow my high school geometry had to help me figure out how to maximize size. I chose to trim both sheets to six feet long. I discarded the plywood remnant, but used the remainder of the foam to build on the existing sheet to make it appear more dramatic. The arch in the center is only a foot high, but with the scrolling edges I made from foam scraps it appears larger.

Upholstery totally threw me for a loop on this project. I've never actually constructed furniture beyond woodshop in seventh grade. Lucky for me again, my mom has a degree in textiles and knows how to upholster. She had the right thread, a big bunting needle and technique that I can't rightly describe.

Now this girl's blog does an excellent job of breaking down upholstery so check out Centsational girl if you're seriously considering finally making the damn thing yourself.