10 Times Rory Gilmore Took Her Reading Outdoors

As fans of the hit, recently-revived Gilmore Girls TV series know: nobody on television reads quite as much as Rory Gilmore does. From the moment we witnessed her filling that infamous yellow backpack with one lengthy book after another (the bus book, the alternative bus book, the cafeteria book) before heading off to start her first week at Chilton, to the moment Dean discovered she’d brought The Portable Dorothy Parker with her to their first school dance, there was no question in viewers’ minds that the youngest Gilmore girl would find opportunities to pull out her latest read whenever and wherever the mood struck her — including these 10 times Rory Gilmore took her reading outdoors.

Reading outdoors, from beachside to campfire-side, is one of my own favorite activities — it’s pretty much what the outdoors was made for, IMO. But with sweater weather popping up all over the place right now (at least where I live) December might not be the best time to read outdoors. That doesn’t mean we book-lovers can’t take this time to live vicariously through Rory Gilmore’s outdoor reading, however. Which is exactly what this list will help you do.

Here are 10 times Rory Gilmore was caught reading a book outside

1. The First Time Dean Noticed Her

From the very beginning it was clear Rory was committed to her books. In the Gilmore Girls pilot episode, Dean first notices Rory because she’s sitting beneath a tree at Stars Hollow High, reading Moby Dick completely undisturbed by a pickup football game gone awry right in front of her, complete with a bloody nose and some guy’s screaming girlfriend. It’s this level of concentration that initially attracts Dean in the first place. “You just sat there and read. I mean, you never even looked up. I thought, ‘I have never seen anyone read so intensely in my entire life. I have to meet that girl,’” Dean says. (Side note: The reading outdoors and being completely oblivious to my surroundings move has never, not once, helped me land a lover. Just sayin’.)

2. That One Time On The Bus

For the gal with multiple bus books, being found reading at the bus stop or on the bus is pretty much an everyday occurrence. In episode five of season one (aka: Cinnamon’s Wake) Rory is reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own when Dean (unnoticed again, because duh: Rory’s reading) sneaks up behind her on the bus and almost makes her jump out of her skin when he says hello.

3. Sitting On That One Bench, Waiting For Dean

If you think Rory had her bus reading game down, that was nothing compared to her bench reading. Miss Gilmore had staked out the prime reading real estate on all those Stars Hollow benches before the series was over. This time she’s reading The Unabridged Sylvia Plath outside Stars Hollow High, while she waits for Dean to get out of class so she can ask him to set up his friend Todd with Lane.

4. On That Road Trip To Harvard

When Rory and Lorelai take a quick visit to Harvard at the beginning of season two, technically Rory doesn’t do much reading outside. But she is talking about reading outdoors, which is close enough — especially because this scene is a Gilmore Girls classic. Standing outside one of Harvard’s many libraries, Rory has a full-blown panic attack about “frittering [her] life away” (her words, not mine) because she will not possibly be able to read all of the books in the Harvard library over the course of her lifetime. Especially since many of them are written in languages Rory hasn’t even heard of yet.

5. The Moment We All Started Falling For Jess

Who could forget season two, episode five (aka: Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy) when we first learn that Jess’s literary mind might be the one to finally give Rory a run for her money. Standing together in the town square, Jess return’s Rory’s copy of Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg after having stolen it from her room and annotating it for her — the key to any book-loving gal’s heart.

6. The Stars Hollow Buy-A-Book Fundraiser

After making Dean wait for hours while she browses the Stars Hollow outdoor book fundraiser, Rory finally adds Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee to her purchase pile, before getting into a tiff with Dean over the hours whiled away book shopping. Our only regret is that we never got to find out what else was in her TBR pile.

7. That Other Time On The Bench

By the end of season three Rory has long moved on from Dean and is deep into her relationship with Jess — a romance that involves just as much reading as it does kissing. Sitting together on a bench in the Stars Hollow town square, Rory gives Jess some serious book envy by showing him her copy of The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton. She ends up lending it to him before finishing it herself, in exchange for Jess agreeing to attend some wonky Stars Hollow event with her.

8. When She Was Almost In Dean And Lindsay’s Wedding

Although we can’t quite glance the cover of Rory’s book here, the point is she’s so dedicated to her reading that she doesn’t even notice she’s sitting smack dab in the middle of what is about to become the Stars Hollow wedding of the year. After dodging a stack of tablecloths from her outdoor hideout in the town gazebo, Rory decides to take her reading back indoors — specifically to Lane’s.

9. The Study Tree

Perhaps my favorite of all Rory Gilmore’s outdoor reading venues: the Yale study tree. Between noisy roommates and a bedroom back home that Sookie has inexplicably filled with broccoli tarts, Rory can’t find a place to study — until she discovers her study tree, that is. Located in the heart of Yale’s campus, it has just the right amount of light and back support, which is probably why a couple of days later she notices a fellow student has taken over her dreamy spot to read a magazine. After some back-and-forth banter, Rory offers him $20 for it.

10. Poolside

In the nine years between Rory’s graduation from Yale and when the just-released-on-Netflix revival season caught up with her, it seems Stars Hollow built their very own community pool — where, we have no idea, but nonetheless, it’s there. In season eight, episode three Rory and Lorelai are found lounging with some poolside reading: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy for Rory, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed for Lorelai. 

Images: Virvar/Gilmore Girls Wikia(7), Netflix(3)

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