In Gilmore Girls, aka the best show ever written, bright-eyed Rory Gilmore is continually seen reading a wide array of books. Whether in preparation for Harvard or for her time at Yale, she is always improving herself via literature.
Juxtapose this with Patrick Lenton, who found himself re-reading The Wheel of Time for the seventeenth time, grimly hoping the ingrained misogyny might somehow disappear if he just believed hard enough. What happened to his days of challenging himself? What about that one time he read Moby Dick and felt good for eight years? Patrick decided to take a leaf out of Rory’s books and read Rory’s books.
48.) Crime and Punishment
One of my hazy goals when I started the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge was to have a bunch of bragging rights. I imagined being able to say, “Oh, I’ve read the Russians,” and then saying some cool learned things. Of course, I’m never actually in a conversation where “I’ve read the Russians” is an acceptable thing to say, so really, who cares. But on the whole, I’ve found the Russians to be pretty painful reading. I get their importance and all, but you know, I’d much rather read some cool stuff about castles.
So, Crime and Punishment: it’s a book about a guy who kinda wants to murder someone, and then he does, and then he freaks out. As a psychological exercise, it would have been more interesting, but there’s all this weird philosophising about god and predestination, and it just gets to the point where you hope he kills everyone, including himself, and you.
There’s also a bad case of Russian name syndrome – at one point his mate is run over by a carriage, and I had no idea who it was. I had a difficult time getting through Crime and Punishment, but I get through it I did.
Crime and Punishment is never actually mentioned by name during Gilmore Girls, but I believe Dostoevsky is rattled off in a list of impressive sounding authors by Paris Geller all the way back in the second episode of the entire show. It’s the episode where Rory starts Chilton, and it’s a very no-good day for the Gilmore gals.
Rory is meant to be impressed and overawed about how academic and serious Chilton is, and there are a lot of warnings about her changing from a big fish in a small pond, to a fish in a much bigger, scarier pond. Of course, Rory ends up being brilliant, because she is maybe the smartest girl in the world.
Do people have issues with Crime and Punishment not being mentioned in the show? It never really bothered me to be honest. The reference to Dostoevsky probably happens because of what I talked about earlier – he sounds impressive. He sounds like a difficult read (which he is). I also just think his name sounds strange and forbidding, like a wizard.
Curious to see the full reading list? You can view it here.
Patrick Lenton is a blogger at The Spontaneity Review and the author of A Man Made Entirely of Bats. He is the recipient of the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and shortlisted for the Scribe Nonfiction Prize. Find him on Twitter @PatrickLenton.