This week’s Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge is covered by guest reviewer Michelle Law. Michelle is a Brisbane-based writer and bookseller. She throws together essays, screenplays, speeches and more on subjects including gender, race, identity and comedy that you can check out at and @ms_michellelaw.

33.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Somehow I’ve managed to pass through life possessing only a vague notion of what happens at the end of Charlotte’s Web, which is to say – spoilers ahead – that Charlotte dies, and it’s one of the most moving and starkly beautiful deaths I’ve encountered in literature. I was shocked at how sad a spider’s death could make me, especially because I imagined there would be something allegorical about Charlotte’s Web, probably for no other reason than it was about anthropomorphic farm animals and thanks to Orwell we all know where that leads. But boy was I wrong.

This is such a pleasant book. Set on a farm in a quaint country town, it perfectly combined my love of Babe and Gilmore Girls and county fairs. I chose this book knowing that my blackened, adult heart wanted to feel something, and this classic delivered, much like how Gilmore Girls has helped facilitate some serious catharsis.

Charlotte’s Web is about the friendship between Wilbur, a young pig who’s destined to die on the Zuckerman farm, and Charlotte, a spider who befriends Wilbur and promises to save his life. Charlotte and Wilbur share a barn with the farm’s other animals and spend their days eating, talking and philosophising about life and friendship. White’s created a universe that’s picturesque and peaceful and did wonders for my anxiety. (If you’ve ever fantasised about giving it all up and escaping to the country to tend to vegetables and geese, I highly recommend this book.)

Ultimately, this is a story about the unbreakable bonds between friends. I can see Rory relating to it, being such close friends with Lane. (Except for that time Rory went boy crazy over Dean … and then Jess … and then Logan, and totally ditched Lane, which drove her to start cheerleading like a chump.) Then there is Lorelai’s friendship with Sookie, which is so strong they decide to open a bed and breakfast together, a business that would test any friendship, especially when the first inn they ran together nearly burnt down in a fire. (RIP, the Independence Inn.)

Charlotte’s Web is about how the smallest creature or person can have the greatest impact. And like Charlotte’s Web, Gilmore Girls expertly uses Stars Hollow, a small town where everyone knows each other’s business, as a setting for the seemingly simple stories that can deeply examine life’s big issues, such as family dynamics, class, friendship, and how to order take-out each night while remaining miraculously underweight.



Curious to see the full reading list? Here you go:

1.) 1984 by George Orwell
2.) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8.) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9.) The Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16.) Babe by Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved by Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagavad Gita
24.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
25.) 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
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29.) Candide by Voltaire
30.) The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
31.) Carrie by Stephen King
32.) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
33.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
34.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35.) The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
36.) Christine by Stephen King
37.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
38.) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
39.) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
40.) The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
41.) A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
42.) Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
43.) The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
44.) Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
45.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
46.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
47.) Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
48.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
49.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
50.) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
51.) Cujo by Stephen King
52.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
53.) Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
54.) David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
55.) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
56.) The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
57.) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
58.) Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
59.) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
60.) Deenie by Judy Blume
61.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
62.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
63.) The Divine Comedy by Dante
64.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
65.) Don Quixote by Cervantes
66.) Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
67.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
68.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
69.) Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
70.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
71.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
72.) Eloise by Kay Thompson
73.) Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
74.) Emma by Jane Austen
75.) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
76.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
77.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
78.) Ethics by Spinoza
79.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
80.) Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
81.) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
82.) Extravagance by Gary Krist
83.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
84.) Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
85.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
86.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
87.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
88.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
89.) Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
90.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
91.) Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
92.) Fletch by Gregory McDonald
93.) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
94.) The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
95.) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
96.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
97.) Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
98.) Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
99.) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
100.) Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
101.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
102.) Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
103.) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
104.) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
105.) The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
106.) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
107.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
108.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
109.) The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
110.) The Graduate by Charles Webb
111.) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
112.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
113.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
114.) The Group by Mary McCarthy
115.) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
116.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
117.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
118.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
119.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
120.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
121.) Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
122.) Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
123.) Henry V by William Shakespeare
124.) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
125.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
126.) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
127.) The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
128.) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
129.) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
130.) How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
131.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
132.) How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
133.) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
134.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
135.) The Iliad by Homer
136.) I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
137.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
138.) Inferno by Dante
139.) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
140.) Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
141.) It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
142.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
143.) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
144.) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
145.) The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
146.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
147.) Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
148.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
149.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
150.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
151.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
152.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
153.) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
154.) The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
155.) Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
156.) Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
157.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
158.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
159.) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
160.) The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
161.) The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
162.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
163.) Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
164.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
165.) The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
166.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
167.) The Love Story by Erich Segal
168.) Macbeth by William Shakespeare
169.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
170.) The Manticore by Robertson Davies
171.) Marathon Man by William Goldman
172.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
173.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
174.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
175.) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
176.) The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
177.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
178.) The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
179.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
180.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
181.) The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
182.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
183.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
184.) Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
185.) A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
186.) Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
187.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
188.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
189.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
190.) Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
191.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
192.) My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
193.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
194.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
195.) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
196.) The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
197.) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
198.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
199.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
200.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
201.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
202.) The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
203.) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
204.) Night by Elie Wiesel
205.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
206.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
207.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
208.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
209.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
210.) Old School by Tobias Wolff
211.) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
212.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
213.) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
214.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
215.) Oracle Night by Paul Auster
216.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
217.) Othello by Shakespeare
218.) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
219.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
220.) Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
221.) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
222.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
223.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
224.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
225.) Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
226.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
227.) Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
228.) Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
229.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
230.) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
231.) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
232.) The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
233.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
234.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
235.) Property by Valerie Martin
236.) Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
237.) Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
238.) Quattrocento by James Mckean
239.) A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
240.) Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
241.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
242.) The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
243.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
244.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
245.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
246.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
247.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
248.) The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
249.) R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
250.) Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
251.) Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
252.) Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
253.) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
254.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
255.) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
256.) Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
257.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
258.) Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
259.) Sanctuary by William Faulkner
260.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
261.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
262.) The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
263.) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
264.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
265.) The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
266.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
267.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
268.) Selected Hotels of Europe
269.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
270.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
271.) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
272.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
273.) Sexus by Henry Miller
274.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
275.) Shane by Jack Shaefer
276.) The Shining by Stephen King
277.) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
278.) S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
279.) Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
280.) Small Island by Andrea Levy
281.) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
282.) Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
283.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
284.) The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
285.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
286.) The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
287.) Songbook by Nick Hornby
288.) The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
289.) Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
290.) Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
291.) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
292.) Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
293.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
294.) The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
295.) A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
296.) Stuart Little by E. B. White
297.) Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
298.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
299.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
300.) Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
301.) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
302.) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
303.) Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
304.) Time and Again by Jack Finney
305.) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
306.) To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
307.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
308.) The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
309.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
310.) The Trial by Franz Kafka
311.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
312.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
313.) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
314.) Ulysses by James Joyce
315.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
316.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
317.) Unless by Carol Shields
318.) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
319.) The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
320.) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
321.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
322.) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
323.) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
324.) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
325.) Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
326.) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
327.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
328.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
329.) What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
330.) When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
331.) Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
332.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
333.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
334.) The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
335.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
336.) The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
337.) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion