(Re)-Introducing the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge Project

My other hobby, after (and before) papercutting is reading. I love, love, love to read. I can disappear for days into a good book, barely remembering to come up to breathe, or eat, or acknowledge the presence of other human beings like my husband (whoops! Sorry honey!).

Right before I started papercutting I decided to tackle the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. Rory Gilmore is one of the main characters on the old WB show, Gilmore Girls, aka the best show ever. She is a smart, book-loving teen whose best friend is her quirky, fast-talking mom, Lorelei. Lorelei gave birth to Rory when she was 16, but the show starts when Rory is about 16 and follows her through high school and college. Rory reads A LOT on the show, and someone at some point compiled all the book mentions from the whole series and put a list together. (I don’t know who did this first, but I got my list from the Going Down Swinging blog). It became a challenge to see who could (or has) read them all.

Being a Rory-wannabe book-lover myself, how could I resist? I’ve read about 50 of the titles before 2018, but decided that I want to complete the challenge to read all 339 books mentioned on the show and not "cheat" by counting titles I read before deciding to take on this challenge. Therefore, I’ll reread those titles I’ve read before. There are also several titles that are a bit dated— a European guidebook circa 2003, earlier Hillary Clinton books, and even a humor book on George W. Bush back when he was president. I’ll substitute the guidebooks for things closer to the present date, but otherwise I’ll read these "outdated" titles in the spirit of staying true to the challenge.

Just after I started reading my first title on the list, (The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger) I got a brilliant idea. (Well, maybe it’s not brilliant but I liked the idea anyway.) I was just starting to papercut my own designs but needed some fodder for subject matter, and thought to myself, why don’t I draw and papercut book cover designs for each title I read on the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge? And so I did.

I re-imagine the book covers for each title I read off the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge list, (let’s call it RGRC list for short). I design them, draw them, then cut them out. It’s great design and cutting practice and then I have a little something to make my process with on the reading challenge.

It’s probably a little silly and probably no one but me cares, but it’s a fun challenge for myself. I’ve heard that artists sometimes need projects just for themselves, not always staying stuck to creating things to sell. Even though I didn’t think of this project that way when I dreamed it up, that’s essentially what it is. It may take me years to complete the challenge (339 books is a lot!). No, actually it will definitely take me years— if I can read about 50 books a year, which is a very high and idealistic number to start, it’ll take me at least 6.78 years to read all the titles on the list. And that’s not mentioning papercutting them all, which takes time in and of itself. Plus, I like to papercut other things, and I only papercut part-time, so... well I don’t really want to do all that math but suffice it to say that it’ll take me years and years to finish this "little" project of mine.

But I’m ok with that. It’s a project just for me, and there is no rush. If others like it, great! If not, I’m still going to work on it little by little. It combines my two loves, books and papercutting. What could be better?

If you are curious about this project you can check out my progress here. I also highly recommend this blog for reviewers and other articles on each title.

Happy reading!

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