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The Jess Mariano Reading List

"What is much?"

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1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Season 2, Episode 5, Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy

After being shown around Luke's apartment and being informed that Luke has Frosted Flakes ("grrrreat"), Jess heads out with this Kerouac classic, letting Luke know that he does not need keys to get back in.

Jess will later defend Kerouac and the Beatnik movement to Paris in Season 2 Episode 16, stating "the Beats believed in shocking people, stirring things up."

2. Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

Season 2, Episode 5, Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy

Jess swipes this book (another Beat classic) from Rory's room when at their house for dinner and later gives it back to her.

"That's not called a trick, that's called a felony."

"I just wanted to put some notes in the margins for you."

4. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Season 2, Episode 13, A-Tisket, A-Tasket

After winning Rory's charity basket ("basket, basket-maker, guy who didn't bring enough money"), Rory convinces Jess to give The Fountainhead another go, even though Jess thinks Ayn Rand is "a political nut" (Rand and many other Objectivists at the time were party to the 1950s Red Scare. She was also rejected anarchism, which is also probably why Jess has beef with her).

Also the scene where Jess finds Rory's bracelet.

5. Ernest Hemingway

Season 2, Episode 13, A-Tisket, A-Tasket

Jess promises to give The Fountainhead a chance and in return, Rory says she will give Ernest Hemingway another shot.

No specific Hemingway novels were mentioned, but I can definitely recommend The Old Man and the Sea.

6. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Season 2, Episode 15, Lost and Found

When Lorelai catches Jess coming out of Rory's room (after he was schneakily returning her bracelet), he tells her that he was checking to see if Rory had a copy of Franny and Zooey (she does btw).

In the book Franny notes "I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting." How much does that sound like Jess right? ...until Rory helps to inspire him to do more.

7. Charles Bukowski

Season 2, Episode 16, There's the Rub

Paris and Jess are butting heads over the Beat movement. Paris claims that guys (and thereby Jess) worship Kerouac and Bukowski.

Like Hemingway, Bukowski was a brutish drunk that could spill out some seriously on point human truths.

No particular Bukowski novels were mentioned, but I'd say go for Ham on Rye, this passage from it really reminds me of Jess “I didn't like anybody in that school. I think they knew that. I think that's why they disliked me. I didn't like the way they walked or looked or talked, but I didn't like my mother or father either. I still had the feeling of being surrounded by white empty space. There was always a slight nausea in my stomach.”

8. Jane Austen

Season 2, Episode 16, There's the Rub

After stating that guys worship Kerouac and Bukowski, Paris says to Jess "God forbid you pick up anything by Jane Austen."

Jess tells her he's read Jane Austen and that she thinks she "would have liked Bukowski."

Again, no Austen novels were mentioned in particular, but they're aren't any Austen duds so pick whichever you want (or all of them!).

9. James Joyce's Ulysses by Stuart Gilbert

Season 2, Episode 16, There's the Rub

When Rory goes to thank Luke for the food delivery, Jess is at the counter reading this book.

The fact that Jess is reading the study guide version of the book makes me feel soo-hoo much better because Ulysses is a biatch to read (I don't care how many people call it a modern classic). It probably helps that Joyce actually helped Gilbert write this guide.

10. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Season 2, Episode 19, Teach Me Tonight

After sneaking into a test late, Jess starts reading this Vonnegut classic, making notes in the margin courtesy of Lane's pen.

Like Jess, this book really hits the perfect blend of tragedy + comic relief + thought provoking-ness.

11. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil

Season 2, Episode 19, Teach Me Tonight / Via

During their study session, Jess offers to loan Rory this book.

A perfect book for Rory and Jess because it dishes out all the juicy behind the scenes trivia on the likes of The Doors, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Bowie and Lou Reid (who, according to this book, is a real d-bag.)

12. Othello by William Shakespeare

Season 2, Episode 19, Teach Me Tonight

During their ice cream study break, Rory is reading Othello to Jess so that they are still technically studying.

Jess asks if he should carrying on driving straight to Luke's or turn right and carrying on driving round in circles, Rory replies "turn right."

Perhaps while Rory is reading, she recognises the green-eyed monster in Othello and recognises it in Dean...

13. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Woolfe

Season 2, Epsiode 21, Lorelai's Graduation Day / Via

Jess is reading this in Washington Square Park when Rory skips school to visit him (and later misses Lorelai's graduation).

This is Wolfe's take on Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters' acid trip tour of the US. Not a surprise that Jess is reading it, considering that Kerouac's long time friend and muse, Neal Cassady was the bus driver on this trip (scuse the pun!).

14. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Season 3, Episode 2, Haunted Leg

Jess is reading this at the diner before Shane (ew) comes in and they start eating each others face.

Perhaps Jess chose this book in an attempt to better understand Shane...

15. We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews by Daniel Sinker

Season 3, Episode 4, One's Got Class and the Other One Dyes

Jess is reading this when Luke arrives back from the presentation at Stars Hollow High. Luke is also, not so subtly, checking all the closets to see if Shane is hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, on the street below, Lorelai is sassing the Deb look-a-likes big time.

16. Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac

Season 3, Episode 5, Eight O'Clock at the Oasis / Via

Arguably one of the best scenes in Gilmore Girls (IMO...). Jess is reading this when a sopping wet Rory runs into him (literally). Jess helps her turn off Dwight's sprinkler system (and then back on again when he finds out Dean is heading over to help).

Visions of Cody is based on Kerouac's friend, Neal Cassady, the son of a Denver drop-out, living his life raw, hustling in pool halls, stealing cars and living wild.

Sound familiar...?

18. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton

Season 3, Episode 14, Swan Song

Rory is being a "book tease" and showing Jess a book "by a Venice Beach Beatnik, about Venice Beach Beatniks. And to top it off the Beatnik who wrote it is the father of the guy who does those actor studio interviews on TV...with the pointy beard."

Rory later bribes Jess with the book (and a $5 kiss) to get him to come to dinner with her grandmother.

19. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Season 3, Episode 20, Say Goodnight, Gracie.

Rory sees Jess reading this book on the bus, not realising that he is on his way to California (sigh...tear...heart, breaking).

Kudos to Jess for tackling this polarising piece of work.

20. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

Season 3, Episode 21, Here Comes the Son

After arriving in Venice Beach, Jess picks this up in a bookstore.

Burroughs was buddies with fellow Beats, Kerouac and Ginsberg (Kerouac actually suggested the title), who helped him publish this crazy ass novel about drugs, paranoia and unhinged sex. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order.

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