Rory Gilmore Book Challenge, Update One ... and Jeffrey Eugenides

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In early October, I committed myself to reading every book Rory Gilmore was spotted reading or mentioning on the seven seasons of "Gilmore Girls" ... so far, I've finished one book and struggled through about a third of another.

The first book I read was "Rebecca," by Daphne du Maurier, from the pilot episode of "Gilmore Girls". I remember when I was 12, the entire seventh grade was given the choice to do a project of one of about seven novels, and "Rebecca" was one of them. I totally judged the book by its cover then and even did before I dived into it for this challenge. It looks like a really trashy romance novel, the type you can pick up at a roadside gas station, the type you can finish in an afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by "Rebecca", however ... even if it did take over ten pages to get into.

Here's one of my favorite passages:

… I am aware of sadness, of a sense of loss. Here, I say, we have lived, we have been happy. This has been ours, however brief the time. Though two nights only have been spent beneath a roof, yet we leave something of ourselves behind. Nothing material, not a hair-pin on a dressing-table, not an empty bottle of aspiring tablets, not a handkerchief beneath a pillow, but something indefinable, a moment of our lives, a thought, a mood. This house sheltered us, we spoke, we loved within those walls. That was yesterday. To-day we pass on, we see it no more, and we are different, changed in some infinitesimal way. We can never be quite the same again.

And a long overdue "review" on "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides. This was a book that was a little tough to get into ... I think it took a chapter-and-a-half, but it was worth it, particularly for an English major like me. The book was written in three parts, one for protagonist Madeleine, one for her boyfriend Leonard, and one for her admirer Leonard. At the start of the novel, Madeleine is about to graduate from Brown University and is working on her thesis, which looks at marriage in Victorian novels. Eugenides weaves literary theory into the novel in a fresh way. He also writes a very vivid portrayal of bipolar disorder into the novel, and how it affects those around the affected. This was my first Eugenides novel, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it wasn't as disappointing as many reviews made it out to be. I'm definitely going to have to check out "Middlesex" and maybe even "The Virgin Suicides".

Here's one of my favorite passages:

You went out with a girl at first because the sheer sight of her made you weak in the knees. You fell in love and were desperate not to let her get away. And yet the more you thought about her, the less you knew who she was. The hope was that love transcended all differences. That was the hope.

And a link to a short story from which "The Marriage Plot" grew out of, my first attraction to the story of Madeleine and Leonard, and Barthes.

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  1. Ooo..I have Marriage Plot on my to-read list but haven't gotten around it yet. Some of my friends didn't like Middlesex but I quite like it.

    1. Same here ... one of my friends said Middlesex was really slow-going, especially towards the middle, but it can't be THAT slow if it won that many awards, right? That's definitely on my to-read list, at some point. Let me know what you think of Marriage Plot whenever you get around to reading it! I've read pretty mixed reviews of it.



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