vulture compendium

Every Single Literary Reference on Younger

“Younger” (Airs 11/2 at 10pm ET/PT) Photo: TV Land

Television struggles with how to represent the publishing industry onscreen. Need we remind you of the great Gilmore Girls debacle of 2016? But one series that seems to be getting it right is the charming TV Land show Younger, starring Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff as editors at a respected publishing house. Yes, Younger — which aired its season-three finale Wednesday night — is a very silly show about a 40-year-old woman lying to people about her age, but the truest aspect of the series is its representation of the book world. The literary jokes, the name-dropping of authors, the casual mentions of influential critics. To prove this point, we’ve compiled every literary reference made on the show. Get yourself a Tequila Mockingbird cocktail and enjoy.


Episode One

Lena Dunham

“My eat, pray, endure chronic diarrhea phase”

Katniss Everdeen

Jane Austen

J.K. Rowling

Stephanie Meyer

Jennifer Weiner

Episode Two

Joyce Carol Oates

Sue Grafton

Michiko Kukatani

The New York Times

Karl Ove Knausgård. The show references him with a fake author, Anton Bjornberg. 

The Goldfinch


Episode Three

You’ve Got Mail

“Fair Verona”

Episode Five

Chinua Achebe

London Book Fair

Things Fall Apart

No Longer at Ease

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Tequila Mockingbird cocktail

Bridget Jones Daquiris cocktail

Episode Six

The show alludes to Candace Bushnell with a fake author, Annabell Bancroft (played by the incredible Jane Krakwoski) who has books with titles like She-donism, Man-hattan, and Goldman Sex.

Jay McInerney

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Episode Seven

PEN awards


Philip Roth

Kurt Vonnegut

Jonathan Franzen

Episode Nine

Leo Tolstoy

The slush pile, a stack of unread manuscripts in  a publisher’s office

A fake book titled The Scarf is written by an author played by Ana Gasteyer, who ripped the idea off another fake book titled The Babushka.

Japanese manga

Fifty Shades of Grey

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margarita Atwood cocktails

Winter’s Bone

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Alchemist


Episode Ten

Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Episode 11

The gorgeous Nadia Dajani makes an appearance as a fictional author Megyn Vernoff who writes New Tricks, about a woman in her 40s getting her sex drive back.

Episode 12

Mention of a fake Ellen DeGeneres memoir

Tina Fey, Bossypants



Episode One

A joke is made about Tumblrs being turned into books, which, yes, does happen.

J.D. Salinger

Bobby Flay cookbook

Little Brown

Episode Two


John Green is honored with a fake author named Rob Olive who writes books like Hashtag I’m Dying.


The Fault in Our Stars

Galleycat, a blog about the publishing industry.

Lauren Hillenbrand



Episode Three

Richard Russo

Katie Lee cookbook

Elizabeth Warren autobiography

Ballantine Books

The Book Ninja, a website that guides authors through the world of book publishing

The Bechdel test 

Harper Collins

Episode Four

A tribute is made to infamous beauty blogger turned author Cat Marnell with the fictional Jade Winslow

The Jungle

The Devil Wears Prada

Vagina Monologues


Vulture, world-renowned pop-culture site

The New Yorker. When referencing an article of theirs Sutton Foster’s character says “They shouted and murmured the crap out of it.”

Joan Didion

Jennifer Weiner

Episode Five

Books seen around the office by Janet Evanovich, Whitley Strieber


Episode Six

A fictional publisher called Achilles

The Feminine Mystique

Betty Friedan

92nd Street Y

“Condé Nasties,” a not-at-all gendered term for people who work at Condé Nast

“Hearst circle jerks,” a graphic description of the employees at the magazine company

Marie Claire enema retreat.” We’re really hoping this is a fictional event at the famed women’s magazine.

The Cut, widely loved women’s lifestyle site

Episode Seven

By the Book, a column in the New York Times 

Cat Fancy

Leo Tolstoy

Thomas Pynchon

David Hume

Agatha Christie

Dashiell Hammett

Infinite Jest

Colson Whitehead

Tina Fey

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Rick James

Blue Stockings, local NYC bookstore

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Hulk

Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Jonathan Franzen

Episode Eight

T Magazine

Camryn Manheim appears on the show to play the fictional author, Dr. Wray who writes a self-help book for millennials called The Deciding Decade.

Philippa Gregory


Episode Nine

Matthew Morrison cameos as the farmer turned author Sebastian who later — spoiler alert — has sex with a sheep.



A Year in Provence

Dennis Hastert

Episode Ten

“Page Six”

Angela Lansbury

Lean In

Episode 11

In Younger’s silliest reference, an author named Edward L.L. Moore appears who writes a fantasy series called Crown of Kings. George R.R. Martin is counting his money somewhere.

Good Morning America

The Today show

Amy Schumer

Seth Meyers, Ice T, Misty Copeland, Diane Rehm, and Terry Gross all turn out to be fans of Edward L.L. Moore.


Episode 12

Books around the office: His Bright Light, Edible America

Fictional author Stephanie Smith joins the company with a book called The Zodiac of Love. Perhaps an homage to astrologer Susan Miller?

Interview magazine

Random House

Little Brown



Episode One

In a very on-trend tribute, a Marie Kondo–like author, Kiko Kagami publishes a book titled Blissful Living.

Kathie Lee and Hoda

Episode Two



The Ellen DeGeneres Show

A fake book called P is for Pigeon is mentioned, which gives us serious Ann Patchett vibes.

Anthony Lane of The New Yorker


Episode Three

Bloody Mary Shelley cocktail


The printing press

The New York Times “Business” section

Episode Four

Warsan Shire

Many jokes are made about YouTube stars getting book deals, which, yes, does happen.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

A fictional historical novel is pitched about Theodora, the Byzantine empress.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Episode Five

The Shire

The New York Times “Fashion & Style” section


Cormac McCarthy

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Great Gatsby

The Man Booker prize

Don Quixote

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Episode Six

“The time has come the walrus said.”

The fictional Edward L.L Moore returns, this time writing under the female nom de plume, Aubrey Alexis. He refuses to appear in public, reminiscent of Elena Ferrante.

Young Lions, a membership group of the New York Public Library

Nancy Drew

Lena Dunham’s new imprint

J.K. Rowling

Episode Seven

The Approval Matrix, a New York institution



The Hollywood Reporter

The Today show

Charlie Rose

Elizabeth Gilbert

Vulture (we’re blushing)


Gillian Flynn

Sarah Silverman

Tavi Gevinson

Gwyneth Paltrow

Jerusalem cookbook


The New School

Rachel Kushner

Daphne Merkin

Eve Ensler


Lena Dunham

Toni Morrison

The New Yorker Page-Turner blog

The New Yorker “Talk of the Town” section

John Keats and Fanny Brawne

Episode Eight

Infinite Jest

Episode Nine

Bonfire of the Vanities

Entertainment Weekly

Jess Cagle

Scott Rudin, Hollywood producer known for adaption books into film

Random House

Episode 10

The Paris Review

Jack Kerouac

Philip Roth

The PEN awards

The National Book Awards

The Met Gala

Random House

Frankfurt and London Book Fairs

Reach Out and Read non-profit organization

The very fake Hamptons Book Fair

Episode 11

Simon & Schuster

Entertainment Weekly

Random House

The Bridgehampton Library

Mary Higgins Clark

John Irving

A fictional photographer named Amy Lynne Stone appears who reminds us of an Annie Leibovitz type.

The New York Times best-sellers list

Episode 12

A Sheryl Sandberg–style motivational speaker named Antonia Stewart gives a Lean Inesque fake TED talk called Get Real.

A book gets a Netflix adaptation.

Younger: Every Literary Reference