24 Books You Should Read, Based On Your Favorite TV Shows
The ultimate television show–based book recommendation guide.
1. If you loved Mad Men, you should read Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road.
Revolutionary Road's Frank and April Wheeler might as well be Mad Men's Don and Betty Draper: Both are secretly unhappy, suburban couples living in the 1960s. And like Mad Men, Revolutionary Road paints an immaculate portrait of the period with all of its booze and sexual politics.
2. If you loved Doctor Who, you should read Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy have many things in common, from space travel to aliens to witty, charming Englishmen. If that's not enough for you, Douglas Adams used to write scripts for Doctor Who and there are even some references to HHGTTG in the show.
3. If you loved The Office, you should read Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End.
Just like The Office, Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End captures the banality of office life while being laugh-out-loud funny. The gossip, office romances, pranks, and quirky characters in the book will appeal to and feel familiar to fans of the show.
4. If you loved Seinfeld, you should read Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint.
If you're a fan of Seinfeld — which gleefully mines the neuroses of its characters for comedy gold — then definitely check out Philip Roth's hilarious Portnoy's Complaint, whose protagonist's issues with sex and his mother make Jerry and George look pretty much normal by comparison. —Raymond Sultan
5. If you loved Gossip Girl, you should read Zoey Dean's The A-List. *
Fans of Gossip Girl will eat up the world of privilege and drama that is The A-List. While The A-List trades Manhattan high society for glamorous Beverly Hills, protagonist Anna still sticks to Upper East Side roots that would make Blair Waldorf proud.
6. If you loved The Walking Dead, you should read Max Brooks' World War Z. *
World War Z is as gritty and apocalyptic as The Walking Dead, and both feature an America decimated by zombies. Like the show, Brooks' book looks at survivors who, against all odds, carry on bravely in the hope of reclaiming their world.
7. If you loved Orange Is the New Black, you should read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. *
Both involve strong women being imprisoned and struggling to find their footing in an entirely new world — it's that only one of them is set in a dystopic future. While Orange Is the New Black touches upon real issues women face both in prison and out, The Handmaid's Tale magnifies these same injustices by creating a fictional, anti-woman society that will get your blood boiling. —Julia Pugachevsky
8. If you loved Game of Thrones, you should read Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. *
The Name of the Wind is set in a world as fantastical as Westeros, but with more magic. Like Game of Thrones, Rothfuss' book has a rich cast of relatable characters and a storyline entwining them that will keep GOT fans enthralled. Bonus: Your favorite characters won't be killed off constantly.
9. If you loved Breaking Bad, you should read William Shakespeare's Macbeth.
One of the things that made Breaking Bad so compelling was how inevitable it all felt, the mechanistic ruthlessness with which the plot moved forward and Walt spiraled into Heisenberg: We were watching a man become a monster, and nothing could stop it. If you're looking for a story with the same kind of dramatic velocity, read Shakespeare's Macbeth, another stomach-dropping portrait of a man with more and more blood on his hands as he reaches for greatness. —Raymond Sultan
10. If you loved Sex and the City, you should read Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed. *
Instead of Manhattan, it's Philadelphia, and instead of Carrie, it's Cannie, but still the themes and tone of Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed will strike a familiar chord with fans of Sex and the City. Cannie is a smart and sardonic entertainment reporter who is reeling after finding out her ex made her the subject of his essay on "Loving Larger Women." The aftermath — which follows her ups and downs emotionally, professionally, and romantically — is hilarious and full of heart. —Arianna Rebolini
11. If you loved Supernatural, you should read Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
American Gods will take readers on a journey across America that is as dark and filled with pagan gods as Supernatural itself. The protagonist Shadow, like Sam Winchester, encounters creatures who seem to know more about him than he does, and discovers that his dead loved ones had been keeping dangerous secrets.
12. If you loved Lost, you should read William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
In both Lost and Lord of the Flies, a plane crash leaves surviving passengers stranded on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. While the survivors in Lord of the Flies may only be young British boys, both the book and the show examine what happens to our humanity when we are left to ourselves far from civilization.
13. If you loved Pretty Little Liars, you should read Sara Shepard's The Lying Game. *
Sara Shepard was the author of the original Pretty Little Liars book series, so expect The Lying Game to be just as thrilling as the PLL television show. With unexpected plot twists and secrets galore, The Lying Game will appeal to PLL fans eager to unravel a new, A-like mystery.
14. If you loved The Sopranos, you should read Philip Roth's American Pastoral.
While Swede Levov's glove business is considerably less bloody than Tony Soprano's chosen profession, both Philip Roth's American Pastoral and David Chase's Sopranos set out to tell the story of Americans in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively, through a both elegiac and unstintingly close examination of one prosperous New Jersey man. —Matthew Zeitlin
15. If you loved The Vampire Diaries, you should read Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods. *
Just like The Vampire Diaries, Blue Bloods has a complicated vampire love triangle and an elaborate mythology that will remind you of all that drama with doppelgängers and the Original family. It's as fast-paced and thrilling as the show, possibly even more so because of its setting in Manhattan.
16. If you loved Sherlock, you should read Robert Galbraith's The Cuckoo's Calling. *
Sherlock is a crime drama following a detective solving mysteries in London, whereas The Cuckoo's Calling is a crime fiction novel following a private investigator solving a murder, also in London. Sound familiar? Beyond this, The Cuckoo's Calling's detective, Strike, has a secretary who will remind Sherlock fans of Watson, so what's not to love?
17. If you loved House of Cards, you should read William Shakespeare's Richard III.
The original British version of House of Cards was strongly influenced by two works of the bard, Richard III and Macbeth. Francis Underwood definitely has all the makings of a Shakespearean antagonist, and Kevin Spacey has previously been lauded for a stage performance in Richard III, where he no doubt got some practice in for his House of Cards debut. —Julia Pugachevsky
18. If you loved Girls, you should read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist.
Girls tends to spark a lot of discussion about feminism, class, and race (whether it intends to or not) and Bad Feminist just happens to be an incredible book of essays on pretty much all those topics. Also, there's an essay in there about Girls. And let's be real — Hannah Horvath would so be all over this book. —Julia Pugachevsky
19. If you loved The Big Bang Theory, you should read Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project.
The Big Bang Theory and The Rosie Project are both about geeky, socially awkward scientists who try to find love, and the humorous situations that ensue. The nerdy humor in The Rosie Project is a perfect fit for fans of The Big Bang Theory.
20. If you loved Downton Abbey, you should read Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. *
If you like period pieces with heavy romantic overtones and plenty of juicy, dark secrets, Jane Eyre is the obvious choice here. It's dark, it's evocative, and it has a twist you'd never see coming. Also, once you're done, there are like a billion BBC adaptations for you to watch. —Julia Pugachevsky
21. If you loved Once Upon a Time, you should read Enchanted by Alethea Kontis.
Enchanted is a mash-up of classic fairy tales woven into a complex single story, much like Once Upon a Time. Moreover, Enchanted has a similarly diverse cast of magical characters that will surely resonate with Once fans.
22. If you loved American Horror Story: Freak Show, you should read Katherine Dunn's Geek Love.
If you loved this season of American Horror Story with its storyline following one of the last freak shows in America, you'll probably love Geek Love, a novel about a couple who decide to turn their own children into a freak show through drugs and radioactive material.
23. If you loved Revenge, you should read Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo.
The Count of Monte Cristo is the ultimate story of revenge, and was in fact the inspiration for Revenge. Fans of the show will recognize Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne's complex scheming in Dumas' tale of a man seeking retribution for his wrongful imprisonment.
24. If you loved Twin Peaks, you should read Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker.
Both Twin Peaks and Still Life exist within just sliiiiiightly surreal universes, inhabited by characters who are larger than life. Still Life is a love story at its core, but a bizarre one — between an idealistic, environmentalist princess and a bomber outlaw known as the Woodpecker — and it's tinged with danger, intrigue, and global conspiracy. —Arianna Rebolini