I love television almost as much as I love books—almost. For the moments I find myself trying to decide between starting the newest hospital TV drama or diving into a new book, I’ve discovered there’s a happy place where the books and the shows I love intersect. Whether you’re taking a break from a binge, anxiously awaiting a new season, or looking for reading material in between episodes, the books below are the perfect reads based on your favorite TV shows.
14 Books to Read in Between Episodes of Your Favorite TV Shows
For fans of This Is Us
So, you made it through season one of This Is Us with your tear ducts intact—or just barely, anyway. But now you’re addicted to family dramas. Well, Lisa Jewell’s novel THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN is domestic drama at its best. The picture-perfect Bird family is upended when tragedy strikes one Easter weekend. Years later, something happens that beckons the adult children back to the house they grew up in, where they unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies.
For fans of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a pretty dark turn when AIDA (Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistant) circumvented her programming and dismantled the lives of our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. If you’re fascinated by artificial intelligence, then I, ROBOT is a classic that should already top your “How to Survive the Impending Robot Apocalypse” TBR. There are stories of robots gone mad, mind-reading robots, and robots with a sense of humor—highlighting how dangerous a robot with its own mind really is.
For fans of The Good Place
NBC’s hit show The Good Place would have us believe that the “good place” we ascend to after life and the proverbial “bad place” we spend our lives trying to avoid are really not that far from each other. In Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s GOOD OMENS, they’re quite close; in fact, good and evil team up! A snarky demon and a fastidious angel decide to join forces and stop the upcoming Rapture and save humanity and the world they love. Naturally, hilarity ensues.
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . . Naughty, funny, wacky and irreverent, this is a wonderful new side of Gaiman.
For fans of Legion
Marvel’s Legion manages to pack a wallop of a first season in just eight episodes. This mind-bending series follows David Haller, who has been misdiagnosed as schizophrenic but discovers he actually has special telekinetic powers. If you loved the labyrinthine nature of Legion, you’ll love Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER, about a man named Jason Dessen who wakes up in a life that is not his own. Jason must embark on a journey that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying foe.
For fans of Narcos
While Narcos chronicles the exploits of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Dan Slater’s WOLF BOYS tells the astonishing story of two American teens recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel and their pursuit by a Mexican American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unwinnable. Both true stories illuminate the harrowing and often brutal conditions of the hidden world of the drug trade.
For fans of Black Mirror
The entire Philip K. Dick library—in which he explores the bleak digital age where new technologies have drastically changed mankind for better and oftentimes for worse—is like bingeing Black Mirror. After reading and watching both, you’ll walk away with questions and thoughts on humanity and morality, and what becomes of both when entwined with transformative technology.
For fans of The Mindy Project
For six seasons, Dr. Mindy Lahiri has lived in one of the most covetable apartments in the entire TV Manhattan dreamscape. If you took notes on every fixture in her home, you may have noticed her walls adorned with Maria Qamar’s hilarious art. Based on her popular Instagram @Hatecopy and her experience in a South Asian immigrant family, TRUST NO AUNTY is a humorous, illustrated “survival guide” to dealing with overbearing “Aunties.” We totally see why Mindy is a fan!
For fans of Atlanta
With the second season of the Emmy Award–winning FX series Atlanta slated to premiere sometime in 2018, you might, in the meantime, enjoy this boisterous novel that takes place half a world away in an unnamed African city. Two friends, one a budding writer home from abroad, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the most notorious nightclub—Tram 83—in a war-torn city-state in secession. TRAM 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
For fans of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Besides the insane ploy to leave her high-profile New York City job and follow her ex-boyfriend across the country to little-known West Covina, California, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend protagonist Rebecca sings about some pretty relatable situations, like getting ready for a party with girlfriends, living in a house haunted by past boyfriends and lovers, and having heavy boobs. In her book LITERALLY ME, social satirist and J.Crew designer Julie Houts illustrates some super-relatable scenarios of her own—like the dating confessions of a true fembot and the beauty routine of a deranged bride who aspires to an unrealistic level of perfection—through hilarious sketches and essays.
For fans of Grey’s Anatomy
Okay, YOUNG JANE YOUNG is by no means a hospital drama in which the characters have to navigate lives riddled with ferry disasters and plane crashes in addition to their own catastrophic love lives. However, Meredith Grey and Aviva Grossman, the protagonist in YOUNG JANE YOUNG, have something in common: they’ve both had affairs with their bosses. And while Meredith eventually married hers, Aviva makes the mistake of blogging about it, subjecting herself to slut-shaming and late-night talk show jokes.
For fans of Black-ish
For the Johnson family of ABC’s Black-ish, straddling the line between being black in America and living in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood yields a “black-ish” lifestyle of constant cultural and identity foibles and crises. The same can be said for JJ Ferguson in Stephanie Powell Watts’s debut novel, NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US. In this Gatsbyesque novel, JJ returns home to Pinewood, North Carolina, to build a huge mansion and woo his high school sweetheart. But the ostentatious wealth that JJ has attained forces everyone to consider the cards they’ve been dealt, what more they want and deserve, and how they might go about getting it.
For fans of Search Party
The mystery at the center of the first season of Search Party gets more and more bizarre with each passing episode. And like the millennial sleuths in this comedic mystery, the 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls in PAPER GIRLS uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this graphic novel about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.
For “Stranger Things” binge-watcher
In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.
For fans of Designated Survivor
In Designated Survivor a low-key Cabinet member must step up to the plate when a catastrophic attack claims the lives of everyone above him in the line of succession—including the president of the United States. In L.D. Beyer’s action-packed political thriller, Vice President David Kendall suffers the same dire circumstances. Now president after the nation’s capital is plunged into chaos, David Kendall doesn’t realize that things in the White House aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes what looks like the best option may turn out to be the worst.
For fans of Riverdale
In the quaint town of Riverdale, Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica (yes, of Archie Comics fame) try to get to the bottom of an unexpected murder mystery. The same can be said for the characters in Karen M. McManus’s whodunit ONE OF US IS LYING. But can it, really? On a Monday afternoon, five Bayview High students walk into detention and one, a notorious school gossip, never makes it out. Though everyone appears to be clueless about what happened to their classmate, one or more may know more than they’re willing to share.