The Emmys are here and this year is going to be monumental. The expansive list of nominated shows, specials, and films illustrates such an unbelievable range of talent, stories, and different backgrounds that our picks are being pitted against each other! Favorites like Fleabag, The Good Place, and Schitt’s Creek are all vying for the trophy of outstanding comedy series; meanwhile This Is Us TV-Dads Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown face off for the award of outstanding lead actor. It’s all too much! Though we’re consumers of every form of storytelling, we’re calming our nerves with a few Emmy-related reads. We picked some of our favorite nominees and paired them with winning books. Whatever goes down on Sunday, there are no losers with this list.
For fans of Schitt’s Creek, Nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series and three others
Love a comedic family saga with quirky characters? For fans of Schitt’s Creek you might be able to find someone just as loveable and relatable as David Rose in Kris D’Agostino’s novel THE ANTIQUES. In D’Agostino’s laugh-out-loud novel, the Westfalls family reunite after the death of its patriarch to plan a memorial service and fulfill his last dying wish—to sell a priceless Magritte painting. Not only does each family member bring their share of dysfunction back into the picture but a hurricane has just ripped through town. The Roses can certainly relate to attempting to maintain level of dignity while living in less-than-stellar conditions.
For fans of Killing Eve, nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, and eight others
The wait between seasons of the breakout hit Killing Eve was absolutely agonizing! Luckily there’s a series of books which the TW show is based on that can keep us company. In the first novel CODENAME VILLANELLE, we meet our eponymous anti-hero, Villanelle, who supports her luxurious lifestyle by killing the world’s richest and powerful as a highly specialized (and psychopathic) assassin. Then there’s Eve, a former MI6 agent, who is on the case when Villanelle murders an influential Russian politician. Can Eve figure out Villanelle’s game? Or is she doomed to be her next victim?
For fans of Russian Doll, nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and 11 others
The mystery of Nadia Vulvokov’s death in Russian Doll is so gripping that only a time loop could put it in another dimension of addicting television. Like Nadia, Aiden Bishop must relive every day to get to the bottom of the murder of Evelyn in Stuart Turton’s award-winning novel THE 7½ DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE—but there’s this one thing. Aiden wakes up in a different body every day; one of the eight people who witnessed Evelyn’s death. This means he only has eight chances to find out: How did Evelyn Hardcastle die?
For fans of When They See Us, nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series (Ava Duvernay), and 15 others
Ava Duvernay’s groundbreaking miniseries When They See Us brought the 30-year-old case of the Central Park Five back into public discussion and scrutiny, inspiring many online to revisit the facts. Sarah Burns’s THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE is a comprehensive look into the crime that would have five innocent young Black and Latino teenagers convicted for rape and murder. It’s also the first written account after the convictions were overturned—reexamining the case and also calling into question how the institutions designed to protect citizens could allow such an injustice to occur under its watch.
Sarah Burns, Ken’s daughter, continues the family tradition with this fascinating companion book. Reexamining one of New York City’s most notorious crimes and its tragic aftermath, this powerful account unravels the forces that made both the crime and its prosecution possible, and gives us a portrait of a city beset by violence and deepening rifts between races and classes.
For fans of Chernobyl, nominated for Outstanding Limited Series, and 18 others
Another historical event made it to screens across the nation. The HBO limited series Chernobyl, earning a whopping 19 Emmy nominations, examines the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986. Journalist Adam Higginbotham delves into the mystery of the disaster but also analyzes how propaganda and misinformation hid the real events of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster from the public.
For fans of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, nominated for Outstanding Television Movie
Be honest—how many times did you sit through Black Mirror’s interactive film Bandersnatch in the hopes of watching all the different outcomes? If you’re a fan of multiverses and living out the many possibilities of life, make Nicholas Bourbaki’s choose-your-own-adventure novel IF your next read (or several). In IF you (yes, you, reader) are a nameless protagonist tasked with making a new decision at the end of every chapter. If you’ve got the time, there are 22 possible outcomes to discover!
For fans of Fosse/Verdon, nominated for Outstanding Music Direction, and 16 others
Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams star as the famous Broadway hit-making duo Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon in this bio-miniseries sure to sweep this year’s Emmy Awards. RAZZLE DAZZLE is a salacious read full of drama, gossip, and the power plays that took place behind the curtain of Broadway culture.
For the Broadway baby
RAZZLE DAZZLE tells the story of the rise, fall, and redemption of Broadway—its stars, its biggest shows, its producers, and all the drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened behind the scenes. The author, Michael Riedel, is one of Broadway’s most respected (and feared) commentators.
For fans of Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, nominated for Outstanding Variety Special, and five others
The world seemed to stop when Beyoncé dropped a Netflix documentary (and accompanying album) of her historic headlining 2018 Coachella performance. Not only did we get a front row seat to the glitzy dance routines and collegiate inspired garb but we also got a rare intimate portrait of the rough road leading to the show after she gave birth to twins. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama (who is a known Beyoncé fan and shared her congratulations in a video after the film debuted) knows a thing or two about the journey to becoming a woman of soul and substance. In her memoir BECOMING, Obama reflects on her upbringing in the South Side of Chicago all the way to the eight years she spent in the White House and to her post-presidential life.
For fans of Pose, nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Billy Porter), and five others
We will take Billy Porter on a television screen in a dress living his truth any day of the week. He and the amazing cast and crew of Pose—including Mj Rodriguez, who stars, Ryan Murphy, one of the creators, and even Janet Mock, who wrote and directed three episodes—represent so many members of the LGBTQ community. A must-read novel for fans of Pose is KINGS, QUEENS, AND IN-BETWEENS, Tanya Boteju’s feel-good debut. This novel follows a queer teen of color trying to make sense of her identity and self-acceptance when suddenly she’s immersed in the fascinating world of drag.
“Poignant and important.” —Refinery29
Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.
Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.
Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.
From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colorful worlds that await when we’re brave enough to look.
For fans of One Day at a Time, nominated for Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series
When One Day at a Time was cancelled by Netflix, the outcry and petitions to save the show gave insight into how important television shows like this are. One Day at a Time deals with more than just the day-to-day experiences of a Cuban-American family but also touches on PSTD and mental health, LGBTQ issues, identity, addiction, and so much more. While we await the season four premiere in 2020 (Pop TV, also the home to Schitt’s Creek, has picked up the show!), AMERICAN LIKE ME is a go-to essay collection and echoes so many of the lived experiences we enjoyed on One Day at a Time. Edited by Superstore actress America Fererra, it features essays from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, Randall Park, and so many more.