There comes a time in a TV show’s life when the plot line takes a turn for the literary; a fictional character hunkers down and authors a book. Some are guidebooks, others are self-help books, but they all share one crucial quality: they’re not real. These authors don’t exist in real life, so how could their books? Well — sometimes, just sometimes, our real world is graced with a fake book’s tangible, published, purchasable presence. But, not always — so we’ve gathered some awesomely fake books from TV that you can actually buy, and a few others that we hope will be available one day. Because, well, who wouldn’t want to read Liz Lemon’s Dealbreakers: A Girl’s Guide to Shutting it Down from cover to cover? Or proudly display Cosmo Kramer’s The Coffee Table Book of Coffee Tables on their own coffee table? Read on for some fake TV fiction, and let us know your other favorites.
Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope
Joan Callamezzo Book Club shmook club — we’d read Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America with or without that snarky Pawnee Live host’s overrated, oversize book club sticker. If you’ve been itching to learn all there is to know about the fictional Indiana town (as told by a resident who wasn’t born there — “Gotcha!”), Leslie Knope’s Pawnee book can be purchased over at Amazon.com. The site even includes grade-A reviews from some familiar fictional faces:
“Carrying this book around is a good way of picking up girls with glasses.”
— Tom Haverford
“I have read over four books, and this is by far the one that has me in it the most.”
— Andy Dwyer
“Literally the greatest endeavor of human creativity in the history of mankind.”
— Chris Traeger
The Man Inside Me by Tobias Fünke
How awesome would it be to own The Man Inside Me by the one and only Tobias Fünke? In the season 1 finale, we’re shown a snapshot of the book’s Amazon page, where we learn “Customers who bought The Man Inside Me also bought” goodies like B.J. Zuckerkorn’s The Low-Carb Gay, Bi, and Transgender Diet and Caged Wisdom: Musings from Prison by George Bluth. Alas, a real-life Amazon search produces no such titles. Arrested Development: Teasing us since 2003.
Sterling’s Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man by Roger Sterling
Have you been eager for some 1960s advertising tips from a fictional alcoholic womanizer? If yes, Roger Sterling’s Sterling Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man is for you! This Mad Men memoir can be purchased at Amazon, but be warned — its innards are just lines from the show. Still, pretty cool that it exists in real life, right?
The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Laura Palmer
Want to read Laura Palmer’s deepest, darkest, strangest secrets with your own eyes? The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, once hoarded by a crazy Harold Smith, can be yours! As can The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes and Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town. Work that literary angle, Twin Peaks.
The Coffee Table Book of Coffee Tables by Cosmo Kramer
Leave it to Cosmo Kramer to write The Coffee Table Book of Coffee Tables which, naturally, unfolds into its own mini coffee table. Kramer may have sabotaged his promotional appearance on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee by spewing coffee all over the hosts, but we were still sold on the fictional product. What Seinfeld enthusiast wouldn’t want this highly functional book-turned-coffee-table chilling in their living room?
Dealbreakers by Liz Lemon
If you’re a single woman who loves sandwiches, night cheese, and Tootsie, Liz Lemon’s Dealbreakers is for you. This fictional dating guidebook is chock-full of helpful advice for the modern picky woman looking for love — or, more specifically, women looking to “shut down” undeserving suitors. Is your man over 30 and still wearing a nametag to work? That’s a dealbreaker! This would be the perfect Bossypants followup, Tina Fey. Just sayin’.
God Hates Us All by Hank Moody
We’re typically encouraged to read a book before watching its film adaptation, right? Does that apply to fake novels and fake films within TV shows? Either way, you should probably read the fictional Hank Moody’s God Hates Us All before watching its fake film adaptation, A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Yes, the acclaimed Californication novel really exists.
The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a Garden Party by Jim Halpert
Dwight Schrute needed some guidelines on how to throw a rockin’ garden party, so, naturally, Jim Halpert wrote The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a Garden Party under the pen name “James Trickington” and put it on Amazon. Dwight may have been the only person to purchase a copy, but we can still flip through an e-guide at NBC’s website. Take note: “One of the host’s most important duties is as dance master. A proper courtly dance sets the tone for the entire afternoon.” Thanks, Jim.
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Rick Castle, police mystery novelist extraordinaire, has released several successful fake cop novels both within Castle and in real life. Nathan Fillion even does in-character book signings, promoting Heat Wave, Naked Heat, and Heat Rises at Barnes & Nobles and Borders and such. So — Fillion’s not a novelist, he just plays one on TV and in real life? Lucky guy.
The Birth of Super Ray by Ray Hueston
If you haven’t seen Bored to Death, you’re missing out on the awesome superhero equivalent of Zach Galifianakis. As you’d expect, Super Ray found his powers by getting food poisoning, falling through a subway grate, and hitting his penis on the third rail. Yeah. Ray Hueston’s acclaimed fake comic book can be downloaded over at HBO’s website.