What to Read While You’re Missing Your Favorite TV Shows


It’s August, and there’s still nothing on TV. So what to do with all that free time in the evenings? Pick up a book, of course. And if you’re at a loss, your obliging Flavorwire editors have got you covered. After all, books are kind of like television, except better for you (sometimes). After the jump, a guide to what to read based on your all-time favorite TV shows (both current and past) — because fans of The Sopranos don’t necessarily want to read the same book as fans of Buffy. Check out our suggestions after the jump, and add your own in the comments.

If you love: Veronica Mars Read: Jane Eyre, Charlote Brontë

No, Jane Eyre wasn’t a teen detective, and no, Neptune High doesn’t exactly bring Thornfield Hall to mind, but when Jane says things like “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself,” you just know that she and Veronica share a soul.

If you love:Buffy the Vampire Slayer Read: Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link

This is the only book of short stories on the list, which is actually a little counterintuitive – after all, good TV usually manages to be a collection of standalone short stories as much as it is an overarching narrative. Link’s tales approach the supernatural with the same kind of humor and irreverent questioning that Buffy does, and there’s even a cameo from a very Buffy-like show in one standout story. What about strong female characters? You got it. The only thing missing is sexy vampires – but you know where to go for that.

If you love: Arrested Development Read: As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

You want dysfunctional? Faulkner will give you dysfunctional, with each member of this bizarre family more grotesque and selfish than the last. And if you dug AD’s new season, maybe you’ll like the shifting narrators and stream-of-consciousness style. The end result is a little bit less amusing than you get with the Bluths, but hey. It’s literature.

If you love: Mad Men Read: Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

This is not aspirational, early Mad Men, this is death-of-the-American-Dream, Don Draper’s worst moments at home Mad Men. If you can handle any more of that, Yates is the crowned best.

If you love: Girls Read: Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill

Look, the girls of Girls wish they were the girls of Bad Behavior — who are twisted and confused and sexy and discontent in the most piercing and authentic of ways. But if that’s not enough, you can see nine other books chosen to fill the Girls-shaped hole in your life.

If you love: Supernatural Read: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

After all, Supernatural totally stole an entire episode from Gaiman in the fifth season. If you like the way Supernatural plays with religious lore, and makes it all the more sinister, this is the book for you.

If you love: Twin Peaks Read: We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson OR Night Film, Marisha Pessl

Finding anything remotely like Twin Peaks is, obviously, something of a challenge. But Shirley Jackson’s slim novel has the mood down pat, and her narrator, Miss Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood, could easily be a character in Lynch’s masterpiece. Standing right there next to the log lady, thinking about how much she wants to kill all the townspeople. Then again, if it’s a convoluted mystery filled with red herrings, creepy people, and an experience that invites constant questioning of reality you’re after, Marisha Pessl’s newest might do the trick.

If you love: Battlestar Galactica Read: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

Miss wondering whether someone is human or just a fancy robot in a human-shaped body? Fascinated by the universal apocalypse? Want to go to the source? Philip K. Dick is your man.

If you love: The Wire Read: Lush Life, Richard Price

Richard Price wrote for The Wire, so if after all these years you’re still hankering for more, it’s time to delve into his novels, which are rife with the same insanely good dialogue and gritty, street level realism as the show you know and love and wish would come back. With Omar.

If you love: The Sopranos Read: The Godfather, Mario Puzo

Sure, maybe it’s an obvious choice – but if you’re a fan of The Sopranos and you haven’t spent any time with the Mafia’s first family, you’re in for a major treat. Depending on how you define ‘treat.’