As much as I love reading, from time to time, I look up from my book and watch a bit of television. There are a lot of amazing shows to choose from! And it seems like these days, so much of what is available has been adapted from books.
If I watch a show that has been adapted, I always have to read the book first, because I enjoy knowing the source material. But on occasion, there are amazing shows that don’t have a book to read before you watch it or after it ends. Or sometimes, you want to read more books that remind you of your favorite shows, even if they’ve been adapted. That’s where recommendations come in! Here are six of the best shows from the last decade and a great read-alike to go with each of them.
If you love The Good Place…
by Marie Robert
Holy forking shirtballs, I love The Good Place sooooo much. It's my favorite show of the last several years, for sure, and I am so sad it is coming to an end in 2020. On top of being sassy and irreverent, it's wildly smart and thoughtful. In it, Chidi, a philosophy professor, helps others figure out their dilemmas with philosophy. So When You Kant Figure It Out is a great compliment to the show. Marie Robert takes modern problems, like getting dumped by text, or the anxiety caused by the news and social media, and applies the wisdom of philosophers like Artistotle, Heidegger, and Nietzsche to the issues.
If you love Downton Abbey…
by Ben Schott
Downton Abbey is a historical drama/soap opera about a ridiculously wealthy family in their enormous manor. There is always something dramatic going on with the servants or the family of the house, or both, and often big measures have to be taken to avoid scandal. And building off that, there's Jeeves and the King of Clubs, a continuation on the delightful P. G. Wodehouse series about a well-to-do British bachelor, Bertie Wooster, and his valet, Jeeves, who often has to save him and his friends from themselves.
If you love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel…
by Herman Wouk
Like Miriam Maisel, Marjorie Morgenstern is a bright, charming young woman in the 1950s from a traditional Jewish family, who defies the social constraints placed on women to pursue her dreams of being on stage in New York City. And like Miriam Maisel, she will experience great triumph and great heartbreak.
If you love When They See Us…
by Attica Locke
When They See Us is an excellent limited series based on the assault of a Central Park jogger in 1989 and the racially motivated arrest of five young black men, who were charged with the crime and imprisoned for years, despite a lack of evidence. Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird deals with two deaths in a tiny Texas town taut with racial tensions, and a black Texas ranger who must solve the deaths before the town explodes with more violence. (I am so excited for the upcoming series adaption of this book!)
If you love The Handmaid’s Tale…
As you know, The Handmaid's Tale is based on the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, about a future where 'handmaids' are forced to have children for wealthy families. The novel is the measuring stick by which all dystopias about the subjugation of women-presenting people are measured. Which means over the last 30 years, hundreds of books have been dubbed "the next Handmaid's Tale" but only a few actually deserve it. Like The Power, an electrifying (pun intended) novel about a time when women develop the ability to literally electrify with their touch, and what this means after thousands of years of being called "the weaker sex."
If you love The Office…
That water cooler life: We all know that office work is a drag, but both The Office and Then We Came to the End are funny, emotional examinations of the highs and lows of cubicle life under the fluorescent lights of a business that is experiencing a financial downturn, and the friends and relationships people forge along the way.
What to Read Next
Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.