Cosmopolitan posted the following Web article, selecting books-you-should-read based on your guilty television pleasures — because yes, readers can still work a remote. For the original article, click here.
Thoughts on this list:
Of Author Anna Breslaw’s suggestions, I’ve only read Emma. Normally, I like Jane Austen well enough, but really hated Emma. Also don’t care for The Mindy Project, so maybe Breslaw’s on to something!
My book-to-tv experience is limited. I worked at School Library Journal before The Carrie Diaries was published, and read the galley under my desk. I enjoyed it, which may be behind my
not so secret love for the nostalgic preteen revival. Candace Bushnell is a 90’s lady legend – my endorsement is to be expected.
1. If you like… Gossip Girl.
Read Chocolate For Breakfast by Pamela Moore
The coming-of-age of Courtney Farrell, the precocious daughter of a fading Los Angeles actress, is very Serena Van Der Woodsen-in-her-vodka-and-Red Bull days. The author was just 18 when it was published in 1956 — and 2013 is the first year it’s been back in print since 1967. (Fun fact: Courtney Love was named for its protagonist.)
And New York Stories by Edith Wharton
If ever there was a Chuck and Blair-esque head game in classic literature, it’s the short story “The Dilettante,” which will stick a fork down your throat and pull out your heart. (Especially if you have ever been a Blair, and had a Chuck.)
2. If you like… Pretty Little Liars.
Read Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
A young woman, recently married to a dashing rich widower, realizes that the whole house (as well as her husband) is still obsessed with the beautiful, seemingly-perfect deceased lady of the house, Rebecca. As the unnamed woman unravels the mystery of Rebecca’s death, and the truth of her marriage, it becomes clear that Rebecca was… uh, let’s just say “not perfect.”
3. If you like… Grey’s Anatomy
Read The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel
The year I began to say vahz instead of vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me. Tell me you don’t want to keep reading the story after that, I dare you. This collection of sparsely-written, haunting stories tackles many of Grey’s primary issues, including mortality and grief: “In The Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried” follows a woman whose best friend since childhood is dying of a slow terminal illness. It’s like Denny Duquette times a million.
4. If you like… Glee.
Read Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Don’t let the graphic novel format throw you. Bechdel’s memoir of growing up in a funeral home with her closeted father and the growing awareness of her own homosexuality was on the Times’ bestseller’s list for two weeks.
And The Sopranos, by Alan Warner.
(Not that Sopranos.) A group of rowdy Scottish choir girls from a Catholic school in a shitty, dead-end town get to go into the city for a choral competition. Shots are tossed back, parties crashed, expensive boots bought, handjobs given, McDonalds food is consumed, and all hell generally breaks loose. If you can make it through the dialect that Warner uses (it’s like the Scottish version of New Jersey slang, and gets easier as you go), you will love it.
5. If you like… Scandal
Read Primary Colors by Anonymous
Gripping (and sexy, and occasionally very funny) political roman-a-clef written by a member of the Clinton Administration, detailing the Clinton-character’s marriage, his political charisma and his unstoppable hedonism (from women to soul food to Krispy Kreme donuts). Incidentally, also features a whip-smart black protagonist, although this one is a dude and probably doesn’t own as many fantastic ecru-colored coats.
6. If you like… The Mindy Project
Read Emma by Jane Austen
Like Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Emma is headstrong, a meddler, obsessed with romance, and often misconstrues the attentions of men. Her forthright attitude can annoy people, but she means well, and we want the best for her, even when she pulls various dick moves (e.g. tells Harriet to dump her sweet, smart, and respectable suitor Mr. Martin for snobbish reasons).
7. If you like… The Real Housewives.
Read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
You know what? I’m gonna let you go into this one blind. Here’s a .pdf of the whole story. Have fun!
8. If you like… Girls
Read The Group, by Mary McCarthy
If Lena Dunham and co. were living in the Mad Men era, this novel is what you’d get: Eight women graduate from Vassar and have no idea what the fuck they are doing. One of them loses her virginity to a douchebag. Nothing’s changed except now we can wear pants and not have babies as soon as we get out of college and stuff.
9. If you like… Law & Order: SVU
Read Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
Adam Scott’s production company just optioned the film rights to this super-dark comedy, which follows three people (a creepy high-school jock, a twentysomething female high school history teacher named Julia, and an old man) in the surreally-awful town of Owl, North Dakota in the 1980s. There’s no crime per se, but Julia and her love interest do feel vaguely Benson/Stablerish. Also it’s creepy as hell, in an existential way.
10. If you like… The Vampire Diaries
Read Carrie by Stephen King
Speaking of teens who could have benefited from “It Gets Better…”
And Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice
What’s better than a human girl and a hot vampire? Two hot ambiguously gay vampires. (That’s just math.)