For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:
November 16: Books to Read If You Love/Loved X (X can be a genre, specific book, author, movie/TV show, etc.) For this one I’m recommending classic literature on the basis of TV shows. But I’m not recommending the book if it’s a direct (or not so direct) literary adaptation (too easy!). I’m recommending classics that remind me in some way of these TV shows. Just to be clear, these aren’t always read/watch alikes, but they have something similar in terms of subject, theme, characters, or tone.
1. Squid Game- I’m tempted to say The Hunger Games as a recommendation here, but I don’t know if I’d call that “classic.” I’ll say Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Twisted games that turn into a survival match, though at least in this one, the people involved are children. I know it’s a short story, but I’ll also shout out Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery here: another game of chance with deadly consequences
2. Game of Thrones- I feel like Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien is sort of a no-brainer here. They’re both epic fantasies. I mean, there are even articles out there about how they’re similar!
3. Bridgeton– The obvious recommendation here is the novels of Jane Austen. Yes, I’m aware that Jane Austen is great literature, and Bridgeton is fun TV. But fans of the regency romance in Bridgerton will probably find something to love in Austen. If you want to get away from the obvious, check out Fanny Burney, whose work influenced Austen. Yes, maybe I’m cheating by mentioning authors here rather than single books, but I don’t care!
4. Downton Abbey– For this one I went with Howard’s End by EM Forester. Both deal with the British aristocracy in the early 20th century. Like Downton, Howard’s End has strong themes about class and foreshadows that worldwide change is imminent, and an era is ending in terms of upper class way of life.
5. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel– I had a tie for this one: The Group by Mary McCarthy and The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. Both deal with women’s experiences in work and love. Both are set in New York City, too.
6. You– Actually now that I think of it, Dexter can also be a good show to pair with Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. All involve a murderer as the protagonist.
7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend- This might seem kind of weird, but go along with me for a moment. Crazy Ex- Girlfriend is about a mentally fragile woman who is obsessively in love with a man. So is Passion by IU Tarchetti (it’s been published under both titles). Plus, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show with strong connections to musical theatre. Passion became a Tony winning musical by Stephen Sondheim.
8. The Good Place– The Divine Comedy by Dante. I feel like this is sort of self explanatory too. Both deal with what happens after we die, if we’re good, bad, or somewhere in between. But actually as I write this, it strikes me that Sartre’s No Exit could also work as a pairing.
9. Stranger Things– Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury- Both are about kids (about 13ish years old) fighting evil. Both also have strong nostalgic tones for their era (1980’s and 1930’s respectively).