10 Books Every '90s TV-Lover Needs to Read
To say we miss our favorite '90s TV shows is an understatement. Don't you ever wish you could hang out with Corey, Topanga, and Shawn while taking Mr. Feeney's insightful life lessons to heart? Or sit on the couch at Central Perk and enjoy a cup of Joe with your friends? Or climb the ladder that leads to Clarissa's room so you can listen to her explain it all?
You could argue that these shows were so influential that they helped shape the adults we are today. They featured strong female leads, demonstrated the power of learning and entertained us while they educated us. (Let's be real, there were valuable life lessons in nearly every episode that aired in the '90s.) While a few of the beloved shows from our childhood are available via streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, not all are easily accessible.
If you're in need of a '90s fix or in need a break (albeit a short one) from re-watching Friends on Netflix, grab a good read that complements your favorite show from the golden decade of TV. Whether you loved the teen drama, the after-school special or the show about nothing, we've got a book that'll fill the nostalgic hole in your '90s-kid heart. We can't be alone in our yearning for the quality programming of yesteryear.
If You Liked Boy Meets World...
Read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This young-adult novel about two quirky teens who fall in love will remind you of Corey and Topanga's adolescent romance. On the surface, Eleanor & Park is a novel about first love, but it also addresses difficult subjects, such as body image, bullying and domestic abuse, aligning it with the after-school special episodes of Boy Meets World that shaped the dynamic characters we all love.
If You Liked Blossom...
Read Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Blossom and Bee are both young, precocious and quirky protagonists whose mothers' leave their families in order to pursue their own lives. Where'd You Go Bernadette offers insight into the mother's point of view, painting Bernadette as a complex character, which may give you a different perspective on Blossom's mother leaving her family. It's a heartwarming novel about mothers and daughters that's full of charm, humor and light-hearted mystery.
If You Liked Family Matters...
Read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Let's be honest: Everyone's favorite Family Matters character is the lovable nerd, Steve Urkel. If you're a fan of this '90s family sitcom, you'll love The Rosie Project because it features an endearing, Urkel-esque main character, genetics professor Don Tillman, who's searching for love. But Don's scientific approach to dating proves unsuccessful, until he meets Rosie.
If You Liked Daria...
Read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Daria is an angsty, well-read teen who holds a special place in every book-obsessed '90s-kid's heart. The intelligent and slightly misanthropic cartoon protagonist evokes Jane Austen's witty and sarcastic Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice , especially considering that both characters resist the pressure to conform and are critical of society's norms.
If You Liked Seinfeld...
Read The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera
If you considered taking a few vacation days to binge watch Seinfeld when Hulu announced the entire '90s sitcom would be at your fingertips, this book is for you. Kundera's novella about four friends living in Paris depicts the insignificant events of their lives, finding the profound in the inconsequential. Not unlike Seinfeld, The Festival of Insignificance is about nothing yet, at the same time, about everything (and you won't be able to stop reading it).
If You Liked Felicity...
Read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Though the lead character in Murakami's novel is male, Felicity and Norwegian Wood both depict poignant coming-of-age tales that revolve around the college experience. Central to each plot is a love triangle that brings both heartache and discovery. If you're feeling nostalgic for a coming-of-age romance but want a story with depth, Norwegian Wood is a great choice.
If You Liked Dawson's Creek...
Read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Dawson's Creek and The Interestings both follow a group of close-knit friends whose friendships blossom in youth and remain strong into adulthood, despite the fact that so much changes over time. If you're interested in a novel that goes beyond teen drama and delves into the complexity of adulthood, this novel is for you.
If You Liked Twin Peaks...
Read Leather Maiden by Joe R. Lansdale
David Lynch's Twin Peaks explores the contrast between small town respectability and the seediness that exists just under the surface. Leather Maiden captures the Lynchian drama and mystery of a small town with dark secrets and, like the cult '90s show, the novel is about a murdered, small-town girl caught up with the wrong crowd. But, without the campy melodramatic depiction of characters. (If you're looking for something quirky and captivating, opt for A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami.)
If You Liked E.R...
Read Internal Medicine by Terrence Holt
Fans of the '90s medical drama E.R. won't be disappointed with this collection of short stories. Holt draws on his own experiences as a physician and illuminates the intricacies of what it's like to be not only a medical professional, but also a human being. Filled with meditations on fear, death and compassion, it's a collection that everyone can relate to even if you don't have a medical degree.
If You Liked Homicide: Life on the Street...
Read Buck by M.K. Asante
If you've already read Homicide by David Simon, the inspiration for Homicide: Life on the Street and, more recently, HBO's The Wire, you need to add Buck to your to-read list. This incredible memoir is a coming-of-age tale about a kid growing up in North Philadelphia, navigating a dangerous and ever changing world. With his father gone, his brother in prison and his mother in a mental hospital, he turns to unconventional teachers — ghetto philosophers, strippers and rappers — until he ends up in an alternative school where he finds his voice in writing.