10 Book Recommendations Based On Your Favorite Netflix Original Series
Given the fact that you're reading this article, I don't have to tell you that Netflix has a lure all its own. It possesses the unique ability to keep you from going out on a Saturday night (or from going outside on a Sunday). And, setting aside all the negative press surrounding binge-watching for a second, if you subscribe to the belief that Netflix marathoning is a way of life, it's clear you appreciate a well-told story.
If you thought the latest season of OITNB gave you all the feels, you should trade your computer screen for your Kindle while you're counting down the days to the release of Season 4. Believe it or not, the plot of a good read can be just as shocking as that unbelievable plot twist or just as gut-wrenching as that excruciating cliff-hanger ending. According to science, reading affects our brains in powerful ways. For instance, did you know that your brain actually reacts to metaphors when you read them on the page? Or that reading can improve your empathetic and ethical skills?
Whether you're not-so-patiently awaiting the return of your favorite Netflix original series or lamenting the fact that it's been cancelled, I have a book recommendation that will help quell your desire to re-watch (or re-re-watch) the episodes you love. So, what should you put on your binge-reading agenda? Let's find out.
If You Liked Narcos...
Read The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Fans of the crime drama Narcos won't be disappointed by Juan Gabriel Vásquez's The Sound of Things Falling, which takes a deeper look at the psychological effects of Pablo Escobar's drug trafficking on Colombians. In the novel, Antonio's life is turned upside down when he's directly impacted by drug trade-related violence on the streets of Bogotá. By depicting one man's story in detail, Vásquez effectively captures a generation defined by the fear, violence and turmoil brought on by cocaine.
If You Liked Bloodline...
Read The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
In both Bloodline and The Turner House, family drama is the plot catalyst. As family secrets come to light, characters are faced with difficult decisions that will affect their relationships forever. In The Turner House, the family's demons are a bit more literal, but instead of being ridiculous, they add that eerie sense of otherworldliness that the setting of the Florida Keys lends to Bloodline.
If You Liked Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt...
Read Finding Me by Michelle Knight
If you were interested in the challenges the Mole Women faced while rebuilding their lives after they escaped, you should read the incredible memoir of kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight. Knight's memoir is an inspiring and heartbreaking story of courage in the face of inconceivable circumstances. Knight was truly unbreakable.
If You Liked Orange Is the New Black...
Read Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg
In Running the Books, Steinberg recalls his time as a librarian in a tough Boston prison. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about life behind bars from someone who offers a unique perspective on inmates and prison culture. If the burning of Litchfield's library books in season three of OITNB broke your heart, this book is for you. (It goes without saying that you should also read Piper Kerman's memoir Orange Is the New Black, the book the show is based on, if you haven't already.)
If You Liked Club de Cuervos...
Read God Is Round by Juan Villoro
Even if you're not a member of The Church of Soccer, you need to read God Is Round. In this enlightening collection of essays, Villoro explores fútbol as both a reflection of a country's culture and a driving force for building a sense of community. Although Club de Cuervos is a comedy that takes place in the fictional city of Nuevo Toledo, Mexico, the series is a poignant depiction of the passion, culture, and politics surrounding the sport. You can pick up the original version of God Is Round in Spanish (Dios es rodondo), or if you watched the Netflix series with subtitles, there's an English translation coming out in 2016.
If You Liked House of Cards...
Read Richard II by Shakespeare
Aside from giving a nod to the BBC roots of House of Cards, Shakespeare's Richard II is really the book you have to read if you can't get enough of Frank Underwood's scheming. Get over your fear of Shakespeare and just do it. The Bard is truly the master of creating complex characters and devising plots that stand the test of time.
If You Liked Sense8...
Read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
If you're a fan of Netflix's sci-fi drama Sense8, you should read The Chrysalids, which also depicts telepathically linked characters who face persecution. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, The Chrysalids is about a society attempting to recover from a global nuclear war. The protagonist, David, is a member of a small, close-knit community that persecutes anyone with a mutation of any kind, deeming them blasphemies. When David discovers he's telepathic, technically a mutation, he and his fellow telepaths need to figure out how to conceal their powers to avoid being banished to The Fringes, a lawless region teeming with mutations, or killed.
If You Liked BoJack Horseman...
Read Hollywood by Charles Bukowski
Bukowski's roman à clef, a thinly veiled satire about the author's real-life experience of writing the screenplay for his semi-autobiographical movie Barfly, will remind you of the hilarious caricature of Hollywood depicted in BoJack Horseman. Between self-promoting producers, demanding stars and a dedicated director, the strange world of the movie industry is revealed through Bukowski's satirical lens. Add this book to your to-read pile if Netflix's animated series makes you laugh out loud and you can't get enough of its meta-showbiz references.
If You Liked Marvel's Daredevil...
Read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
If you can't wait for the return of Matt Murdock in Netflix's superhero crime drama, look no further than Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to tide you over. This novel about two fictional comic-book creators, Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay, takes the notion of the origin story all the way back to the Golden Age of comics when the industry was born. Beware: Just like a good Netflix binge, this page-turner will keep you up till 3 a.m.
If You Liked Lilyhammer...
Read Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller
Though Netflix's crime comedy-drama Lilyhammer was cancelled, there's no shortage of Scandinavian crime literature to choose from to fill your binging void. But Norwegian by Night strikes the balance between comedy and drama that you probably loved about Lilyhammer. This thriller about an 82-year-old New York transplant in Norway is reminiscent of Frank Tagliano's reluctant relocation to Lillehammer after life as a gangster in NYC.
Image: Netflix/Saeed Adyani