When Aziz Ansari's new TV show, Master of None, was dropped on Netflix a few weeks ago, I was immediately hooked. Centered around the experiences of Dev, a single Indian-American actor living in NYC, Master of None structures each of its episodes like a short story on a fresh theme. Featuring an episode on immigrant parents, a feminism episode, and an episode about Indians in the TV/film industry, among others, the show is, at its heart, an exploration. Funny, insightful, refreshing, and extremely entertaining, Master of None is a show you can really connect to on every level.
I've been a long-time fan of Ansari's work, from his role as Tom on Parks and Recreation to his A-plus stand-up. So much of Ansari's personality is infused in this show, from his great feminist morals and advocacy for minorities to small things like his obsession with pasta. Ansari's real parents even play starring roles!
The downside to binge-watching an entire season in a day is that, once it's over, you've got nothing left. Don't worry though, I've got your back. All of the ingredients that make Master of None a fantastic show also add up to some great reading. Here are six books to hold you over until the next season comes.
1. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
If you like Ansari's style, you obviously have to check out his book. This is not your typical TV-celebrity memoir. Instead, Ansari paired up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to study how romance works in the modern age. As in Master of None, Ansari combines his hilarious wit, deep thinking, and a fascination with culture(s) to deliver a one-of-a-kind creation.
2. Sex in the Title by Zack Love
Known as "male Sex in the City," this comedy is set in NYC in the early millennium and follows five young men as they try to untangle dating, relationships, and life in general. A clever read that goes hand-in-hand with Dev and company's adventures with NYC dating.
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
If you're not obsessed with Mindy Kaling yet, get with the program. Another Indian-American comedian kicking butt on television, Kaling's story of how she made it as an actress/writer is combined with her characteristic wit and attitude to make a book that feels like your best friend. Once you've plowed through this one, be sure to pick up her second book, Why Not Me?
4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
One of the coolest things about Master of None is that, on top of being incredibly entertaining, it really digs deeply into issues of race, sexism, and more. To go even further, dive into this essential essay collection by Roxane Gay. These sharp, hard-hitting, and insightful essays will electrify the way you think about the world.
5. The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich
Comedy and love join forces again in this page turner of a short story collection. From a story told from the point of a condom to the tale of God trying to balance his career with a long term girlfriend, these stories are slightly more absurd than Master of None — they're the kind of thing I can see Dev and Arnold cooking up in hypotheticals as they take a meandering walk to a taco truck.
6. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The parents episode of Master of None was on point. For more first-generation feels, this classic is the quintessential read about the relationship between immigrant parents and their children. Following the stories of four Chinese mothers and their respective daughters, The Joy Luck Club digs into the divides and connections that can form between generations.
Images: K.C. Bailey/Netflix; Giphy