binge-worthy books

5 Binge-worthy Books: What to Read When You’re All Streamed Out

If you loved these Netflix shows, then you should read these books!

By Jennifer Merritt

Need a new fix after binging all three seasons of Narcos? Maybe you’re waiting for Stranger Things to come back, or weren’t sufficiently creeped out by You. Consider picking up one of these five books that follow the same themes you first fell in love with, just in book form. Good reading is a great way to take up your newly found free time.

Read Bad Behavior if you binged Russian Doll
Over the course of Nadia’s recurring Groundhog Day-like deaths, she makes a series of questionable (or flat-out bad) choices, knowing she has the next day to do it all over again (at least until she figures out what the eff is going on). In Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill’s short story collection from 1988, we encounter a troupe of women who suffer from much of the same malaise as Nadia–loneliness, guilt, longing–and in the same occasionally soul-crushing city: New York. The difference here is that Gaitskill’s vignettes don’t always end tied up with a nice little bow, particularly when read through the modern-day lens of #MeToo.

Read Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic if you binged Narcos
This show, based on the rise of “cocaine and the futile war against it,” premiered in 2015, yet remains one of Netflix’s most popular series because of its complex characters and realism. Sam Quinones’ Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, offers the same, but while Narcos takes viewers back in time, Dreamland takes its readers through the present-day opioid crisis that spans from small towns in Mexico to an executive suite in Stamford, Connecticut. Dreamland is no less captivating, though possibly way more frustrating because the story Quinones weaves is, sadly, real life.

Read Planning Penelope if you binged You
Yes, we know the series You is an actual book of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, but if you can’t get enough high-stakes stalker drama, there’s plenty more to be had. Erin Lockwood’s Planning Penelope is told from the point of view of a stalker and, much like You, is referred to in countless reviews as “twisted, but in a good way.”

Read Wrestling With Girls if you binged Glow
Any fan of Glow knows that the show is about way more than female wrestling; so is Wrestling With Girls by Alan Lewis. Here, the main character is a male wrestler in the 1950s, a time when wrestling was on the verge of taking over TV. A “lifelong loser,” Hack Hallestrom is really down on his luck–there’s a hitman after him, as well as several women: “his wife, the woman he thinks he’s married to, and the woman he wants to marry.”

Read Paper Girls if you binged Stranger Things
The hit Netflix sci-fi drama returns in July, and there are plenty of similar options available to quench your Stranger Things thirst until then. Stephen King comes to mind as an irrefutable (if somewhat obvious) choice, particularly It. That’s why we dug a little deeper to uncover Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. The ‘80s-era sci-fi comic comes in a 25-issue series and tells the story of a group of young misfit preteens who encounter a lot of mystery that begins the morning after Halloween 1988. The striking difference? This cast is all female, and all drawn by Chiang, the artist behind none other than Wonder Woman.

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