13 Books to Binge-Read Based on Your Favorite Type of TV Show

By Stephanie Brown
Assortment of various books laid out on a purple surface, suggesting a diverse reading list for book lovers.

For when you’re ready to turn off the TV and dive into your new favorite book.

Books and TV shows are often unfairly pitted against each other. And to that, we say, Why not both? Whether you’re an avid reader and streamer or you want to turn off the TV for the night and settle in with an absorbing read, we’re here to help you discover your next book based on your favorite type of show.

Love offbeat comedies like Arrested Development or Barry? You should read:

Portrait of a smiling mature man on the cover of his autobiography titled "being henry - the fonz...and beyond" by henry winkler.

Being Henry

By Henry Winkler

Fans of hilariously off-kilter comedies like Arrested Development, Children’s Hospital, Parks and Rec, or Barry are sure to enjoy Henry Winkler’s delightful new memoir, Being Henry — after all, Winkler is a fixture on all four of those shows. Of course, the Emmy Award–winning actor, comedian, and producer is best known for his star-making turn as Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli on the sitcom Happy Days, and in his memoir he shares plenty of funny showbiz tales and behind-the-scenes anecdotes that will delight longtime followers. And yet, Being Henry is far from your typical celebrity memoir. Throughout, Winkler opens up about his lifelong struggle with severe dyslexia, grappling with self-doubt, and reckoning with the pressures and expectations of a leather-clad, larger-than-life role that threatened to overshadow the rest of his career. Radiating a self-deprecating warmth, just like Winkler himself, Being Henry “is a heartfelt chronicle of learning to love one’s self, shortcomings and all” (Publishers Weekly).

Can't get enough compelling sports dramas like Swagger or Winning Time? You should read:

A basketball player in a purple and gold jersey with the number 32 is making an overhead pass against an abstract background featuring large yellow letters — the cover of a book called "the life of earvin 'magic' johnson" by roland lazenby.


By Roland Lazenby

If you love sports dramas and you’re bummed that Winning Time was canceled, fill the hoop-shaped hole in your heart with this electrifying biography of basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Roland Lazenby, the renowned sports writer and author of Michael Jordan: The Life, Magic, gives a full accounting of Johnson’s life and times, faults and all. A powerhouse on the court who possessed a dazzling star presence, Johnson led the L.A. Lakers to greatness during the team’s 1979 to 1991 Showtime era and helped elevate American basketball to worldwide entertainment. Yet, Johnson’s life story is also marked by moments of controversy, from off-court excesses and professional battles to the startling announcement in 1991 of his HIV status, followed by his abrupt retirement. Lazenby presents this complex figure through hundreds of interviews with teammates, rivals, coaches, loved ones, and more, delivering a captivating basketball book about a revolutionary player who changed the game.

Obsessed with real-life investigative shows like Frontline or 20/20? You should read:

Bad city: peril and power in the city of angels by paul pringle, a master class in investigative journalism as extolled by the new york times and winner of the pulitzer prize.

Bad City

By Paul Pringle

This acclaimed work of investigative journalism will keep you on the edge of your seat just like your favorite late-night investigative TV show. Written by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Paul Pringle and unfolding like a real-life noir novel, Bad City tells the unbelievable true story of corruption at the heart of Los Angeles’s most powerful institutions. The investigation begins with a tip about a drug overdose at a high-end hotel involving Dr. Carmen Puliafito, head of the University of Southern California’s distinguished medical school. Pringle, a reporter at the L.A. Times, looks into the lead. But as he and his colleagues begin to dig, they uncover a widening web of corruption and cover-ups that spreads across the greater Los Angeles area and inches dangerously close to their home turf. “Paul Pringle’s Bad City is an earth-shattering tale of appalling institutional corruption ― and the inspiring reporters who overcame shocking obstacles to bring the truth to light” (Robert Kolker, bestselling author of Lost Girls).

Do riveting true crime documentaries keep you up at night? First, you should read:

The cover of the book "unmasked: my life solving america's cold cases" by paul holes with robin gaby fisher, featuring a centered image of the author, with the title prominently displayed and critical acclaim from the los angeles magazine.


By Paul Holes

If your streaming queue is overstuffed with true crime documentaries, you must check out Unmasked, a powerful first-person true crime book by Paul Holes. Holes is the legendary forensic detective who tracked down the Golden State Killer. Indeed, he’s helped solve some of America’s toughest cold cases, from the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg serial murders. In Unmasked, Holes recounts his experiences on these investigations, offering a harrowing glimpse into the life of a cold case forensic detective. The author also opens up about the sacrifices he’s had to make and the serious toll his job has had on his personal life. Throughout, Holes never loses sight of what matters most: compassion for the victims and an unflagging commitment to delivering justice.

...Then read:

A haunting true crime narrative set against the backdrop of lgbtq history in new york city, "last call" by elon green unveils a chilling story of love, loss, and murder.

Last Call

By Elon Green

For a double-dose of exceptional true crime, crack open Last Call, the Edgar Award–winning work by New Yorker journalist Elon Green. The book centers on the case of the Last Call Killer, a serial murderer who targeted gay men in the New York City area in the 1980s and 1990s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Green’s acclaimed narrative is far more than a by-the-numbers true crime tale: It’s a vivid portrait of NYC’s gay culture and a damning indictment of societal and institutional indifference toward victims from marginalized communities. Indeed, Last Call refreshingly turns away from the lurid details of the crimes and instead champions the strength of the gay community in the face of ongoing violence and social ostracization.

Gripped by the atmospheric mystery dramas like Sharp Objects or Mare of Easttown? You should read:

A mystical and haunting book cover for "the kingdoms of savannah" by george dawes green, featuring an ornate and regal title design superimposed over a deep green, swampy backdrop with a solitary, striking red chair partially submerged in water.

The Kingdoms of Savannah

By George Dawes Green

This modern Southern Gothic murder mystery and Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award winner is a treat for readers who love getting lost in beguiling crime dramas where the setting is practically a character in the show. Written by Moth founder George Dawes Green, The Kingdoms of Savannah is set against the bewitching backdrop of Savannah, Georgia. Morgana Musgrove, a doyenne of Savannah’s high society, is tasked with solving the murder of a man and the disappearance of his companion from outside a local bar. Morgana may seem like an unlikely detective for this particular mystery, but she’s no ordinary individual. After enlisting her four grown children to help in the investigation, she sets out into the balmy Savannah night to crack the case. As the investigation deepens, however, she and her children uncover scary truths about the fabled city and its dark and troubled history that threaten to shake Savannah to its core.

Hypnotized by psychological thrillers like Hannibal or The Stranger? You should read:

A book cover of "the silent patient" by alex michaelides, featuring a partial face with lips sealed, hinting at the theme of silence or secrecy.

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides’ blockbuster psychological thriller is the perfect next-read for fans of nerve-jangling, mind-bending crime thrillers packed with plot twists. The Silent Patient introduces us to Alicia Berenson, a wealthy British painter who seems to have it all: a beautiful home, a successful career, and a famous fashion photographer husband. But the picture-perfect facade comes crashing down one night when she shoots her partner five times in the face and then refuses to speak another word. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, takes up Berenson’s case. He’s determined to break through to his silent patient and uncover what really happened that night. But he may not be ready for what he’s about to discover. If you can’t wait to find out what happens next, pick up this book immediately! Afterward, check out The Maidens, Michaelides’ acclaimed dark academia thriller from 2021, and keep an evil eye out for The Fury, the author’s upcoming thriller set for publication in January 2024.

Are you inspired by culinary shows like The Chef's Table or The Lost Kitchen? You should read:

A joyful woman cooking in a cozy, rustic kitchen, featured on the cover of the book "big heart, little stove" by erin french.

Big Heart Little Stove

By Erin French

Fans of delectable cooking shows will love this gorgeous and inspirational new cookbook full of mouthwatering recipes. In Big Heart Little Stove, Erin French, owner of beloved Maine restaurant The Lost Kitchen and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Finding Freedom, pulls more than 75 recipes from her award-winning restaurant’s menu so you can cook like a chef at home. Alongside appetizing recipes for Salted Caramel Custard and Pickle-Brined Roast Chicken, French offers tips to elevate your cooking game while finding simple joy in creating memories and connections in the kitchen. Bon appétit!

Love to laugh-cry over bighearted family dramedies like This Is Us or A Million Little Things? First, you should read:

A book cover with a dark blue background featuring colorful floral illustrations with the title "the connellys of county down" by tracey lange prominently displayed in white and light purple lettering.

The Connellys of County Down

By Tracey Lange

This heartwarming book about family drama and second chances will deliver the feels like your favorite dramedy. When Tara is released from a short stint in prison at the age of 30, she’s forced to move in with her siblings to get her life back on track. Of course, her siblings have plenty of their own issues to sort out. Tara’s brother is a single dad struggling with ongoing medical complications, while her sister is buckling under the weight of long-held family secrets. No matter: Tara is determined to create a new life for herself, and maybe find a chance at love along the way. But when the Connellys’ simmering situation finally threatens to boil over, the entire family must come together and work through their troubles if they hope to thrive.

...Then read:

Suburban serenity: a novel of everyday drama and secrets behind closed doors.

If We're Being Honest

By Cat Shook

While a funeral may not seem like the ideal setting for a hilariously relatable family dramedy, we assure you that this charming novel by Cat Shook delivers plenty of laughter and more than a few tears. If We’re Being Honest is set in Eulalia, Georgia, where the close-knit Williams clan gathers to mourn the passing of their patriarch, Gerry Williams. But the funeral takes an unexpected turn when secrets of the heart are revealed during the eulogy. In the wake of this revelation, cousins, parents, aunts, and uncles all must grapple with their overlapping feelings of loss, surprise, confusion, and often funny familial dramas.

Enjoy being swept away by historical dramas like Pachinko or The Crown? You should read:

Beyond That, the Sea

By Laura Spence-Ash

Laura Spence-Ash’s sweeping literary love story has captured the hearts of book lovers everywhere, and we’re sure fans of historical dramas like Pachinko or The Crown will adore it too. The coming-of-age narrative begins in 1940 and introduces us to Bea, a young Londoner whose working-class parents send her away to Boston so that she might escape the devastation of World War II. Initially shocked by the move, Bea soon settles into her new life in the United States with her wealthy surrogate family, drifting away from her former identity and transforming into a new person. But when the war in Europe ends and Bea’s parents summon her back to London, Bea finds herself caught between two homes as she strives to find her place in the world. Spanning WWII to the 1970s and told through a chorus of narrative voices, Beyond That, the Sea is a joy to read. Like any great historical fiction drama, the novel vividly re-creates the places and people of the past as it explores how world-changing events play out within the lives of ordinary folks.

Enjoy delving into history documentaries? You should read:

An artistic book cover titled "flee north" featuring bold typography over a suggestive, smoke-like illustration, with a subtitle reading "a forgotten hero and the fight for freedom in slavery's borderland" by scott shane.

Flee North

By Scott Shane

A must-read for American history enthusiasts, Flee North tells the incredible story of Thomas Smallwood, a courageous abolitionist in 19th-century America who coined the phrase “underground railroad.” Smallwood was born into slavery in 1801 Maryland. After gaining his own freedom, he began orchestrating covert escapes, helping hundreds of enslaved people break free from bondage and find freedom in the North. Joining forces with fellow activist Charles Torrey, Smallwood organized escapes from Washington, Baltimore, and the surrounding counties, staying one step ahead of brutal slave traders all while documenting his victories and championing the fight for freedom through satirical newspaper columns. Written by two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author Scott Shane, Flee North is an “astonishing and propulsive narrative [that] rights a historical wrong by returning Smallwood to prominence. It’s an absolute must-read” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Moved by powerful nature documentaries like Planet Earth? You should read:

Cover of the book "birdgirl" by mya-rose craig featuring illustrations of colorful birds perched on branches, accompanied by the inspirational statement "looking to the skies in search of a better future.


By Mya-Rose Craig

Twenty-one-year-old Mya-Rose Craig (better known as “Birdgirl” online) is a renowned ornithologist, environmentalist, and social justice activist committed to equal access to nature and combating the climate and biodiversity-loss crises. At the age of 17, she became the youngest person to see half of the world’s bird species and received an honorary doctor of science from the University of Bristol for her important work. In other words, Craig is a veritable force of nature, and her moving nature memoir Birdgirl makes the ideal read for anyone who’s passionate about protecting the planet. Across its pages, Craig shares stories of traveling the world with her family to study exotic birds and document Earth’s fragile grandeur. She also reflects on her mother’s deepening mental health crisis and how her family drew solace from nature in the midst of their struggle. Suffused with passion and urgency, Birdgirl captures the transformative power of nature and the necessity of fighting for environmental and racial justice.

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