In fifth grade, I was forced to smuggle “Sweet Valley High” books out of my middle school’s library under my uniform. The series lived on the green-stickered, junior high shelf which meant that I wouldn’t have official access for two more years. Desperate times had called for desperate measures, as one can imagine. Since I could tell just from the front cover that the twins were sratty AF, there was no way that I was going to sit around re-reading “The Boxcar Children” like an absolute peasant when I could be living vicariously through my girls Jessie and Elizabeth as they lived the dream and talked to cute boys.
If you wanted to live on the edge between the hours of 8AM and 3PM in grade school, you had two options. You could either pass notes and risk the exposure of your crush on Alex S. being broadcasted to your entire Social Studies class via that mega-geed Ms. Campbell, or you could covertly read under your desk. Back in the day, all the cool kids read. “Goosebumps,” “Animorphs,” “The Clique,” choose-your-own-adventures, you name it. Cell phones still hadn’t really hit the mainstream, and you can bet that even the parents of that lucky S.O.B. with a coveted flip phone hadn’t sprung for unlimited texting. And at 25-cents a pop, there was no way you were going to waste a coveted text on a friend who was sitting a mere fifteen feet from you.
I know, I know. We live in a different world now, if you don’t send blue messages, don’t even look at me, Netflix is bae et cetera et cetera. I would like to know when, exactly, it happened that reading became less cool. When did everyone decide to trade their copies of “Where the Red Fern Grows” in for episodes of Girls? Don’t get me wrong. I worship Jessa just as much as the next girl does, but I still believe that there is a definite place in our daily lives for quality time spent with a good book.
Books are fab because you can take them anywhere, they have endless battery life, and somehow no matter how many times you reread them, you’re able to pick up on new details and develop fresh understanding. Arguably, the same can be said of a really great TV show, so I’ve paired some of the classics with the classics.
Below are a series of authors that are reminiscent of your favorite on-screen entertainment in case you need some fresh blood in your bookshelf to remind you why you love to turn pages.
If you liked (or loved, or worshiped- no judgement) Gossip Girl, try on F. Scott Fitzgerald for size. While you may have read the Great Gatsby in high school, it’s nowhere near the best book in his canon. Fitzgerald’s characters crash and burn more often than Chuck Bass, and his tantalizing descriptions of the nouveau rich will have you wondering when he’s going to introduce Dan Humphrey (in “The Beautiful and Damned,” Maury Noble).
If Gossip Girl wasn’t your thing but you’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City twice, look into Lauren Weisberger. She penned “The Devil Wears Prada,” and her other works bring to life the same young-girls-in-the-city type vibes. Weisberger writes like a fun older sister, and you’ll finish each book wondering how you can find her phone number to invite her out for drinks.
If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, obsessed with American Horror Story, check out Agatha Christie. Though she is a little more mystery-centric than horror-consumed, her suspenseful concoctions will have you on the edge of your seat. Christie has written countless fiction thrillers, and her sharp detective wit will leave you addicted.
If you’ve convinced yourself you basically have a law degree thanks to the amount of Law and Order you’ve watched over the years, enter John Grisham. This king of the legal thriller will have you flipping pages faster than Law and Order: Trial By Jury was canceled. His characters are engaging and relatable, his plot twists are mind-boggling, and if you don’t put down “A Time To Kill” a changed lady, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Lovers of The Office and Parks and Rec, look no further than the memoirs of your favorite female comediennes, Tina Fey and Amy Pohler. These two women are just as funny in print as they are on screen. Both Fey and Poehler could just walk down the street and somehow make it hilarious. Luckily for us, their silly yet witty personalities come across well on paper and will leave you glad they ended up in the careers that they did.
If you are addicted to the heebie-jeebie inducing CSI, check out “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit” by Mark Seal. This stranger-than-fiction biography reads like something straight out of a Stephen King novel. From the get-go, you’re swept up in the whirlwind of intrigue surrounding Clark Rockefeller, a German immigrant who succeeded in duping everyone into believing that he was one of those Rockefellers for over twelve years. The con man posed as countless personas in his multi-decade stint in America, culminating in a murder conviction you have to read to believe.
If your honest to God favorite show is Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I really don’t know what to tell you. Of course, I follow every single one on social media and I haven’t missed an episode since 2008, but who wants to read the literature version of a drunken brawl between Kris and Scott. Actually, that sounds pretty interesting, but so far I haven’t found a comparable author and I shudder to imagine what one would be like. Maybe just stick to magazines..