Friday, March 22, 2013

TV Show Read Alikes

You may've seen our blog post earlier this year suggesting read alikes for three popular comedic TV shows: Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Warehouse 13. This week we're taking a stab at suggesting books for fans of three popular dramas.

Mad Men
The much anticipated sixth season of AMC's popular series about the social changes of the 1960s and '70s through the lens of a New York advertising agency will begin airing on April 7th.

If that's not soon enough for you, there's more than a few books to tide you over. The New York Public Library has created several reading lists and various bloggers track the books the show's characters read. We'll limit our suggestions to four titles.

If you tune in for the relationship drama, infidelity, and changing gender roles and expectations, try Richard Yates' 1961 novel about life in the suburbs, Revolutionary Road. The novel also served as the basis for a 2008 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Similarily, Penny Vincenzi's More Than You Know follows a contentious divorce and custody case in 1960s London that delves into classicism, sexism, and the drama of relationships.

If you're intrigued by Don Draper's rise through the cutthroat ranks of the advertising world, try An Object of Beauty by the witty Steve Martin. Lacey Yeager claws her way to the top of the '90s art market in New York City. Or more directly, check out Mad Men Unbuttoned by Natasha Vargas-Cooper, which provides a historical context for the show, from profiles of the characters to comparisons with actual 1960s ad men.

This on going NBC series about life after the apocalypse taps into the current popularity for dystopian landscapes. Specifically, in this future humanity no longer has access to electricity, and American society has fractured in the attempt to survive. The series focuses on the efforts of a family who may have the keys to restore power to the world, and particularly on the older sister's quest to keep her brother safe from a dangerous militia.

Because the first season is still airing on television, no DVDs have been released that can be added to C-SPL's collection, but luckily there's no shortage of books! You've probably heard about The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, which will have a second movie out in theaters later this year. We've put together two read alike lists for this series (here and here), but Revolution fans should be sure to check out Ashes by Ilsa Bick about a teen girl struggling in a world where all electronics suddenly stop functioning. Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling also explores life in a world where electronics have all failed. There's little mystery behind civilization's collapse in Mike Mullin's Ashfall, but Dubuquers will get a special thrill reading about a teen trying to survive and find his family after the volcano under Yellowstone explodes turning North Eastern Iowa into a dangerous wasteland.

Person of Interest
This CBS crime thriller is currently in its second season. The plot follows a vigilante team as they attempt to stop crimes before they happen. The team was organized by a mysterious computer genius who designed predictive surveillance equipment for the government.

Phillip K Dick's 1956 story Minority Report explores the ramifications of a technology that allows the authorities to identify criminals before they commit a crime. This fast-paced story served a loose basis for a film adaptation starring Tom Cruise.

If you enjoy the deductive skills and detective work employed by the show's characters, you can't go wrong with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes. Alternatively, the crime fighting skills of Batman might be more your style. Try Scott Snyder's Batman: Court of Owls, which presents Gotham City's hero with a gritty murder mystery or the Birds of Prey series, which features a team of superheroines including Black Canary and Batgirl.

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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