TV’s top shows are suspended as the strike continues. These 10 books are replacement therapy


10 Books to Replace Your Favorite TV Show

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With no deal (so far) to end the strikes that have shut down Hollywood, many of your favorite shows, not to mention must-see events like the Emmys, are on hold. Which means you’re looking elsewhere for diversion. (Well, unless your thing is true crime or reality.) If you take your stories to two dimensions, you’re in luck. Fall is the season for big new books and this year is no exception. If you want to adapt your reading to compensate for what’s missing from your screen, here are 10 books that are perfect stand-ins (or better substitutes) for your favorite shows.

In case you missed it: “The Yellow Jackets”
Read: “girls on fire” by Robin Wasserman

When we put our cannibalistic teenage football players and their grown-up counterparts in the “Yellowjackets,” things were getting deliciously twisted. Fortunately, YA novelist Robin Wasserman’s 2016 adult debut, “Girls on Fire,” boasts an overabundance of violently intense female friendships to tide us over until Season 3. Wasserman’s novel is an enticing, lucid, incredibly smart tale of teenagers, their unreality. Infatuation, their need to dominate and submit to each other. Probably more realistic than “Yellowjackets”. But just as dark and satisfying.

If you missed: “Stranger Things”
Read: “My Best Friend’s Exorcism“by Grady Hendrix

The 1980s? Demon possession? teenager? Campy horror? check check check check Hendrix’s 2017 cult classic offers a story out of the Duffer Brothers’ playbook (or perhaps it’s the other way around). With humor, nostalgia and straight-up horror, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a perfect placeholder until we can turn to the upside.

If you missed: “Andor” or “The Mandalorian”
Read: “Star Wars: The High Republic” series

Great books don’t usually come to mind when thinking about the Lucasfilm empire. And yet, for some time now, Lucasfilm Press has been publishing novels and stories by exciting writers (Alex Segura, Charles Yu, Adam Gidwitz) that have reinvented and revitalized the movie tie-in genre. A standout chronicles the satisfying young-adult “High Republic” series, taking place 350 to 50 years before the Skywalker story; It’s exceptionally well-crafted, offers a range of voices and moods, and easily fills the Death Star-shaped hole where your “Star Wars” spinoff should be.

"all day and night" By Alphare Burke

In case you missed it: “Law & Order”
Read: Eli Hatcher SeriesBy Alphare Burke

Yes, yes, there it is again, sure. A lot. But nothing satisfies like “Law & Order” you’ve never seen before, except perhaps a book by Alphare Burke, whose grasp of New York City is second to none. His exceptionally smart and twisty Ellie Hatcher series is a perfect alternative to the long-running Dick Wolf shows. Even if the crimes were Burke’s invention, you’d swear they were ripped from the headlines.

In case you missed it: “Dragon’s House”
Read: “Heald“By Nicola Griffiths

Who needs those dragons when a 12-year-old wields a seer axe? Such a fantasy gilds Lily in Nicola Griffith’s brilliant 2013 novel “Hilde” — a fictional reimagining of the young life of the girl who would grow up to become St. Hilda. There’s not much saintliness here but plenty of blood and treachery as Hilde navigates the warring kingdoms of 7th-century Britain at the dawn of Christianity. Griffith’s novel is mysterious, beautiful and poetic, brilliant in its adventure and its reverence.

"overnight pharmacy," By Ruth Madievsky

In case you missed it: “Euphoria”
Read: “All Night Pharmacy” by Ruth Madievsky

As much as I love “Euphoria,” sometimes the show’s exploitation of teenage addiction and sexuality gives me the creeps — or rather, it makes me feel like a creep. Fortunately, “Euphoria” has all the heart and humor of Ruth Madievsky’s intoxicating neo-noir. Lack Set in a dark, bleak Los Angeles cityscape, “All Night Pharmacy” follows a young woman struggling with sobriety, sexuality and the disappearance of her very complicated sister. Madievsky’s prose crackles like a live wire throughout this sometimes hilarious, always depressing novel.

In case you missed it: “Separation”
Read: “blinds“, by Adam Sternberg

Sternberg’s speculative western suspense novel takes on the same landscape as “Separation.” – An experimental reality where people are governed by rules beyond their understanding. Sometimes it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s in “The Blinds.” But that is precisely the point and the joy of this extraordinarily original novel of good, evil and the human experiment.

'Breeding,' by Louisa Hall

In case you missed it: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Read: “Breeding“By Louisa Hall

Fans of Bruce Miller’s award-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel need only read the news for their daily dose of government interference with women’s bodies and rights. But if you’re looking for something more poetic — and more grounded — about the body horrors of fertility, “Breeding” will horrify and surprise. Hall’s almost surreal meditation on pregnancy, childhood, parenthood and a planet on the brink of collapse has enough real-world horror that you won’t miss the little speculative television.

In case you missed it: “Penguin”
Read: “Gangsterland” seriesBy Todd Goldberg

Many of us have been patiently waiting for Craig Zobel’s stylish HBO gangster series starring Colin Farrell as the Batman villain-cum-mob boss. Fortunately, Goldberg has been in the unusual gangster game for a while. With the recent publication of “Gangsters Don’t Die,” he has wrapped up the most improbable and extraordinary series of mob fiction ever written (featuring a mob boss who goes undercover as a rabbi). As always, Goldberg’s latest book is funny, violent, and a bit snarky. In other words, just like the best DC villains.

If you missed: “The Last of Us”
Read: “The night is ours“, by Mariana Enriquez

“Our Share of Night” is a completely incomplete book — overflowing with psychic cults, parallel universes, political upheaval in Argentina and even the AIDS crisis. But when Enriquez’s novel grips you, it’s hard to put down. Like “The Last of Us,” it follows a flawed father figure trying to protect an anointed son from those who fear him or want him to do wrong. Despite the supernatural horrors and supernatural violence, the book has more beating heart than you can tear apart.

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