Books

What to Read Based on Your Latest Netflix Binge

Quarantine has taught me that there are two things I love to do when I can’t travel: read and binge Netflix shows. Preferably with a large amount of take-out sushi in front of me.

Sound about right?

If you’re looking for the perfect book to compliment your latest Netflix obsession (or, vice versa, if you want a show that goes with a favourite book), check out my paired picks below!

Heads up: Affiliate links below! I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org (an online bookshop that donates 10% of proceeds to independent bookstores) and I will earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase. 

Somebody Feed Phil/Save Me the Plums

Somebody Feed Phil poster, Save Me the Plums book cover

Buy Save Me the Plums here

I love watching food shows on Netflix. I’m a fan of Ugly Delicious, Nadiya’s Time to Eat, Street Food, Great British Bake Off and more! But my favourite is Somebody Feed Phil. This show combines delicious food with beautiful places around the world and the most dorky and sweet host. This show is wholesome, lovely and will make you drool. Which is exactly how I felt about Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl. This is one of a few memoirs from Ruth, documenting her time as Editor in Chief at Gourmet. Like Phil, Ruth loves food and had a very different approach to it than her magazine predecessors.

Queer Eye/Tiny Beautiful Things

Queer Eye poster, Tiny Beautiful Things cover

Buy Tiny Beautiful Things here

If you haven’t watched the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, you need to. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love this show. It’s funny, heartwarming and wise all at once – exactly like my book pick, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. You may know Cheryl Strayed from her memoir, Wild, but I actually prefer this book much more. Tiny Beautiful Things is an advice column from when Cheryl used to be a media personality named Sugar that people would write to for advice. Sometimes the stories are heartbreaking, but Cheryl’s advice is always so considerate and wise. Each chapter is like a warm hug, which is how I feel after an episode of Queer Eye!

Riverdale/The Margot Affair

Riverdale poster, The Margot Affair cover

Buy The Margot Affair here

Full disclosure: I’ve seen about 1.5 episodes of Riverdale. But my understanding is that it’s an angsty teen show that’s got romance and a weird supernatural element that sometimes goes too far. It’s not my kind of show, which is probably why I’m recommending a book I also didn’t love, The Margot Affair. The Margot Affair is about a 17 year old, Margot, who is navigating school and a tricky relationship with her parents, as she’s part of her dad’s secret second family. There’s a lot of emotions and weird relationships, as well as a little supernatural scene, which sounds like Riverdale to me!

Money Heist/Catch and Kill

Money Heist poster, Catch and Kill cover

Buy Catch and Kill here

Money Heist is a Spanish drama about a group of thieves who want to pull off the biggest heist of all time. While I don’t read very many heist books, I do think Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow would be a great accompaniment to this show. Why? Because the shit Harvey Weinstein and his team pulled off to cover up his crimes feels like the biggest heist of all time. Ronan’s book is captivating, infuriating and impossible to put down. You get to go along on the journalism hunt with him as he pulls back layer upon layer of deceit meant to protect predators in Hollywood.

Waco/The Road to Jonestown

Waco poster, The Road to Jonestown cover

Buy The Road to Jonestown here

This was an easy pairing. If you’re into cults, you’ll want to read this incredibly comprehensive book by Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown. Like the Branch Davidians at Waco, Jonestown also ended in a stand-off with military/police and a mass suicide (spoilers, but I assume you knew!). The Road to Jonestown is the complete story of how Jim Jones created his cult and built his compound in the jungles of Guyana. It’s a pretty thick book, but true crime and cult enthusiasts will appreciate the detail.

Sweet Magnolias/The Flatshare

Sweet Magnolias poster, The Flatshare cover

Buy The Flatshare here

Sweet Magnolias was a highlight of quarantine for me. I remember binging it while I baked in my kitchen and everything felt light and happy for a moment. This show is about three ladies in the south, their relationships and their businesses; it is sweet and just a little bit cheesy. Which is how I would describe The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. This romance is super cute (there is a lot of flirting via sticky notes involved!) and has that happy ending feeling that Sweet Magnolias offers. While The Flatshare is set in London and not the American south, you still get the feeling that you’re somewhere different (that is, if you’re not from London!).

Love is Blind/The Unhoneymooners

Love is Blind poster, The Unhoneymooners cover

Buy The Unhoneymooners here

I will admit that I binged all of Love is Blind in about three days back when quarantine first started. It is total trash but I was hooked and couldn’t stop watching. I even started listening to a Love is Blind podcast after the show. I think this show pairs perfectly with The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. The Unhoneymooners is a romantic comedy with a enemies-to-lovers trope. Like the cast of Love is Blind, in this book two people who don’t really know each other get sent off to a romantic island where they’re forced to be a couple. And then they have to come back to the real world and see if their relationship works. It’s a little cheesy, just like the show, but a lot of fun too!

Unsolved Mysteries/American Predator

Unsolved Mysteries poster, American Predator cover

Buy American Predator here

If you’re a true crime fan like me, then you’ve watched a lot of shows on Netflix to help fuel your obsession. You’ve watched Mindhunter, Making a Murderer, Abducted in Plain Sight, and both the Zac Efron and the documentary version of the Ted Bundy story. Unsolved Mysteries is just one more Netflix show to add to your arsenal. Of course, most of these shows could easily be paired up with their book inspiration; Mindhunter the Netflix series is based off the book Mindhunter by John Douglas (which I highly recommend!). But I wanted to be a little more creative, and so I’m recommending American Predator by Maureen Callahan. I read this book late last year and couldn’t put it down. It’s captivating and you feel like you’re solving the mystery right alongside detectives.

Floor is Lava/Wow, No Thank You

The Floor is Lava poster, Wow No Thank You cover

Buy Wow, No Thank You here

Floor is Lava is that game we all played as kids where the floor turned to lava and you had to make your way across the room without stepping on the floor. Only now it’s adults and it’s much funnier when they fall. Is this a dumb precise for a show? Absolutely! But sometimes you just need to laugh. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with Wow, No Thank You, the latest book by Samantha Irby. This essay collection is hilarious. I listened to it on audiobook (read by the author!) and was often chuckling out loud. I think I’m insulting Samantha a little by pairing her smart writing with this silly show, but I think she’d let it slide.

Selling Sunset/The Gifted School

Selling Sunset poster, The Gifted School cover

Buy The Gifted School here

I was late to the game with Selling Sunset, only watching it in mid-August. But you better believe I binged the whole thing – all three seasons – in just a couple of days. Something about rich people and real estate is irresistible to me, and the millions of others who watched too. It reminded me a lot of The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger. This book tells the story of a community where a new gifted school is opening, and what the parents do to try and one up each other to get their kids in. Like Selling Sunset, it’s about rich adults competing over things that feel a little unrelatable to the rest of us, but that provides the drama that sucks us in.

Ozark/Nine Perfect Strangers

Ozark poster, Nine Perfect Strangers cover

Buy Nine Perfect Strangers here

Ozark is a family drama about crime and money. I haven’t started the series myself but everyone I know who watched it is totally addicted. I’m not sure it’s my kind of show, but I can understand the appeal. Which is kind of how I felt about Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (best known as the author of Big Little Lies). This is a character driven book with lots of complex relationships and family drama. It’s also a psychological thriller, and despite not loving the book, I couldn’t put it down once the plot started to pick up.

Parks and Recreation/Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Parks and Recreation poster, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine cover

Buy Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine here 

Parks and Recreation was one of our biggest binges this summer. We started from season one and watched all the way through to season seven, including the Zoom reunion. I love this show because it’s funny, light-hearted and full of quirky characters. Which is the same feeling I got after reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor Oliphant is certainly a quirky character, but like Leslie Knope, you can’t help but root for her even when she starts to irritate you. This was one of my favourite books I read last year and I highly recommend this sweet, quirky and well-written piece of fiction.

Find your next great read here! 


What do you think of my picks? I’d love to know what you’re binging on Netflix these days. Let me know in the comments and I can try and give you a book recommendation to go with it!

 

Share my book recommendations – Pin it! 

WHAT TO READ BASED ON YOUR LATEST NETFLIX BINGE! Watching Tiger King, Riverdale, Selling Sunset, Ozark or some other show on Netflix? Check out this list of books recommended for you based on your favorite Netflix shows! #netflix #books #book #reading #booklist #tbr #readinglist #bookblog

WHAT TO READ BASED ON YOUR LATEST NETFLIX BINGE! Watching Tiger King, Riverdale, Selling Sunset, Ozark or some other show on Netflix? Check out this list of books recommended for you based on your favorite Netflix shows! #netflix #books #book #reading #booklist #tbr #readinglist

WHAT TO READ BASED ON YOUR LATEST NETFLIX BINGE! Watching Tiger King, Riverdale, Selling Sunset, Ozark or some other show on Netflix? Check out this list of books recommended for you based on your favorite Netflix shows! #netflix #books #book #reading #booklist #tbr #readinglist

38 Comments

  • Serena

    Some great recommendations here! I really enjoyed both Sweet Magnolias and The Flatshare! I also loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, so I’ll have to watch Parks and Recreation at some point!

  • Jaya Avendel

    Oo, I love that you have paired books with popular Netflix shows! I enjoy a good book more then a show and always love a good story and good writing, so I will be checking out a couple of these reads as well as the shows; I have not seen Love Is Blind, but I loved the UnHoneymooners 🙂

    • Riana

      Such a great book! One of my favourite reads from last year. If you haven’t read it yet, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” has similar vibes.

  • Clarissa Cabbage

    Wow, what a creative format for a post, I love it! My partner has been watching the unsolved mysteries, and parks and rec is our absolute favorite! We’ll have to check out the corresponding books. Thanks so much!

  • Brooklyn

    Waco was so good! I loved it, and thought it was really well done. I really need to watch Unsolved Mysteries, I think I’d love that show.

    Netflix and reading is basically what I did during lockdown.

  • Savannah

    Excellent post! I’m obsessed with these pairings and am also really intrigued by all of the book choices, which sound extremely up my alley. Thank you so much for this! I’m really excited to dig in.

  • Stephanie

    This was such a fun article to read! I haven’t seen some of the shows or read some of the books, but it’s interesting to see what you match together. I love a lot of these and now I have some new book recs!

  • Emma

    I’m basically going down this list checking off the ones I’ve seen and now writing down the books I need to buy. I have Tiny Beautiful Things so need to get reading that. And loved Money Heist and Ozark so think I’d like their partnered books too

    • Riana

      Hope you enjoy your new reading recommendations! Tiny Beautiful Things is so sweet and easy to just read a chapter here and there when you’re in the mood.

  • The Holidaymaker/ Renee

    Sadly, I haven’t watched any of these – therefore not the book either! Hmmm, what does that say about me! But, love the concept. It might introduce Netflix lovers to read and vex versa!

    • Riana

      Ah sorry I didn’t catch any of your shows on this list, Renee. I might do a part two in the future so maybe will have some shows of yours in that one 🙂

  • Nancy

    Oooh I love the Netflix binge and book pairing! Those food shows are something else. Love that Save Me the Plums has a great story with learning about the different cuisines around the world. I still need to watch Money Heist!!! Maybe my binge this weekend hehe. I always feel like these reads are great when it comes to creating your own imagination rather than seeing what the producers have shot.

    Nancy ✨ exquisitely.me

  • Gus Feliciano

    Once again great recs! I love the mxi with netflix since lets be honest netflix marathons have been a thing in my household for 6 months.

    I also just ordered Catch and Kill due to this, it looks so interesting!

  • Karalee Shotola

    I love this post & I definitely have to check out The Margot Affair! I’ve seen every episode of Riverdale & even though you didn’t watch that much, you got the description pretty right haha. Also, I’m a true crime fan too so I’ll have to look into American Predator as well!

  • Kenny

    Oooooohhhhh A friend recommended Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to me a few months ago. It sounded interesting and I want to read, but I already have many piles of unread books. Someday. :p

    I used to watch shows like Ozark all the time, but it got too depressing for me. Oddly enough, I’m still trying to finsih Breaking Bad. Heh.

  • Agnes

    Love this! I have quite the eclectic Netflix diet, so this was super helpful. 🙂 Knee-deep in Ozark right now, and some Liane Moriarty definitely fits for after!

  • Ming Qian

    Hey Riana,

    I have seen many people who write reviews of Netflix programs or who compile binge lists. I have never seen anyone who pairs these binge-worthy shows with books, and that’s really interesting and refreshing to me! I love Queer Eye, Selling Sunset, and Sweet Magnolia. They’re definitely within my top ten shows to binge watch in 2020! Alright, I am off to research the book suggestions for these shows. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah

    I love this idea! It’s mostly reminding me of all the shows on Netflix I still need to watch, I’d never heard of Somebody Feed Phile before but it sounds lovely. I adored Love is Blind so I’ll definitely need to check out The Unhoneymooner and I look forward to a part two!

  • Kayleigh Zara

    This is such an interesting idea for a blog post! I really like the look of some of the shows and book. I really enjoyed reading the flatshare as a read x

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