Our librarians love watching TV shows & movies! This month, we’re picking some of our favorites and sharing some books, shows, movies, etc. to help get you through those long stretches between seasons, or for when you’re craving more after watching a movie!
If you like The Handmaid’s Tale, you should definitely read the book by Margaret Atwood that it’s based on. After that, there are a few more dystopias that center around women and fertility: I loved When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, which evokes both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Scarlet Letter. The Children of Men by P.D. James imagines a similar world in which people can no longer reproduce, and it was also made into a movie. Megan McCafferty’s Bumped is a teen novel in which girls are forced to become surrogate mothers in a fanatically religious new America. Another dystopia with a strong female character is Octavia Butler’s classic, Parable of the Sower, which takes place in a world ravaged by global warming, disease, and racial tensions, and centers on a young female prophet. The Bees by Laline Paull isn’t even about humans, but still evokes feelings of a regimented, oppressive society. If you’re looking for other TV shows, The Leftovers (also based on a novel) takes place after an event in which 2% of the world’s population just disappeared suddenly, and a religious cult has sprung up claiming that it was the rapture. Finally, Orphan Black features one (amazing) actress playing many characters who are all clones and most of whom are infertile and all of whom are caught up in a web of conspiracies.
(Rob also recommends The Lone City series by Amy Ewing, where young girls who have an affinity for magic are taken from their homes and raised to become surrogates for the barren aristocracy. The girls are trained in a variety of magical powers, then sold at an auction to the wealthy elite that live in the center of The Lone City – called The Jewel. It’s a great audiobook too!)
If you’re a fan of Call the Midwife:
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth is an obvious choice, as it’s the book upon which the tv series is based. Although it takes place in a different time period, I think that The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson has a similar feel. Set in the summer leading up to England’s involvement in World War I, it has the same feelings of camaraderie and community and lots of people who want to help out in times of crisis. The Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley does take place in 1950s England as Call the Midwife does, and might satisfy a craving for that time and place. If the medical aspects are what appeal to you, I’d recommend Anne Perry’s mystery, A Sudden, Fearful Death. It takes place in the Victorian period, but much of it in a hospital. It’s fascinating to read about what developments were new at the time and how controversial they were. For a history of midwifery and other birth practices, I highly recommend Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy. If you’d like another show with some of the same elements as Call The Midwife, I’d recommend Doc Martin, in which a London doctor moves to a small fishing village and tries to adjust to his new life. He’s socially awkward (to say the least) and is surrounded by a charming and colorful cast of characters.
I started with one of my favorite assassin movies “La Femme Nikita” (French Feature Film) and went from there.
That led me to brainstorm my favorite Read Alike Book Series because once I delve into the world of the assassin, I want to keep reading more adventures.
Jason Bourne Series By Ludlum & Lustbader (& Movies)
Mitch Rapp Series by Vince Flynn
Gabriel Allon Series by Daniel Silva
Will Robie Series by David Baldacci
Did you love the movies Snatch, Ocean’s Eleven, and The Score? Then you must, must read Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell. It’s the true story of a heist that took place in Antwerp’s famously guarded diamond district, detailing (almost) every step of how the crime was committed and how the thieves were caught. The suspense makes for a page-turning pace – check it out!
Can’t wait for the new season of Game of Thrones to come out? Check out these titles to whet your appetite while you wait!
If you haven’t already read the books, you definitely should! They’re like the show, but better!
If you enjoyed the world-building & medieval fantasy elements of Game of Thrones, try out the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore. The series follows several characters through a world where some people are born with two different colored eyes & possess mysterious powers called “graces”. These Gracelings are feared by the common folk, but used by the nobility for their own selfish gains.
If the fantasy & suspense were what you were drawn to, you may enjoy Maria V Snyder’s Study series. The trilogy follows convicted criminal Yelena as she becomes the food taster for a king. She’s soon drawn into the politics of the kingdom & has to deal with her own burgeoning magical talents. There’s also a follow up series, the Glass series, which follows Opal (a side character in the original series) through her own journeys as a magical glassblower, which is just as enjoyable.
For those that prefer the politics, world-building, and grittiness, The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickens should appeal to you. The titular character Baru Cormorant’s home is colonized by the Empire of Masks & she decides the best way to fight the machine is from within. She’s appointed Imperial Accountant of a rebellion-prone region & is embroiled in politics both local & global. She must carefully stride the line between serving the Empire’s interests and her own personal ambitions.
If you’re looking for a fantasy graphic novel that has some of the same war, murder, and mayhem as Game of Thrones, check out Toil & Trouble by Mairghread Scott. It’s a beautifully illustrated retelling of Macbeth told from the witches’ perspective, and features plenty of backstabbing and betrayal.
If you’re a dragon lover, then the Rain Wilds Chronicles series by Robin Hobb should be right up your alley. The series follows a ragtag group of adventurers making a trek by boat up the Rain Wilds river to bring a sickly generation of dragons to their ancestral city in hopes of restoring them to their former glory.
If you enjoy anime, Fate/Stay Night fills the same bloody & treacherous niche that Game of Thrones does. The story covers the Fifth Holy Grail War, a battle royale where seven mages summon prominent historical figures to do battle with each other. The last mage standing has their wish granted by the Holy Grail itself.
The TV show The 100 has a more sci-fi bent to it, but tells a Game of Thrones-style story of warring factions & their leaders politicking to survive on a post apocalyptic earth. Just don’t judge it based on the first episode, which is pretty terrible & not representative of the series as a whole.
The film Pan’s Labyrinth captures the same harsh and unforgiving tone Game of Thrones is known for. It’s the story of a young girl named Ofelia living in Spain during World War II. She escapes the brutal reality around her when she encounters a mystical faun, who requires that she complete three tasks to prove that she is a princess.
Let us know in the comments what books, movies, and shows you use to tide you over while you’re waiting for your favorite shows to start back up!