Welcome to the third installment of Read, Watch, Binge! our summer recommendation series. As you may recall from our first list, we were tired of algorithms that only matched books to books or movies to movies. So this month, we've enlisted the help of real live humans to pair TV series with movies, musicals, books, comics, podcasts and more. (You can catch up on last two lists here and here.)
Like House Of Cards? You might also like ...
The Manchurian Candidate (1962 movie) because they're both darker-than-dark studies in the way our political system can be manipulated behind closed doors. — Bob Mondello, movie critic
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (novel) because they both echo the current election season. (And in this piece, I explain why.) — Bob Mondello, movie critic
Candidate Confessional (podcast) because if you like behind-the-scenes political intrigue, this podcast about how campaigns are lost — not won — is an engaging, real-life listen. — Beth Novey, arts producer
Like Scandal? You might also like ...
Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel (novel) because no one did political plotting, manipulation and over-the-top intrigue like the Tudors, and no one wrote them up as gloriously as Hilary Mantel. Skip Wolf Hall and go straight to the Anne Boleyn era if you want a story that unfolds as fast as the gladiators talk. — Camila Domonoske, Two-Way blogger
Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder (novel) because, in the downtime between seasons, we all need our fix of D.C. sex scandals, ruthless reporters, suspicious deaths and ticking clocks. — Rose Friedman, arts editor
Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (documentary) because it's an unfiltered and disarming look at the life of a legendary comedian whose brand of humor paved the way for comics like Amy Schumer. — Camille Salas, librarian
You'll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein (nonfiction) because Schumer's head writer asks all the important questions: If we love tomboys, where are the tom-men? Must we all love baths? What do you mean this wedding dress costs $10,000? And, did you just call me ma'am? — Beth Novey, arts producer
The Crown Of Stars series by Kate Elliott (novels) because whenever I have to describe this series to people, I inevitably call it "Game of Thrones, but with lots of women and more magic." — Petra Mayer, books editor
William Shakespeare's history plays (particularly Henry VI, Parts 1 and 2 and Richard III) because George R.R. Martin drew heavily on the real-life Wars of the Roses, so why not look at what the Bard of Avon did with the same material? The BBC's fantastic Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses series is a great place to start, featuring some of Britain's best (and, um, hottest) Shakespearean actors. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (novel) because it's a bitingly funny exploration of Latina identity and early adulthood. — Camille Salas, librarian
Waitress (movie and musical) that tells the story of another unexpectant mother with the same surprising mix of realism, whimsy and highly saturated colors. — Margaret Willison, book critic
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (novel), set just after the end of World War II, which shares the show's camaraderie, warmth, humor and Upright Britishness. — Margaret Willison, book critic
Julie & Julia (movie) because it's also about passionate amateurs — fancy cooking but non-fancy people. Plus, cake! — Tanya Ballard Brown, digital news editor
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (novel), a book full of irreverence and bombast — about a pack of teenage beauty contestants stranded on a desert island. — Margaret Willison, book critic
Drag Teen by Jeffery Self (novel), which is about how drag helps an insecure, struggling young man unlock her fiercest self. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Paris Is Burning (documentary) because you have to know your drag history, my legendary children. Yes, it's problematic — but don't pass up a chance to spend time with Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija and Angie Xtravaganza, and see 1980s drag ball culture at its height. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Big Freedia (musician) because Big Freedia's music celebrates life and self with the same energy and urgency that the best Drag Race performances do. — Jane Gilvin, data and search strategist
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel) because these three overlapping stories of Chinese-American kids (and an immortal monkey god) make for a funny, touching and sometimes disturbing meditation on immigration, identity and belonging. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (stand-up special) because this hour of comedy — from a Fresh Off the Boat writer — also tackles the Asian-American experience, but it's much edgier than anything you'd find on network TV. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
Re Jane by Patricia Park (novel) because it's a story of identity — about your heritage defining who you are and your value in the culture — especially as the protagonist, a half-Korean, half-American orphan, moves from a Korean-American neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., to Seoul, Korea. — Jane Gilvin, data and search strategist
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (novel), which tells the story of a similarly anxious, similarly boy-crazy teenager with similarly hilarious insight and compassion. — Margaret Willison, book critic
Passion (musical) because it shares the notion of unrequited, um, passion. In it, Stephen Sondheim's heroine, an ailing woman named Fosca, becomes obsessed with a handsome soldier to ultimately requited, though disastrous, effect. — Bob Mondello, movie critic
Like The Americans? You might also like ...
The Lives of Others (movie), which tells a similarly claustrophobic tale about espionage and surveillance, but set on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain. — Margaret Willison, book critic
Velvet by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser (comic series) because, like the slow-boiling FX series, this ongoing comic is an espionage thriller set during the Cold War. It tells the story of a Moneypenny-like secretary of a British spy agency — who turns out to be a James Bond-like superspy all along. — Mike Katzif, Ask Me Another producer
The Vision by Tom King (comic series), which follows Marvel's premier super-powered robot as he attempts to settle into a quiet family life in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Like Sherlock? You might also like ...
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (novel) because it's a fast-paced, brainy mystery that's firmly rooted in today's digital world. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (movie) because if anyone can give Sherlock a run for his money, the fast-talking, obnoxious crook played here by Robert Downey Jr. just might — if only he'd stop screwing everything up. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
Like Transparent? You might also like ...
Adam by Ariel Schrag (novel) because it's a subtle and knowing comedy of manners about transgender identity from a queer, Jewish-American perspective — and it's even more subversive and hilarious than Transparent. — Neda Ulaby, arts reporter
Whipping Girl by Julia Serano (nonfiction) because it's a foundational text for anyone hoping to understand transgender politics and culture in the U.S. today, particularly as experienced and shaped by trans women. — Neda Ulaby, arts reporter
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (nonfiction) because both are about transgender discovery and family. — Annalisa Quinn, book critic
Retro Report (Web video series) because these short, thoughtful documentaries circle back to stories that dominated news cycles decades ago — such as Dolly the cloned sheep, the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, shaken baby syndrome and the "Mommy Wars." — Beth Novey, arts producer
Criminal (podcast) because it is also a sober yet fascinating in-depth look at crime from many angles — survivors, perpetrators, witnesses and more. — Jane Gilvin, data and search strategist
The Amityville Horror (movie) because the first season of Horror Story was focused on a house filled with malevolent spirits, just like the 1979 Amityville Horror movie. Indeed, Horror Story's loose plot of a family moving into a home where a grisly murder occurred, only to have it drive the father mad, is straight from the Amityville book and movie, which always claimed it was based on a true story. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
The Locke & Key series by Joe Hill (comic series), another creepy, creative and occasionally very bloody horror series about a house with a terrifying history and a lot of secrets. — Tasha Robinson, book critic
Like Black-ish? You might also like ...
The Rage Of A Privileged Class by Ellis Cose (nonfiction) because this 1993 book is a serious look at how accomplished black professionals still feel the sting of prejudice and racism despite their wealth, power and achievements. Black-ish at times feels like the comedy version of that notion, revealing how an upper-middle-class black family in California still struggles to navigate race, class and stereotypes, 23 years after Cose's. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
"Black-ish's Tracee Ellis Ross On Being A Sitcom Mom, Her Own Mother, And Her Alter Egos" by Carl Swanson (New York Magazine profile) because you'll learn all about the Black-ish actress's own background (her mom is Diana Ross!) and social media prowess. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
Photo Credits: Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Billy Bathgate by E.L. Doctorow (novel) because it'll bring you back to the blood feuds and high-stakes of Depression-era gangsters — only this time, lowering the camera so you can see it all from the perspective of a precocious teen. It's Boardwalk Empire ... as told to you by David Copperfield. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
The Cotton Club (movie) because Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 movie plays like the other side of the New Jersey empire described in HBO's series. Coppola's movie centers on the gangsters who frequented the whites-only Cotton Club in the 1930s; men who Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson negotiated with and fought for the duration of Boardwalk Empire. One character, club owner Owney Madden, appears in both places, played by Bob Hoskins in the film and Fredric Lehne on HBO. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
Like Breaking Bad? You might also like ...
A Simple Plan (movie) because it explores what happens to seemingly good people after a huge amount of illegal money enters the equation — how manipulative they become and how quickly they lose their sense of right and wrong. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
"Merchants Of Meth: How Big Pharma Keeps The Cooks In Business" by Jonah Engle (Mother Jones investigation) because it looks at the real world of meth, from police efforts to shut down labs to the battle over whether a key ingredient should be available over the counter. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
Like Broad City? You might also like ...
Romy And Michele's High School Reunion (movie) because it centers on a similarly quirky and self-assured duo and portrays an equally accepting female friendship. — Rose Friedman, arts editor
Sooo Many White Guys (podcast) because it's a comedy podcast that features guest appearances from (and the editorial direction of) the one and only Ilana Glazer. — Rose Friedman, arts editor
Like Catastrophe? You might also like ...
Obvious Child (movie) because it's a comedy in which two strangers come together after a fling results in pregnancy — though this story has a very different outcome. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
The Longest Shortest Time (podcast) because it's a brutally honest exploration of the triumphs and pitfalls of parenthood. — Jessica Reedy, Pop Culture Happy Hour producer
The Julian Kestrel mystery series by Kate Ross (novels), which star a gentleman detective with the seductive allure of Wickham and the moral uprightness of Darcy, and contain superbly twist-ridden plots to boot! — Margaret Willison, book critic
Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner et. al (serial fiction) because it's a binge-ready fantasy of manners, packed with swordplay, witty banter and chocolate. Plus, if you liked Kushner's Riverside novels, this is a return trip to that sparkling world. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Like Doctor Who? You might also like ...
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (novel) because we're not getting more new adventures with the Doctor until next year, so Dirk Gently — which Douglas Adams based on his famously unfinished Who serial, Shada — is a delightful stopgap. — Petra Mayer, books editor
The Company series by Kage Baker (novels) because part of the fun of time-travel stories is the way everyone invents their own version of the technology, and Baker's immortal cyborgs working forward through time saving lost things are a fascinating and fresh approach. Also, I bet Mendoza would go with the Doctor. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Like Downton Abbey? You might also like ...
Longbourn by Jo Baker (novel) because it's a re-working of Pride and Prejudice from the servants' point of view, and an exquisitely rendered portrait of life belowstairs. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Cold Comfort Farm (movie) because, set a few years after Downton's conclusion, it also deals with the rigid class structures of British society, but with a hugely funny, satirical edge. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Like Empire? You might also like ...
Beyond The Lights (movie) because it's a soapy take on the music industry, but this movie has a swoony romance at its center. — Jessica Reedy, Pop Culture Happy Hour producer
Hustle And Flow (movie), the 2005 indie film about a pimp who wants to become a rapper. It also starred Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, and in many ways, Empire is about Howard's character DJay, 10 years later. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
Like Girls? You might also like ...
The Group by Mary McCarthy (novel) because while some things change, 20-something women have been figuring out their lives and their loves in New York for a long time. — Mary Glendinning, librarian
Frances Ha (movie) because it's a clever, clear-eyed glimpse of the same rocky pursuit of adulthood — and reasonable rent — undertaken by those eponymous GIRLS. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
Like Jessica Jones? You might also like ...
The Sword by Joshua and Jonathan Luna (comic series) because it's about a young woman with phenomenal powers, tracking down the people who destroyed her life, and trying to keep her friends safe at the same time. — Tasha Robinson, book critic
Harley Quinn And Power Girl by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (comic series) because this bizarre, six-issue comic book series has humor, charm and powerful female heroes. The story centers on Powergirl, who is an alternate universe version of Supergirl, teaming up with Harley Quinn after the two are accidentally thrown into another dimension. I suggest it because Jessica also is often in uneasy alliances with other women — some friends, some not — to defeat a greater evil. That also happens with Harley and Powergirl, who, like, Jessica, have to defeat a knuckleheaded guy to get what they want — a way home. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
Alice Isn't Dead (podcast) because it's a dark, moody and atmospheric woman-against-the-world story, with a super creepy enemy and a heroine who is deeply afraid and fights on anyway. — Camila Domonoske, Two-Way blogger
Like The Jinx? You might also like ...
Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn (nonfiction) because it's about a man who, in this case, claimed to be part of another rich New York family (the Rockefellers) but turned out to be both an impostor and a murderer. — Nicole Cohen, arts producer
Foxcatcher (movie) because if you like tales of criminally weird rich people, you should check out this movie — loosely based on real events — about multimillionaire heir John E. DuPont's lethally ill-fated attempt to break into the world of Olympic wrestling. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Like Mad Men? You might also like ...
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby (novel) because it's got that 1960s funk of glamor, sexism and cigarette smoke, surrounding a story of a group of flawed creative people trying to reconcile art and commerce. — Petra Mayer, books editor
The Apartment (1960 movie) because it features powerful men in 1960s New York who use their business acumen to mistreat each other and the women in their lives. — Alicia Montgomery, Code Switch senior producer
The Swimmer (1968 movie) because it's a tale of boozy alienation among the well-heeled residents of a Connecticut suburb in the mid-1960s. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (novel) because this, too, is the world you might have known, if only World War II and its aftermath went a bit differently. It's a what-if, intensely realized. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton (novels) because it's a series about a closeted police detective solving mysteries in an alternate-reality 1950s Britain that's been subsumed by Nazi Germany. — Margaret Willison, book critic
Like Master Of None? You might also like ...
Man Seeking Woman by Simon Rich (short stories) because it's laugh-out-loud funny, but also fundamentally sincere and sometimes even sweet, with a keen eye for the absurdities of dating. — Camila Domonoske, Two-Way blogger
I'm The One That I Want (stand-up special), in which Margaret Cho relates her travails as the first Korean-American to star in her own network sitcom. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Like Mr. Robot? You might also like ...
Neuromancer by William Gibson (novel) because if you've got a hankering for paranoid hackers and vast, nebulous conspiracies, well, Neuromancer is truly the granddaddy of them all. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
The Night Of The Gun by David Carr (nonfiction) because, in it, Carr discovers that he's both an unreliable narrator and the bad guy (don't worry, that's not a spoiler). — Alicia Montgomery, Code Switch senior producer
Like Nashville? You might also like ...
Dolly: My Life And Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton (nonfiction) because if you like Connie Britton's talented character or Hayden Panettiere's sass, you will love Dolly's verve, joy, camp and snappy one-liners. — Jane Gilvin, data and search strategist
Songwriter (1984 movie) because it's a rowdy tale of two guys trying to get back on top of the country music world — and get revenge on a crooked manager. And it's got great music from stars Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson (on whose life it's loosely based). My dad loves this movie and so will you. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (comic series) because it's about a big, colorful, fierce group of incarcerated women — in space! — Tasha Robinson, book critic
The Girls Of Murder City by Douglas Perry (nonfiction) because it's a beautifully written account of the murder trials and media circuses that inspired the musical Chicago. — Petra Mayer, books editor
"Behind 'The New Black': The Real Piper's Prison Story" (Fresh Air interview) because if you've been wondering about the truth to fiction ratio in the Netflix series, this conversation with the real-life Piper will help quench your curiosity. — Beth Novey, arts producer
Photo Credits: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Netflix
Like Orphan Black? You might also like ...
The MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood (novels) because the plot is driven by scientific advancements and will leave you wondering: Can science actually do that? And, if so, is this what will happen? — Jane Gilvin, data and search strategist
The One I Love (movie) because it's another story where duplicate versions of people come together in a story that's a little bit mystery, a little bit thriller. — Tasha Robinson, book critic
Like Outlander? You might also like ...
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (novel) because it's also about a young woman thrown far back in time and navigating historical problems with the help of new friends and family. — Tasha Robinson, book critic
Fashion: A History From The 18th To The 20th Century by the Kyoto Costume Institute (nonfiction) because it's a fabulous glimpse into the fashion details that quite literally build character on the show. — Genevieve Valentine, book critic
Like Penny Dreadful? You might also like ...
Varney The Vampire by Thomas Preskett Prest (novel) because it's the seminal Victorian serial about a vampire, a heroine and characters and plots that keep changing on a dime at the whim of the writer. Ahem. — Genevieve Valentine, book critic
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore (comic) because they both take the same premise — characters from Victorian literature team up to fight evil — and unpack it using very different tones and agendas. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Like Roots? You might also like ...
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (novel) because it traces the fates of two Ghanian half-sisters and their descendants over several generations, and, like Roots, it vividly shows why, when it comes to the trauma of slavery, William Faulkner was right: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." — Karen Grigsby Bates, Code Switch correspondent
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, (nonfiction) because this was the book Roots author Alex Haley wrote before Roots. In the same way Roots woke up black folks to the power of black family history, the Malcolm X book woke up black folks to the power of personal history. And his journey from street thug to civil rights leader was inspiring to black folks in the same way Roots was inspiring. — Eric Deggans, TV critic
The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (nonfiction) because it continues the story begun in Roots, with a sweeping, prize-winning account of the Great Migration, the mass flight of African-Americans from the South to the North. Wilkerson takes a huge chunk of history and makes it human and accessible. — Petra Mayer, books editor
Like UnREAL? You might also like ...
I Didn't Come Here To Make Friends by Courtney Robertson (nonfiction) because it's a tell-all by a former Bachelor contestant, and it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the morally questionable puppetry that goes into making the show. — Candice Kortkamp, data and search strategist
Real Life (1979 movie) because it's an example of how the reality TV conventions so ruefully mocked by UnREAL were already taking shape in the 1970s. — Glen Weldon, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist
Like Veep? You might also like ...
This Town by Mark Leibovich (nonfiction) because, let's be honest, the tangled webs of politics can be so ludicrous sometimes, the only healthy reaction — whether you're a viewer or a journalist, like This Town's Mark Leibovich — is to laugh. Then promptly return to crying. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
Wag The Dog (movie) because it's so cynical it's smart. Or so smart it's cynical? Hard to tell, really, but both are damn funny glimpses at the weird inner workings of the political-media industrial complex. — Colin Dwyer, digital news producer
Parable Of The Sower by Octavia Butler (novel) because it's about a ragtag, yet powerful band of survivors — who are made stronger by their diversity — trying to rebuild in a post-apocalyptic U.S. — Neda Ulaby, arts reporter
28 Days Later... (movie) because it's set in the post-apocalyptic remains of a once recognizable city, and its end-of-civilization story exposes the savage nature of human beings. — Candice Kortkamp, data and search strategist