Summer hiatus is upon us, and with the warmer weather comes the stark reality that many of our favorite shows will be gone for the next several months. While you can certainly spend the summer wrapped in a blanket, sadly re-watching your faves on Netflix (actually, that doesn’t sound so bad), there are also some pretty great books out there than can help you pass the summer months with ease.
The Walking Dead
If you need your fix of post-apocalyptic fun (and you’ve already read the Walking Dead comics and novels), then here are some end-of-the-world tales that should help you wait until the next time we get to visit Alexandria Safe Zone.
While this story focuses on a robot uprising rather than the rising of the undead, this story still features the craziness of the apocalypse. The only difference is, instead of shambling walkers, you have highly-skilled, quickly-evolving robots to battle.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This book is brilliant. While there are no zombies in this book, it tells the story of a world that has been largely wiped out by a killer flu virus. Rife with post-apocalyptic adventure and evil town leaders like the Governor, this book will definitely fill the Walking Dead-shaped hole in your life.
Elementary and/or Sherlock
Whether you are simply waiting for the latest season of Elementary, or you’re one of the millions of Sherlockians running on fumes as you wait for more Sherlockian goodness to grace your screen, these books should help you get a bit SHER-unlocked and help you enjoy the summer months.
Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith
If you haven’t yet heard, Robert Galbraith is a pen name for the goddess herself, J.K. Rowling. A smart and exciting detective thriller, these books have enough British wit and whodunit adventures to help you pass the time until your favorite brand of Sherlock Holmes returns.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Much like Holmes’ books, this is another mystery classic. The story centers on a grisly murder on a train, and keeps you guessing who the culprit is up to the last page.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another literary classic, Jekyll and Hyde manages to bring together mystery and horror. We follow Mr. Utterson as he pieces together clues that explain the events that transpired between his friend Dr. Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde.
Though we still have a bit before this show goes on hiatus, these books will give you that level of classic literature-inspiration mixed with some serious spookiness necessary to survive the hiatus.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Penny Dreadful is known for bringing figures from classic literature onto the show, and on Mr. Dorian Gray is one such character. While you could add in other classic works that Penny Dreadful pulls from (Frankenstein and Dracula, for one), reading Wilde’s book can give you some back story to one of the shows most enigmatic characters.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
This graphic novel, much like Penny Dreadful itself, offers a creative twist on characters from classic literature. Of course, in this particular story our literary heroes are fighting bad guys and working to save the world. However, much like Penny Dreadful, these books find exciting ways to bring classic literature to life.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Fans of the supernatural, demonic story lines found in Penny Dreadful, why not spend the hiatus reading one of the most notorious exorcism stories? Sure, you could just watch the movie with Linda Blair, but why not check out the book that started it all?
While we’re waiting to see what happens with the Darkness, these books and their tales of monsters, supernatural horror, and magic will make sure you’re not too focused on missing your favorite hunter-duo. These aren’t as good as the Chuck Shurley novels, but they’re close.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
This book focuses more on magic than it does hunting supernatural creatures, but the struggle of Strange leaning towards more dangerous magic while jeopardizing his friendship with Norrell is very reminiscent to Sam and the demon blood and, more recently, Dean and the Mark of Cain.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
With the recent introduction of the Styne family in season 10 of Supernatural, now would be a great time to get caught up with the work of literature that, according to the Stynes, was written about them.
30 Days of Night by Steve Niles
This graphic novel series is about a war between humans and vampires. With plenty of vamps to get your supernatural motor running, and plenty of hunters looking to wipe them off the face of the planet, we’re really just a sacrificial trip to hell and some daddy issues away from this being an actual episode of Supernatural.
Once Upon a Time
If you can’t stand to wait for your favorite characters of storybooks, fairy tales, and classic lore to return to your life, check out these modern fairy tales and modern twists on classic stories.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This series of books takes classic fairy tales and sets them in the future. While the futuristic bent might be a bit of a different feel from OUAT, the creative spin on classic, well-loved characters will be right up OUAT fans alley.
Fables by Bill Willingham
This graphic novel series is another one that takes a creative spin on classic fairy tale characters, and unlike Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, this series has a bit more of a OUAT-reminiscent feel. While the characters are certainly different, this should certainly help pass the time over the summer hiatus.
Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal
Unlike Fables and the Lunar Chronicles, Far, Far Away is more of a modern fairy tale than a retelling of a classic story. If you need any more convincing to try this book out, McNeal’s writing has been compared to the writing of Neil Gaiman.
Having some Who withdrawal? Luckily, Whovians don’t have to wait too much longer for season 9 to premiere. Still, there is a bit of waiting left to be done before the new season. While you can always read the Who comics and books, here are some non-Who books that will still appeal to your Whovian sensibilities.
Devil in the Smoke by Justin Richards
Okay, so this is technically a Doctor Who book, but instead of focusing on the adventures of the Doctor and his current companion, Devil in the Smoke follows the adventures of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax in a very Sherlock Holmes-style story. Really, if it wasn’t for the fact that this story follows a lizard woman from the dawn of time, her wife, and a war-mongering potato, I’d say this one is perfect for Elementary/Sherlock fans.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
This wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey book is perfect for Whovians lamenting the hiatus. This book focuses on the life of a young time-traveler who, much like the Doctor, winds up in a time and place that she never intended. Full of mystery, fantasy, and even some romance, this one will most certainly help you hold out for season 9.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Chances are, you’ve read this book by now, but if you haven’t, there isn’t a better time to read this amazing book. While this book isn’t about time travel, it has that futuristic, inter-dimensional, “save the world” feel that the Doctor’s adventures often have. Really, any fan of sci-fi should just read this book.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones seasons always seem to zip past. As we stand facing another long hiatus, I’ve got a few books that can help get you through the “winter”, and as a bonus have a significantly smaller amount of incest in them. Win!
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkein
Really, if you haven’t read these books by now, I’m gonna need you to stop whatever you’re doing and read these books. Regardless of how many times you’ve read these books, they are so jam-packed full of beautiful imagery laid on the backdrop of an incredibly complex world that it’s easy to find something new with each read. This classic work of fantasy will most certainly help you pass the dark hiatus nights.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
While this book isn’t high fantasy like GoT or LOTR, this book still has the sweeping epic of royalty, magic, and betrayal. This book is also similar to GoT in that it has a kickass female protagonist. Sadly, there are no dragons, but it’s still a pretty exciting ride.
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
If you’ve ever asked your bookish friends what series to jump into after finishing up all of the existing books in George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, chances are they recommended the First Law Trilogy. Much like GoT, these books are epic, sweep-you-off-your-feet works of high fantasy that really gets you with its power struggles and deceit among the characters.
What books are you reading over the summer hiatus? What books would you recommend? Let’s talk lit in the comments!