Books to Read (or Give) This Christmas If You Love ‘His Dark Materials,’ ‘Fleabag’ and More

Christmas is fast approaching, and if you’re like a lot of people, you’ve waited until the last minute to do your shopping. But a down-to-wire scramble for holiday gifts doesn’t have to mean grabbing a handful of gift cards at a store’s checkout counter. If you have a binge-watcher on your list, consider giving them one of these books, which all tie in to some of the hottest shows of 2019

For fans of ‘His Dark Materials’: ‘The Secret Commonwealth’ 

Lyra in His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials | Courtesy of HBO

HBO’s star-studded adaptation of Philip Pullman’s much-loved trilogy of fantasy novels about the orphaned Lyra Belacqua arrived this fall. Fans of the show have likely already devoured the original books, but this fall Pullman released a new novel that revisits Lyra’s story. Set 10 years after the conclusion of His Dark Materials, The Secret Commonwealth opens with Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon witnessing a murder that turns out to have a connection to Lyra’s past. This is the second book in a planned trilogy, and it sends Lyra on a quest that puts her back in conflict with the menacing Magisterium — and herself. 

For fans of ‘Veep’: ‘A Woman First: First Woman’ 

Veep ended its run earlier this year, but those longing for more Selina Kyle are in luck. Fans of the show will remember the season 6 episode when Kyle went on a late-night talk show to promote her book, A Woman First: First Woman. Now, you can actually read the self-serving memoir (penned by showrunner David Mandel and producer Billy Kimball) of “one of our most beloved former presidents.”

For fans of ‘Fleabag’: ‘Fleabag: The Scriptures’

Fleabag Season 3 is not happening, insists show creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge. While the beloved show is done for good, you can dive deeper into the Emmy-winning series with the new book Fleabag: The Scriptures. It includes episode scripts for season 1 and 2, as well as exclusive commentary from Waller-Bridge on her creative process and the making of the show. 

For fans of ‘The Crown’: ‘The Other Side of the Coin’ 

Queen Elizabeth II with Anna Wintour at a fashion show
Queen Elizabeth II sits with Anna Wintour, and Angela Kelly (far right) at a fashion show | Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images

Netflix’s The Crown may not be officially sanctioned by the British royal family, but this new book by Queen Elizabeth II’s wardrobe advisor Angela Kelly is. The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser, and the Wardrobe features Kelly’s recollections from her 25 years working for the Queen, never-before-seen photos, and unique insights into Her Majesty’s life and style, like the revelation that she does her own makeup and cleans her jewelry with a mixture of gin and water. 

For fans of ‘When They See Us’: ‘The New Jim Crow’

Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries dramatizes the infamous case of the Central Park Five, when five black and Hispanic teenagers were wrongfully convicted of the 1989 rape of a jogger in New York’s Central Park. The series and the case raise big questions about race and the criminal justice system in the United States. Those issues are explored in detail in Michelle Alexander’s 2011 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which looks at the way patterns of arrest and incarceration have created a racially-based caste system in the U.S. 

For fans of ‘Chernobyl’: ‘Midnight in Chernobyl’ 

Aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster
The aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster | Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

The HBO miniseries Chernobyl tells the story of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl and the response of the Soviet government to the crisis. If the show left you wanting to know more about what really happened when Reactor No. 4 melted down, check Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book Midnight in Chernobyl. Drawing on dozens of interviews, letters, declassified documents, and other sources, it looks at the failures that lead to the deadly accident and its consequences.  

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