Book Recommendations for Television Characters: NEW GIRL
New Girl is one of my absolute most favorite shows on television. I’ve been a fan of the showrunner Liz Meriwether since I saw her equal parts tragic and hilarious play The Mistakes Madeline Made in New York several years ago. I am so thankful to the Television Gods for giving Meriwether’s voice a megaphone in their Tuesday line-up.
Meriwether’s characters are so engaging and complicated, which make them all SO much fun to recommend books for!
She’s a 21st-century Pollyanna, an awkward girl trying to figure out how to be an accomplished woman, a fan of all things adorable and vintage, and as much as she tries to put a positive spin on everything, she often finds herself quite lost and lonely.
I thought of Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl character CONSTANTLY while reading Glaciers by Alexis Smith. Let’s synopsize. Isabelle, lover of all things old and forgotten, works in a library repairing damaged books. She carries a torch for a military veteran who works as an IT guy at the library. She’s obsessed with finding the perfect vintage dress. Her best friend lives in an apartment building that used to be a coffin factory.
Jess Day would want to Pagemaster the shenanigans out of this book and live inside its world like nobody’s business.
Nick is a law school drop-out currently paying the bills by bartending. He’s curmudgeonly and juvenile and recently wrote the worst zombie novel ever.
I think The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson is EXACTLY the kind of genre novel Nick Miller wants to write. Two high school comic geeks meet and form an instant bond. It is revealed that one of them physically can not sleep, and this condition is actually a sort of superpower, a dangerous gift that sets the two young men on an epic journey.
Nick Miller would read this book in a night and, thus inspired, spend the rest of his thirties trying to write a zombie novel that sucked just a LITTLE bit less.
Winston’s a tough one to recommend for because he’s the character the writers have taken the longest to get a real beat on. In the last few episodes he’s been sharpened and focused- smooth and cool on the outside, sensitive and neurotic just an INCH below the surface.
Winston works as an assistant to a sports radio host, so we’ll go with that for recommendations.
Radio: An Illustrated Guide by Ira Glass and Jessica Abel
This American Life’s illustrated guide that explains how they produce a show, from the inception of the show’s idea to the broadcast of the hour of radio. I think Winston would get the biggest kick out of a comic book about radio production.
Schmidt is the most lovable douchebag currently on television. He may be one of the most lovable fictional douchebags EVER. He’s vain and sweet and insecure and completely well meaning. He’s also intensely into his Judaism, and some of his best jokes involve Pesach and Purim.
Someone needs to get a copy of The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg into Schmidt’s hands, stat. He would connect on so many levels. First, it is the Jewiest literary fiction around (it culminates in a b’nai mitzvah for Moses’ sake!) Second, the matriarch of this family tragicomedy is morbidly obese, and Schmidt has definitely had weight issues in the past (see: the Nutty Professor-like fat suit the show puts him in every time they do a college flashback). Finally, the book is slim, so he could totally polish it off with a few rounds on the elliptical. Which I have a sneaking suspicion is a major reading requirement for Schmidt.
Jess’ best friend, Cece is a supermodel with brains of gold. She’s whip smart and razor sharp. Underneath the tough exoskeleton, however, she is quite the vulnerable miss.
I’m going to hand off Look at Me by Jennifer Egan to our resident smart supermodel. Here’s the skinny (PUN ABSOLUTELY INTENDED) on the novel. A model gets into a car accident and her face is destroyed. She undergoes a surgery that employs eighty titanium screws to reconstruct her face and returns to New York, a city she once ruled, still beautiful but now unrecognizable.
I think Cece would be both fascinated and unsettled by this dark tale of the tenuous relationship between perception and reality set in the world of modeling.