Tiger King

Five books to read when you finish binge-watching The Tiger King

Jenn Paquette, Adult / Teen Services Coordinator

The Tiger King series on Netflix has provided some much needed distraction for those of us at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Finished binge-watching? Still craving the absurd? Check out this list of book recommendations for Tiger King fans – all available in e-book or e-audio book format via Libby/Overdrive!

A book with unusual characters:

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – If Tiger King taught us anything, it’s that the world of animal entertainment attracts eccentrics!  The Bigtree family in Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! doesn’t disappoint! Set at an island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades, this character-driven novel follows thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree and her other oddball family members who are plunged into chaos after her mother, the star of the family’s gator-wrestling show, dies of cancer and her grandfather is sent to a nursing home.

A book about crime at the zoo:

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips – Murdered husbands, arson, assassination plots – it seems that the people who hang around zoos are just as dangerous as the animals! Gin Phillips’ heart-pumping thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. For Joan, what started out as a simple afternoon at the zoo with her son turns into a terrifying fight for survival with an active shooter on the loose.

A book about a big cat:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel – Many people who appeared in Tiger King developed a strong bond with the tigers they cared for. But can we co-exist with these dangerous wild animals? In Martel’s Man Booker prize-winning novel, Pi Patel, son of a zookeeper, lives with Richard Parker – a 450-pound Bengal tiger – on a lifeboat for 227 days. Or did he?

A book about political pursuits:

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis – Joe Exotic was unsuccessful in his run for President of the United States despite the hard work and dedication of his campaign manager Joshua. Terry Fallis’ Best Laid Plans also features an unlikely candidate and a young political aide, but this story ends with very different results. We hear the third book in this series is on its way!

A book about bizarre true crime:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that changed America by Erik Larson – Fact is stranger than fiction; just ask Eric Goode, director and producer of Tiger King. Like Goode, Larson has a keen eye for the devil in the details and reveals that things aren’t always what they seem. Larson’s acclaimed historical true crime book tells the tale of a cunning serial killer who used the 1893 World’s Fair to lure his victims to their death.