BookTrib Fictional Bookshelf: Diabolically Funny Reads for Michael of ‘The Good Place’

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Uncommonly good and diabolically funny, The Good Place is filled with more twists and turns than we can see coming. Based on the idea that sometimes, Hell really is other people, Michael, played to perfection by Ted Danson, is the standout character who is enjoying every second of not only his life, but the lives (or afterlives) of the people around him. After last season’s shock finale, we can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve next. The Good Place returned to NBC this fall for it’s second season, and is already living up to everything we loved about the first season.

Smart, funny, and kind of evil, Michael is one of the most humorous and twisted characters to ever hit our screens. But despite his daily activities of torturing the people around him, he’s also one of the happiest characters we’ve seen in a long time. Here are four books we’re pretty sure have been read and re-read on Michael’s bookshelf.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnus Nutter, Witch, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

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A satirical take on the apocalypse, Good Omens is definitely one of Michael’s favorite books. With the armies of Good and Evil gathering for battle, and omens appearing to herald the upcoming Rapture, a rather fussy, good-willed angel and a hard-living demon decide that they enjoy the human lifestyle a bit too much to just give it up – and that’s not even the worst of their problems when someone misplaces the Antichrist. Humorous, manipulative, and witty, this is one book that Michael would seriously identify with.

No Exit, Jean Paul Sartre

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This play definitely served as the true inspiration for Michael’s idea of “The Good Place.” When three people die, they find that their afterlife consists of a single room, where they are locked inside for eternity. Forced to interact and form relationships, each has their own secret about how they ended up in Hell, as punishment for their transgressions when they were alive. Considering that this play is the original source for the idea that Hell is other people, this is definitely one that Michael has read, and re-read.

Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut

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As someone seemingly obsessed with the oddities of humans, and human experience, it seems highly unlikely that Michael wouldn’t have this classic existentialist book sitting on his shelf. Part sci-fi, part real life experience, this novel follows Billy Pilgrim, who survived the WWII bombing of Dresden, and is able to mentally revisit certain periods of time in his life. Also, he was once abducted by aliens. Both light and heavy at the same time, this absurdist novel is very human, and one Michael has definitely picked up a time or two.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Jeff Lindsay

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Everyone loves a good novel, and this is one that is right up Michael’s alley. Full of dark and morbid humor, the quiet and always-polite Dexter Morgan spends his time working as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. He just also happens to be a very accomplished serial killer. When a second, very similar serial killer shows up in Miami, Dexter’s very careful, very ordered life starts to fall apart. The irony and humor of the good-guy-who-is-actually-kind-of-the-bad-guy, would not at all be lost on Michael.


Rachel Fogle De Souza was born and raised in Connecticut, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States, before attending college at the University of California, Davis, where she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities studies, and Middle Eastern/South Asian studies. When she's not writing, she's reading, boxing, or thinking about traveling.

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