Here’s Your Guide to the Books Behind “Sex and the City” and “The Carrie Diaries”

The 'SATC' series and spinoff is based upon books by writer and journalist Candace Bushnell

<p>HBO/Getty</p> From left to right: Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis


From left to right: Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis

Sex and the City arrived on Netflix on April 1, and we can’t stop talking about it.

The hit series, which aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004, follows journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), who writes a newspaper column about dating life in New York City. Along with her friends – lawyer Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), art dealer Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and public relations professional Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) – Carrie navigates her thirties, various boyfriends and 1990s Manhattan with grace, wit and some serious fashion.

Books also play a role in the various iterations of Sex and the City, whether you’re jotting down Miranda’s recommendations for historical biographies, or admiring Carrie’s bookshelf on And Just Like That…, the TV revival which sees Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte in their fifties.

It’s only fitting then that the series, and its later iterations, are based on books by writer Candace Bushnell and her experiences as a journalist. Bushnell has three books directly tied the HBO show and its spinoffs.

Here is a guide to the books that helped bring Carrie Bradshaw to life.

'Sex and the City' (1996)

<p>Hachette Book Group</p> 'Sex and the City' by Candace Bushnell

Hachette Book Group

'Sex and the City' by Candace Bushnell

Sex and the City was originally developed from Bushnell’s newspaper column for The New York Observer, which ran from 1994 to 1996. After being offered a column by her editor, Bushnell, who was originally a freelance writer, took to the page to document her and her single friends' experiences.

Bushnell originally wrote her column in the first person, but later created the semi-autobiographical character Carrie to hide her romantic endeavors from her parents. The column also featured characters who would later appear in the TV show, including Carrie's trio of gal pals, her on-again, off-again romantic interest Mr. Big and her friend Stanford Blatch.

Related: 'Sex and the City' Cast: Where Are They Now?

A selection of Bushnell’s columns were published as the 1996 anthology Sex and the City.

It’s about relationships and power and status and pecking order — which is something that everybody in New York understands because you live it every day,” Bushnell told The New York Times of the book in 2018. “Everybody lives these little indignities.”

'The Carrie Diaries' (2010)

<p>HarperCollins Publishers</p> 'The Carrie Diaries' by Candace Bushnell

HarperCollins Publishers

'The Carrie Diaries' by Candace Bushnell

Ever wondered what Carrie’s life was like before the glitz and glamour of New York? Bushnell writes about it in The Carrie Diaries, the young adult prequel novel that details Carrie's high school years in a Connecticut small town.

“Carrie is a woman who's independent, who really cares about her friends, who's willing to experience life and has a kind of joie de vivre,” Bushnell told Teen Vogue of the book in 2010. “When you create a character, you always have a little bit of a backstory in your head. I just felt like there was something that had to have happened to her when she was young in order for her to develop inner fortitude.”

Related: 'Sex and the City' 's Candace Bushnell Explains Her Decision to Go 'Man' and 'Sex-Free' in New Book

The Carrie Diaries was also the inspiration for the shortlived CW series of the same name, which starred AnnaSophia Robb and Austin Butler.

'Summer and the City' (2011)

<p>HarperCollins Publishers</p> 'Summer and the City' by Candace Bushell

HarperCollins Publishers

'Summer and the City' by Candace Bushell

The follow-up to The Carrie Diaries sees Carrie making her way to Manhattan, where she enrolls in a writing class at The New School before beginning college at Brown University. She also meets future friends Samantha and Miranda in her eventful first summer in New York.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in 2011, Bushnell said that writing younger versions of the soon-to-be iconic characters — and in ‘80s N.Y.C., no less — was particularly fun.

Related: What’s on Carrie Bradshaw’s Bookshelf These Days? See the Books Shown on the Latest Episode of ‘And Just Like That…’

“I came to New York in the late 70’s when I was 19, so I put in a lot of things that were very, very true to that time,” the author said. “It informs the characters and the kind of women they become.”

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