Discussion | Reading Before Watching

Hi folks, I bring you something of a discussion post regarding something that has been on my mind recently – reading before watching. Let me clarify – reading a book before watching the adaptation.

I think I speak for all of us readers when I say that we tend to hold to the sanctity of the source material whenever a television or film adaptation is announced – if it’s a favourite book we probably worry and fret about whether a production team is about to completely ruin something precious to us. Likewise, we might just be excited to see a story we love come to the big or small screen, and look forward to more people experiencing that story, in whatever format that is.

But, readers, I have a dilemma: what do you do when a new series is announced, based on a book, and you haven’t read the book – do you wait for the TV show so that the adaptation is new and fresh for you, or do you read the book beforehand? My instinct obviously tells me to read the book first before watching the adaptation but part of me always wonders if I’m not potentially dampening my enjoyment of the TV show or film. After all – I know what is going to happen then, and nothing is shocking or unexpected (unless they completely diverge from the source material).

nightmanagerI was thinking about this yesterday as I was doing a re-watch of The Night Manager series and had an inclination to re-read the book again. I recalled that, despite having read the book back in February 2016, before the miniseries started airing, I was still overwhelmingly tense and on the edge of my seat whilst watching the adaptation. Now, admittedly, some of that is because I have a slight inclination towards Tom Hiddleston (understatement of the century) so, you know, what you gonna do… but aside from that I also was tense because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. In the effort to modernise the source material and make it more relevant for a 2016 audience, the production team had made the decision to change some key elements of the story. This meant that, though I had read the source material, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the series by “spoiling” any of the plot’s twists and turns. But not all adaptations are like this.

howardsendLast night I picked up Howards End by E.M. Forster. After having read A Room with a View last week and found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how readable I found Forster’s writing style, I decided to give Forster’s most famous novel a read. Then I remembered that the BBC are producing a miniseries of the book which is due to be released later this year starring Hayley Atwell and Matthew MacFadyen (I am sure there are plenty of others too but, I mean, my priority will always be Hayley Atwell because she’s Hayley Atwell). I had a moment of pause then – surely every little twist and turn of the adaptation would be spoiled if I read the novel first? After all, period dramas based on classics or modern classics do tend to push for faithfulness to the source material, for fear of upsetting the delicate sensibilities of readers and their expectations. So if I read the book, would I be as inclined towards watching the series, when it did air on TV?

Despite this momentary dilemma, I am fully aware that it will not stop me from reading the book – as a reader I will always lean towards the side of the primacy of the book, regardless of how excited I am to see an adaptation on the big or small screen, and the book will probably always win. But that doesn’t mean the adaptation won’t put up a damn good fight…

But beware: on the other side of the coin lurks a trap, a trap that I often fall into. On the occasions when I do see a film or TV show adapted from a book first, even if I end up loving the adaptation, sometimes I never quite get around to reading the book afterwards. I know, I know, I’m a terrible reader! After all, I know what happens in the story, so reading the story suddenly isn’t quite as high priority as all the other books on my TBR. I know how it goes, I know how it ends, I’ve experienced the story, regardless of the format it was in… and there are so many other stories that I haven’t experienced yet that deserve my time and attention. This happened with another le Carré book – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I had embarked on a mission to read the book once upon a time, got super confused, and abandoned it. Then I watched the 2011 film starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, and, though I thoroughly enjoyed it, the book suddenly didn’t really seem a priority any more. I knew so what was the point any more?

Well, Emma, I’m sure the book is much more nuanced, I hear you say, to which I say: touché. And so the vicious cycle keeps on spinning…

Do you have this dilemma too? Do you have to make sure you read a book before watching its TV or film adaptation – or does it not bother you so much? Do you think the effect of a TV or film adaptation is sometimes “spoiled” because you know what’s going to happen, because you read the book first? Does this cause anyone else as much indecision as it does me? On the more positive note – what TV/film adaptations are you looking forward to in the future? Chat to me in the comments below, I’d love to talk adaptations!


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday | All About The Villains

toptentuesdayAnother Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to.

This week’s theme is: All About The Villains. That’s right – we all love a good villain, right? There’s something strangely enjoyable (if a little worrisome) about seeing a really charming or entertaining villain enjoying themselves. Even if “enjoying themselves” equals the destruction of something. Like I said – worrisome.

Because I do like villains so much, I thought I’d put together two lists – one of film/TV villains and the other their bookish counterparts.

Warning: The answers below contains spoilers for the books Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and The Bone Season/The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. Also spoilers for the film Frozen… and definitely heed that warning because that reveal actually made me gasp loudly in the cinema. Don’t look if you don’t want to know who the real villains of the piece are!

Without further ado, let’s see these despicable characters…

Continue reading

Tag | Pastry Book Tag

Today I ignore the post that I really ought to be writing to instead bring you a tag. I’ve decided (if only in my own head until now) that Thursdays will be the day when I post tags – and I’ll keep that up (hopefully) as long as the tags hold up.

Stephanie over at Adventures of a Bibliophile did the Pastry Book Tag aaages ago and it looked like a lot of fun so I considered myself tagged and have only just gotten around to posting this (story of my life).

I love pastries – I scoffed one for breakfast this morning (a pain au chocolat to be precise) and its twin is sat some three feet away from me saying ‘eat me, you know you want to’. I must resist – and continue writing this tag instead! Let’s go…

Croissant: Name a popular book or book series that everyone (including you) loves.
I feel like everyone ever on earth likes the Harry Potter series. And if they don’t, they just haven’t read it yet. And if they still don’t, well then they’re wrong.

Macaroon: Name book that was difficult to get through but worth it on the end.
I feel like Les Misérables is an extremely daunting book to get through. Before you’ve even picked it up, you have to decide which translation to read (if you can read it in French, I’m so jealous, except I’m also not because that thing is huge). Then which edition. Then you open the book and realise just how many parts and chapters there are actually are. Then you get stuck into it, you think you know what’s going on and the plot and then Hugo meanders into a 30-page description of the Parisian sewer system or whatever. It’s fascinating but it also meanders a lot. So, it’s difficult, but I’d say it’s worth it – I mean, hey, I wrote a dissertation on it so I must think it’s at least vaguely okay!

Vol-Au-Vent: Name a book that you thought was going to be amazing but fell flat.
I really don’t get the fuss with Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. People told me it was amazing and I understand some people like its strangely ethereal and dreamy tone but I hate it. I really hated the writing style – I laughed out loud at some parts I definitely wasn’t meant to laugh out loud at because they were meant to be “profound” but I just found them, well, “pretentious”, if I’m being honest. Sorry.

Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday | 2nd February

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme created at A Daily Rhythm that I discovered today via Heather from Bits & Books. Its simplicity greatly appeals to me since all that you need to do is grab your current read, open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences, being careful about spoilers.

I’ve recently been talking to a friend about the upcoming adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager which I’m greatly anticipating because of the cast. I had to share a section with her because I could vividly picture Hugh Laurie (who has been cast) as the character, Roper. Roper promises to be despicable and I’m looking forward to that, but the turn of phrase used in the initial description of him and his gaggle of friends made me laugh aloud on a crowded train so… that’s definitely worth sharing as a teaser or two.

tt2feb“The doors swung open again, disgorging everyone at once, so that suddenly an entire leftover delegation of the English affluent society was ranged under the chandelier, each of its members so sleekly groomed, so sun-rich, that together they seemed to share a corporate morality that outlawed sickness, poverty, pale face, age and manual labour.”

“The stance that arrogant Englishmen do the best, one knee cocked, one hand backed against the colonial arse.”

I don’t know why, but I just love the narrative voice so far in The Night Manager – it’s proving to be a lot more entertaining of a read than I first imagined based on my last attempted foray into John le Carré novels! And, as far as teasers go, this is probably the best one I could possibly find without spoiling other people and myself.


Do you have a Teaser Tuesday? Please do share/comment below!