B is for… Bookish Adaptations!


April 2, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm

So… I have a feature on this blog called Bookish Adaptations; it’s where I shine the light on adaptations of books into visual mediums, be it TV series, films, miniseries, whatever!  Today I thought I’d talk about my love for bookish adaptations in general.

I love books – if you’re a regular, you’ll know that’s pretty much a given!  Heck, even the title of my blog should give that one away.  What you may not know about me is I also love visual mediums – films, miniseries, live action (including plays, musicals, etc), but most especially television.  I feel like I rarely have the attention span to watch a full film in one sitting, but TV’s a different story.  Each episode is usually short, snappy and to the point, but you build lasting relationships with the characters, usually over a long period of time.  Case in point, like Friends before it, I counted down to the last episode of HIMYM all season and watched it the minute I got home the day it aired in the US.  I laughed with the characters, and I cried my eyes out.  It felt like I was saying goodbye to friends… But I digress!

My feelings for bookish adaptations are very similar to my feelings for TV, except the long-lasting relationships have already been built in the reading of the books time and time again.  It’s no coincidence that many, MANY books are adapted into films particularly, the big head honchos are trading on our ready-made relationships with the characters and our connection to them and their story.  Over recent years, this has also extended to TV in a way that’s become more popular – Game of Thrones anyone?  It’s certainly not a new idea, and it’s also no coincidence how successful these adaptations are.  What I love is when the adaptations translate successfully to the screen, and you can see sometimes years of your imaginations come to life before your eyes.  It’s like seeing old friends for the first time – I know that makes no sense, but it’s really the only way I can describe it!

Of course, there’s also nothing worse than when an adaptation is poorly done, sometimes to the point that it ruins the book for you.  One example of this that springs to mind is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the movie – how could I hate a movie that introduced Sirius Black to the world!  It can’t be done!  No, what I hated was the crucial details that were omitted from this movie and caused it to not make sense in some parts.  One glaring omission was the identity of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs.  I saw the movie with two friends who had read the book and one who hadn’t, and while it was 10 years ago now, I still remember my friend who hadn’t read the book wondered about the significance of the Maurauder’s Map and it’s makers’ identity.  When explained to her, I remember her saying “oh that makes sense, why didn’t they include that?!”  It was a much looser adaptation, and personally left me feeling pretty frustrated to this day… I should probably let go of that!  Another example is My Sister’s Keeper – I mostly enjoyed this, but I HATED how they changed the ending to make it more palatable to the Hollywood audience.  NO THANKS.  The original ending was perfectly fine in my book.

It’s rare that I’m fully satisfied with a bookish adaptation to the screen; my post on The Book Thief is a clear example of that!  It is rare, however, that I totally hate an adaptation.  So, to finish this off, let me share some of the books I’ve read that have made it to the screen and become my absolute favourite translations… Hopefully I will get around to spolighting these individually on the blog someday!

What about you, do you like bookish adaptation?  Anything in particular you love?  What about those you hate?


4 thoughts on “B is for… Bookish Adaptations!

  1. bookmammal says:

    I’m posting about bookish topics for my A-Z Challenge as well!
    There are very few bookish adaptations that I’ve enjoyed. In fact, I often don’t watch them because I just know the adaptation won’t match up with the movie I’ve created inside my head while reading the book. One exception is the movie “Ordinary People” from the novel of the same name. I loved the book, but I ADORE the movie and have probably seen it at least a dozen times since it came out in the early 1980s.
    I try to keep in mind that print and screen are just two totally different media, and it really isn’t fair to expect them to be completely comparable!
    Good luck with the rest of April A-Z!

    • Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! I’ll have to check out your blog, I hope you’re enjoying the challenge 🙂
      I love watching bookish adaptations because most of the time they’re fairly close to what I expect, but it drives me nuts when they don’t. I agree that it isn’t really fair to expect them to be totally comparable, but that doesn’t mean I have to be rational about it! lol

  2. I loved Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, despite it’s shortcomings because, like you, I love Sirius Black. He is my favorite character in the Harry Potter series. I can remember people I went to go see that movie with being confused as well (those who hadn’t yet read the book). The other Harry Potter movies were excellent adaptations though.

    I haven’t seen The Book Thief. I have heard how beautiful it was, but since it is my favorite book, I am kind of nervous.
    I also love Little Women and The Hunger Games. Both of those films truly captured the essence of the book, the themes, and the characters.

    I hate when I watch a movie/tv adaptation of a book I adore and have no idea what the hell happened when it’s done. I especially dislike when they make me hate characters that I previously loved, due to bad casting, writing, or changing the events of the book.

    Great post!!!

    • Totally agree re. the other HP books, they were all amazing and really did the books justice. The perfect example of an excellent adaptation that couldn’t possibly include every little detail from the book, but included the most important bits.
      I really enjoyed The Book Thief, my main issue though was I saw it within 24 hours of finishing the book and it was too fresh in my mind – I wouldn’t recommend that.
      Couldn’t agree me – if I loved the book/character and you make me hate it/them by the end of the movie, you have not done your job as a screenwriter/producer/director etc! Not cool 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Hi! I'm Bernadette, a 27 year old lawyer who loves to read (duh!), especially to escape my day job. I love to talk about books but I don't always get the opportunity to do so, hence my blog! I adore YA literature, most genres of Adult Fiction, and I've also been known to pick up a non-fiction book from time to time. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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