09 June 2016

From Book to Screen

As much as I loved doing a quarterly update for you guys last month, I don't know if I can wait until next quarter to do another update! I've been blazing through books and I'm afraid I'll forget everything until I hit the next mark. So let's do this, shall we?

First of all, I want to share a quick story that has nothing to do with anything but absolutely everything to do with books. Toward the end of this last semester, one of my Occupational Therapy students asked me for a book recommendation. Now, I know our OT program is tough. It hardly allows for any non-OT classes outside of GenEds (and even then, they are looked at as a hindrance to getting all their classes in.) and you can just forget about study abroad. I did the whole, "Promise me you won't read instead of studying for finals" thing and then we got down to business. I gave her "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" because Neil Gaiman, and also, because it was short. I figured if she liked it, she could finish it quickly and if she didn't, well, it wasn't too long.

Anyway, she loved it. I knew she would. Neil Gaiman is always a winner. Thankful (as it usually is) the Gaiman was a gateway drug. Last week, we spent probably 20 minutes going through the books I've read and she took home a stack of at least 15 books on my recommendations. She is tearing through the stack and comes to the counter to give me her review. It is the best part of my summer.

Anyway, on to the show.

As promised, I've been reading the Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery books to see if they are anything like the show. How do I saw this? They are and they aren't; both have merits. Okay I like that the books are no more than 160-200 pages a pop. That doesn't seem like much at all, but compared to the TOMES I've been reading, it is rather refreshing. (Also, it isn't so heavy on my shoulder for transporting it between home and work.) 

Book Phryne is just about as glamorous and Show Phryne. Of course, in the show, we get to see all the fabulous outfits she wears instead of just reading about them. I give that point to the show. I do like watching Book Phryne's thought process, especially about her many lovers. She speaks about each with such poetry that you can almost forget there is a new one in each book. (Don't take that as a judgement. I appreciate her openness and her ability to know what she wants and what she doesn't want AND that she doesn't hide it from anyone. Ahem. Okay. Moving on.) I've read the first four books in the series and while I enjoy them, might hold off on the others. There are twenty odd books in the series and, well, I don't need to remind you all about how I feel about series. 

I read most of Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death on a flight home from California. That's neither here nor there, but it did make excellent plane reading. This is another one that reeled me in with the TV show before realizing it was based on a book. The book was well written, each chapter was a single story that showed you the troubles of the town of Grantchester and the trials of one, Cannon Sidney Chambers. There are a lot of differences between the show and the book, but I enjoyed both. I started the second book this week. It could be me or it could be the fact that I'm only reading a little in the morning or evening and not in one six hour stretch, but I'm not thrilled with it. The stories have been used in the second season of Grantchester so I'm familiar with the characters, but the stories in the book--well, something is missing. In the first book, each chapter was an entire story arc. Sidney helps local police detective inspector Geordie Keating solve crimes. In the second, Sidney did most of the crime solving all on his own. The story lines didn't seem as clear; this could have been done intentionally, to mirror Sidney's struggle with his chosen profession and solving crime. 

I have the third Sidney Chamber's book on order from the library, just to see if things get better. I've already given myself permission not to finish it if things don't improve. I am putting a hold on the Phryne Fisher books at the moment. They aren't bad, but you all know my aversion to series so that one should speak for itself. 

What has your experiences been with TV shows based on books? Do you usually prefer one over the other? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!