When Reading Isn’t Reading: Media For Bookish Types

We all know that book adaptations for excellent television and film, and even radio. Sure, sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d hoped (hello City of Bones, the movie), but other times they’re spectacular (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, anyone?).

We’ve been chatting for a while about our favorite adaptations, but what we find especially unique is when a series feels bookish, but is completely original. Today we want to share our favorite bookish media with you that will keep you free from the nagging feeling that “the book might have been better than the movie.” Enjoy!

Allison: No one will be surprised at the magical/sci-fi leanings of my favorite bookish media. I love an escape. Because I teach professional writing courses (rather than creative writing or literature classes), when it comes time to sit down without a book in my hands, I want something that will take me away from all that’s mundane.

Here are my top three bookish favorites:

The Age of Adaline (film): I think Blake Lively is a gorgeous creature and her portrayal of Adaline Bowman in this film is completely mesmerizing. It didn’t get the greatest reviews, but I love it. The film follows what happens to Adaline Bowman after a car crash arrests her aging process. Bonus: Ellen Burstyn plays Adaline’s daughter and the chemistry between her and Blake Lively is phenomenal.

Fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen,  Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, or Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender will enjoy this film.

Lost Girl (television): Okay, I have a massive crush on Anna Silk, so of course I love Lost Girl. Silk plays Bo, a woman who finds out that she is a succubus. She falls headfirst into the world of the Fae when she finds that as an unaligned supernatural being that she will have to choose between the Light and Dark.

Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series or Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels will love this gritty urban fantasy, where the lines between good and evil blur on a regular basis.  

Nicola: Oh, I love Lost Girl! I can’t wait till I can get my hands on season 5.

As for me, I, too, like a lot of sci-fi/fantasy films and TV shows, but I also like media that is explicitly about bookishness in some way. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Castle (television): If you haven’t heard of Castle, it’s essentially about a mystery writer who starts shadowing the local homicide detectives. It can be silly and light-hearted as well as sad and serious, but there’s added appeal for book lovers in the form of literary references and bookish jokes. Particularly in the early seasons, Castle is the character who is ‘like us’, as he has more experience writing about criminals than facing them one-on-one and takes a story-based approach to investigating evidence (he enjoys investigating crimes because there’s usually a good story behind it, and he’s disappointed when the evidence points somewhere more mundane).

With its blend of solemn and humourous, criminal investigation and family drama, this show is perfect for fans of books like Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series.

Battlestar Galactica [re-imagined] (television): Decades after the end of the Cyclon War, fought between humans and the sentient robots they unwittingly created, the humans have prospered. Then in a single attack, the Cylons almost entirely wipe out their civilisation, leaving only a few civilian space ships and one decommissioned Battlestar, too old to have been rendered impotent by the Cyclon virus that destroyed the computer systems on the other ships. Forced to choose between fleeing and fighting, her commander chooses to take what’s left of their civilisation and find a new home.

With its blend of social commentary, politics, and space opera, Battlestar Galactica will appeal to readers of such books as Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound trilogy as well as Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy.

What are some of your favorite bookish TV shows or films that aren’t adaptations?


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