Fiction 101: Book to TV Adaptations

From Page to Screen: Exploring Book-to-TV Adaptations

by Shelby D., Evening Supervisor

Hello and welcome back to Fiction 101 — our monthly blog series where we explore different genres, subgenres, and more! I’ll tell you a bit about the genre and then end with some book recommendations for you to explore. Check out some of our past months where I’ve talked about poetry, romance, historical fiction, and cozy fiction.

This month I’m bending the rules a little bit. I won’t be talking about a genre per se, instead let’s talk about books that have been made into TV shows. It seems like everyday now I’m hearing about a different book that is being made into a TV show or movie, which works for me because I love shows about my favorite characters and stories! Sometimes writers take a lot of artistic liberties in order to make an engaging TV show — I usually don’t mind this approach. Some people don’t enjoy that, and I definitely don’t blame anyone when they are irritated when the show adds or changes some of their favorite details. There are for sure some changes that I haven’t loved in adaptations. For example, I’m a Tolkien nerd, so sitting beside me watching Rings of Power means listening to me repeat about a thousand times, “No, that’s not how it happened in the books,” or worse, “that’s not even in the books or the appendices of the books.” Rings of Power aside, if book accuracy is something you look for in adaptations, I think the trend of making TV shows, rather than just movies, out of books has meant that they can stick closer to the plot line of the book since they have more time to tell the story. Personally, I like to read the book first so that how I picture the book in my head isn’t influenced by the TV show.

Here are some book recommendations from me and my coworkers here at the library!

The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. The Netflix Series by Mike Flanagan is so good as well! It definitely only keeps the gist of the book rather than accuracy to any detail in the book. It’s spooky, well written, and full of twists and turns.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Rob, one of our Library Assistants, really enjoyed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The book is by Douglas Adams, and the TV series is from 1981. Though the book and the TV series differed a lot, he enjoyed their uniqueness.

The Three-Body Problem
Library Assistant Dan recommends The Three-Body Problem. The book and TV show both have an imaginative alien species. He loved the scientific details and thought the story raised interesting points about astronomy and physics.

Locke & Key
John, our Assistant Cataloger, loved Locke & Key. It’s a graphic novel by Joe Hill and was turned into a TV show. He enjoyed the complex family dynamic and thought that the artwork in the graphic novel was really good.

The Queen’s Gambit
Cataloger Sarah liked The Queen’s Gambit. The show’s complex characters make the story very interesting.

      Percy Jackson & the Olympians
      Kaylar, our Marketing & Communications Coordinator, loved the Percy Jackson series when she was younger and was thrilled to see it turned into a TV show (as opposed to the movies, which she pretends don’t exist). The new show really captures the fun and adventurous spirit of the books!

      Black Cake
      Library Assistant La’Shelia recommends Black Cake. She really liked that despite the loss of their parents, the siblings in the story stuck together and relied on each other to figure things out.

      Let us know if you have any favorite TV shows based on books! Looking forward to next month where I’ll be bending the rules again and talking about nonfiction titles with Libby, who runs our Adult Non-Fiction Book Club.

      For instant access to 30,000 critically acclaimed movies, documentaries, and kid’s media, check out our digital library resource Kanopy, which is free with a library card! If you’re looking for more reads to reels, browse Kanopy’s “From Book to Screen” category.