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On books and adaption…

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It’s pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of books, I love to read them, collect them, smell them, reread the ones I loved most.

But you know also, if you’ve followed this blog for a while, that I love films and TV shows. Watching the screen sometimes it’s just relaxing, in particular at the end of the day, when the brain goes on strike…let’s tell the truth.

But how about adaptations?  

Sooner or later, if you’re book and film lover, you’ll cross your path with a book that has been turned into a film or a TV show.

I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of adaptations but sometimes there are exceptions to the rules.

I could gather here my best moments and experiences.

I think that the very first film adapted from a book I’ve ever seen was “The name of the rose” by Umberto Eco.

In that case, I read the book before and I absolutely loved it. It was a thriller but set in a medieval monastery of friars.

Then I realized that there was a film adaptation made. Actually the actors in this film, Christian Slater and Sean Connery, were giving me a guarantee of a good film. However, form the great expectation the fantastic book gave to me, I was left with just a disappointing feeling of emptiness and disappointment. Useless to say, I read the book a second time.

I think that following that experience, I tried to avoid adaptations for a while. Some of them really not worth to be mentioned.

Then here it is “Harry Potter” series of books. 7 books to read. I lost the count really of how many times I read the lot of them. I love the ideas, I love the feelings they give you, I love the way Queen Rowling unfolded the story and the details.

Then the films were released.

I don’t mind them. I admit that I love the books more, but I don’t mind the adaptations either. My curiosity and wonder are actually stimulated by the special effects, and the way I’m able to see on the screen something I’ve always only imagined.

Also I like the actors, I’m not an expert on the matter, but I think that the quality of acting in these films is pretty high. And of course I love Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman, they are two of my favorites.

Let’s mention too the cameo of David Tennant, whose interpretation was something powerful and fantastic.

This means that I don’t mind to watch them all over again. In this way I’m double satisfied, I can watch the films many times and reread with pleasure the volumes.

True, the film cut a lot from the books, and they decided for an unnecessary 8th film, but still no major disaster was made.

Afterwards I came across “Game of Thrones”. I started with the TV shows. Then, when I had the awful feedback from the editor about my writing, I bought all the books. The reason of this abrupt purchase was that the only advice- no advice that she gave to me was to read in English.

Actually how it went was more or less like: “Can you give me an advice on how to improve my English?” “Well, I’d say you should read in English, but I assume you’re doing it already”

Yes, I was doing it, but I thought that was a nice excuse to buy a book or better many.

Anyway, the point is that for a while I read the books and watched the series at the same time and then I realized that the choice of the actors wasn’t that bad, also the story was pretty much faithfully narrated.

But I cannot be 100% sure, as for some reason I decided to not to spoil myself and not to watch it constantly. I started to follow the series when they decided to change the story and detach from the books.

So I feel I cannot really judge this adaptation, but I assume my feeling is more positive than negative.

After GOT I found “Hunger Games”. To be honest with you, I didn’t really like the first film, as I thought it was like a bad mash of “Contenders” and “Battle Royale”.

However, in one of my visit at Eason’s I found the trilogy sitting on the shelf, the covers very charming. I got closer out of curiosity. I opened the cover and went to the first page. First person, present tense.

My eyes locked to the page and I exited the shop with the three books.

I loved them ever since and I reread them at least three times.

Now, for the sake of this post, in this case I have to record something weird that happened related to this example.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who claimed that reading the books after having watched the films means spoiling your imagination in favor of the way characters are represented on the screen.

This is true but only in part, at least for me. A good example is “Hunger Games”.

Having read the books only after having seen the first film, at the very beginning the faces of the actors were kind of forcing their way into my imagination.

However, going on with the reading, my own imagination took over and characters were represented in a totally different way.

The biggest example is Peeta, who you all know I love very much. I felt almost offended by the choice they made for the cast. Peeta in my head, from the book description, was totally different.

Also all the cuts they made in the story and the ploys they found to direct the story, including a not- necessary- at -all 4th film, made me a bit cross. At the end of the day though, I don’t mind watching them.

Last example I want to make is with “Outlanders”.

I started to watch the TV show and I liked it.

Looking for spoilers, as usual, I realized that there were books at the base of the TV show and I went to look for information.

I found out that there are actually 8 books and the 9th should be on the way. They’re written by Diana Gabaldon.

I immediately bought the first three to have a look at how they were.

I have to admit they’re simply written, nothing much complicated, but the first person narration and the kind of writing, simple without killing the story with description, makes it pleasant.

It won’t be the best book written in the world, but I like it.

Besides, reading the book and having the first episodes of the series fresh in my head I could understand how similar they are.

The narration and the dialogues are exactly the same, sometimes using the same words.

So far, so good.

But I reserve the right of changing idea when I’ll go on with the story. You never know!

Concluding, leaving aside the massacre they made with “Vampire Assistant” (I don’t even want to talk about it or maybe I will in another post, but I might result kind of unpleasant, so much they ruined “Cirque du freak” series of books), I know at least a couple of TV show, cartoons and films more that I found out are based on books.

Sooner or later, very slowly, I think I’ll be able to buy and read.

What do you think about it?

Do you prefer books or films?

If you prefer books, what do you do in case you come across the representation before?

Let me know in the comments below!

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