So I realized that I’ve taken a different approach when looking for new books. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to notice– it started back in March earlier this year I suppose.
I used to look for books by searching through the bestsellers and top 10s of different stores. However, I was quick to realize that a lot of these books weren’t actually that satisfying or good. I’m guessing there’s a lot of paid advertising involved in some of these lists.
Anyway, I now think of a certain author, and only then do I search for a book. For example, I wanted a Neil Gaiman book, so I went and search up his works and picked one. I did the same for several other authors. I find that I find much better books this way. I’m not relying on any lists, nor am I simply picking up the latest hot book (which doesn’t really stay popular for that long in many cases). I’m relying on what I know about the author and their writing style, and through that I make my decision.
Speaking of books, I remember last year, one of my creative writing profs were telling us about how you can judge if a book is actually good or not. You go to your nearest Salvation Army/Thrift Store and look at their books section. See which book has the most amount of copies. These are basically the books that although people bought (probably because of all the hype around them when they were first released), but ended up realizing that they weren’t really worth another read.
But it is so much more than that.
The second season of Game of Thrones premiered on Sunday! My friends and I had a little premiere of our own at Monica’s house. At first, we were going to cook food inspired by the books/ TV show, but since it was the last week of university and everyone was super busy and preoccupied, we ended up going to Safeway to choose Game of Thrones-like food. Basically, we bought roasted chicken, loads of bread, bread dip, salad, cheese and sausages. Very Westeros-esque? Well, we tried. Oh and to add to the authenticity, we ate with our hands and dressed up.
The first season of Game of Thrones corresponded to the first book in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I watched the first season before moving on to reading the books and I did not like that experience. I then read the second book, and am now on the fourth book (which for some reason, I cannot get past. I keep putting it down because I can’t seem to get absorbed into it). After watching the first episode of season 2, I can now safely say I definitely prefer reading the books before watching the TV show.
I think one thing that annoyed me to watching the show first was that it robbed me of my chance to create my own interpretations of the characters and setting. While reading the first book, I already had premade images of who the characters were and where they lived. For the second book, although some characters were in the first book and I did not get to mentally create them myself, there was still lots of new characters and settings. I found it really fun to watch the second season and realize certain scenes were just as I imagined, or even the opposite—they were nowhere near what I had in mind!
Although creating my own characters based on what I read is, in my opinion, one of the most important part of the experience, there was also a negative part to reading the books first. As I was watching the season two premiere, I realized I knew what was going to happen next. It was as if everything was spoiled. I hate knowing how something is going to end before I watch it. But despite this, I still enjoyed reading the books first.
On a similar note, I watched the Hunger Games with a bunch of friends the day after it was released. I have already read the whole series well before the movie was even announced, so I found that I had forgotten a lot of the plot. However, as I sat in the cinemas watching the movie, I found a lot of bits and pieces were coming back. And then I remembered how the series ended and I actually started crying in many of the scenes that reminded me of the ending. People were obviously thinking I was crazy because the scene that was playing was not even sad. But for me, I kept thinking about the ending and thus wept. Story of my life.
My opinion towards the Hunger Games movie is that it was really well made. A lot of movies end up deviating quite a bit from the book and making a lot of changes. I thought this movie stayed well on track and kept changes to a minimum. Along with Holes, I would say the Hunger Games were one of the movies that allowed for a pretty accurate portrayal of the book.
So what is your take on the topic? Book first or movie first?