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The Book Blog

profile-icon Michael Ramey

After watching the Reacher miniseries on Amazon Prime Video, I began thinking about how beloved books and book series are adapted to film. From Lee Child’s action-packed Jack Reacher book series to fantasy epics like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, audiences debate whether the book or the movie (or show) adaptation is better.

Many people enjoy comparing the book and film adaptations of a work while others get frustrated that a particular adaptation strayed from the source material. Perhaps a character like Jack Reacher looks different in our heads than he does on screen, or the Hobbits never encounter the ancient undead barrow-wights in the film like they do near the beginning of the first book. Are these differences enough to discount an adaptation as inferior to the source material or completely change how the source material is read and enjoyed?

Of course, the answer to this question is up to the individual to decide. Personally, I appreciate each medium as its own creative expression. Books allow readers to transport themselves inside of the story and interpret the characters and events in unique ways whereas film can be a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. While books rely on the reader’s imagination to bring characters and events to life, film adaptations can provide a new interpretation of a work that is fresh and interesting. Books have more freedom to explore many plot threads while the same approach in movies and shows can introduce pacing problems.

The specific ways books and films engage readers and viewers cannot be entirely replicated by one medium or the other; however, these differences are their strengths. Does that mean we should avoid debates about which version of a story is better? Not at all. Comparing and contrasting film adaptations from the source material (or vice versa) makes for a fun discussion and can introduce new books that people would not have known about if a film adaptation was not made.

Cover ArtThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
ISBN: 9780618640157
Publication Date: 2005-10-12

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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

I tend to read many non-fiction books, partly because I have many interests and a desire to learn and partly because my career requires me to stay on top of trends in librarianship and education. Consistent reading of non-fiction can start to feel heavy depending on the subject matter at hand. That was how I was feeling this month after having worked through a few non-fiction titles with a few others in process. I decided to dedicate some time this past weekend to a fiction audiobook for the sake of pure entertainment. After scrolling through my Audible library, I settled on a thriller by Robyn Harding called The Swap.  

This story is told through the eyes of multiple character narrators, all of whom seem unreliable and downright unhinged. They each give you plenty of reasons not to trust them, and as you move through the story, it’s clear to see that things just are not adding up. The “swap” title refers to a drug-fueled night of spouse swapping between four significant characters that ends up creating quite a debacle for them. What was meant to be a fun night of debauchery turns into a nightmare for all involved, and the results are downright deadly. 

If you are a fan of thrillers with multiple narrators, then this book might be a good choice for you. A reader that enjoys a “bad girl” lead character may also enjoy this book because you have your choice of two! I love a book with a storyline that keeps me dialed in. I also enjoyed that I had difficulty deciding who the actual “bad guy” was. If you happen to read or listen to this book, let me know what you decide at the end because I’d love to hear your thoughts on the characters.

After finishing up this audiobook, I have already added a few other Robyn Harding titles to my TBR list. I’m excited to have a few fun, fast-paced thrillers on deck for those times when my mind needs a break from data and technical writing. If you are a lover of psychological thrillers, please let me know what other titles and authors I need to be reading!

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profile-icon Michael Ramey

Even with all of the resources out there, I still find it difficult to choose a book to read. It is similar to browsing through Netflix to find a show to watch; having more choice is wonderful, but the sheer number of choices is overwhelming. Making that choice can feel like a commitment. After going through a history master’s program where I had to read five-to-ten books a week, I developed an appreciation for taking my time with a book. In other words, I have officially become a slow reader.

For example, the book I have been reading off and on for the past year is Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, which is part of the Oxford History of the United States series. While engaging and informative, I find that I can only read a little at a time in contrast with reading through an 800-page book in two weeks like I used to do. Of course, the fact the book is bigger than a brick and that it is a comprehensive history of a specific time period likely dissuades me from plugging away at it more consistently.

With cellphones and the internet as a constant looming presence, I find my attention span is not what it used to be. This has impacted the number of books I read per year. Unfortunately, I have become less patient with books as well. Even with the recent books I finished reading, it took me several tries to get through them.

I suppose part of my reluctance with reading books at a fast pace is because heavy reading is part of my job. That is not to say I do not enjoy reading, but I find I unwind better at the end of the day with music or playing a video game. I now no longer worry about how many books I have read per year; now I focus on the quality of what I have read.


Cover ArtWhat Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe
Call Number: E338 .H69 2007
ISBN: 9780195392432
Publication Date: 2009-09-23

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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

In my interactions with patrons in the library over the years, I have learned that many people struggle with reading not because of reading itself but because they can't pick a book. The inability to pick a title also comes in varieties ranging from "I can't find anything that interests me" to "there are just too many choices." I get it! There are times when I can't seem to decide, whether it's because my TBR is now well over eight thousand titles long or because I'm just in a reading funk. Seriously, my GoodReads lists are frightening! 

The struggle is real, and you are not alone. The good news is that librarians know about this problem and are here to help! Reader's advisory is one tool in my librarian toolbelt that I use to help patrons. Here's a quick rundown if you aren't familiar with that term. Reader's advisory is a library service where librarians help connect readers with books through direct or indirect means. So, whether you find a book using the resources on this guide or you stop in and talk to a librarian, you've participated in our reader's advisor services! 

The Vikings Read More Challenge & Book Club is a multifaceted reader's advisory tool to help guide readers to books. First, the "challenge" is a motivational mechanism meant to guide readers toward a broad topic to help narrow down choices. The February theme is "social justice and civil rights," I have created an entire page to help a potential reader pick a book. On the page for February, I have showcased a variety of potential titles centered around this theme. The books range from non-fiction to fiction, and there might even be a graphic novel or two! Does a reader have to select a "social justice and civil rights" book to participate in the book club? Absolutely not, but it gives that reader a place to start regarding title selection. Next, the club Zoom meetings give readers a place to chat and share their thoughts about books. Many of my favorite books came as recommendations from friends and colleagues. In addition to those great things, I've also added a reader's advisory page dedicated to book recommendation websites outside of our libraries that can expand your horizons! 

In the spirit of reader's advisory, I will provide a list of some "social justice and civil rights" books that I have read over the past few years. I'll spare you a review here, but if you want to chat about a title one-on-one, I'm willing and ready to do that! I will only be listing books we have at the SJR State Libraries for bonus points! 


- Brittnee

Cover ArtAnd the Band Played On by Randy Shilts
Call Number: Palatka Circulation RA644.A25 S48 2007
ISBN: 9780312374631
Publication Date: 2007-11-27
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