Should you always read the book first?

Writing up my queer retellings book recommendations post got me thinking about adaptations, which could arguably be considered a different form of retelling. And with the seemingly endless stream of announcements of new adaptations being initiated or released, this is a question that’s been on my mind:

Should you always read the original book first, before you watch the movie or TV show?

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Please Stop Commenting On How “Much” I Read

Between bloghopping and IRL networking, I get a lot of comments along the lines of “OMG you’ve read so many books this month/year!” or “I used to love reading too, until I started high school/college/working.”

Although I know it’s often meant as a compliment, or just making small talk, it doesn’t usually feel that way. Instead I find myself annoyed by the inherent assumptions that they probably didn’t even realize they were making.

There’s always going to be someone who reads more than you; unless you don’t read at all, there’s always going to be someone who reads less than you. (And if you don’t read at all, well, there are still people tied with you.) Some people read a book a day; others read a book a year. It doesn’t make anyone more or less of a reader, and it’s not actually a competition.

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Why Do “Book Boyfriends” Upstage Heroines?

It seems to me that I hear more about Rhysand than Feyre, Peter Kavinsky than Lara Jean, Will and Jem than Tessa, Gilbert Blythe than Anne Shirley, Peeta than Katniss … you get the picture. Whether we’re talking about books, movies, or TV shows, it feels like the love interests get more hype than the heroines.

Of course, I’m not saying that this is always the case — plenty of people stan Hermione Granger, Jude Duarte, Inej Ghafa; the heroines I listed above have ardent supporters, too. And maybe it’s just the online spaces I hang out in. Maybe it’s the “influencers” and friends whose posts tend to cross my feed. Maybe it’s exaggerated in my mind because it’s hard to stop noticing something once you pick up on it.

But I don’t think I’m totally imagining this fandom phenomenon, so here are a few of my theories as to why this is.

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(How) Do You Customize Book Recs?

If you know anyone who made a New Year’s resolution to read more/get back into reading/develop a habit of reading and they haven’t fallen off the wagon already, chances are you have been and/or will be asked to recommend them some books! Or maybe you’re like me and pass out unsolicited recommendations. (You get a book rec, and you get a book rec, and you …!)

Either way, some of my IRL friends have been updating me on what they read over winter break, and it got me thinking about how I choose which books to recommend to whom.

I’ve come up with three basic scenarios, but I’m sure there’s more — let me know what you make of them!

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Teatime: Are Literary Tropes & Predictability Always Bad?

You may or may not have noticed that I’m fascinated by tropes. For quite a long time, I was convinced that predictability was a bad thing in books. It was unoriginal, it was boring, it was bad storytelling. 

Yet I eventually came around. There are so many good things that tropes can bring to the reading experience … though of course there are downsides too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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[Bloggers in the Attic] Teatime: Diverse Reads

Bloggers in the Attic is back again! This month we’re bringing you different takes on reading diversely: how it’s changed or helped us, regardless of whether you identify as #ownvoices or marginalized.

The Bloggers in the attic is a discussion chain. And what is a discussion chain? Well, it’s pretty simple.
Me and [SEVERAL] other bloggers united together to discuss a common topic and sharing our unique perspective. Camilla @ Reader in the Attic created the initiative with the wish to create a discussion space that could explore a normal topic for different parts of the world.
The rules to participate are pretty simple. So, if you ever wish to take part in future discussions, just contact camilla. Topics will be discussed bi-monthly, so the next round will be up in October. 

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Teatime: Are Comp Titles Actually Useful?

Chances are you’ve picked up a new release because it was marketed “for fans of [book you loved]”, or maybe you read a review comparing it to one of your favorite books. And as you read that shiny new novel, you’re likely to have one of several possible epiphanies:

  • The comparison is accurate, and you may have found a new favorite book.
  • The comparison is not accurate, but you enjoy the book anyway.
  • The comparison is accurate, but for some reason you’re just not that into this book.
  • The comparison is not accurate, and you really don’t like this book.

Maybe you’ve had better luck in these cases than I have, in which case I am totally envious … and hope you can get something out of this post anyway. For me, I often find myself somewhere between the best and worst case scenarios, and it led me to wonder: Are these “comp titles” actually nice helpful and accurate? Or should I just disregard them?

After all, not every frontlist title can — or should! — be the next Six of Crows, despite what their blurbs say.

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Teatime: To Annotate Or Not to Annotate?

Having grown up mostly reading library books, I never really developed a habit of marking up pages while I read; the most I might do was copy down a particularly nice quote. (I still have notebooks full of these passages, a testament to the hand cramps I suffered in pursuit of the #aesthetic and need to update my Tumblr bio weekly.)

I think the first time I had to annotate my reading — because let’s face it, I don’t like change and will avoid it unless acted upon by an outside force — was for “close reading” in high school. This may have been Cyrano de Bergerac or it may have been Shakespeare, I don’t remember anymore; the point is that once I adjusted, it would not be an exaggeration to say it totally changed the way I think about and approach reading.

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