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The Sunday Salon: When TV Leads to Books

The Sunday Salon.comI’ve been thinking a lot about the connection between books, movies, and television this weekend.

I got started when I started watching the TV show Parenthood, which I just recently found on Netflix Instant. A couple of the early episodes of the first season have a small sub-plot connected to William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury — there’s a plagiarized essay about the story and a cute scene where one of the characters (Sarah, played by Lauren Graham [aka Lorelei Gilmore on Gilmore Girls]) starts dating an English teacher who also loves the book. I don’t normally have a desire to read Faulkner, but after the book played such a big role in the story I suddenly couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

It’s more common (for me anyway) for the inspiration to go the other way — for a book to inspire me to look for more. After I finished Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., a book about the making of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I wanted to read Truman Capote’s original novella and see the movie again. I finally watched it this weekend and it was lovely, except for the absurdly distasteful portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi, Holly’s Asian upstairs neighbor, by Mickey Rooney in yellowface makeup.

I’ve got the movie version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in my queue because of reading the book, and I also recently watched Holes because I loved the YA book by Louis Sachar. I can’t wait to both read Moneyball by Michael Lewis and then go see the movie (or probably wait to see the movie when it’s out on DVD). I’m also curious about The Big Year, which is out this weekend and based on a book by the same title by Mark Obmascik.

I have to think that the book/movie connection is often more common than the book/television connection, but maybe that’s just because I can’t think of any more examples from my own live. I’m curious what you all think: Have you ever picked up a book because it was mentioned on a tv show or in a movie? What show and what book?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kailana October 16, 2011, 10:39 am

    We have strange timing you and I. I was reading this post and in the midst of it noticed I had new emails, it was you commenting on my blog. That’s happened before… It’s strange? Random? Something. :)

    Anyway, I do the same thing. I have actually read several books because even the movie trailer will look good and I like to read a book before I see a movie if I can. I finally read The Help because the trailer for the movie was playing everywhere I looked and it looked good.

    I read Fifth Avenue, 5 AM earlier this year and also planned to read the story and watch the movie. I haven’t done either yet… The thought was there, though!

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:31 pm

      That’s so weird! I do tend to do comments after I write my TSS posts so maybe that?

      I did think the trailer of The Help is good — it made me want to read the book too.

  • Vasilly October 16, 2011, 1:25 pm

    I think probably the one time I’ve wanted to read a book after watching tv is probably when The Gilmore Girls were on TV. Watching Rory and Jess argue over books was awesome.

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:32 pm

      That was awesome. I loved Gilmore Girls!

  • Teresa October 16, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any books I wanted to read because they were on a TV show, unless it was a Masterpiece Theatre adaptation. I got hooked on Dorothy Sayers and PG Wodehouse after seeing the adaptations. And I’ve read lots of books after seeing the movie on which they were based. (I’m not fussy about reading the book first, especially if the movie is what made me aware of the book.)

    • Gwen October 17, 2011, 9:21 pm

      Masterpiece Theatre is the only one that I can think of too, but it is a doozy for leading me to books and authors.

      • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:33 pm

        I don’t think I’ve watched many Masterpiece Theatre adaptations, but I get they would make you want to read a book. I read a lot of books after movies too.

  • Susan October 16, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I almost always prefer to read the book first. I find once it’s in my mind, with my own images associated with the book reading settled, then I can enjoy the movie and they don’t overlap. Otherwise, I sometimes find that movie images prevent me from creating my own while reading, and I sometimes feel let down by the experience. I think for me, while movies can be awesome and moving and penetrating, and I enjoy them, words are my first love, and I need them first and the link between the story itself and my mind. Does that make any sense?

    Of course there are tons I’ve read first before seeing the movie, and vice versa, but now that I have to think of any, I can’t think of one! lol

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:35 pm

      That totally makes sense. I’ve become less particular about reading or watching first, but I do like getting my own ideas about books.

  • Trisha October 16, 2011, 5:22 pm

    I can’t remember a time I’ve read something because of a tv show, but I know there was a whole challenge dedicated to reading books from The Gilmore Girls. :)

    • quirky girls read-jehara October 17, 2011, 7:41 am

      There was a Gilmore Girls reading challenge??? How did I miss that?! Sigh. :)

      • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:36 pm

        There are a lot of lists online about the books mentioned in the show — it’s sort of amazing how many references there were. I always wanted to join the Gilmore Girls challenge, but I’m so bad at challenges I never did it.

  • quirky girls read-jehara October 17, 2011, 7:40 am

    I am another who cannot recall reading books because they were mentioned in a tv show or movie. I am more apt to read books that tv shows and movies are based on. However, you have me looking at the books/movie/tv connection differently now.

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:37 pm

      I really want to remember some books I read because of tv… but I can’t!

  • Ash October 17, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I know I’ve read books because I’ve seen them in movies, but it’s hard to remember. This isn’t exactly what you’re talking about, but High Fidelity and About a Boy were my two favorite movies in high school and one day I watched them back to back and noticed they were both based on books by the same author–Nick Hornby. The next time I was at the bookstore I bought them both and read them. That’s how my love affair with Nick Hornby started.

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:38 pm

      That’s a great story — I love it! I have High Fidelity on my shelf now, and I might read it for the read-a-thon.

  • Laura October 17, 2011, 1:08 pm

    True Story: I read Jane Eyre in 4th grade because they talked about it on an episode of The Torkelsons.

    To this day (I’m 30 now) it is my favorite book.

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:38 pm

      That’s awesome! I love that story.

  • jennygirl October 17, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I am in a perpetual LOST reading challenge, where you are supposed to read the books mentioned during LOST. There were a slew of them, and all had a little something to do with the show. I read Alice in Wonderland because of LOST, and the movie with Depp was coming out. It’s usually only movies/books that make that connection for me. Interesting post and have a good week!

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:39 pm

      Ooo, that’s a cool sounding challenge. I bet that would be fun after watching the show — I never really got into it.

  • Joanna October 19, 2011, 1:25 am

    It’s Gilmore Girls for me too, Rory read or talked about some awesome books! That show made me want to watch all the classic movies I missed too, just so I could get all the references. Great show.

    • Kim October 20, 2011, 6:32 pm

      Me too! I had so many lists of books and movies to read after watching that show.