Thursday, February 20, 2014

How TV Turned Me Into a Reader

Okay, the title is a bit misleading. I've been an obsessive reader for a very long time. But over the past year, TV shows have profoundly impacted my reading habits.

Growing up, my genre choices were self-limited. I read large amounts of non-fiction, but few types of fiction. I would only touch contemporary and historical fiction. Granted, I did read all age groups from middle grade to YA to adult, even after I finished law school.

Then came Harry Potter and I was willing to give the occasional fantasy a try. Then came Twilight and I sucked up every YA paranormal fantasy my hungry paws could grab. Then came blogging and I discovered a true passion for high fantasy and even adult romance (which I had turned my arrogant nose up at for years).

Two genres were still closed off to me: Science Fiction and Mysteries

Sure I read the occasional mystery and enjoyed it, like the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley. And the occasional sci-fi-ish book, like the Scarlet series by Marissa Meyer. By and large though, the sci-fi and mystery novels that other bloggers raved about sat unopened on my shelves.

Enter two TV shows: Doctor Who and Sherlock (with Firefly as an honorable mention).

To say I am obsessed would be putting it mildly. I have been on a romantic whirlwind with the lovely Doctor (all 13 of them! 14 if you count 10.5 and who wouldn't want to spend a few more minutes with David Tennant) and the Consulting Detective for almost a year now.

Here are two shows that fit precisely into my hated book genres, sci-fi and mystery. Pretty soon I had to consider the shocking fact that if I like such TV shows, maybe I'd like similar books.

I started with sci-fi. I picked up Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. To my surprise, I loved it (I shouldn't have been surprised - he did write for classic Doctor Who). I began reading YA sci fi that dealt with time travel and hyperspace like All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. They were two of my favorite books in months. Thanks to Doctor Who (as well as Firefly), I understood a lot of the sophisticated discussion about time travel. I also realized that science fiction is less about science and far more about the human condition, something I should have figured out long ago.

Then I gave mysteries a try. Much to my mother's chagrin, I wasn't captivated by Nancy Drew as a child. I didn't dislike them, but I much preferred Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley Twins. The older I got, the more books with mystery as the central theme usually bored me. But given my love for Sherlock, I decided to turn to the source - the great detective writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Turns out I love the original Sherlock Holmes stories. I'm now making my way through Leslie Klinger's gigantic three volume Annotated Sherlock Holmes books. And I've fallen in love with another mystery series: Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series. I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the first in the series, on vacation and can't get enough.

A medium that was supposed to be the death-knell of books has instead been the impetus I needed to break into the last two book genres that held me at bay. I'm now attacking science fiction and mystery novels with a convert's zeal and loving every minute of it. I owe the BBC my thanks (not to mention, the handsome David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, and Nathan Fillion. And don't forget Alan Tudyk).

Has this ever happened to you? Has a TV show or a movie lured you into reading a particular book or an entire genre of books?


  1. For me it's rather the other way around. When Im all into paranormal I'm looking for the next paranormal show that I can binge watch. Still didn't watch Dr. Who or Sherlock... Must do so!

  2. It hasn't happened to me, because I've always loved all genres, although I have noticed lately (in the past year or so) that science fiction has taken over my life when it comes to reading and watching TV. I love it so. And I love that TV opened up a gateway for you, because science fiction is my favourite genre and everyone should get to experience it!

  3. I agree with Danny that I've found it to be the other way round, that my reading habits influence what I watch on the tv and that my love of anything paranormal bookwise has led to my obsessions with tv show like Supernatural, Grimm, OUAT, Vampire Diaries/Originals and the like.

    Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

    1. Thea you just named all the TV shows I am insanely obsessed with myself!!! :-))

  4. That's pretty cool! I don't know if my TV watching turned me into a reader, per se, but I always found that the books I loved influenced the genres I wanted to see :)

  5. Well in a way sort of. Being that TV (to me) almost always consist of the same drama over and over again. For instance, Vampire Diaries, first season started off great, then the chick lost her backbone and began bouncing between both guys. I can name others but pretty much tv turns me off and into books. I currently watch 3 shows. The Walking Dead, Grey's Anatomy, And Sherlock (BBC one). That is it. Nothing else interests me. Plus, I hate reality tv.

  6. Yeah I'm pretty much an all around romance, YA, Dystopian lover whether it's TV, Movies, or Books. Right now though I have discovered Grey's Anatomy and while I'm not really wanting to read medical books I can't seem to turn off the TV and's seriously taken over my life, which is very sad.

  7. Interesting topic. I don't think that has ever happened to me before.

    I have started watching TV series because of what I was reading though. When the book is over and I still want more of that type of world. A series can drag the love out longer lol

  8. Okay, a quick fangirl moment for David Tennant. I love him!. Okay. that's over. Anyway, similar things have happened to me too. Certain shows or movies will peak my interest in a book, or pehaps a genre, and then it's like a whole world opens up.

    It's kind of neat, how TV and movies can do that. Of course, I also think it works the other way. A book I read will make me want to see the movie/tv show.

  9. I like reading (and watching) different genres, so it hasn't happened to me before. I do like how it blends together for you and that you discovered you can love those genres through TV :D

  10. I like to think that I have always been a sci fi fan on tv but with books I have become picky. I adore dr who :) But with fantasy also, I have become picky with these books. Now I am reading them more often. Its weird .

  11. Actually, I'm usually the opposite, picking up with a series because I liked the book. But yay for getting into such awesome series -- don't you wish there were more episodes!!

  12. I am sorry to day... I have not seen Doctor Who yet. I just don't even know where to begin with it!! I am curious, have you watched Game of Thrones yet? If you like high fantasy then you should for sure check out that show.

  13. So glad that you are loving the Laurie R. King's series. I've been a big mystery fan as a teen but as I got older I've become more critical of them. I get irritated when I can solve the case faster than the investigators! I adored Beekeeper's Apprentice and have to go back and get updated with that series.

  14. I was a huge Harry Potter fan but my husband wasn't. We went to the first part of the last movie and then he was hooked, needing to know what happened next! It was awesome to get him into the series since I am a Potterhead!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  15. This definately happened to me with The Hunger Games. I was dead set against reading anything overtly apocolyptic or dystopian. My friends were raving about the Hunger Games for over a year, but I didn't read it until after I saw the movie. I loved the movie but it felt me wanting to know more, so I binge read the trilogy. Ever since then I've been broadening my book choices to include some dytopians. I have read the Divergent and Delirium Trilogies, so it's a start. I'm definately looking forward to what else is out there. Suggestions?

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