Should you Read the Book First?

A long-established dichotomy is that of book vs film, page vs screen, literature vs cinema. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been urged “wait until you’ve read the book before seeing the film” with the threat that I’d “ruin it” for myself if I did otherwise.

I’ve never really stopped to consider whether this has been true in my experience, and to collect my thoughts about this topic. As readers, I’m sure this will be a relatable issue, and hopefully you enjoy this discussion piece!

I think my automatic response to this question is that yes, you should probably read the book first if you are invested in getting the material as directly as possible. I suppose this doesn’t necessarily promote the idea that film is secondary to literature, and I do think that in some cases it makes sense to follow that approach.

There have definitely been times when I’ve held off watching a film because my interest initially lay in reading the book. In some cases, this has lead to me never doing either, largely due to my ever growing tbr pile and unfortunate tendency to get put off whatever my next read is if I decide on it too far in advance. Nevertheless, if I’ve heard good reviews about a book and I really like the concept, I’d try to avoid the film until I got chance to read it.

All of that generally works on the presumption that the film won’t be as good as the book, or at least that it will weaken the reading experience. I do think the latter is true; one of the best parts of reading is getting to imagine everything for yourself, and a film kind of spoils that. I don’t actually think it matters whether the film is better or worse than the book, because I’ve come away from books feeling like the film actually made vast improvements (Bridget Jones’s Diary I’m looking at you).

There are also some films that, despite the fact that they’re adaptations of books, I’m really only interested in the cinematic form. Certain genres are not my favourite to read (action and sci-fi are probably the best examples of this), but I really enjoy watching them. Even if the book is very hyped up or a classic, I’d much rather have an enjoyable watching experience than struggle through a book that’s going to leave me feeling bored and dissatisfied.

I also think it’s important to acknowledge that films are a far more accessible medium of entertainment, and that it’s okay to prefer film. There’s a lot of intellectual snobbery that surrounds the ‘book vs film’ debate, which does very little to address the problem that for some people, reading is not a pleasurable, or in some cases possible, experience. Just as audiobooks have helped widen the accessibility of texts, films bring the concepts and ideas in literature to people more easily.

All in all, I think my opinion is that the divide between book and film should be seen as a far more nuanced relationship than simply competitors. It’s okay to say that certain books should be enjoyed as texts before they are watched as films, but I do think we need to be more careful about how we express these views. In my opinion, it’s better for people to access things in the way that’s best for them, rather than shame people into having a subpar experience of something.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!



The Struggles of a Bookworm: Too Many Books, Too Little Time

I’m returning to my blog following the weekend with a rather melancholy post. My friend and I were talking about books we want to read yesterday, and I was reminded of the horrible struggle of being a bookworm.

I can’t read everything.

Now, this seems like a fairly logical. Of course you can’t read everything ever written in human history, and even if you could, why would you want to?

What is so troubling to me is the never ending tbr pile, that grows and grows without sign of ever slowing down. I don’t want to read everything, but even narrowing it down to the books I really want to read doesn’t dent the pile all that much. When you consider the books that have already been published, and then the new releases that are unending, the problem soon becomes clear.

As a bookworm, I have such a strong desire to read everything that’s worth reading, and experience all the greats of literature, but I know I don’t have a chance. I love reading, and missing out on something wonderful is a not so great thought.

Instead of dwelling on this fact, though, I’m trying to use it to make the most of what I can read. If I don’t have time to read absolutely everything, there’s no time to read things that I don’t like. I hardly ever leave a book unfinished, but maybe it’s time I became more ruthless. I’ve read books simply because I thought it was impressive to do so, and looking from this perspective that’s such a waste.

I guess the point of this post is just to acknowledge how hard it is to choose what to read. The struggle of deciding which books to spend my precious limited hours reading remains strong, but keeping this in mind might make it slightly easier.

I’m a big believer in abandoning what society tells you to read and picking books based on your own preferences and interests, and what better reason to truly commit to this than realising it’s impossible to get around to everything. I’d much rather miss out on a stuffy classic that holds no interest for me (no offence classics lovers) than on what could potential be my new favourite book!

Obviously I don’t have full control over what I read because of my literature degree course, but this conversation reinforced how important maintaining reading for pleasure is. I’ve had a tough start to term (expect a blog post about that on Friday) but I am proud of myself for making an effort to read outside of what’s required of me.

If you struggle with the knowledge that you’ll never be able to read everything that’s out there, let me know in comments. We can at least share our frustrations!


Book Cover Opinions

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Everyone knows this idiom, but does anyone really follow it? I know I can definitely be swayed by a cover, positively or negatively. I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of a deep dive on this topic, and unpick what my opinions on this famous topic are.

A little disclaimer: these are just my opinions, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone who likes these book covers, or perhaps has published books with these covers themselves. I appreciate there’s a lot that goes into covers that limit what can be created (money, access to resource or skilled creators etc.), and I would never want to foster more gate-keeping or elitism within literature.

What Book Covers Do You Like?

For me, there are two very distinctive categories of book covers that I’m particularly drawn to. Firstly, there are the stereotypically ‘pretty’ covers, often with pastels or shiny decoration that are more often than not illustrated rather than photographic. Here are some examples of the covers I own that fit into this category:

I just find my eye drawn to these books in stores, and therefore I’m more likely to pick them up and read the blurb. I do sometimes choose editions of books I already know I want to read based on the cover, because a minor price difference really isn’t enough incentive to look at an ugly book on my bookshelf for years to come.

The second category of covers that I’m particularly drawn to are the weird ones. These tend to be a little out of left field, and definitely play into my love of the absurd. These are still often illustrative rather than photographic, but that’s definitely less important than it is for ‘pretty’ book covers. Here are some examples:

Once again, I just find myself drawn to these covers, probably because they stand out so much. I like that these covers set the tone for the rest of the book, especially if that book requires you to let go of reality and accept the strange logic it presents you with. I also really enjoy reading books with strange covers around other people and just watching their confusion as they try to figure out what you could possibly be reading. Maybe that’s just me.

What Book Covers Don’t You Like?

Personally, I don’t love covers that include photos or realistic illustrations, particularly of people or when there’s a generic background photo with the title in large text over it. I just think it cheapens the look of the book, and often makes it blend in with the crowd. When I’m buying books in person, I don’t always go in with set titles in mind, so naturally I end up picking up the ones that are unique and stand out. Examples of these include:

This doesn’t mean that I’d avoid books with these covers if I was really set on reading them, it just means I’d be less likely to buy them randomly. I think these covers just sometimes feel like an afterthought or a literally translation of the content of the book, whereas illustrations (especially abstract ones) feel like a more subtle reflection.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

The ultimate question, and what this blog post was building up to. I think it’s very clear that I have preferences that definitely guide my selection of books when browsing in physical bookstores, but I don’t think these are decisive. There have been times when I’ve bought a book that I was interested in without even looking at the cover, and I really don’t worry all that much about the appearance of my books. I buy a lot of books for university that are required to be either Penguin or Oxford World Classics, so most of my books are fairly plain and (dare I say it) boring. I also buy most of my books online, so I really rarely do the cover-based browsing where my preferences take the reins.

I think if money was no object I might be a lot more selective about the editions of the books that I buy, but I could never see myself refusing to buy something because the cover wasn’t to my taste. Some of my favourite books have been purchased purely because I found the cover interesting though, so the superficial method has served me well.

I guess in my case the idiom still stands but with a small addition: don’t judge a book by its cover, but perhaps let it influence you.


Reading Formats

The debate that often gets talked about, and has proven very controversial as technology advances, is physical book versus e-book. However, this binary is too simplistic nowadays, as more ways of reading emerge, and our own habits no longer tie us solely to one camp or the other.

I thought it would be interesting to speak about my thoughts on the different reading formats, and talk how this has changed in recent years.

Physical Books

We have to start with the tradition method of reading: the physical book. I think there’s a really interesting purity complex that surrounds the glorification of the physical book that’s quite unique to the reading community, in that it diverts from society’s common valuing of the new and technologically advanced.

Personally, I prefer reading physical books. It’s nice to hold the book in your hand, it feels more like an active process of reading than a passive one, and you get to keep it on your bookshelf as a physical memento. It’s also nice to cut down screen time, especially after a year of online learning that I’m sure has done permanent damage to my eyesight. I do have to admit, reading a physical book does feed into my ‘I’m a reader’ superiority complex, because it signals to everyone what you read, and that you read a lot.

However, there are definite downsides to reading physical books. They’re hard to transport, they’re breakable, and they tend to be more expensive. And yet, we seem to cling to them despite these disadvantages and form an emotional connection with the books themselves. I have books that I would never want to throw away because of the nostalgia they hold, or because someone special to me bought it as a gift for me. I think it’s this hook that brings us back to physical books, and brings horror to us when we hear about more and more libraries being closed in favour of providing the books online.


Kindles have been popular for a good few years now, and I can definitely see why. Being able to transport that many books with you at once definitely would prevent the feeling of not being in the mood for any of the books you chose to take with you, and offers the chance to have instant access rather than waiting for delivery or going to a book shop. Aside from buying the actual device to read it on, a lot of e-books can be found for cheap or for free on online book resources, which makes reading a lot more accessible. I think accessibility also comes from e-books being more adaptable for those who struggle with reading in terms of changing text size and colour and background colour.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of e-books. I think this might partially arise from studying because our secondary reading is always online, so after spending all day reading on a computer I like to switch to a physical book. I just also find that I’m less engaged when I read online for some reason, and I don’t know if my brain still associates reading online only with things like news articles or blog posts that don’t require quite the same mental processes. You also lose the physical show of your progress a little when you’re online, because although a lot of devices show you the percentage that you’ve read, the physical movement of pages from one side to another motivates me a lot more.

I would just like to say that I think reading on a kindle or another online reading device is a lot more appealing to me than reading on my phone. For me, the key thing is making reading a separate activity, and staying on my phone doesn’t really give me that. The main thing holding me back from e-books is that I don’t think I’d use a kindle enough to warrant spending the money on it.


For a long time, I swore I hated audio-books. I didn’t get them and they just weren’t for me. However, I recently tried to use an audio-book to get me out of a reading slump, and it worked. I really enjoy listening to podcasts, so why not audio-books? There’s not that much difference between the two. So I’ve decided to give them another try, but only in specific contexts.

My problem was always that my attention drifts very easily, and I felt like I was missing half the story. It’s a very passive form of reading, and I found it frustrating that it took twice as long to listen to them (even on 2x speed) as I could read the book myself. I’m not the type of person that would listen to audio-books whilst doing something- I definitely need to be sat still. I think that’s really important with choosing reading formats; you can have different preferences depending on what you’re doing. Like I said at the start of this post, you don’t have to be in one camp or the other.

I listened to an audio-book on a long train journey I took recently and I really enjoyed it. I don’t get travel sick, but I don’t really like reading physical books on trains, so it was the perfect compromise. I also think the book I was listening to (The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri) was really well-suited to the audio-book format (I’ll talk more about this in the review I post for this book). So, maybe my thoughts are changing regarding audio-books, but I don’t think they’ll become the main reading format I reach for.

Overall, I think that my loyalty still lies to the physical book, but I am starting to diversify a little. Honestly, I don’t think any format can categorically be labelled as the best for everyone, because we are all so different and want different things from our reading experience. Instead of viewing the different formats of reading as competitors, we need to start seeing them as a way to find what best works for you, and solve a problem that arises in specific areas and contexts of your reading.

I still personally have a long way to go with figuring this out, but I’m glad I’ve started to diversify my reading!


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words! All you have to do is answers the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

My current read is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. I’m actually listening to this as an audiobook, and this format really complements the story. As you can see from the picture above, I’m almost finished, so I will post a review soon. I will also probably do a blog post on my feelings about audiobooks, and why I tend to shy away from them.

Recently Finished Reading

The last thing I read was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein. I actually listened to the first 60 pages as an audiobook (narrated by Jim Dale, very nostalgic), but then I switched back to a physical copy.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it is rare that I read a magical fantasy novel so it was a great change. It was on my tbr list for years, so to finally have read it and enjoyed it is amazing. I’ll post a review for this soon.

Next Read

I think my next read will be a re-read of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. I really loved re-reading the first book in the series, and I definitely plan on continuing this. With university reading though, it might not be the next book I read overall, but it’ll definitely be the next book I read for pleasure.


The 20 Questions Book Tag- Part 2

I’m so excited to be doing part two of this tag! It was so nice opening up about my reading habits and opinions in the last post, and I hope that it’s given you a clearer view of me. So, without much introduction, let’s get on with the second half of the questions.

Just to note again, I took these questions from A Book Owl’s Corner, who’s post you can find here.

Newest book you’ve read?

I’ve read quite a few books published in 2020. I’m yet to read one published in 2021- I’m so behind on reading for pleasure I’m catching up on books I’ve missed in the past, let alone reading new releases as well. In general, I don’t really follow new releases that closely, partly because I love reading older books, but I also find it’s quite an expensive way of reading.

Favourite author?

This is so so difficult, because nowadays I really don’t read that many books by the same author. I’m more of a stand alone than a series kind of girl.

I would have to say my favourite author is probably Rick Riordan, because I feel confident that I could pick up any of his books and thoroughly enjoy them. Yes I know it’s YA and it probably doesn’t really reflect my favourite kind of books now, but I think it’s the most accurate answer I can give.

Buying or borrowing books?

Interestingly, when I first started reading properly as a hobby I always borrowed books from my best friend or the library. I only ever bought books when I knew I liked them (a very backward and weird logic I know), and I discovered a lot of my most loved childhood series through her. my parents weren’t big readers and I never had any idea about what to read, so it worked out pretty well for me.

Now, though, I have to say I prefer buying books. I need my own copies of books for university, and there’s just something nice about owning a book yourself and being able to revisit it whenever you want. I’m also a big fan of cracking the spine and dog-earing books, so it wouldn’t be in the lender’s best interest either!

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

For this question, I’m going to go down more of the route of me not quite getting the hype, rather than disliking the book. Honestly, I’ve hated on Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam enough, and it’s time to give a more interesting answer than that.

I haven’t released my review of this book yet, but it would have to be Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t understand how it could be someone’s favourite classic. I think I might have had unfair heightened expectations, and unfortunately it was a bit mediocre for me.

Bookmarks or dog-ears?

I have some beautiful bookmarks, which I’ve had since I was a child. And yet, do I reach for them? No. I dog-ear the pages.

In all seriousness, it really doesn’t bother me. I like it when books look imperfect and used, and I’ve never lost my page using this method.

A book you can always re-read?

I’m on a real Rick Riordan appreciation train here. Ive just re-read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for probably the fourth time, and it was just as good as the first. I love the comedic way that Riordan writes, the story is so compelling and exciting, and of course the mythology is a plus.

I’m planning on re-reading the whole Percy Jackson series, so I might do a blog post rating and ranking each one. I think that’ll be more interesting then giving each one an individual full review.

Can you read while listening to music?

Yes! It actually helps me to stay more focused, especially when I’m finding the book a tough read. I’ve started to search on Spotify for playlists called ‘reading [insert author or book here]’, and it’s a great way to find mood-appropriate music to listen to!

I also like to listen to background noise like waves or café noises sometimes.

One POV or multiple POVs?

For me, it’s got to be one POV. Sometimes multiple POVs are used super effectively, but in general I like sticking to one. I think you get used to the narrator and changing it halfway through or multiple times just creates a disjointed narrative.

If anyone has recommendations that will change my mind about multiple POVs, I’m very open-minded!

Do you read a book in one sitting or multiple days?

One sitting. I’m a very all or nothing person. If I can get it done in one day, I will try my best. I think it helps to really immerse yourself in the story as well, creating a far better reading experience. I think I’m lucky to be a fast reader, because I generally can read a book in a day.

Who do you tag?

Anyone who wants to take part! Especially blogs who have just started, it’s a great way for your readers to get to know you better!


The 20 Questions Book Tag- Part 1

Although you can gather a bit of information about me as a reader from my other posts, I thought it would be nice to give more insight into my habits and opinions! One thing I love about the online book community is how strong we all feel about how we read and what the right way to treat our books is, it’s so interesting that a group of people who share the same hobby can be so divided. If you agree or disagree with any of my answers, let me know in the comments!

I was looking for a while to find a set of questions that I thought would be fun to answer, and I stumbled across this tag completed by A Book Owl’s Corner (her post can be found here). I’ve split the tag into two because I don’t want this post to be super long, and I don’t want to hold back on any of my answers.

I’m ready to get into this, and let you all get to know me as a reader better!

How many books are too many books in a series?

This is definitely a cheat answer, but it really depends on the series. I think there’s never a set amount, but starting a series that has more than five books is intimidating and probably would put me off if I wasn’t super invested in reading it. In general I’d say I’m a fan of shorter series- I love being emerged in one world for a long time, but I think I get nervous that my favourite characters or plot points would get dropped or diluted somehow as more books are added.

Interestingly, I think the idea of having eight shorter books in a series is more off-putting to me than having six long books. I think that’s just me being strange.

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

If you’ve read my recent review of Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind (you can find that post here if you haven’t), you’d probably think that I don’t. That’s quite a fair assessment, but it isn’t as simple as that.

I don’t mind a cliffhanger, but I often find they tip more into an anticlimax than a super suspenseful and effective ending. Maybe it’s because I do get quite invested in the fictional world and characters as I’m reading, so cliffhangers (especially when they aren’t being used to set up a sequel) kill me a bit because I know I’ll never get closure for that book. If a cliffhanger in used to leave the characters at a certain moment in time and not everything is resolved but the story being told feels complete, I’m more than okay with it. But if the book is very intense and suspense-driven, and then I’m left on a complete cliffhanger with no answers to explain what happened in the book, then it’s a hard no.

Hardback or paperback?

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I am team paperback all the way. I can count the number of hardbacks I own on two hands, and a lot of them are not full-sized books.

Of course, hardbacks are undeniably more aesthetically pleasing than paperbacks. They don’t crease in the spine, they tend to have beautiful dust sleeves and skins, and they just have an air of refinement about them. The reading experience is just not for me though, and I can’t sacrifice my enjoyment of reading books to have a pretty bookshelf. Paperbacks are just lighter and easier to read in my opinion, and I like to be able to properly manipulate the book I’m reading to suit whatever position I’m in.

Favorite book?

Oh, what a question to ask a book lover. Honestly, this question puts the fear of life in me when someone asks me at a party because I know they’re going to judge what I say based off of the fact I’m a literature student. They expect a classic, or maybe a book they’ve never heard of, and honestly the first place my mind goes to is Harry Potter.

However, swallowing all that fear and anticipation, I think my current favourite book is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet. I have a review for it coming very soon, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants an emotional coming-of-age read. It’s beautifully written and I couldn’t put it down.

Least favorite book?

I think I’ve been quite lucky that I haven’t really ever hated a book to the point where I’ve blacklisted it on my ‘least favourite’ list, because I actually had to think about this for a while.

The first that comes to mind (and I realise my blog is beginning to sound like a smear campaign against this book) is Leave the World Behind. I was just very disappointed in this book, and because of that I wouldn’t recommend it. I won’t say much more.

My other choice would be Moby Dick. I loved the plot about Captain Ahab chasing the white whale, but wow does Herman Melville showboat his whale-related knowledge. I had to study this book last year, and it was a struggle to read. This book put me in a reading slump halfway through reading it, which has never ever happened before. Honestly, the main plot that everyone knows takes up around 20% of the novel, so unless you have an avid interest in out-of-date whale information, maybe give it a miss.

Love triangles, yes or no?

I think when people think about love triangles in fiction, they go straight to an Edward-Bella-Jacob in Twilight situation. That version of this trope is a bit old, and sometimes it feels like an easy, lazy way to create drama in a romance book.

I do like love triangles when they feel more realistic, because we don’t always have a simple journey to romance. It’s nice to see characters being humanly imperfect in the pursuit of love, and I find it comforting to read something other than the ‘love at first sight’ and ‘you’re the only one for me’ classic portrayals of relationships. I want to read messy romances where there might be a love triangle or confusion over who the character should be with, because that’s real life. Sometimes we don’t just love one person.

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

I don’t remember ever DNF-ing a book. Ever. I have a really weird obsession with completing things, so I think it would bother me more to never finish a book rather than struggling through something that I hated. The only reason I would ever stop reading is if the book was unnecessarily triggering and offensive.

Edit: I have just laid eyes on my secondary bookshelf and I remembered that I have, in fact, DNF-ed a book. It was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Not much more needs to be said on that. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you understand.

A book you’re currently reading?

I’ve had a really productive week in terms of reading and absolutely stormed through my August tbr, and I’ve only just finished the last book I read (all reviews to come soon) so technically I am currently reading zero books.

That’s a boring answer though. The only book left on my tbr list is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, so that’s probably going to be my next current read. Unfortunately, as term creeps closer, I am going to have to start peppering in some preparatory reading for my course, so I might have to divert away from strictly reading for pleasure for a while. If you asked me this question again in a few months, you might get a strange answer.

Last book you recommended to someone?

I recommend The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman to anyone who mentions to me that they want to read something but they aren’t sure what they’re in the mood for. Murder mysteries are always good (especially when they’re well-written and funny), and I just think this book is a great feel good, holiday read. I actually have never spoken to someone who hasn’t already had this book recommended to them by a relative or friend, so I think that speaks to how great this book is and how much anyone would enjoy it.

Oldest book you’ve read?

This is a torturous question for someone who loves historical fiction and who has chosen a lot of historical modules at university. I’m going to have to make an estimation, because I honestly can’t remember all the things I’ve read in the last three years. I’ve also excluded poetry and plays, purely because I really can’t remember every single poem I’ve read, and saying Shakespeare feels like a cop out.

So, I’ve read The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, which was published in 1764. Earlier than that, I’ve read a good portion of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1392). I’ve also read things like Homer’s The Odyssey (8th Century BC), but that technically is an epic poem, and therefore doesn’t qualify here.

So, there are my answers for the first ten questions of the twenty question book tag! I hope you enjoyed reading this, and it’s helped you get to know me as a reader better. Please leave your opinions in the comments, and let me know what you would have answered for this tag!