Adaptations Everywhere

They’re everywhere. Every time I read a story about a new show or miniseies it appears to have been adapted from a book. I’m trying to figure out if this has been the case for decades or if I’m just more aware of it now.

Think of movies. Think of TV series. Think of what you see created by Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. So much of their content is adapted from books. Cable networks and streaming services seem more likely to adapt books into something else, but broadcast networks jump into the mix too.

This isn’t meant to be a criticism. Authors are wonderful. But it makes you wonder if there are authors more concerned with the adaptability of their work than the quality of it.

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Why, Netflix, Why?

It was announced yesterday that Netflix has renewed Thirteen Reasons Why for a second season. I actually just told someone recently I’d be interested in finding out what happens once the season ends. That wasn’t a lie. What I didnt want is another season added on to something I believe ended perfectly. The story was told. The end was the end.

I think Netflix bought into its own hype. As much data and research goes into releasing a TV show on any platform, no one can ever truly predict the reaction of the viewer. Everything I’ve read tells me the reaction of the viewer of this show has been overwhelmingly positive.

Am I surprised this happened? No. At some point we have to acknowledge great books, TV shows, or movies simply don’t need sequels or more seasons. Last I checked the book never had a sequel.

Do you have any thoughts on a forthcoming second season?

On “Thirteen Reasons Why”

SPOILERS AHEAD

I posted yesterday about starting the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why. The series is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher.

I watched all 13 episodes in two days. I’ve not read the book, but after watching the first season I imagine the book is incredible.

The themes of the story include suicide, bullying, and rape. There’s more but this post would be 10,000 words if I discussed all of them.

Hannah Baker commits suicide after a series of events leads her to believe her life is no longer worth living. One event was a picture of her in an unflattering position sent around her school. Another was that she witnessed her friend get raped. Another was her own rape by the same student. The final event was that her counselor was unhelpful in her final reach for help.

Hannah records 13 tapes describing the things that were done to her in the time leading up to her suicide. Those tapes are given to the people mentioned on them after her death.

What’s most devastating about the story is that it isn’t really fiction. Rape and sexual assault may not happen at every middle and high school, but bullying? Yes. Cyberbullying? Yes. Verbal abuse? Yes.

Kids and teens are brutal. There’s no reason to question this. How many people don’t talk about their time in high school or college because they’re ashamed of the things they were doing at the time?

We have a president on tape bragging about sexual assault. What’s worse is 60+ million people STILL voted for him. It’s hard to address serious topics like sexual assault and rape if it’s being normalized.

No form of bullying is ever okay. No form of sexual assault is ever okay. No rape is ever okay. Depression and anxiety can be incredibly difficult things to deal with on your own. If you or someone you know is ever having urges to self-harm or commit suicide, then talk. Talk to a friend. Talk to a family member. Talk to a teacher. Talk to someone. Because then that burden is no longer on the shoulders of one individual.

You can speak to someone anonymously 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

This story is so much more than a story. It’s a wake up call to people who downplay the consequences of bullying and sexual violence. Why is it so hard to believe that people can push others to believe that death is the only solution to their pain and angst? Why is it so hard to believe that people who commit suicide were failed by people, policies, and institutions? Why is it so hard to DISCUSS suicide?

Just a couple of years ago someone told me they were having suicidal thoughts. But that person wasn’t nearby. I couldn’t just get in my car and go help. I told that person to speak with someone. Any one. I never told them, but I was terrified. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do enough. That I might text the wrong thing and make things worse. I don’t know for sure how that person ultimately handled their depression, but I do know they’re doing quite well now.

This story is the heartbreaking stories we see on the news every week. But it serves to show us all that we are not alone in our struggles. Even when things are at their absolute worst, someone will be there. The title of the book refers to 13 reasons why Hannah took her life. But it could just as easily refer to 13 people or things that could have saved it. Every human life is precious. Every single one. Yet we find ourselves valuing some more than others, and not valuing others at all.

This book is immensely popular. Please tell me your thoughts.

You Can’t Always be Reading

This is obvious. People have work or family or sleep that takes up time. These things are unavoidable. We can try to read as much as possible, but we still can’t always be reading.

Some have told me they don’t watch much TV. I understand that. Now that I’m working again my TV is on maybe an hour a day during the week. But there’s this network I think Americans should be aware of and maybe even watching as much as possible. It isn’t new. It isn’t a cable news network that will just feed into your own beliefs. It’s C-SPAN.

It’s the network that was founded to give Americans a glimpse into our own government. There are no commercials. There are no ads of any kind. There are no talking heads telling you what you should think of what you’ve seen. What you do see is your elected officials conducting day-to-day business. You hear their words straight from their mouths. And I think that’s the best way to hold elected officials accountable.

No one is changing their words and no one is telling you what you should think. Just you and the official.

So the next time you find yourself with some downtime and you’re not in the mood for a book, I’d recommend turning to C-SPAN. 15 minutes. A half hour. You may just learn something you didn’t know before. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing.

It’s Super Sunday

The eyes of the sports world shine on Houston today. No annual event can attract the number of eyeballs this game will, though with ratings declining this year could be a bit down.

I know many of you don’t care for sports but I also know this game isn’t really about sports fans. People watch even when they have no idea which teams are playing or who is favored.

I’ll take the Pats. Because I’ve learned that you simply don’t pick against them in this game when Eli isn’t on the other side. Who ya got?

Also, I’ve already seen several commercials I thoroughly enjoyed.

Something fun Today

I wrote recently about who I’d like to see write a book. My choice was Katie Nolan. I think people would call her a sports personality, but I said before that she isn’t afraid to express her opinion on a wide range of topics.

Turns out the week before the Super Bowl has some perks. Sure there’s music, the NFL Experience, and other festivities going on this week in Houston. But Fox is also broadcasting several of its shows live from Houston. 

I’M GOING TO SEE GARBAGE TIME WITH KATIE NOLAN LIVE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY.

I’ve attended three concerts in my life and dozens of sporting events. This will be the first time I watch a taping of a show in the audience. And I’m excited!

Which show would you like to see from the audience if you could pick any one?

2016 Reading Challenge: The Strain

Guys, I’ve held off with my reading challenge update because it’s going to come down to the wire! I know no one really cares if I complete it or not, but I came up with it. I want to finish! So I won’t tell you how close I am just yet.

My latest read was The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story is eerily similar to that of I Am Legend. A virus tears across NYC and causes people to morph into vampires. Only in this story they are all controlled and connected to one another via The Master. A vampire hundreds of years old who can move from one host body to another whenever the need arises. An old pawnbroker, two epidemiologists, an exterminator, and a not-so-hardened criminal lead the fight against the vampire outbreak. But their most difficult opponent may very well be a wealthy businessman who has assisted The Master in exchange for eternal life.

First, I’m a big fan of the TV show based on this trilogy of books. So I did not go into this blind like I imagine readers before me did. But I still had some problems with it. The difference between this book and the other two vampire novels I’ve read (Dracula and I Am Legend) is that it goes from unbelievable to acceptance very quickly. The basis of the spread of the virus is a plane that arrives in NYC full of dead people. All but four people on board appear dead, except they’ve only been turned and not actually killed for good. It was only a night or two after this that the main characters of the story accepted that vampires were overrunning the city.

While reading this book I never felt invested in any of the characters. Which is saying something because it took me nearly 11 hours to finish! I didn’t like how chapters jumped from one perspective to another without any warning. I usually don’t mind if it’s done in different chapters rather than the same one. There was at least one 75 page chapter that I found ridiculous. 75 pages!

You’re reading this thinking I hated the book. I didn’t. I enjoyed it. The vampires are different from just about any I’ve ever imagined, which I already knew from the TV show. They had to be my favorite part of the book. Their brutality and gruesomeness is awesome, but so is the manner in which they’re killed. You have this old guy who walks around with a cane that isn’t really a cane. It’s a sword he uses to decapitate the vampires. He has an armory of weapons and devices he’s put together over the years as he waited for the war to begin.

I applaud the authors for their modern take on the vampire, but it did feel more like a copy than an original. The Count is still the greatest evil I’ve ever read in any book and Robert Neville fought the good fight ON HIS OWN. Those two books are simply on a different level from this one. This book wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great. Maybe the other two books in the trilogy will be improvements. Overall I’d rate it about a 3.8 or 3.9 out of 5.

This book satisfied the requirement to read a book that’s your favorite color of my 2016 reading challenge.

What’s your favorite vampire novel!?