Watching Books

source: National Archives and Records Administration via Wikipedia

It seems that TV writers are mining stories from books just as much as their film counterparts these days. Pick the right book – even better if it’s a series – and you have plenty of good material to last a few seasons. The titles featured here are either currently on a small screen (yes, I’m counting Netflix) or coming to one very soon.

Orange is the New Black is Piper Kerman’s memoir of the fifteen months she spent in a minimum security prison, after being indicted for money laundering and drug trafficking – events that happened nearly a decade before she pleaded guilty and self-surrendered. Kerman deftly explores the politics of women’s prison – everything from race and  dealing with manipulative guards to just handling the stress of your own situation in a bizarro version of a college dorm.

The White Queen is pulling from the Philippa Gregory title of the of the same name, while blending in The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. The White Queen in question is Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner and the new wife of King Edward IV. The Red Queen is Margaret Beaufort, the ruthless mother of Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII. Anne Neville is The Kingmaker’s Daughter – child of Richard Neville, one of the most powerful men in England who isn’t royal. All three are fascinating women with a part to play in the War of the Roses, a time period ripe with enough plots and characters to make any soap opera jealous.

Stephen King‘s Under the Dome is a brick of a book, but don’t let its 1074 pages scare you. On one normal day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, a large dome seals off the town from the rest of the world – nothing in, nothing out. King, in his very King-way blends the horrors of human nature with the horrors of the unknown.

Death Comes to Pemberley – Mr. Darcy, detective? In this imagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice, mystery icon P.D. James makes a major ‘go big or go home’ move and kills off George Wickham (She went big). In the six years since Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding, they’ve had two children, they spend quality time with their neighbors Jane and Bingley, and they’ve found a few promising suitors for Miss Georgiana Darcy. During arrivals for their annual autumn ball, the very disgraced Lydia arrives hysterical over her husband’s murder. A true whodunit for the Regency era.

A few others to check out: Dracula, The Leftovers, The Terror, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, plus Richard II, Henry IV parts one and two, and Henry V will combine for The Hollow Crown.

– Jess


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8 responses to “Watching Books

  1. Sheila

    I keep reading reviews of Orange is the New Black and am reminded of a dramedy by the late, lamented Olivia Goldsmith called Pen Pals. In this novel a woman takes the blame for a deal gone bad for her Wall Street boss and ends up in a women’s correctional facility. This story has a little bit of everything you can imagine.

  2. I’ve read all of Gregory’s books in The Cousins War except The Kingmaker’s Daughter – that’s next! I look forward to watching the new Starz series, but probably not until it’s on Netflix. I refuse to read any Jane Austen “sequels” or wannabes. I’m a purist when it comes to that kind of stuff.

    • I still need to read The Kingmaker’s Daughter. I have a date with a friend this weekend to watch the first two episodes – I’m hoping for good things!

      I’m normally against Jane Austen sequels, too, but if anyone can get me to try one, it’s P.D. James.
      – Jess

  3. Julie

    Elizabeth Woodville was married to Edward IV, not Edward VI.

  4. Pingback: Watching More Books | Eleventh Stack

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