Chai break

Chai break: Book to screen adaptations.

Chai break is a periodic feature on This is Lit to discuss concerns that every book blogger has. This is meant to be a lighthearted discussion that you’d have over tea and the only reason for it not being called Discussion Post is that the site’s author thinks that would be too mainstream. Pfft.

Nerds! We’re going to talk about adaptations today.

Let’s be honest. None of us really like adaptations that much. “CALMLY”, ANYONE? Ugh.


Book to movie adaptations:

These almost always let me down. You take a book I spent a whole day reading, suck its soul out, squeeze it into 3 hours and expect me to enjoy it? I haven’t watched a single adaptation that I liked more than the book. Oh, and the clusterfuck that was Eragon (the movie) has ruined all future book to movie adaptations for me.

However, I have watched some adaptations without knowing they were based on books. For instance, my most favorite movie is Forrest Gump. When I first watched it, I didn’t know it was based on a book. And, it’s said that the author hated the movie. So, I’ll probably enjoy the book even more, right? Maybe I liked the movie because I’m low-key in love with Tom Hanks.

Oh hello there, Mr. Hanks!


But, no. The movie IS good.

Book to TV show adaptations:

So many books are being made into TV shows this year! Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods, Thirteen Reasons Why… You know what they all have in common? I haven’t read any of the books they’re based on! Not even Thirteen Reasons Why.

I never watch an adaptation if I haven’t read the book. This is my golden rule. I just finished binge-watching Weeds and I needed a break from the shows I usually watch. I broke the rule and chose Thirteen Reasons Why. I only did it because I thought I wouldn’t read the book. I’m watching episode 7  currently and I’m engrossed!

But, God, it glamorizes teen suicide. That’s wrong on so many levels! It’s entertaining and heartbreaking to watch, but do we really need depressed teens watching a show that normalizes suicide? Oh wait, I digress.

Also, if I find the show interesting, would I enjoy the book more? These are the questions that keep me up at night. 😛

My opinion:

I haven’t yet watched an adaptation that I loved more than the book it was based on. The ones that I do love, I haven’t read the book yet. There is the probability that as of now there aren’t any great adaptations. Or maybe I just haven’t watched the right one.

Let the discussion begin!

Tell me what you think. Adaptations–like them? Dislike them? Have you ever liked an adaptation more than you liked the book? Lastly, which adaptations do you prefer? Book to films or book to TV shows? Let me know in the comments!


~ Shruti

Goodreads | Twitter


35 thoughts on “Chai break: Book to screen adaptations.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think a 2 hour film can capture the essence of a book correctly. Or maybe we just don’t have proper makers yet.😉 Why does that sound like I’m talking about God?😂

      Maybe we just need to pray. “Dear god, please don’t make them ruin this adaptation for me.”😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t think Thirteen Reasons Why glamorized suicide, per se. I get why people thought of it as a revenge fantasy, but it reiterates several times that Hannah is dead, and that nothing the listeners say or do will bring her back. I thought of it more as a warning and a reminder to be kind.

    As far as adaptations go, I like the TV version of Game of Thrones better than the books! The books just go into so much unnecessary detail, and introduces characters for one page and then never uses them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you’re saying about Thirteen Reasons Why makes sense. It does serve as a reminder to be kind, but it occasionally feels like revenge fantasy too. I’m on the fence about my exact thoughts. Maybe reading the book would help.😊

      As for Game of Thrones, I read only the first book, and I loved it. The grandeur in the TV show will definitely make viewers like it more than the books.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When an adaption is done right, I’m fine with it. I’ve seen almost all of the adaptions of Jane Austen’s novels that were at least produced in the early 2000’s (especially Masterpiece, BBC, A&E).
    Sometimes watching the adaption first can help you understand the book. When I read Harry Potter, the movie wasn’t out yet so I realized I was pronounceing all the characters names wrong when I saw the movie! Plus there was a lot of world building, so it was helpful to visialize everything. And with classics that are more difficult to understand, an adaption can help you.
    But truthfully, the book is always better. There might be a few movies out there that are better, but nothing can change the experience you have actually reading the book and your reaction to a character or plot twist without Hollywood/film bias.
    Hands down the worst adaption I have seen recently was Anna Karenina with Kiera Knightly and Matthew Mcfayden. It was more art than movie. I guess I just wasn’t the target audience. I want a decent adaption of that book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right! Now that I think about it, there are some classics whose adaptations are decent. And, before I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire, a friend recommended watching at least the first 2 episodes of the TV series. She said it’ll help me understand the world better. I never ended up doing it, but I think what you say about the world building is true.

      As a non-native speaker I always get the names wrongs. The first name that comes to mind is Liesel from The Book Thief. So maybe, there are some things that you understand better with adaptations.😊


  4. I’ve been with you, always preferring the book to the movie, but I also try to see the book and the movie as two separate things. Different tellings, different versions of the same story. Kinda like all the re-tellings of Cinderella we have – I have my favorites and those I like less, but they’re all just one person’s version of that tale.

    Recently I did find one movie I preferred to the book – Maze Runner.

    I read the book first (as I generally try to do), and I enjoyed it though it seemed to have some rabbit trails and some convenient-more-than-believable plot points. Then the movie, they changed a few parts of the plot – blasphemy! I’d normally say – but it worked. They tightened up the storyline, made it more believable to the world I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Different tellings, different versions of the same story.” That’s amazing! There are some that work out and some that don’t. That’s a very nice outlook on things, Amy!😊

      Also, I need to check out Maze Runner. I was told that the movie cleaned up the plot by some friends of mine too.😊

      Thanks for stopping by! You have interesting thoughts on this topic!😊😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, The Lord of The Rings, a book series that I’ve “been meaning to read” for more than a decade. Based on all the comments here, I really need to read the books (AND THEN watch the movies).😁

      I’ve been shying away from The Series of Unfortunate Events show. I haven’t completed all the books, and I’m waiting to do that before watching the show.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For me, it depends on the adaptation. Some I really like and some I never want to set my eyes on ever again *cough* *cough* The Lightening Thief *cough**cough*. The one adaptation I like more than the book is Matilda. Generally, even if I really like an adaptation, I won’t love it as much as I love the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The thing with TV series is that – it has much more room in terms of length in comparison to a movie series for adapting the more important details. To set up a common ground – compare Sherlock Holmes – the TV adaptation vs the Movie adaptation.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, they allow for the audience to take part as well. If one character isn’t taken to by the audience, that particular character can always be tailored to suit in upcoming episodes, or be removed from the adaptation due to a series of unfortunate events – which is not possible in films.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I read Thirteen Reasons Why and it is very overrated. Skipped the show for that. It seemed to romanticise the suicide rather than make it a serious issue. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RIGHT? But, as another commenter pointed out, the show does make it look like a reminder to be kind. I’ve watched the first 6 episodes so far. I believe it toes the line–sometimes it DOES feel like they normalise suicide and sometimes it doesn’t. *Sighs*

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never liked an adaptation more than the book. However, I have no problems when the adaptations are done well. I’ve seen some adaptations that have been done well (Harry Potter) and others that were awful (Divergent). I’m also the same way as you, I won’t watch the adaptation unless I have read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Divergent was pathetic! The only nice thing about it was Kate Winslet, even though I never pictured Jeanine to look like her. And trying not to watch the adaptation unless the book is read is good. We are book nerds after all.😊


  9. 😃 I totally agree with you! I have never liked any movie adapted from a book as I feel that most of the storyline is edited or left out. The movies are just a tip of the iceberg! Although for me, the Chronicles of Narnia was an exception. I liked the movies better. Maybe that’s the problem with every book lover out there!

    Liked by 1 person

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