Do you re-read books, or do you prefer to find new ways to enjoy your favourite stories?
There was one family vacation where I read the third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 8 times within one week. I had only brought two books, which was my first mistake, and the other was a murder mystery, disqualified because I had already figured out whodunit, which was my second. By the end of the week, I was quoting passages from specific pages that I had memorized, and I had grown thoroughly sick of the book! But when J.K. Rowling released the next volume in the series, I read it right away – and have with every book she’s released about Harry and his friends since, including The Cursed Child. 21 years after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, we still want to revisit those characters and that setting. Luckily, the books are still popular enough to warrant Rowling producing more content within the Harry Potter universe – but what do you do about other books that you’ve loved, with authors who are long gone?
With some, you can watch the movie and film adaptations: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first adapted for the screen in 1938 as a television movie, then in 1940 as a film, as a TV miniseries in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1980, and 1995, and then again in 2005 as the film starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. This isn’t even counting the productions inspired by the plot and characters – Bride and Prejudice, the 2004 Bollywood musical version (which is very fun), the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. If Pride and Prejudice is your favourite, you have a plethora of ways that you can revisit the story. But enough: this is not a blog titled Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, an Incomplete List.
My current favourite way to return to a story I have loved is through Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters. In it, Ortberg transforms each of the chosen classic (or contemporary!) tales, ranging from the Greek myths and Beowulf to The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, into a text message dialogue between two characters, and they are hilariously done. Check out this excerpt from the conversation between Odysseus and Circe as an example:
If you like comics and quick summations of stories, Henrik Lange’s 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry might be just up your alley! Alternatively, maybe you want to take a bit more time with a book you’ve loved before: consider a graphic novel adaptation! Our collection has options ranging from Artemis Fowl to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There’s something to suit everyone – including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.