When a book gets adapted, I look the title up at the Winnipeg Public Library site to see if it’s available or its current status. If the book title involves Richard Armitage, double or triple that curiosity. I took a peek at Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer, a sliding-doors-esque novel with 37 copies and now down to 3 holds. Look like the hotness factor has worn off. However, I did a silent ‘whoop’ Overdrive now has the audiobook available. Winnipeggers can enjoy that baritone going through its paces as the story evolves, although, with Archer’s writing, it develops slowly.
While picking up a hold at my branch, I did my usual browsing and found myself doing a short cut through the mystery section. I stopped short as my eyes spotted a shocking blue hue:
These must be the four out of seven copies available out the 11 in total. Another tidbit I found out, after scratching my head seeing a Charleswood (CHAS) copy at my branch, mysteries float rather than return to their home branch. Currently, there’s one hold as opposed the 33 for his latest book, Run Away. Is it the calm before the storm? The Netflix limited series starring Richard Armitage, Hannah John-Kamen (Antman and the Wasp, Killjoys), Siobhan Finneran (Downtown Abbey, Happy Valley), and Jennifer Sauders (French and Saunders, Absolutely Fabulous). If it’s anything like the Sandra-Bullock fronted Birdbox, a bump on requests might happen. I am not an expert in these things, more like armchair library prognosticator.
So, Fatima, goes the peanut gallery, have you read it? Indeed I have dear reader and, holy Dinah, I want more from this author, and this comes from a (generally) non-mystery reader. The novel’s adaptation to Netflix makes a natural fit as I tore through the book in a week. I imagined the 8 part series itself easily bingeable, like a bag of Lindt’s chocolate balls. (A small bag. Speaking from experience.) While libraries always excelled in giving recommendations, sometimes media, like a Netflix adaptation, makes readers want to read the New Jersey-set novel.
While there’s a mystery at the centre of the novel, it’s really about what people keep hidden in their lives. Suburbs always prove a hotbed for intrigue with well-kept lawns and large homes. Within these settings comes this clock-work routine of work, get the kids, and have family take-out dinners on occasions. Some may think it’s an only-in-America thing, but Harlen Coben remarked he loves seeing how other countries adapt his novels for television. Much like Charlaine Harris, whose Sookie Stackhouse novels inspired True Blood, he looks at writing a book and writing for the screen as two different mediums:
Surprisingly, not much. Both mediums are storytelling, but there are huge differences, one being that film and television both revolve around visual storytelling, while my books mainly take place in people’s heads. Another huge difference is that one medium is collaborative and one is done completely alone. For me, the two different kinds of writing spur on one another. I’m naturally an introvert, and when you write 31 novels, you spend a lot of time alone in a room. But I’m a socially adept introvert, so I do like being out in the world, too. So I was just in Manchester watching a table read for my new show, The Stranger, on Netflix. So I’m there and I’m meeting the cast and the crew, it’s a lot of energy and I’m loving it, but as soon as I get back home, I say, “I’ve got to go crawl into a room and be by myself for a while.” So they kind of both feed the other.
Inevitably, library people, especially public library staff, will hear the following refrain, ‘The book was better.’ The book is the book, television is television, and the latter medium inspires the next title on the to-read pile or the hold list.