Book vs. TV Series: Shadow and Bone

In this book vs. TV series, we’re going straight back to the Grishaverse. Recently having her debut novel, Shadow and Bone, become a screen adaptation, there’s a lot of buzz around Leigh Bardugo right now. The Shadow and Bone Trilogy is the best introduction to the Grishaverse, so this is the base of the action for this screen adaptation.

Streaming on Netflix, Shadow and Bone is based on the first Grishaverse book and some parts of Bardugo’s novel Six of Crows. It explores the plot and character of the book Shadow and Bone while also introducing characters from Six of Crows. While having dual plotlines, they both interweave in ways that are only hinted at in the books.

Firstly, the main plot of the TV series is with Alina, Mal, and the Darkling. There are fantastic book reviews in previous blog posts, so definitely check those out to get a deeper understanding of these characters. The series spaces the events out wonderfully while also adding in some details that add to character development and suspense. Both the book and the TV series’ first season end at the same point in time for all characters. So, it is simple to follow along according to each book.

On the other hand, with the addition of the Crows, the overall plot becomes a little bit more complicated. Not all of the Crows from Six of Crows are involved, but I would argue that the ‘main’ ones are. When I say ‘main,’ I’m referring to the characters who would require the most backstory and would therefore be a hindrance in flashbacks were they to explain along the way. So, I believe that the producers made an excellent decision in aligning the timelines of the flashbacks that occur in Six of Crows to the events in Shadow and Bone. Six of Crows takes place two years after the final events of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. So, this simplifies the timing of events for the audience who haven’t read the books.

With the timeline being well-executed, I also thought that the TV series did a brilliant job connecting all of the characters. Having read all of the Grishaverse books, I know that each character knew of one another. But, in the show, they seamlessly have characters from the Shadow and Bone Trilogy meet characters from the Six of Crows Duology. When Kaz, Inej, and Jesper end up getting a job to capture Alina, this is where their plotlines interconnect, thus leaving their adventures bound to get tangled. Also, at the same time, are the adventures of two other future Crows, Nina and Matthias. Throughout the first season, they are having their backstory explained.

Overall, I adamantly believe that this TV series was very well executed. It brought to life all of these charismatic characters while also revealing the magical world that Leigh Bardugo put together. It introduced characters from the Six of Crows Duology, which is a significant indicator that we will be getting more Crows screen-time. And, hopefully, there will be enough seasons to explore the true might of what these Crows can do. I would highly recommend reading these books and watching the series after; it’s honestly incredible how talented the actors, producers, and directors of this series can do.

-Katherine L.

The Debate Between Libraries and Bookstores

I have recently written an essay on the prompt, “Are libraries still necessary?”. Just from the question itself, I was a little bit offended. But, it proved to be a passionate topic that I could write my essay on. Now, a different and perhaps better question to ask would be, “Which is better: libraries or bookstores?”

First, let’s just establish what each one is. Without the fancy dictionary.com definition, I would say that a library is a place that allows for people to borrow from a collection of books, resources, films, etc., usually meant for a community. It can also be a quiet place for working and studying. Now very similar, bookstores are everything libraries are, however instead of borrowing their resources, they have to be bought.

Now into the finer details of each; imagining a bookstore like Barnes and Noble, I walk into this massive store. It has shelves and shelves of perfect, freshly printed books. They all have the classic “new book” smell and minimal to no damage. But, the store is lacking in character.

On the other hand, when someone says library, I imagine passed-down hardcovers wrapped in the iconic plastic to protect its dust jacket. I picture hundreds of books with multiple copies and different editions lined up on shelves that categorize them by genres. I see a kids/middle-aged section, a romance-filled young adult section, and the ever-so-imposing adult section. The books themselves show their years of dutiful use on their cracked spines, small bends, and tears from being tossed around in a backpack. So with each book that I pick up, I get to glimpse at what each reader’s journey with the book was like. Through its physical condition, I have been able to laugh, cringe, and wonder what exactly happened to this book before it got to me. Whether it be spaghetti sauce stains or hilarious side notes, a library book really gave me two adventures instead of one.

Though bookstores do a fantastic job at presenting their products for customers to buy, personally, nothing can beat the feeling that overwhelms my senses when I walk into a library. I grew up going to libraries at least once a week to study or pick up another round of books, so I may be biased. But, one thing I know for sure is that sometimes it’s better to have the used book: it reveals more than any new book could.

-Katherine L.

TV Review: Ginny & Georgia

Recently dropping on Netflix, Ginny & Georgia has quickly become very popular amongst teens around the world. Packed with witty comments and hysterical jokes, it climbed to Netflix’s top ten list within 24-hours of dropping.

This TV series follows a teenage girl, Virginia “Ginny” Miller, and her mother, Georgia Miller. When Georgia’s very wealthy husband suddenly dies in a car accident, Georgia moves her two children, Ginny and Austin, to Wellsbury, Massachusetts. Finding some stability in the town, Ginny and Georgia use this town to leave their past behind and to truly get a fresh start.

Starting with Ginny, this television series emphasizes her character in ways many other shows have not. Ginny is one of a couple biracial characters in the show as her father is Black and her mother, Georgia, is white. Since she grows up primarily with her mother, she can’t fully grasp which culture she is supposed to fit into. Although she seems a little lost with her own self-identity, her beliefs and morals are steadfast and unwavering. Within the first twenty minutes of the show, Ginny shows her unwillingness to be a bystander to racism and underrepresentation in her education. Overall, Ginny is a strong 15-year-old lead who depicts not only the problems in society but also a relatable teenage life.

Next, is the famous Georgia Miller, or maybe infamous. Georgia is the definition of a strong woman who does not rely on anyone. She flaunts her beauty and Southern accent not only to attract men but to get what she wants. Georgia will stop at nothing to give Ginny and Austin the childhood she never had, even if her children don’t recognize it. Throughout the ten episodes that have dropped, her character has been developed through scenes from the past and present. The constant flashbacks make every aspect of her present life clear, and this is what makes Ginny & Georgia such a phenomenal show.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that this show is one of the closest representations of a high school teen’s life. I recommend it to anyone at least sixteen years and older because it does have topics and scenes on the more sensitive side. So, please make sure that you are a part of the appropriate audience/age to watch. I only touched on two of the characters, but there are so many personalities and underrepresented aspects of life within this show that it would be a mistake not to give it a try.

-Katherine L.

How to Remedy Reading Slumps

I’m not sure if this happens to everyone, but sometimes I just don’t want to read. I absolutely love reading, but sometimes I just can’t bring myself to sit down with a good book. Most of the time I can’t focus on a book because something else is drawing my focus away. When this is the case, I have a dry spell of not reading, and by the time I actually have the time to read, I have forgotten the previous chapter and can’t get back into the book.

Now I’ve been through my fair share of what I call “reading slumps” and there are a few things that I like to do to get back into my reading groove.

The first thing I like to do is set a time that I’m going to start reading and commit to it. Usually, this means the upcoming weekend, very late at night. I find that when I read late at night, it reduces the number of distractions I have. My family is usually off watching TV or asleep, and the notifications on my phone are a minimum.

The second thing I do is pick the right book. I may be right in the middle of a great book, and in that case, I’d continue reading it, but sometimes I’m in a lull in between books. So, to help get me back into reading, I would reread an easier book. I would pick books that I already know that I’ll love and could fly through and enjoy them. Some quick recommendations would be Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan if you wanted some Greek mythology/fantasy. For a simple and charming young adult romance, a fantastic series is The Selection by Kiera Cass. And for a more contemporary book, any Nicola Yoon book is amazing!

Finally, the last thing I do is make sure that I have a comfortable spot to read. Whether you enjoy reading at a desk or in your bed, make sure that you are comfortable! This is because the less you are worried about external factors, the more you can focus on your book. Oh, and a bonus would be to sneak in a couple of snacks to munch on throughout your read.

I hope some of these tips help you come out of whatever reading slump may occur. Happy reading!

-Katherine L.