One of the most popular New Year‘s Resolutions we hear around the library is “I want to read more”. And yet, like any good New Year‘s Resolution, many of us find it impossible to stick to by the third week of January. Adult life is hectic, and those small moments of peace in a day can become another source of stress when you feel the need to maximize your enjoyment of them. Say you’ve got a couple of hours to yourself one day. How should you spend it? Well, you could crack into that book that you keep renewing. Or you could catch up on your favourite show on Netflix, or watch that movie everyone’s been talking about. Or you could throw out entertainment altogether and run some personal errands, or maybe meal prep for the week. And now, no matter which option you pick, you’ll be missing out on something. See? Stressful!
One of the ways people work around this battle for productivity is to set themselves a reading challenge. If you’ve never heard of one, they come in a few forms. The most well-known—and possibly the one that popularized the very concept—is the Goodreads Reading Challenge, which asks users to set themselves a target number of books they’d like to read. The 2020 challenge is currently sitting at an average pledge of 44 books read in a year, working out to about 3 and a half books a month. I think most busy adults would balk at this number, but keep in mind that this average is being thrown off by ambitious teens. A more sensible number like 20 books a year, or 12 books a year, or even 5 books a year is just as valid to Goodreads! The great thing about this challenge is that it is super easy to keep track of; Goodreads allows you to catalogue your “Read” and “Want to Read” shelves, as well as offering an endless number of personalized shelves. In short, it’s fun. It is, however, public.
For the even more ambitious, the internet is full of reading challenges that present in the form of monthly guided lists or bingo cards, with challenges like “read a book by a woman of colour” and “read a book more than 100 years old”. These are more personal challenges, in that nobody is necessarily watching you work your way through them. They can be quite helpful if you’re stuck for something to read and need quick inspiration. But sticking to them religiously can be stifling.
We’ve all been privy to the book that has been made into a movie. We’ve had those long conversations about what elements the movies missed from the book and how the book is so much better. We’ve even had a few of those rare conversations about those movies that are in some ways better than the book (looking at you Children of Men).
Movies aren’t the only medium of adoption for books, there are also a handful of musical pieces that have been created. Most of the time, it’s a single song: Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, Steve Hackett’s Narnia, Led Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop are just a few to name.
What about full albums? One song is not enough time to get all the nuances of a book translated properly. There have been a handful of full length albums that have taken on the task of adapting a book, and I’ve compiled my five favourite.
The Light Between Oceans is a captivating historical fiction set in Australia during the first half of 1900. This book traces the life of a solitary lighthouse keeper Tom and his wife Isabel and the consequences that follows with one life changing decision they made. I was engrossed by this story because once I got into each character’s head, I want to know what they will do next. It was also devastating seeing good people making bad decisions and I cannot do anything about it. It is a book that makes you wonder: what would I do in this situation and what would happen if the characters made different decisions. It was a journey to come to term with loss and grief, and to see that sometimes there’s no right answer. With romance, mystery, and moral debate all in one,this book would also be a good book club read.
The Light Between Oceans was also made into a film two years ago with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikandar. I watched the movie after reading the book. Like many books turned into movies, important details were left out but it still made me tear up. However, for someone who is unfamiliar with the plot, the narrative might seems disconnect. On the other hand, the cinematography of this film was beautiful and it captures the breathtaking landscape of Australia and New Zealand.
You might also like:
The Railwayman’s Wife
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
All the Light We Cannot See
In the Shadow of the Banyan
Letters From Skye