Tag Archives: The Handmaid’s Tale

Book Adaptations: Are Television Series the New Cinema?

American Gods

As many of you have probably noticed, there have been several book adaptations made into televisions series or miniseries of late and I am LIVING for them! In fact, I have noticed that overall fan reactions and critic reviews tend to look favorably on adapted television series. This has launched a property scramble among television stations and independent streaming services to create shows centered around the many books that we love. And while this is still a relatively new pop cultural trend, it does seem to be a profitable one. So what is it that causes serialized book adaptations to be more successful than their cinematic predecessors?

NOTE: There are some spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t binged or read American Gods, The Handmaid’s Tale, Game of Thrones, or Anne with an E, be aware that I’m talking about them here and highly recommend you check them out.

1. Minor characters you secretly wanted more of are further developed:

Fan-fiction has often been devoted to the development of those side characters you were craving more of before they exited the story, either of their own violation or in a body bag. Series adaptations, however, are playing with this idea to elongate the show and keep the bucks flowing in. This is probably most noticeable in the American Gods and The Handmaid’s Tale series. Mad Sweeney, the down on his luck leprechaun, got more screen time than book time and was received incredibly well by fans and critics alike. He gets to go on his own road adventure with other minor characters, Laura Moon and Salim. And while I’m not a huge fan of Laura Moon’s fleshed out character in this series, some did find her likable. Critics, apparently, enjoyed her apathy.

Ofglen’s expanded storyline.

The second property has created quite the buzz given our current political climate and the additions made to this story have proven to be welcome ones as well, namely the development of the original “Ofglen” and her story. She is made a more complex character by being a lesbian, or “gender traitor,” in an environment that is incredibly homophobic and religiously influenced. Fans were stricken with grief to discover that Ofglen underwent female castration. The lines still haunt me to this day: “you cannot desire what you do not have.” Serena Joy, the Commander’s wife, is also more colorful as the true antagonist of the show, helping to create the laws that currently oppress the women of Gilead. I find myself hating her more than I do the Commander at times.


Books for Feminists – Big and Small, Part 3: Adult Contemporary

Hello again and welcome to our next series in the Books for Feminists book list. If you didn’t catch the first two parts of this blog, we’ve covered feminist books for children and feminist books for teens. Our next list up is contemporary books for the feminist reader.

But before I launch into adult contemporary literature, let’s review what I mean when I say feminist (you can skip this part if you’ve read the other blog posts). A feminist is simply a person, male or female, that believes that all people are equal and that women are people too.

Now, onto the books!

(Image Source: Amazon)
How to Be a Woman

Did you forget how to be a woman? Well, this book will help you with that, or at least, it’ll make you laugh. Author Caitlin Moran mixes snark, profanity, and cutting humor within her book. She is often called “the UK Tina Fey” and this book has made it onto the New York Time’s best sellers list. If you want to read about serious issues facing women from the UK to the US today, but maybe laugh while doing it, this book is the one for you.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Beauty Myth

Did you know that women don’t naturally come with hot pink lips, inch long eyelashes, or the ability to walk in high heels while cooking the most delicious dinner you’ve ever tasted? Sorry to dispel those myths for you. Naomi Wolf takes a look at how our society perceives beauty in women and how beauty is wielded like a social weapon to keep women perpetually chasing a standard that is unobtainable and costly. No one is naturally flawless, and, let’s face it, chasing perfection in the way of plastic surgery and makeup is an endless endeavor.

(Image Source: Amazon)
Book of Negros

Author Lawrence Hill creates a captivating narrative about an eleven year old girl being abducted from her home in West Africa, her journey by sea, and her eventual slavery in South Carolina. And, here’s the kicker—this isn’t a fictional story. This is the story of Aminata Diallo, born in Bayo, West Africa, in 1745. Book of Negros is a carefully constructed piece that takes historic evidence to recreate the events in Aminata’s life and struggles.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Nightingales of Troy

This collection of short stories is connected by a common thread—through members of an Irish American family starting in 1908. The author, Alice Fulton, shows her talent as a poet with carefully constructed sentences and brilliantly specific word choices. Not only is this a great read for any writer who appreciates craft, but the uniqueness of this short story collection makes it a great read for all. The linage of the family is explored from the jazz age to the time when the Beatles ruled teenage girl’s hearts.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine

From Sue Monk Kidd, best-selling author of The Secret Life of Bees (another great feminist novel, for those interested), comes her autobiographical tale. Her journey starts with her being the ideal Christian wife and mother until she starts to question her life. She realizes that there might just be more for women out there beyond what her religious values instilled in her. She found her feminist awakening and her faith at odds. She uses her theological background, mythological understanding, and passion for the arts to work her way through her life-crisis and she shares all of that with her readers throughout the chronicles of her journey from traditionalist to feminist.


Feminism in the Literary World

This blog, in case you haven’t noticed yet dear readers, was started by two women—Melanie Figueroa and, well, me. Most of our contributors, both past and present, have also been female. We’re all concerned with women’s issues in politics and often have discussions on how frightening some of the issues facing women are, such as state’s placing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights to Darren Sharper being able to rape seven women before he faced any charges.

The world of male dominance doesn’t end at the political or social spheres of our world, but leaks into the literary world as well. VIDA.com is dedicated to counting. What does it count? Well, it counts women in the literary industry, since 2009, and reports on how women are doing, number wise.

Some numbers are encouraging, like the fact that more women are writing for magazines now than ever before overall, but some are saddening, like seventy-five percent or more of the writers at The Atlantic, London Review of Books, New Republic, The Nation, New York Review of Books, and New Yorker being men.

So what? Some might ask. Well, so a lot of things, actually.


I Ch-Ch-Choose You!

It’s no secret that I read a lot. For school this quarter, I have read Moby Dick, Sheppard Lee, Ruth Hall, Clotel or The President’s Daughter, The Colonizer and The Colonized, Discourse on Colonialism, A Small Place, Black Shack Halley, So Long a Letter, Lesson Plans for Teaching Writing, Going with the Flow: How to Engage Boys (and Girls) in Their Literacy Learning, Teaching Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools: Theory, Research, and Practice, and, last but not least, Hong Kong Nights. I still have three weeks and about six books left of this quarter.

I, like many other English majors, have finally conquered the white whale. And by conquered I mean read and by white whale I mean Moby Dick, the book.
(Credit: Dovga.com)

While I enjoy my field of study and the work that I do in classes (a majority of these books have gotten 4 or 5 star ratings from me on Goodreads), I also like to read for pleasure. Recently, Goodreads had a poll asking users to identify how they pick out the books that they read for fun.

I’ve decided to explore the question in a post and look over the last three books I’ve read, outside of school, and how I came across them.


Graffiti: Bringing Literature to the Streets

Great literature can inspire various forms of art, including the kind that paints our streets: graffiti. Graffiti is generally illegal in the United States, unless it is done in cities with walls designated for such a purpose. However, the drawings left on these walls are often painted over by other artists due to the limited space. Because it is illegal, graffiti writers often go through great lengths to leave their artwork on a public wall, often making political statements in the process.

Below are a few examples of literary graffiti around the world. Which one’s your favorite?


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince