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Why I shouldn’t read (for hours) before bed

When I was ten or eleven years old, if we were going on holiday, I would pack a book for each day we were planning to spend away from the house. We were going away for ten days? I packed ten books. I spent hours absorbed in fictional stories, and it was hard work getting me to take a break. I wanted to stay with the book, to finish it in one sitting if I could.

Nowadays, although I’m still a fast reader, I don’t have this kind of time to devote to reading (adulthood, eh?). I read less, and my reading patterns have become erratic; I spend a day or two with a book, stop halfway, come back to it a week later. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, as was the case recently with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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From Book to Film: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

As far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in film adaptations of books. I will walk into a cinema (or, more recently, open a streaming platform) full of expectation, convinced – although the evidence suggests otherwise – that the film will somehow reflect exactly my own understanding of the book. Maybe it will even transcend it.

I have, on occasion, been proven right (Joe Wright’s adaptation of Atonement is an all-time favourite, and don’t get me started on the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) but more often than not, I am disappointed. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the theatre for the first Harry Potter film, having made the mistake of re-reading the book a short time before; I was in a perfect position to notice every difference, every detail that had been changed, every funny line of dialogue the writers had decided, for some incomprehensible reason, not to include. Why? I wondered disconsolately as we left the cinema. Why would they do this?

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