I purchased the first season of Downtown Abbey, an early 1900's British melodrama, for my mom as a Christmas gift. She and I both love movies set in historical England, and I had a feeling she would enjoy this popular series.
When I came across Julie Bosman's excellent article "If You're Mad for 'Downton,' Publishers Have Reading List" on NYTimes.com (article is linked) I nodded throughout. Publishers realize an important factor in today's media consumption. Television and movies tend to spark interest in readers, and we have a hearty appetite to learn and experience more on the same topics.
I routinely get way too excited about a subject after watching something on television. Over the holidays, we found a two-hour-long special on the History channel featuring home movies of the Kennedys. I only had a basic understanding of the famous family, but after seeing their big smiles, endless football games, and hearing the biography of the family as a whole, I wanted to learn more. Several trips to the library ensued, and that in turn, sparked interest in the style-mavericks of the 50's. I just ordered a book on Slim Keith.
Also, my husband and I are not the greatest at remembering ancient history. A fascinating television program about why ancient Egypt's civilization collapsed had us debating the when, what, who, and how of that time.
I'm already ordering books to help us figure it out.
Just as television can prompt us to read a wider variety of books, it can also help writers get a feel for what topics interest viewers. The popularity of Once Upon a Time will ensure more cheeky, suspenseful fairy tales are published. The Walking Dead continues to spur zombie fiction. And Downtown Abbey will undoubtedly pave the way for even more fabulous fiction set around WWI England.
Have any television programs spurred you to read a book you might not have picked up?
Have a fabulous weekend!