Fiction Fact

25 years ago today (12/17/14), the first episode of The Simpsons aired. Celebrate by honoring 25 books The Simpsons referenced.

Be prepared… it’s a lot of Lisa.




The books:

  1. Bossypants by Tiny Fey
  2. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  3. Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James
  4. The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath
  5. A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  7. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  8. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
  9. Ten Trite Tales by Agatha Christie
  10. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  11. Little Lulu by Marjorie Henderson Buell
  12. The Kama Sutra by Mallanaga Vatsyayana
  13. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
  14. Kiss the Girls by James Patterson
  15. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
  16. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  17. Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw
  18. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
  19. Robert Mapplethorpe photography book
  20. Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
  21. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  22. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  23. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  24. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  25. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky



Movie Version or Television Version



I’m a firm believer in the book always being better than adaptations, but I recently started thinking about which would take second place movie versions or TV versions. Both movies and television have done some great adaptations of writers’ works and both have had their fair share of flops, but is one medium better than the other?


I think time is the biggest determining factor. When you’re adapting a 700-page book (or, for that matter, a series of 700-page books) into two or three-hour movies, something’s going to be left out. With TV shows, there’s time to develop themes and characters that a  movie might not be able to include. The reverse can be true also. Stretching out a short book into a television show can be incredibly problematic. Trying to make a certain amount of episodes when the material is minimal can cause pacing issues or can have those people in control take creative license on the story you love.


Either adaptation medium seems to be a toss-up depending on so many different variables.  What do you think determines whether a book is movie or television ready? And which do you prefer movie versions or television versions?