How Television Affects My Reading Habits - Discussion Part One

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Paper Bindings | How Television Affects My Reading Habits - Discussion Part One

 (That is: I want to read more of or less of a certain type of book
because of a good or bad television show)

Mercy Street

“Inspired by real people and events, Mercy Street goes beyond the front lines of the Civil War and into the chaotic world of the Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia.”
Maybe I am a little bias, but I feel that everyone should be watching Mercy Street (PBS, Sundays). There are so many great historical shows out there now (The Knick, The Americans, Call the Midwife, Outlander, and Downton Abbey, for example) and so many wonderful historical miniseries out (War and Peace, Wolf Hall) that it feels overwhelming at times. I want to watch all of them and I am excited about all of them, but not only do I often do not have the time, but many (I am talking about you Turn: Washington’s Spies) are amazing, but feel a little like homework while watching.

Perhaps it is because I am much more familiar with the history of the American Civil War, but Mercy Street just gets me and gives me everything I love about historical dramas. The costumes, the dialogue, setting, the complex reasons why the characters do everything, feel everything, and say everything that they do is just astonishing. No moral lessons are given out, the characters are portrayed less in a twenty first century context and more in the context of the Civil War era. Dr. Foster, for example, (wonderfully played by Josh Rador, in a role so far from anything I have seen him before, and almost makes me forget the horrible ending to How I Met Your Mother) is a Union surgeon who grew up in a slaveholding family in Maryland and that complexity is fascinating to watch. Every week so far, I have barely noticed that one hour has gone by.

As a result, I want to read everything about the Civil War now. I have enjoyed reading that era before (March, Little Women, Mine Eyes Have Seen, for example) but now I am heading onto a read-every-book-I-can-get-my-hands-on-the-Civil-War frenzy all because of Mercy Street.

Currently Reading: Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

The Tudors, The White Queen, Reign

Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars in this original, history-based drama series as the young, vibrant King Henry VIII, a competitive and lustful monarch who navigates the intrigues of the English court and the human heart with equal vigor and justifiable suspicion. - The Tudors

Set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, the series is the story of the women involved in the protracted conflict for the throne of England. It starts in 1464—the nation has been at war for nine years fighting over who is the rightful King of England, as two sides of the same family, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, are in violent conflict over the throne. The story focuses on three women in their quest for power, as they manipulate behind the scenes of history—Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville.- The White Queen, wiki

Reign is an American historical fantasy romance television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots living in France. - Reign, wiki

My current Civil War book reading binge is not the first time I have been influenced to change my reading habits because of a television show .I have always had an interest in British royalty, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” (Henry IV, Part 2 by William Shakespeare) and all that. I have also always been a self proclaimed Anglophile. However, it was until I was recommended by a co-worker to watch The Tudors did I become obsessed with the Tudor period and began to read every book I could on Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey - my favorite characters from Tudor court. Then I watched the mini-series The White Queen and was inspired to read everything I could, fiction and nonfiction, about the English War of the Roses, which prior to watching the show I knew very little about.

Some of the books on the Tudor period I have read or in my TBR pile: The Other Queen, The Lady Elizabeth, Wolf Hall, The Tudor Conspiracy, Brazen, and Innocent Traitor

Now I am in a Mary, Queen of Scots phase. When I heard about a tv show, on the CW, about the teenage Mary living in France I was skeptical. However, Reign has developed into my favorite television show filled will intrigue, heartbreak, and yes a fair amount of romance - detailed here.

Currently Reading: Hysteria by Lily Blake

Nevertheless, with so many genres out there is nice when something pushes you to a specific subject. For me it is my love of television and history.

RELATED: How Television Affects My Reading Habits - Discussion Part Two: Tips on How to Put Down the Remote and Read.

What television shows have affected your reading habits? Do you watch Mercy Street, The Tudors, The White Queen, or Reign and can we fangirl or fanguy out together?
author image


As an INFJ Tisha doesn’t like she obsesses. Luckily, she has television, film, and books to keep her busy. Although YA is her favorite, she loves all types of books especially historical fiction. This resident Gryffindor also enjoys traveling and seeing where her wanderlusting nature will take her. Twitter


  1. The TV I watch doesn't actually influence my reading too much actually! The only case I can think of for me, is how the release of the TV show Shadowhunters has made me reread Cassie Clare's books again :) And even then, it's not because I enjoyed the show, but more because I realised I missed the universe?
    Loved this post - it's something I haven't thought too much about! Am definitely looking forward to Part 2 - I feel like I'll relate to that one more!

  2. Thank you for your comment! That makes sense, I recently watched The 5th Wave and immediately felt I had to re-read the book because I forgot everything.

    I guess for me I like knowing the history as I watch what's going on. For example on Reign they often joke about the fact that their King Francis (played by Toby Regbo)looks nothing like the real King Francis. I like being able to catch jokes like that.

    I hope you enjoy our next TV discussion! :)

  3. It's so true. Whenever I watch a Jane Austen movie I'm suddenly looking around for a regency romance, lol.


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