8 Netflix Original Series Based on Books

As Netflix continues to grow, the company has been able to add more of their own original programming to their streaming service. Do you know which of your favorite shows started out as books before being adapted into television series for Netflix?

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.

Anne with an E (Anne of Green Gables) by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne, an 11-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso – The founder of “Nasty Gal” fashion shares a manifesto for ambitious young women that explains how to channel personal passion and energy while overcoming insecurities, outlining advice on doing work and garnering recognition.

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy – In the wake of a young girl’s brutal murder in the woods near an abandoned Pennsylvania steel mill, suspicions surround an escapee from a local biotech facility, a cold-blooded aristocrat and young gypsy who claims to be a werewolf, two of whom reluctantly team up to prove their innocence.

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs – Political mover and shaker Frank Urquhart, willing to do whatever he must to become prime minister, butts heads with Mattie Storin, a tenacious young reporter who has a knack for uncovering the real stories behind the headlines.

The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories Series) by Bernard Cornwell – Captured and raised by Danes in the ninth century, dispossessed nobleman Uhtred witnesses the unexpected defeat of his adoptive Viking clan by Alfred of Wessex and longs to recover his father’s land.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – Follows the author’s incarceration for drug trafficking, during which she gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and met a varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances.

Beyond the Binary at JMRL

y648At the Crozet Library, our focus for LGBT+* Pride Month 2017 is gender. We’re featuring fiction and nonfiction books about people who identify somewhere outside the cisgender man/woman binary system and inviting patrons to contribute their identity to our community board. Check out the display in our teen area for information, pronoun stickers, book selections, or to add to the board.

Looking for some great books to read for Pride, or want to educate yourself about gender identity? Check out these fiction, nonfiction, and memoir picks! Links will take you to the JMRL catalog, where you can place these books on reserve.



Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin – A genderfluid teen creates a blog to share thoughts and experiences about gender. When it goes viral, the responsibility and risk of exposure may prove to be too much.

Beast by Brie Spangler – A Beauty and the Beast retelling featureing fifteen-year-old Dylan (hairy, burly, outcast) and Jamie (witty, gorgeous, transgender) who meet when Dylan is assigned to a therapy group for self-harmers after an accident.

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky – A novel about twelve-year-old Grayson, who feels trapped under the weight of a life-long secret: “he” has always been a girl on the inside. A sweet and thoughtful story about friendship and support.

George by Alex Gino – George wants to play Charlotte in the annual school rendition of Charlotte’s Web, but she’s not allowed to audition because everyone sees her as a boy. With the support of her best friend, though, George comes up with a plan to embrace her true self and make her dream come true.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills – Public access radio star Gabe is dealing with a lot: romance, parents, friendships, coming out as transgender, and an awesome opportunity to audition for a radio station in Minneapolis. The difficulty ramps even higher when several violent students discover that Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.


The ABCs of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell – This one isn’t strictly about gender, as it encompasses the entire scope of gender, sexual, and romantic identity, but it’s a must-read for anyone feeling out of their depth in the ever-more-complex world of identity. YouTuber Ashley Mardell presents what could be an overwhelming amount of information in a straightforward and easy-to-digest way, with complete definitions, personal anecdotes, and infographics.

Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews / Being Normal by Katie Rain Hill – Two halves of the same story, told by two transgender teens who were dating during their respective transitions from male to female and female to male.

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings – Young transgender activist (and now reality TV star) Jazz Jennings recounts her experiences growing up as a transgender child and her work to educate the world about gender issues.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out edited by Susan Kuklin – Author/photographer Susan Kuklin interviews six transgender or non-binary young adults as they work to understand themselves and their gender identities. Filled with beautiful photos and candid anecdotes.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt – A family who adopted identical twin boys reexamined their deeply held views about gender identity when one of the twins turns out to be transgender.

Want more? Ask a librarian at any JMRL branch, chat with us via our website, or use our What Do I Read Next? tool. Happy reading!

* – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and more

“Sometimes miracles do happen”

51DizOJ5d2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Brown Baggers met on June 15 to discuss A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly, a memoir about a young Indian boy who gets stuck on a train and transported away from his family at the age of five. Eventually he gets connected to an orphanage and is adopted by an Australian couple after no one could locate his parents or where he came from. The book has recently been made into acclaimed movie Lion.

Readers were surprised to learn this memoir was ghostwritten. Some questioned the veracity of the memories of a young child. Readers said a traumatic experience like Brierly’s would have made a strong enough impression to be remembered for life, but others wondered if a young child could actually remember details like what he had to eat for each meal 25 years later and if maybe he had assistance from his Indian family once they reconnected. Readers mentioned factual discrepancies with listed ages, which corresponds with the author’s own admission of being unreliable on timelines due to his hunger, exhaustion, and trauma. Many readers agreed that the early childhood facts being embellished didn’t concern them because they felt the story was emotionally true.

“What is truth?” Readers agreed that truth can be elusive and is something that might be searched for.

Readers were surprised to learn about some of the conditions in poor, rural India where Brierly was born. He was tasked with watching his toddler sister as a four year old which seems a lot of responsibility. He was also able to fend for himself for a few weeks in Kolkata when he arrives despite being so young. Just the magnitude of people, especially hungry and homeless children, was hard to imagine but it explained why adults in the story were reticent to assist young Brierly when he was lost on the streets. Readers figured being poor might have led to increased responsibility at a younger age.

Some readers thought there were problems with the narration of the book. They weren’t sure if it was a discrepancy between Brierly’s story and the ghostwriter, or Brierly’s more recent memories and adult voice versus the created version of his five-year-old-self. It didn’t stop anyone from finishing, but it did make it a little difficult for some readers to get into. It was also noted that Brierly’s telling is very unemotional, perhaps because of his traumatic experience and trouble connecting with people later on in life.

Readers talked about this being the best possible outcome for Brierly (or any adoptee) who goes seeking their birth family – a warm welcome, and family still where they were decades before. The happy ending is what made the story great and while Brierly encourages the search for adoptees (it’s why he wrote the book) it easily could’ve ended up much more disappointing.

Readers said the adoptive parents seemed to be great and do everything they could to make Brierly’s life comfortable and preserve his culture, although the seeking out of a “brown skinned child” could certainly be interpreted in a questionable way. Readers wondered if the hints at racism Brierly experienced might have been a little more damaging than he implies.

Readers who had seen the film agreed that it was good but the book was better. download

Interviews with Saroo Brierley
From NPR
From BBC
Interview with Sue Brierley
From the WSJ

Brown Baggers will meet again on July 20 at noon to discuss Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.