Reading/TV Watching on A Theme: Pairings from my Year 2017 in Entertainment


This is the first year in which I have charted most of my reading the year prior—introducing several tweaks here and there along the way. I want to continue that trend.
At the start of 2017 I had planned to follow a single literary theme (i.e., read two classics by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, continue that trend by reading a novel on his last years in Hollywood, followed by a biographical novel on Zelda Fitzgerald). It didn’t turn out as planned because I abandoned Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night at the 50% mark after being awfully bored by it. Then I tackled West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan; between Zelda’s madness and Scott’s drunkenness, paired with the drunkenness described in Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned, which I read before the former two, proved too much to make this theme one to enjoy.
Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:

  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald     
  • Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (DNF @ 50%)       
  • West of Sunset by Stewart O'Nan                                  

I requested a galley of this book and wasn’t approved, but I bought it and read it, which complemented by my TV watching, revealed the second theme of the year, Vatican Politics:

  • Conclave by Robert Harris
  • TV miniseries: The Young Pope
Without really planning it another theme emerged, complemented by my TV viewing, that of Richard III and The War of the Roses:

  • The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant Book 5) by Josephine Tey
  • TV Show: The Hollow Crown (Seasons 1 and 2) [Feature-length adaptations of Shakespeare’s historical plays on The War of the Roses]
And yet another theme emerged after the summer, the one about Ancient Rome and the Caesars:

  • The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
  • TV Show: Rome (Seasons 1 and 2)            
  • The Twelve Caesars by Gayo Suetonio (Translated by Robert Graves)

I am planning to continue this last theme next year as I’ll be reading more historical fiction based in Rome during the Caesars and prominent figures from this period.


  1. Very interesting. I admire your organization in planning and implementing your reading/viewing themes, even as I know I could never adhere to such a plan. I'm much too helter-skelter, but I can certainly concede the advantages of pursuing one topic through various works in order to get different perspectives and a fuller understanding.

    1. Well, the reading was more or less planned ahead with some tweaking along the way, but the TV viewing was definitely not planned out to follow my reading themes; it just worked out that way, so I was very lucky.

  2. It's very neat : all these themes. It seems you follow your interests in books and then the programs appear. I'm thinking perhaps I should start Season 2 of the Crown. Was there a Silva novel about the Vatican? hmm.

    1. Exactly. I would love to watch The Crown, but I still have some series that I want to catch up with such as Outlander, Poldark, four seasons of Sherlock, and The Borgias before I tackle anything else. I never thought I would juggle so many TV shows at once, and now I can't seem to stop. Anyways, back to topic, there are at least three or four Gabriel Allon novels that start with events in the Vatican and then take off, but it's been a while since Silva referred to the Vatican in any way, and these books I referred to here I read this year.

  3. Very interesting to follow your reading/watching plan. I love the way books lead one to another but I have been more scattered than you have this year. Still, it is all good and you have given me lots of great movies to check out!

    1. Well, after the summer my reading kind of went bust, but I did watch lots of TV shows in the months after, as well as about 11 movies per month. I have been stuck with the same book for four months, reading just bits at a time, and then going back and re-reading again.


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