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Favorite books to movie adaptions

Favorite books to movie adaptions

My daughter is about to start reading Anne of Green Gables. After she’s done, I told her we would watch the television miniseries. It is one of my favorite book to movie adaptions ever. The actress chosen to be Anne Shirley was everything I had ever imagined Anne would be from her carrot-y braids to her penchant for over dramatization.

So often when you see the transformation of a book into a movie there is this let down, a certain disappointment that the movie failed to capture the spirit and magic of the characters you have built up in your mind.

Books have been a ripe source of movie inspiration both in the past and more recently. I don’t have Starz but the production of Outlander has captured the attention of much of my Twitter feed and there are tumblrs devoted to the rising star Sam Heughan who plays Jamie.

sam-heughan-5-facts-about-outlander-actor-including-season-2-cover

I can see why. He emotes in a picture. (I think 50 Shades should have picked him as Christian Grey rather than the Dornan character who looks like he has about as much sex appeal as a thimble)

While the whole of YA books transformed into movies haven’t done as well as the original spawn, Harry Potter, the moderate success of Divergent and the stunning success of the Jennifer Lawrence lead Hunger Games, leads me to believe that Hollywood will take more chances on YA books despite the bombs of Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments.

I’ve been utterly captivated for years by the Tolkien productions of Peter Jackson and anxiously await the third and final installment of the Hobbit. But I think my appreciation for these movies has more to do with the fact that the books themselves were such a distant memory and I hadn’t loved them enough to create the characters in my own mind. Thus Jackson’s rendition was perfectly fine to adopt as my own.

Who the lead characters are is important but the story is as well. When I watched the Harry Potter movies this past year (my daughter was reading the books and then we’d watch the corresponding movie after she finished) almost none of the movies lived up to the books in part because some of the acting was poor but so was some of the on screen storytelling. The Goblet of Fire was my least favorite with the last two being my most favorite. I felt it had a lot to do with the director and the parts of the story the director choose to tell.

As a kid I remember thinking the Swiss Family Robinson movie was loads more interesting than the book because the movie had pirates. The book is just full of awful colonialism. I re-read that with my daughter a few years ago and cringed hard throughout the whole story. The whale is my favorite part in the book–that and the salt cave.

Recently the book Princess Bride was on sale and I mentioned that I loved the book. In the comments someone mentioned disliking both the book and the movie, but the movie had such charm. The casting for that movie was spot on. Cary Elwes played the perfect stableboy turned swashbuckling pirate.

As a young teen I cried buckets over The Outsiders which my brother had rented surreptitiously from the local video store. My parents would never have approved but I saw the movie first which can have a huge impact on one’s opinion of a book.

Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption were both award winning movies adapted from short stories by Stephen King. Yes, the casting was great in both movies but I thought the actual movie making itself was gripping. I can still vividly hear Morgan Freeman narrating parts of Shawshank Redemption in my head.

The movie version of The Silence of the Lambs was incredible and it actually sent me on a Thomas Harris binge which I regret because I then read a number of mysteries and still have nightmares about the one with the blind girl, the snake and the dish of milks. *Cries*

But there are no shortage of terrible movie adaptions. The Princess Diaries is one of them. I loved those books and even with the smart casting I felt that they never really captured the adorkable charm of Mia. I love Katherine Hepburn but could barely finish the Little Woman movie. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was another movie I thought was awful. Or maybe I just don’t like Michael Cera.

The list of books to movies seems endless. Why not share with your favorite or least favorite books to movies!

 

Your trust circle of reader recommenders

Your trust circle of reader recommenders

trust circle of books

I think it was Kassia Krozser formerly of Booksquare who coined the phrase “circle of trust” as it relates to your book reader friends who you rely upon to give you recommendations. No reader can be without that circle. One of the reasons we have open threads like yesterday is so that readers can communicate with other readers about books they’ve been reading and what they’d recommend. For a voracious reader, the most difficult question can often be “what do I read next?”

At times I feel much like the exasperated person standing in front of his or her closet and muttering, “I have nothing to wear” even as the drawers can’t close because of all the clothes stuffed inside. Many of us have mountains of books to read, but we feel we have nothing so we turn to our friends and ask for recommendations.

And many of our friends are online ones that we’ve cultivated from message board interactions and email loops and twitter exchanges because few of us have romance reader friends in real life. I have one in real life romance reader friend but she and I have almost no overlapping circles of reading interest.

The trusted recommender is one of the most vital positions a reader can occupy. For me, Susan Scribner of the now defunct The Romance Reader was my first trusted recommender. She got me to read outside my comfort zone. Because of her wonderful and thoughtful reviews, I discovered books like Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever and Sally Mandel’s Out of the Blue featuring a heroine with MS.

Shelly, from my email loop, encouraged me to read fantasy books. I read George RR Martin’s first three books, then the Tiger & Del series by Jennifer Roberson (talk about a kick ass heroine), Sharon Shinn’s Angel series,  and The Belgariad series by David Eddings (which I like to refer to as the anti Martin because while there are adventures nothing bad happens to the characters I love).

Jia from Dear Author encouraged me to read the Kushiel series and NK Jeminisen’s One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Keishon is another favored recommender. I read Karin Slaughter and PJ Tracey’s stories based on her recommendation. And it was Keishon who got me to read The Bronze Horseman over ten years ago.

I don’t still read all of the above authors, but the books I noted above were all books that I would never have read without the reviews and fabulous interactions with other readers. Currently my trusted circle of readers is peopled by mostly romance readers. Angela James, Elyssa Patrick, and KatiD regularly influence me. Jayne is my go to for traditional historical romances. I succumbed to reading Last Hour of Gann by non stop posts from Jessica Clare.

The trust circle is so vital because we’re constantly looking for something good to read. It’s not about the money so much as it is about the time. When you devote hours to something, you want it to be great no matter if you paid $12 for it or got the book for free.

Share with us your trusted reader’s circle and what recommended books you read that you might not have found on your own.