Saw the movie? Read the book.

Got tapped in this survey –

1. Favorite book to movie adaptation?

I’m not entirely one of those book/movie snobs, mainly because I’m not much of a movie person. I like them, but they always seem so undeveloped in comparison. As a teenager, I loved the Anne of Green Gables miniseries, (not technically a “movie,” because I think Megan Follows and the other actors (Gil, Josie Pye, Diana, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert) just nail the characters in the books, and I watched them over and over. Maybe Anne made me feel like feeling outcast was not ever going to be the end of the world.

Game of Thrones. Spectacular, and makes sense of the complexity of the novels. Things are certainly changed in a mini-series adaptation, but the tone and characterization of the series as a whole is true to the feel of the novels.

Coraline (with caveats.) I LOVED the movie, hated the change ending. Gaiman wrote such an incredible girl-empowering story (the princess saves herself!) but the movie felt compelled to change it to the boy (an added character) saving the day in the end. I can’t think of another movie that so simulateously delighted me and pissed me off at the writers.

Deliverance – saw the movie first, and although it’s not one of my favorites, it’s visceral and memorable. I recently read the book and found it one of the most compelling short novels I’ve read in a long time. Very scenic and emotional and raw, and completely different than the movie, but still the same.

True Grit. Holy crap. I love both versions of the movie for different reasons, although I could watch the Jeff Bridges version over and over. The book is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Watchmen. The visuals in the movie are incredible, a near ecstatic use of color and light and shadow, exactly what you desire with a comic adaptation. I can understand the purists’ objections to the movie’s flaws and departures from the original storyline, but I still find the cinematography to deliver one of the most compelling adaptations I’ve seen.

2. Favorite childhood book(s)?

Only counting books I read as a child? Phantom Tollbooth, Shel Silverstein’s Up the Down Staircase, Seuss’s Fox in Socks (still love that one,) Fahrenheit 451 (probably not appropriate for children, but that’s when I read it,) The Martian Chronicles, the Anne of Green Gables books, Little Women (I wanted to be Jo, didn’t everyone?) The Oz books but especially Ozma of Oz, Robert Ludlum’s The Road to Gandolfo, (don’t ask me how I came across that one, I don’t even know,) John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest… no my reading wasn’t very well supervised.

3. Do you only read one book at a time, or several at once?

Several at once, and usually at least one audiobook too.

4. What is your preferred genre? What others do you like?

I’m a sci-fi/fantasy girl, but I’m no genre snob. I love mysteries, thrillers, espionage, the occasional memoir-style novel, and especially I love love LOVE short story anthologies.

5. What makes you fall in love with a book?

If I knew the answer to that, I’d sell it. I think it’s a very complex combination of language and wordplay, characterization and cohesive plotline. I want something in my story to become real to me – whether it’s the location, the people or the politics, some part of my mind has to be able to be in the moment and in the world with what I’m reading. Lately, I’ve become more sensitive to whether or not a novel passes the Bechdel test, and while some don’t, generally speaking, I’m drawn to fiction that is written with women, not boob-enhanced supporting characters.

6. Do you judge a book by it’s cover?

Absolutely 100%. I have books in my collection that I’ve bought only because the cover was amazing, then subsequently been delighted to discover that I also love the story. The cover is the #1 most important thing that will make me pick up a book and see if I want to read it.

7. Do you feel the need to read reviews before choosing a book?

Sometimes, yes, especially if it’s a bestseller. I’ve been burned by too many crap bestsellers.

8. Favorite character? (I’ll let you do a top five on this one.)

Sorry, five might not cut it. Shadow from American Gods, Darwi Odrade from Dune Chapterhouse, Jin Li Tam from the Psalms of Isaak series, Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens, DEATH from Discworld, Coraline (the book version,) Eileen Callaghan from Dreadful Skin. Anna from Anna and the King of Siam (the original Landon version.) Cal/Calliope from Eugenides’ Middlesex. Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce. I’ll stop there.

9. What books have you been unable to finish?

Cornwell’s Jack the Ripper book, (it’s stupid.) Both of Niffenegger’s bestsellers, The Nanny Diaries (a depressing, preening, worthless, self-absorbed piece of crap,) and the only two I’m ashamed of right now: Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, and Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which I have every intention of finishing, and really like, but it’s just so damn long and meandering.

10. Do you ever avoid books because of over hype?

Yes, all the time. I won’t read Flynn’s Gone Girl, even though it has won all kinds of recognition, because I don’t believe something that bookclubbed to death could be worth the time investment. I’ve never read the Harry Potter series, mainly because while everyone lost their marbles over the series, they also always qualified it by saying “well the writing is not that good, but…” I’m sorry, but if that is how you introduce the series, the but would have to be pretty gigantic to make it worth the dive. No thank you. Hmmm, the most recent is Coplin’s The Orchardist, and I’m not sure why, except that in spite of the interesting premise, it strikes me as a little bit “Oprah’s Book Club,” and I’ve never yet read one of those that I thought was worth a second read. Although in looking over Wikipedia’s list of her book club selections, I can see a few that are on my list and probably worth reading, as well as one or two I’ve read. Middlesex is on there, and I’m glad I never knew that, since it’s one of my all-time favorites.

11. Guilty pleasure books?

Urban Fantasy. The whole Dresden Files series, it’s like reading crack cocaine, oh my gog.

I’m going to add a #12, and #13:

12: What about audiobooks?

I adore them. I think a good narration can make an acceptable story into an experience. One of my very most favorite listens was Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which, although I liked in print-form, I adored in audiobook. BBC4 is currently in production on a radio play of Neverwhere featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as The Angel Islington, and I CAN. NOT. WAIT. O. MY. GOG.

#13: What are your top 10 current favorites?

I have a few that never move out of my top favorites:

Dune, American Gods, Frankenstein, Fahrenheit 451. In the last several years, on a quick-draw, I’d round out that list with: Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Shadow of the Wind by Carlo Ruiz Zafon, Pastwatch by Orson Scott Card (a deeply flawed book, by an author that I don’t respect and is no longer in my reading list, but nevertheless a thought-provoking novel,) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (skipped the movie, love the Broadway version,) The Truth Machine, by James Halperin, and Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi which is an absolute riot of a novel.

5 thoughts on “Saw the movie? Read the book.

  1. childrens books: holly and ivy, about a little homeless girl and her doll. she finds a warm bakery with a sack of flour to sleep on. she gets found and taken in, from what i remember. anyway, don’t give a *snozzle* what is going on in my life if i ever had twin girls i’d name them holly and ivy.

    also, six dinner sid. i LOVE six dinner sid. he’s a cat who goes to every house on the block where he has various different names and gets various different dinners. then one day he gets sick and all six owners take him to the vet and the vet’s all “the *googly-moogly*? i seen this cat already!” everyone figures it out but nobody cares and he is allowed to be a community cat.

    CDB. CDB? D B S A BZ B. Also there is a second book: CDC?

    Bad Kitty series. Hilarious.

    As for chapter books, the whole Wayside School series.

    Come to think of it, my anti popular book snobbery started early. I refused to read Goosebumps even though you were like, THE COOLEST if you had a Goosebumps in your desks. ah, the 90’s. down with harry potter.

    *googly-moogly* black pearl, *googly-moogly* island of the blue dolphin. laura ingles wilder had a point and i liked it. but i liked the tv show, not gonna lie.

    PS, giving tree makes me want to openly sob.

    *stacey’s edit: PG language! get creative!*

  2. For the most part my favorite book adaptations are favorites because I’ve seen the film first. Then when I read the book it felt like it filled in gaps and made the movie an even more fulfilling experience.

    Anne of Green Gables would be one of mine, as would the Lord of the Rings films, most of Jane Austen’s novels…I remember being very disappointed by the novel Blood and Chocolate after liking the movie. It isn’t a great movie, but I was not a fan of the direction she took the novel.

    I definitely judge books by their covers and would have to say you nailed it perfectly for why I too have never read the Harry Potter novels.

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