Feb 22, 2009

The Sunday Salon - A Good Week

The Sunday Salon.comHello everyone. How was your reading week? I'm very, very pleased: I read three five-star novels in a row. Old Man's War by John Scalzi, followed by The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak, followed by Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. All were of course great, but I must say that Tender Morsels is the most five-star of them all. In fact, it my view it's a seven stars out of five type a book. Anyway, I'll be posting about these next week, so I guess it'll be Rave Reviews Week.

This week also marked the beginning of my Adventures in the Land of Manga. I posted about the first 3 volumes in the Death Note series here. I have since also read volumes 4 and 5. I don't think I'll post about them, though, because I don't have much to say that I didn't already say about the first three books. Not that the series is repetitive. Far from that. The plot keeps twisting and turning, new characters are introduced, and my interest hasn't waned at all.

I have a question for you: have you ever shied away from a potential new interest because you don't think you can afford the commitment, time-wise? And if so, does it make you as sad as it does me? So much to love, so little time.

Two announcements: First, the 23rd Edition of the Bookworms Carnival is up at The Bluestocking Society. The theme is Literature and Film, and Jessica is asking readers to answer this question: Do you prefer to read the book first or see the movie first?

I'm a book first type of person. I like the slower pace of books. If the story has some kind of twist or surprising revelation, for example, I find it easier to enjoy the foreshadowing and the surprise in a book. For obvious reasons, things happen much faster in movies. Also, if I watch the movie first I tend to get the faces of the actors stuck in my head while reading, and I hate that. The downside is that reading the book first can ruin the movie for me (I know that ideally they should be kept separate, but I have trouble doing that), and I can't remember the opposite ever happening.

Inspired by this edition of the Carnival, I decided to list my top five book-to-movie adaptations:
  • The Virgin Suicides - Hands down my absolute favourite. Everything about it is perfect. Sofia Coppola captured the mood of the book so well. Even the light was just the way I'd imagined it.
  • Big Fish - I love this one for completely different reasons. It's not a faithful adaptation by any means. In fact, a lot was added to the story. But everything that was added feels right, and fits the spirit of the book very well. In this case, I actually watched the movie first, and for a while I liked it better than the book. But on a second read, I grew to love the book just as much.
  • Lord of the Rings - Yes, changes were made. Yes, things were left out. But these movies were made by people who truly love the world Tolkien created, and it shows.
  • Adaptation- Charlie Kaufman is one of my absolute favourite writers. He took Susan Orleans' book The Orchid Thief and turned it into something completely different - into something that is also about the process of adapting a book into a movie in itself, among many other things. And it works.
  • The Company of Wolves - a Neil Jordan movie adapted from a short story by Angela Carter. Angela Carter wrote the script itself, and I guess that's part of the reason why this movie captures the feel of her work so perfectly. The darkness, the sensuality, the fairy tale forest and all the things that it hides, as well as those it reveals. I love it.
What about you? What are your favourite book to movie adaptations?

Second and last announcement: Tracy at Book Room Reviews is hosting a Book Giveaway Carnival on the first week of March. I've been quite lucky with giveaways lately, and I can't tell those bloggers who are kind enough to send me books overseas how grateful I am. I know how costly international shipping can be, and I'm so grateful that they open their giveaways worldwide anyway. Some of those are books I would have trouble getting otherwise, but thanks to their generosity I get to read them. So I want to take this opportunity to give back to the community. I haven't decided which book I'll be given away yet, but I'll let you know soon!

Happy Sunday, everyone.


  1. I feel similarly about the LotR movies. They're not the same as the books and really could never be, but I think they capture the spirit extremely well and are still mainly really great films.

    Glad you had a great reading week, I'll look forward to your reviews!

  2. Oh my, that is a great reading week! I had at least two 5 star-ers myself, with The Polysyllabic Spree and Castle Waiting! And I have YOU to thank for them...THANK YOU!

    I've got so much catching up to do...I can't wait to go see what you think of Manga.

    And yep, happens to me, too...it's so hard to put your foot down and say "no" to something you know you'd love to really explore. But spreading oneself too thin just tends to take the enjoyment from everything, so saying "no" is sometimes the only option.

    And by the way, can I just say how much I missed you this past week?

  3. I like to read the books first too. Much more enjoyable. I agree with you over the book giveaways. I am truly thankful to all who send them overseas too, as it is expensive.

  4. I've been wanting to read Tender Morsels....can't wait for your review.

    Have I felt like I couldn't commit to a new interest due to time constraints? All the time. Very sad and I'm sure that I'm missing out on lots of fun stuff!!

    I prefer to read the book first but that doesn't always happen in that order!!
    Favorite book to movie adaptation? Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice and LOTR.

  5. The Virgin Suicides really was a great movie. Another of my favourites is The English Patient. And Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth one, even though it's technically not a movie but a tv series. And others I'm sure that I can't think of off the top of my head right now.

    I'm always wishing I could pursue more things than I realistically can. Like you said a while ago, wouldn't it be great to have several lifetimes so we could devote each to a certain interest. :)

  6. Three 5 star books in one week sounds like a fabulous week to me!

  7. I'm curious about your question--what is the new interest that time isn't allowing for? I'd love to take up scrapbooking, but I have to get all organized first and the thought really overwhelms me. But, as each big event passes and more add to the list, I realize I'm falling further and further behind. I've also really enjoyed working on the quilt the past month (hope to finish today!!), but I had to give up a lot of blogging and sometimes reading time in order to work on it. And I'd love to be more outdoorsy, but with all the clean-up stuff waiting until the weekends, its hard to find the extra time. Um, so I guess my answer is yes. :)

    Can't wait for all of the rave reviews!!

  8. Best book to movies: The Princess Bride, Bridget Jones, Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, and then I saw Harry Potter in the comments which made me say 'Oh right'

    Here's to another great week in reading.

  9. I can't wait for your five-star reviews.. Where have I been that I never heard of those books before? Lol!

    I too read the book before watching the film. LotR is on the top of my list, too, as well as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me. (My top two favourite of Stephen King's.) Incidentally, raidergirl above mentioned those, too. And then I see The Princess Bride and Bridget Jones and I agree. (Love the Princess Bride book so much.) Except that I haven't really read Bridget Jones, only loved the movies. I tried many many times to read it but just couldn't get into that chick lit style, so I finally gave up and just watched the movies instead.

  10. Some of my favourite book to film adaptation:

    1. Silence of the Lamb - it's the chemistry between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. And Hopkins has the kind of quiet malice that gives Lector flesh.

    2. Trainspotting - it's so much fun. And the soundtrack rocks too.

    3. The Quiet American - The book was better, but the film is also excellent thanks to the acting. Michael Caine was really good as the jaded journalist who finds that sometimes to stay human, you have to choose a side.

    4. The English Patient -it was the first movie I saw with Kirsten Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes. Every time I re-read the book, I had to re-watch the movie. The film made good use of key passages in the book, and made them more powerful.

    5. Fight Club - I read the book, then later heard that they were making a movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The film caught the anarchistic energy of the film. And I love it that they have Pixies, "Where is My Mind" on the soundtrack. :)

    6. Shawshank Redemption - I'm stealing this from Raidergirl. This has to be my favourite Stephen King book-to-screen adaption - "It" running close second because it's a TV series. And I like it that they casted Morgan Freeman in the role of a red-headed Irish guy, and made a joke out of it.

  11. I also saw Big Fish the film first and loved it so so much, and then read the book. I felt the book was darker, yet I still liked it. I gave it to a friend, though, perhaps I should have kept it for another read!

  12. Really looking forward to your review of Old Man's War :D

  13. Oh, for the commitment question: yes! The Harry Potter series. I haven't even read one.

    I agree completely about The Virgin Suicides. I loved the book, and I was so happy that the movie turned out to be as good as the book.

  14. 3 five-star books in a row is awesome!

    I hear you on the manga... I am only going to read what I can get from the library because it is way too expensive otherwise!

  15. I've been waiting for a good time to read Tender Morsels. I hope you review it.

  16. Good choices. I've actually seen all those movies (but not read all those books).

    I would add The Talented Mr Ripley, Little Children, The Hours, and A Very Long Engagement (to name a few where I read the book AND saw the movie).

  17. good for you for branching out into manga. I hope you enjoy it. Jason Thompson's Manga the Complete Guide is a great resource for more titles. :-)

  18. I'm glad you had such a great reading week! I love five-star books, especially in a row.

    I agree with you about the Virgin Suicides - I really feel like that was a beautiful adaptation and stayed true to the emotion of the book.

    I really loved Coraline! I saw it in 3D a week or two ago and thought that it really was great. They added a few changes, but they worked really well with the story.

    I think my most disappointing experience with book-to-movie was Everything is Illuminated. I wanted so much out of that movie because I loved the hell out of that book - and they left my favorite part out. If they just added the back-story, it would have made so much more sense.... Have you seen it?

  19. have you ever shied away from a potential new interest because you don't think you can afford the commitment, time-wise? And if so, does it make you as sad as it does me?

    I can't think of any interests that fill the bill, but I do this all the time with books. I tend to be leery of chunksters because I know they'll take me days to get through. I put off reading them, and I end up being mad at myself when I finally do read (and love) them.

  20. I do prefer to read the book first, this way I have the characters inside my head already, instead of the actors that portray them.
    Some of my fav book-to-movie adaptations are Bridget Jones Diary, Misery, Gone With the Wind and Lord of the Rings.

    I want to do the giveaway carnival too :) I have to set up my post soon.
    happy sunday :)


  21. I certainly have! Several times in fact but when its a reading project I usually do eventually get around to it.

    I love books into movies! I tend to try and read the books first and then watch the films to see some of the more interesting passages come to life. However, if it was a movie I saw long before I realized it was a book (a good majority of the Disney movies for example) then after reading the book its almost like watching the movie again for the first time!

    I don't tend to pick favorites very well so I'll just say anything Disney... oh and Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (the original Rex Harrison film).

  22. I glad you enjoyed Tender Morsels. It was one of my best reads from last year. As for the book/movie question I prefer to read the book first. I would add Princess Bride, Atonement and Cider House Rules to your list. I hope everyone goes out and rents In The Company of Wolves, one of my favorites!

  23. I'm a book before movie type of person, too. But I like to read the book a *long* time before the movie, so that when the movie comes along, I'll know the basics of the story and the characters but not remember the details quite well enough to be over-harsh in my comparison. Sometimes this works...sometimes not so much.

    I agree that LOTR is a great book to movie adaptation. I love, love Big Fish the movie but haven't read the book yet (but it's on my wishlist!).

  24. Glad to hear you'd a great reading week, Nymeth!

    I'd say I'm more of a book first person. I like to devour a story bits by bits; the movie has no time for that!

    However, if for some reason I didn't pick up the book but watched the movie, I'd always make it a point to get the book thereafter no matter if I liked the movie or not. I just want to see how the book goes... I just couldn't help it. ;)

  25. Three 5-star books in a week sounds mighty cool to me!

    I like LOTR's adaptation best. :)

  26. I like all the ones you mentioned... I also really liked Witches of Eastwick (and didn't really love the book).

  27. Three five star books in a row! That's some good reading, Nymeth! :-) I look forward to reading your reviews.

    I hope you have a great week!

  28. Meghan: Exactly. And I love all the details, from the armour to the soundtrack!

    Debi: You're most welcome, my friend :D And I missed you too! An awful lot.

    Scrap Girl: It is, but book bloggers are almost always kind like that :)

    Staci: It's turning out to be a hard one to review..I want to say so much, yet I can't find the words. But soon! I'm actually not a very big fan of the Harry Potter movies, but then again I only watched the first 3.

    tanabata: The English Patient...does anyone remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine got fired, dumped, etc. for not liking it? I could REALLY identify with her :P And yep...I could really do with several lifetimes.

    Bermudaonion: Fabulous indeed :D

    Trish: My question was prompted by an article I read on Manga recently...it's by a long-time comics appreciator who says he refuses to go there because he just can't afford the commitment. But there are several things that make me feel that way...I want to learn to knit and crochet, I want to watch more movies and TV series, play RPGs again, go out more, etc. Ah, life is too short.

    raidergirl3: The Princess Bride was great! And I LOVED the Shawshank Redemption, but I've yet to actually read it. Same goes for Fight Club.

    Claire: Scalzi is popular among sci-fi fans, but you don't hear so much about the other two authors, which is such a shame. With the exception of The Princess Bride, I haven't watched/read any of the ones you mentioned...sounds like I'm missing out!

    Dark Orpheus: I have watched all of those, but I haven't read any of the books. And I enjoyed them all, with the exception of The English Patient...sorry :P It was so long ago, though...maybe I should pick up the book and try it. The fact that I disliked the movie discouraged me, but some things are worth a second shot.

    Amy: I read Big Fish again because I was taking a course on Literature and Cinema, and I thought it would be fun to write my final paper on the one movie that was better than the book it was based on. Much to my surprise, I completely fell in love with Daniel Wallace the second time around. I've since read his other novels and I wholeheartedly recommend them. Especially The Watermelon King!

    Bart: It'll be up as soon as I finish replying to comments :D

    Priscilla: They're actually quick reads, though! And in my opinion, soo worth it.

    Kailana: It really is. I have a friend who's really into it..I wonder if he'd let me raid his bookshelves.

    Vasilly: I will. I'm still struggling to find the words, but I definitely will.

    Lenore: How could I forget The Hours! Definitely one of my favourite adaptations too...loved the book and the movie. I still haven't read or watched any of the others, but I want to...especially Little Children.

    Marie, thanks for the tip! I'll have to check it out.

    Saveophelia: I'm hoping to add Coraline to the list very soon. I made plans to go watch it twice and twice they fell through. And I really agree with you about Everything is Illuminated. The book is one of my all-time favourites, and while I didn't hate the movie, it really doesn't have the same impact...not even close. My favourite part of the book was the story of the town too, and I was so sad that they left it all out.

  29. Memory: lol, same here.

    Naida: I haven't watched any of those except LOTR. I live under a rock :P

    Ladytink: All I've seen is the more recent Doctor Dolittle starring Eddie Murphy. I want to read the book though.

    Gavin: I can see why. I'm seriously in awe of this book, and even though it's not even March yet I'm sure it'll be one of my favourites too. Haven't watched Atonement or Cider House Rules, but The Princess Bride is great!

    Megan: yes, reading the book a long time before the movie is definitely a good idea. I hope you enjoy Big Fish the book! I love Daniel Wallace.

    Melody: Yes, bit by bit is how I prefer it too :)

    Alice: Mightly cool indeed :D

    Miss D: I liked Witches of Eastwick the movie, but I haven't read the book.

    Literary Feline: Thank you! I hope you do too.

  30. Nymeth, thanks for participating in and promoting the Carnival. I agree; I usually like to read the book first. However, that can sometimes ruin the movie experience for me. For example, I read Big Fish right before seeing the movie and hated the movie because I thought it was too different. Maybe a little space between the two experiences would have helped.

  31. Jessica, you're more than welcome :) Thank you for hosting the Carnival. I agree with you, a little space tends to help. Otherwise I get too attached to the story as it is on the book and resent any changes.

  32. I've never read Lord of the Rings but must admit that the movies are amazing.

  33. Natasha: They are! I love them :)


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