Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Sunday Salon and The Oscar Goes to... "Which Book?"

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week where we sit down virtually with all our reader friends and talk books! And this week not only is it books, it's also movies!

For months now the media has been all abuzz about movies. It's the big push before the coveted Oscars. You see your movie theater bringing back the Oscar nominees for another go in the box office and you read all sorts of stellar reviews. That is, if you're into the big screen. I've always enjoyed a good movie, but when a book that I dearly loved is slated for the big screen I feel dread. It never use to be that way, but time and time again, I've been disappointed.

It's not entirely the movie industries fault that a movie doesn't translate (or translate for me) on the screen as well as the book. The director has a certain vision, there are time constraints that may hinder the full development of the movie on the screen, and as readers, we create in our minds the setting, the people, the everything from the author's words on the page. But sometimes it does work...

I'd have to say, all the Harry Potter books were great as movies. I loved the books and equally loved each movie. They "got it". The characters fit, the sets were brilliant, and the stories weren't chopped to fit the screen. The Time Traveler's Wife I thought was well done. It was amazing how they got all that time traveling pretty much on the mark, with the characters and the settings. The Shining was another amazing movie from a great book. It was perfect. Brokeback Mountain was amazing! I loved that movie and the short story by Annie Proulx was equally wonderful. Although a bit controversial, 2 gay cowboys falling in love, the love story was given the time and space to develop perfectly on the screen and the cinematography was beautiful.

And then there were some movies that weren't quite right... I loved the book Jurassic Park, and I do really like the movie, BUT the ending of the movie is so different from the book I was in shock while I was watching. The Reader was a moving, heart wrenching read, and the movie was wonderful UNTIL the ending. Why did "they" think they needed to change it? I don't know, but the ending in the book was perfect as it was, the ending of the movie was not. Memoirs of a Geisha was an amazing book, the movie was visually beautiful, but could not match the written word.

This year I did read one book-to-movie, a book I absolutely loved and a movie I was so disappointed with... Wild. If you did not read the book, the movie could stand alone and be good. If you read the book, you'd be wondering where half the book was. I thought the book was heart wrenching, sad, compelling, and I felt such empathy towards Cheryl Strayed, but the movie left me a bit empty. Her life was mostly told in small vignettes that just didn't have the power of the pages and pages that were devoted to how Cheryl became the woman that she was. I was doing a play by play afterwards to enlighten my husband as to the background of some of what was going on so he could better understand the circumstances.... Now, this is just one girl's opinion. My feelings may reflect my love of the book and how the movie did not live up to my expectations (which were low).

Here are a few books I LOVED that have been made into movies (and I haven't seen yet)... The Help, The Book Thief, Water for Elephants, Bridget Jones Diary, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Kite Runner, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

What books have you enjoyed that have been made into a movie? Are you excited to hear a book you loved is being turned into a movie? Have you read any of the books-to-movies up for an Oscar this year? I like to read the book before I venture out to see the movie, but maybe I shouldn't anymore!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Bryan G. Robinson said...

I haven't read any of the books-to-movies that are up for an Oscar this year for best picture. I did read Gone Girl and saw the movie and thought both were well-done with maybe the movie even a little bit better, to be honest, because it tied some loose ends at the end together better than the book.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

There have been very few books-into-movies that I've liked. I'd say LOTR was okay and Harry Potter was okay. Most are deplorable. Recently I read Our Town and then watched the movie. The ending was so changed that I was appalled.

Jillian said...

I have always been on the cynical side when I hear a book being turned into a movie. At the same time, I always try to keep an open mind! I particularly love Atonement, Shutter Island, Fight Club, among some others. I sadly didn't enjoy The Book Thief, maybe because that book was so special to me.
I agree that Wild was a bit... empty. I feel as if there was so much more in the book than the movie showed in terms of tone and feelings.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Bryan,
It is nice to hear that Gone Girl lived up to the book and even surpassed it a bit. It's refreshing to have the movie even better because of the tying up of the loose ends. And maybe that's what the screen writers were trying to do with The Reader. I may have to think about that and see if the ending of the movie was attempting to do that even though I did not think it was necessary. It also may be that movie's need to tie things up neatly, where as in a book, we can create all different scenarios to satisfy our needs.

Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne Yester said...

I'm with you Deb, most movies made from books are awful. It's almost as though there isn't any original thinking anymore and movies have to be created from something already existing. I did see LOTR and have to say that was ok too. I may feel that the Harry Potter movies were great because I so wanted them to come alive off those pages.

Thanks for your input!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Jillian!
I have been procrastinating about seeing The Book Thief because I loved the book so and don't want it ruined, but I'll keep in mind what you thought and not put my expectations too high. I never read either Fight Club or Shutter Island, but loved both movies. I'm glad (not really glad, because I both wish we really liked Wild) that I'm not alone in the way I felt about the movie Wild. I loved the book so much that I wasn't even going to see the movie, but accidentally walked into the wrong theater and decided I would just stay. (Too embarrassed to walk out and into another theater)

Thanks for stopping by and adding your comments!

thecuecard said...

Yes. I like reading novels and then seeing the movie adaptations. I like comparing them with an understanding that a book usually can do more and can give fuller understandings. But movies are powerful visually too. I thought Wild was okay. I'm trying to recall how the movie The Reader differed from the book? I like reading books first before their movies, but sometimes like with The Theory of Everything I'll see the movie first which makes me sort of want to read the book! In this case Jane Hawking's book sounds quite interesting. Nice post.

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