Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Grab a cup of joe, relax and settle in for some great bookish talk! Today is a dreary day in the Nutmeg state, with rain and overcast skies, but it's the perfect time to curl up on the sofa with a good book. Feel like curling up with an award winner? There were quite a few winners last sunday... not literary awards, but cinematic ones. Of course what I'm referring to are the Academy Awards which always seem to include movies adapted from books. But do you care? Do you like to read the book before seeing a movie if it was adapted? Or are you motivated by seeing a great movie to open the pages of the book it came from? For me, I like toread the book before the movie. The excitement in reading is the discovery of what happens, and the enjoyment in seeing the movie afterwards is how it all translates to the big screen. Reading the book afterwards is like already knowing the punch line of a joke. There are always exceptions though. Someday I will read Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and when I do it will be like visiting family back at the plantation, because I know the characters so well from the film. So, what films came from books this year? Let's take a look...
True Grit by Charles Portis... nominated this year for best picture, but ultimately lost out to The Kings Speech, this is the second time True Grit has been made into a film. This adaptation by the Coen brothers though is truer to the book, and both the new movie and the book are well worth your time. I reviewed True Grit at the end of December and I loved it! A Spunky 14-year-old heroine Matty Ross, the irascible Rooster Cogburn the no-nonsense Marshal who Matty hires to avenge her father's senseless death at the hands of Tom Chaney a drifter who Matty's father befriends, and the landscape of the American West make True Grit not only a fantastic read, but a classic western that can be appreciated by readers of all types of literature.
The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi... "Based on the recently discovered diaries of Lionel Logue, The King's Speech recounts an inspiring real-life tale of triumph over adversity, when an Australian taught a British king with a crippling speech defect how to speak to his subjects." The King's Speech, the film, had it's origins not really from the book, but from the desire of screenwriter David Seidler to find out how King George VI overcame his stammer, which Seidler also suffered from. Seidler found little information on Lionel Logue, but was able to contact Logue's son, who "agreed to discuss his father and make his father's notebooks available for research as long as the Queen Mother gave her permission. She asked him not to do so in her lifetime and Seidler halted the project." But eventually Seidler came back to the project through other channels and the result is the Oscar winning movie for best picture. The book, The King's Speech is written by the grandson of Lionel Logue, Mark Logue, and British journalist Peter Conradi. Logue became curious about his grandfather and began his research. Mark Logue says "It's an amazing, serendipitous accident that the fiction ended up looking a lot like the facts." So, even though the movie isn't exactly written from "the book", I would say that the movie was based on much of the same research that came to both writer and screen writer. And there has been lots of positive buzz about the book itself.
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell... "Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost." The gritty realism of the film totally depressed me, but the book has gotten so much praise for it's great writing. Published in 2007, Winter's Bone is experiencing a reawakening from the production of the movie.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston... Before the movie, entitled 127 Hours, there was the true adventure story where "Aron Ralston, an experienced twenty-seven-year-old outdoorsman, was on a day’s solitary hike through a remote and narrow Utah canyon when he dislodged an eight-hundred- pound boulder that crushed his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Emerging from the searing pain, Aron found himself completely stuck. No one knew where he was; no one was coming to rescue him. With scant water and food, and a cheap pocketknife his only tool, he eliminated his options one by one. On the fifth night, wracked by delirium and uncontrollable shivers, Aron scratched his epitaph into the rock wall, certain he would not see daylight." The book was originally published in 2005 and was a incredible read! I chose it as one of my reading groups picks and it made for a fantastic group discussion. As for the movie, I haven't seen it, and based on part of the subject matter, of severing his arm to survive, I'm not sure I want to see it. But the story leading up to his resolve to survive was an amazing page turner.
What other books have you read that made great movies? How about Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway,(the movie starred Lauren Bacall in her first film, which also starred Humphrey Bogart!), or how about The Shining by Stephen King? Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was a great book! So was The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (I actually liked the books better than the movies with these two, but isn't that usually the case?) There are so many more books to movies, which ones are your favorites?!
Other books to consider reading before the motion picture comes out are Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen , due out in April (I can't rave about this book enough!), Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, with a July release date ( One of my all time favorite books!), and The Help by Kathryn Stockett , coming in August (OK, is there anyone who hasn't read this yet?!). Have you read these books yet? Are you looking forward to seeing the movie?
Other bookish news not of the movie kind this week... Do you take out ebooks from the library? Well Harper Collins is changing their licensing agreements for distributions. They want only 26 people to be able to take out one of their ebooks from any library before the library has to pay for another license. What do you think? I love being able to check out ebooks from the library, but what is the difference between physical library books and ebooks? When the library buys a physical book for their library, it doesn't matter how many people check it out... Do you think that should hold true for ebook checkouts too? I do!
And Borders closings are in their second week in my little corner of the world. The Borders that is 5 minutes from my house looks like a cyclone hit with books strewn everywhere. Are you losing a Borders near you?
What bookish things did you do this past week? And what great books do you have waiting to be read? Share your books here! And share those books you enjoyed that were made into movies too!
Happy reading... Suzanne