Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week’s topic is read-alikes for a particular book. I couldn’t come up with ten read-alikes for one book, so I’m listing ten different books and giving read-alikes. Here we go…
Top Ten Read-Alikes
[ten books that must be twins separated at birth]
1.) If you liked Harry Potter, try Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – I’ve always said that Ender’s Game is like Harry Potter in space. Both feature a young boy with lots of talent trying to save the world while still in school. Ender’s Game is sci-fi, and Harry Potter is fantasy, but sci-fi and fantasy are so closely related that the effect is pretty much the same for both. Both boys must learn the rules of their new worlds at boarding school, face the evil within themselves, and are manipulated by the adults around them because they are “the chosen one.”
2.) If you liked Ender’s Game, try Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes – Ender’s Game is a complex adult sci-novel, and Invitation to the Game is like its little sister. Invitation to the Game is set in the dystopian future, where a group of unemployed teens play “The Game” (mostly unrelated note: I just lost The Game). They learn that the game is more serious than they thought.
3.) If you liked The Ruby Oliver Quartet by E. Lockhart, try The Jessica Darling quintet by Megan McCafferty (or vice-versa) – Both are finite contemporary series, so you get to watch the main characters mature over several books. Jessica and Ruby are smart, sassy girls who are popular, but somewhat critical of the high school crowd. Ruby has anxiety and Jessica suffers from a more general misery, but the basic idea is the same. I like Jessica Darling for a lot of the same reasons I like Ruby Oliver.
4.) If you liked Bossypants by Tina Fey, try Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling – Female funny ladies with brains. These ladies are both my heros. A lot of people have read and loved Fey’s book, so they may be worried that Kaling’s book doesn’t live up to the hype — trust me, it’s a good read. Do it.
5.) If you liked Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, try Schooled by Gordon Korman – Quirky home-schooled kids attending public school for the first time, and chaos ensues. They even have similar covers. Both books show the struggle that it is to be different…sometimes everyone hates you because they don’t get you, and sometimes they love you because they want to be like you.
6.) If you liked Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult, try The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams – I know the Amish communities and the polygamist Morman compounds aren’t the same, but the idea of people seperating themselve from mainstream society because of their religious beliefs is similar here. Plain Truth is a mystery for adults, and The Chosen One is a problem novel for teens, but both show these societies from the inside.
7.) If you liked Unwind by Neal Schusterman, try The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist – Unwind is about taking unwanted kids between 13-18 and killing them to “recycle” their body parts for the common good. The Unit is about taking unmarried adults over 40 to kill them and recycle their body parts for the common good. Basically The Unit is like Unwind for grown-ups.
8.) If you liked Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, read The Pact by Jodi Picoult – The books start with a suicide and rewind to determine the complicated situations that caused/resulted in the suicide. Again with the book for teens/book for adults pairing.
9.) If you liked If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, try Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – What happens after death if you aren’t ready to leave the earth yet? In If I Stay, Mia watches her life after death while she decides whether to pass on or push through. In Before I Fall, Samantha is stuck in a Groundhog’s Day-esque loop after her death. Though the former is more of a love story and latter more of a contemporary book, they force readers to think about life and death in a deeper way.
10.) If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, try The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Contemporary love stories taking place in Paris and London. These two books are a perfect pairing for those with wanderlust.
Do you have any other read-alike suggestions for the books I picked?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week is a freebie week, which got me all excited. I jumped on this TTT business a little late in the game, so there are oodles of topics I missed that I always want to do. What did I pick? Well, I’m always talking about things that drive me crazy in books, so I thought I’d do at list of my Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves so I could make a list and vent my negativity. I’ll also be able to link back to this list in future reviews for terrible books, which makes the topic doubly awesome. Here we go…
Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves
[or things that will drop a book at least one letter grade]
1.) Unnecessary Length – Listen, folks. I’m a very busy lady. It says so in my domain name. I’m fine with long books when they have lots of stuff going on and the length is necessary. But sometimes the little chunky-monkey books could do to lose a few hundred pages and still keep the integrity of the plot. I don’t have all day. If nothing’s happening or I’m bored by a character’s inner dialogue that goes on for multiple chapters, I’m going to be peeved.
2.) Mary Sues – For those who don’t know, a Mary Sue is when the author inserts him/herself as the main character in a novel. This character serves as wish-fullfillment for the author, and is usually annoyingly flawless. That or the character is flawless in a way that isn’t really flawless. Regular fiction doesn’t usually have characters that are 100% Mary Sue, but if the character has enough of this quality, I get peeved.
3.) Cliffhangers – We all know that YA trilogies, especially of the dystopian variety, are guilty of this. I like a book to follow a general plot pattern, with a proper climax and resolution for the main conflict of the story. I’m okay with series cliffhangers or teasers for the overall arc of the big plot, but I want a novel to have an end. Some books are guilty of having no end at all! It’s like a book was split in half/thirds and sold a separate parts. I find this cheap and manipulative and it peeves me.
4.) Kindle Giving Me a % Instead of a Page – This is not related to plot, but it drives me nuts. I like to know what page I’m on, and how many pages are in the book. It’s completely arbitrary, considering some books cram very little or a whole of text on a single page AND considering that e-readers let me set these choices myself, but I want to know how much I’ve read and how much I have left in real number. This is especially annoying on Kindle books that combine multiple books in one…collections, series, etc. I’m reading the Jessica Darling collection now, and I’m in the second book, but only 19% through the series. How much have I read in book 2? How much do I have left? No clue. Peeving.
5.) When Boys Fall For Girls For No Reason – I think I hate this because it gives readers (especially female readers) unrealistic expectations for relationships. The boy saves the girl, tells her she’s beautiful even when she thinks she’s ugly, understands when she lies, worships her from afar, puts up with her rude behavior, etc. How many times can I watch a female character hot-headedly chew out a guy without listening to his side of the story, make assumptions, and give the silent treatment, only to have the guy come crawling back to win her love? Listen, ladies. We need to love ourselves before someone else can love us. We also need respect in a relationship to go both ways.
6.) Mean Librarians – My peeve here is strictly personal. I know some librarians really are mean, but I like to think we are pretty nice, liberal people. I read of stories with nice librarians, but just as many where the librarian is a jerk. And the librarian is almost always a bit character. What’s that about?
7.) When Characters Meet “The One” At Age Sixteen – Very few people end up marrying the person they are dating at age sixteen. I’m glad I’ve spent the past thirteen years dating all kinds of people! Many YA romance plots end with the beginning of the relationship. The characters finally overcome their obstacles, finally get together and commit to each other. But that’s not the end! You know they all break up with they get to college. Wow, I sound really bitter. But I do count this as a major pet peeve.
8.) The Paranormal – (Please don’t hit me). There are exceptions to this: I loved Harry Potter, and I guess the magic element is paranormal. I think it can be done well, but most of it is not to my taste. I don’t know why, but I think it has something to do with me not liking bad boys. I also like my stories to be realistic. I think I only like paranormal elements when the creatures who are vampires/werewolves/ghosts/etc are not main characters in the story, but elements to be overcome or fought against. I recognize that my anti-paranormal thing is a huge bias, so please feel free to recommend a paranormal book that isn’t obnoxious.
9.) Movie Poster Covers – Dear publishers: this is the quickest way to get me to NOT buy a book. I like to think of books as timeless. A good book can be enjoyed years, decades, or centuries after it was written. Regular book covers may date a book (check out ANY 80′s book cover), but a movie book cover will make a book look dated in just a year. It also reminds me that some people are using the movie to sell the book instead of the other way around. Tsk tsk.
10.) Characters With Weird Names – Just pick a normal name for your character, please. Or if one or two characters have to have quirky names, don’t make them be 1.) your main character or 2.) the love interest. It also drives me nuts when many of the characters all have names that start with the same letter, since I think my eyes only catch a few letters when identifying words in the text.
What are your bookish pet peeves?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by JK Rowling
Own/checked out from library
[#43 in my 75 book challenge]
Here we go, here we go again…after finishing Goblet of Fire and not liking it as much as the previous two times I read it, I found that I liked Order of the Phoenix FAR more on the third read. It may have taken me six whole weeks to get through all 23 discs of the audio book in my car (well, actually, I gave up around disc 20 and just read the ending in the print version), but I finished it and LOVED it.
I think I appreciate it more in the context of the story as a whole, rather than as an independent book. When I first read it, it had been two years since I had read the first four novels, and I read those basically in one weekend. It was my first experience with being desperate for the next installment of the story, while also knowing I was painfully in the middle of an epic tale. I like endings, I like resolutions, I like satisfaction! Now that I have read the series multiple times, though, and I am satisfied, I found the developments in this book to be far more interesting. There is a lot going on here, and all of it becomes quite important in the final two novels.
Things that struck me on this read:
- I really hate Dolores Umbridge. Now that I am also a teacher, I recognize that she is completely unqualified to be running a school. I also paid more attention to how the other teachers at Hogwarts obviously felt the same way.
- I like that Harry had a lot of angst. It was tedious the first time I read it (“get over yourself, Harry!”), but now I understand. Plus I think it’s realistic. Let’s be honest, I’d probably behave the same way.
- I wish the DA played a bigger role in the book and the series. I loved them in this book, and my memories had them playing a bigger role than they actually do. I remember thinking the DA was going to be huge in the final battle against Voldemort, but they ended up being mostly background players (important in the battle, but not Harry’s specific story).
- I don’t like Cho Chang. I don’t hate her, but now that I know who Harry ends up with I just wanted him to move along. However, I’m glad that Harry doesn’t marry the first girl he likes/dates/kisses.
- I paid more attention to the prophecy. Voldemort really is a whole special brand of crazy with the way he handled that prophecy business. Did he learn nothing from Greek mythology?
- Fred and George…tsk tsk. I wish they had just finished that last school year. C’mon! They were so close.
- And, once again, Voldemort waits until AFTER exams to hunt down Harry. I like to think it’s because Voldy values education.
So, there you have it. I’ve finished the book I thought would be the most tedious, and I’m ready to start my favorite book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I’m quite looking forward to it, but I’ll probably take a break from Harry Potter for several months before considering it. There are just too many books out there to read for the first time!
FINAL GRADE: A This is where Harry Potter really starts to get good. No more games — people are really dying, and Voldemort is back. Must I say more?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week is a freebie week, which got me all excited. I jumped on this TTT business a little late in the game, so there are oodles of topics I missed that I always want to do. What did I pick? We’re always doing “favorite” this and “best” that, so I decided to flip that around and think about characters I detest. I’ll be looking at…
Top Ten Most Unlikeable Characters
[whether purposefully written that way or no-so-much so]
1.) Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) — I listened to the audio book for Order of the Phoenix recently, and Dolores really got under my skin. She’s not pure evil, like Voldemort, but her brand is almost worse. She thinks she’s on the side of the good guys, but she’s really playing a political game. She’s incompetent, self-righteous, and just plain mean. I think she bothers me so much because we are more likely to encounter people like Umbridge in the real world that we would be to encounter a Voldemort.
2.) Bella Swan (Twilight) — Yeah, I know it’s unoriginal. Because it’s SO TRUE. Homegirl needs to grow a personality. Let’s just say I would not have been friends with that girl in high school.
3.) Celeste Newsome (The Selection) — Celeste is the antagonist, and she is written very antagonist-y. Maybe a little too antagonist-y, as she has no redeeming qualities. Maybe she’ll get some depth in the second and third book i the series?
4.) Eric (Divergent/Insurgent) — What a meany-pants.
5.) Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) — Yeah, go ahead and send me hate mail. I think I mostly just don’t get what everyone thinks is so great about her. I had all these high expectations, and she fell flat. She’s on the list because I found her boring, not because she’s a terrible person.
6.) Doug Sweiteck’s Dad (Okay for Now) — The man is deplorable. He physically and emotionally abuses his family. Plus he does something TERRIBLE to his kid that I still can’t forget. In my review I stated that, “Doug’s father is one of the most vile human beings I’ve ever met in a book.”
7.) Hilly Holebrook (The Help) — Again, she’s one of those evil people that you might actually meet in real life. There are Hilly Holebrooks everywhere, so convinced that their discomfort must lead to legislation against the things that make them uncomfortable, even if there is no reason or proof supporting it.
8.) Rapists, Cancer, and Enforcers/Leaders of Totalitarian Governments — This covers all kinds of evil, but naming some would lead to serious spoilers for a lot of these books.
9.) Matt’s Mom (The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin) — She’s a special brand of crazy. Like Hilly Holebrook, her character is more realistic than some, and actually exists in real life. Matt’s mom is sporadic and unpredictable. It just shows how bad you actually have to be to get Child Protective Services to take your kids away.
10.) Greg Heffley (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) — My friend Amanda pointed it out when we watched the movie with summer school kids: Greg is a terrible example for kids. Yeah, he makes a funny book character, but he’s rotten to his friend and doesn’t really learn any lessons or grow as a person. He just reinforces that it’s okay, even cool, to behave that way. Not the message our kids need in their formative years.
Note: Please don’t leave me a comment to complain about my choice in Elizabeth Bennet. I’m saying this in the nicest way possible! Believe me, I know the rest of the world doesn’t agree and I know why — my friends argue with me about it all the time
Which literary characters do you despise?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we’re looking at our favorite quotes from books.
If you are a regular here at my blog, you know this topic is perfect for me! Every week I have a feature called Quotetastic Friday, where I combine my favorite personal photos (sometimes public domain/antique photos) with my favorite quotes from books I love. I’m using this Top Ten Tuesday to show case my favorite Quotetastic Friday pieces in an easy-to-digest slideshow for your viewing pleasure! Here they are in, random order:
Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books
[Quotetastic Friday Style!]
[note: the back/stop/forward buttons will go away
if you take your mouse out of the slideshow box]
The slideshow goes a little fast (I couldn’t edit it), so press the stop button for more time on each picture.
You can see all of my Quotetastic Friday posts here!
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by JK Rowling
Audiobook from Public Library
[#28 in my 75 Book Challenge]
First off, let me make it clear that this review IS FULL OF SPOILERS! I’m assuming at this point that everyone has already read the books, seen the movies, or has no interest in doing either (and if that’s the case, why are you reading this?). If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read beyond this point.
Seriously. I’m warning you.
Rereading Harry Potter after all the books and movies are done, over, and available on DVD/in paperback is an interesting experience. I’m not tearing through the novels like I did the first time, so it’s going a little slowly. Let it be known that I LOVE HARRY POTTER and I love how Rowling sets up the series. I love the depth and details in every book. I love the characters and the themes.
That being said, some things annoy the crap out of me. And other things I just don’t understand.
Ten Things I Didn’t Like/Don’t Understand About Harry Potter IV
1.) The length. I feel like we could have chopped out about 50-100 pages and still gotten along just fine. I love the fact that Rowling weaves an epic tale, but this novel in particular feels unnecessarily long.
2.) Dobby. And Winky. And all the house elves. I feel like this whole story line was an afterthought.
3.) The length of the tournament. I don’t quite understand why the tournament has to last all year and why there are months between each task. It seems a little over-the-top to have those Dumstrang and Beauxbatons kids hanging around Hogwarts ALL YEAR for three days of actual tournament. Hold it over a week and be done with it. Geeze.
4.) The logistics of the tournament. Did those Durmstrang and Beauxbatons kids spent an entire year having class on their boat and in their carriage? That seems like a waste. How did they go to class? And is that really necessary? Did the whole school come? It doesn’t make much sense.
5.) Voldemort always shows his mean little face in late spring. Just in time for him and Harry to have a showdown at the end of the school year as a climax to the story. If I were Voldy, I’d show up in October and really scare the shit out of everyone. If I were Harry, I’d catch on to Voldy’s little pattern REAL QUICK.
6.) The portkey. If we are using an object as a portkey to take Harry to Voldemort, why do so much work to make that happen (ahem, Barty Crouch Jr, I’m talkin’ to you)? It seems to me that luring Harry into a portkey trap could be accomplished with far less hooplah.
7.) Voldemort’s LOOOONG graveyard speech. Oh, Voldemort. Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort. Is the super-long speech in the Graveyard really necessary? I know you think you are awesome and clever for resurrecting yourself and all, but you go in to a very intense amount of detail for a kid you’re about to kill. I understand the need for narrating the full story here, but no villain (no matter how self-centered) would go into all those random details.
8.) Speaking of Voldemort and random details — why did he expect his followers to come find him in the woods in Albania? Come on! That’s like the world’s hardest game of hide ‘n seek. Needle in a haystack, anyone?
9.) Barty Crouch Jr. I felt like I needed a degree in rocket science to understand the Barty Crouch Jr. situation. I mean, I’ve read the book before and all, but I’d forgotten the details. I almost needed to draw a diagram.
10.) The end. The ending wouldn’t end! I read this as an audio book, and there was a whole disc after the Mad Eye Moody = Barty Crouch Jr. plot is revealed. Rita Skeeter, Fred and George’s joke shop, Hermione and Krum all needed to be wrapped up. But after 700+ pages I was tired and didn’t really need all of that falling action. It’s a series, for goodness sake. I’ve still got three to go!
So there you have it. Ten things that annoyed me about this book. Most of all, though, I did love it. I pick up on different things every time I read the series, and I love the complexities Rowling includes…just not the unnecessary stuff. This time around I definitely noticed how dark the writing is in the scenes of Voldemort’s return, and how scary it all really is. Voldemort is a truly creepy bad guy.
FINAL GRADE: B+ It’s Harry Potter, for goodness sake. The series gets an A+, but I can’t say that this book gets an A on its own. But it’s Harry Potter. You should read (or re-read) it. Everyone. Everywhere. Always.
Have you read Harry Potter? Re-read Harry Potter? How did it hold up on the re-read?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we’re looking at our top ten books on our spring TBR lists. If you know me, you know that I’m not always reading 2012 releases. So this list reflects everything in my TBR pile, both in terms of new releases and older books that I know I need/want to read. Here we go:
Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List
[not just new releases!]
I’ll start with the 5 new releases…
1.) Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver — The sequel to Delirium. I’m excited to read it, but I’m being patient enough to wait for the ebook or a library copy. I’ll either love it or hate it, and I’m intrigued to see what Oliver does with the story.
2.) Insurgent by Veronica Roth — I liked Divergent, though I felt it got a bit crazy at the end. Like Pandemonium, I’ll either love it or hate it. Hopefully it’s as fast-paced and awesome as the first one in the trilogy.
3.) Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols — My first Jennifer Echols novel. I know, right? But it sounds good and I need some more YA Contemporaries in my brain.
4.) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith — If John Green loved it, I have to give it a go. I love the cover and I love the idea. And from what I’ve seen, it’s gotten a lot of book-blogger love. It’s just a matter of price at this point, darn it!
5.) Bunheads by Sophie Flack — It’s sitting on my Nook, ready for me.
And then 5 oldies-but-goodies…
6.) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling — Once I finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I’m going to want to read the fifth book by summer as I read my way through the series for the third time.
7.) Alice in April/Alice In Between/Alice the Brave by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor — Reading my way through the entire Alice series is going very, very slowly. These books at the beginning are important, but I’ve already read them all. I can’t wait to get to the later books where I’ll be reading some for the first time.
8.) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak — I know, I know. It’s amazing and I’ll love it and why haven’t I read it already? I know it will be good, when it get to it. And I will. I’m going to make it a required reading this spring. It’s been in my TBR pile for years!
9.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness — Like The Book Thief, I have no excuses for this one. I can only say that I know I should read it, I know I will like it, and I will read it as soon as I have a way of getting my hands on it.
10.) The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty — The public library has these as an e-book with all five novels in the series in one package. I want to get it quite badly, but I’m going to have to be prepared to read five novels in the two week lending period. I think summer might be the better choice of timing, but it’s very high on my radar and I wish it could be sooner!
Which books are you just dying to read this spring? Do you have any oldies on your list that you are trying to get to? Any new releases that you will be rushing to buy/check out?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we’re looking at which books I would recommend to folks who don’t normally read YA. I wanted to take this two different ways: quintessential YA books that are representative of the genre, and YA books that have mass appeal and/or read more like adult books for folk that think YA literature is “junk”. So I’m doing two top 5 lists instead!
Top Ten Books I’d Recommend to Someone Who Doesn’t Read YA
Part I: Quintessential YA Novels (AKA YA 101)
These books are all a good representation of the YA lit canon. They are not necessarily my favorites, but they are ones that folks in the YA lit world will hear about constantly or need to read.
1.) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen — Sarah Dessen is sort of the quintessential YA author, so I had to include the only one of her books that I’ve actually read. She writes realistic fiction about girls and life and love. (Random note: While I was at UNC I took a class in literary performance, and we were required to see the literary performance of this novel. It was really interesting to see it performed that way.)
2.) The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — While this was not my favorite YA book of all time, it is one of the few YA books that I actually read as a YA. It needs a re-read before the movie comes out and a re-evaluation. It’s on this list because I know SO MANY people that love it.
3.) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson — Though this story offers a sarcastic, funny look at high school life, it also shows the darker side. Melinda doesn’t talk about what happened the night she called the police at a party because she has a secret to hide, and her friends have ostracized her for it. I guess you would call this an issue novel, and it’s one of the most popular in the genre. It won the Printz honor medal and was nominated for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2000.
4.) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart — Like Speak, this book was nominated for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature AND won a Printz honor medal in 2008. This book represents snarky, intelligent, kick-ass feminist literature. It’s a book about boarding schools and secret societies and it’s just GOOD. You should read it.
5.) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang — For all the people who don’t like graphic novels, this one might change your mind. Graphic novels for teens have surprising depth and complexity, and there’s a reason the kids love ‘em. American Born Chinese takes three stories about identity crises and tells them with wit and honesty. In 2007 it won the Printz award and was nominated for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Part II: YA Novels With Mass Appeal (AKA YA for Grown-Ups Who Hate YA)
6.) Looking for Alaska by John Green — If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are probably sick of me talking about this book. FOR REAL, Y’ALL, THIS IS A GOOD BOOK! Plus there’s, like, philosophical stuff. And fellatio performed on a tube of toothpaste.
7.) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie — Junior is a kid living on the Spokan Indian Reservation, surrounded by poverty and alcoholism. The book follows the format of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a hand-written journal with pictures and angst, but the content is far more mature. At its heart, though, this is a story about hope…even when there are no magic fixes or happy endings. Oh, and it won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007.
[Side note: I am little tired of typing "National Book Award for Young People's Literature." Longest book award title EVER. It's going to be the NBAYPL from now on.]
8.) The Giver by Lois Lowry — If you are between the ages of 18-30 and you have not read this book, I don’t understand how you managed to escape it. It’s dystopian from a time long before dystopias were cool. Don’t even read the description for the book because 1.) it won’t make sense or convince you to read it and 2.) it may spoil the plot for you. Though very simple in nature, this YA book packs a big punch worthy of adult attention. Oh, and it won the 1997 Newbery.
9.) House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer — The story is about Matteo, the young clone of the dictator of Opium, born only to serve as organs to harvest when the dictator’s fail. Though the award list for this is long (NBAYPL winner, Printz and Newbery Honor in 2003), I don’t know that I’ve found many kids that actually like it. Adults, though, would appreciate all of Nancy Farmer’s work.
10.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins/Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling — I recommend Hunger Games to everyone, and I’m glad to see it’s finally catching on. As for Harry Potter, I believe it shifts between being children’s lit and something greater around the third or fourth book, so I always recommend to adults to keep reading past the first few to the darker books later in the series.
I often see people complaining about movies that are made from books. This is understandable. Many movies made from books are crap. Or they change things around. Or they barely even resemble the original material. When a book lover reads a book, she is creating a whole world in her head. Each person imagines scenery, the characters, the action, the sounds, and the mood differently. Some of us even know what the soundtrack would be for a novel (not that I’ve ever done that…). Book purists like that image in their heads to stay untouched. Watching a movie based on a book forever changes that image.
I LOVE seeing movies made from books. I definitely try to follow the rule about reading the book before watching the movie, but I like going to see the film adaptation. Generally, if a movie exists for a book I’ve just read, I’ll go see/rent it. To me, reading is a social activity. I like discussing novels with friends and students. I like seeing how people can get a totally different interpretations from the same combination of words on a page. Watching a movie is like really seeing inside of someone else’s head. I love it.
Yes, it affects my image of the novel for the rest of time, but I don’t care. Harry Potter looked like Dan Radcliff throughout the 5th, 6th, and 7th books. Skeeter Phelan looked like Emma Stone throughout the novel because I’d already seen the previews for The Help. Still totally worth it. Some movies are terrible, but that doesn’t ruin the book — they just reinforce that reading is an experience that can’t be duplicated on the screen. Some books are flash and trash, and the movies are as well (Davinci Code, I’m talking to you). Some movies are even better than the books or add something of great value to the books (I think the Harry Potter movies do this for me).
And you know what? Sometimes the vision presented in the movie is better than the one in my head. I don’t have the creative genius of Hollywood screenwriters and directors. My imagination is limited. If I love a world presented in the movies, I’m glad to have a more concrete visual of the story to take with me. Many people won’t agree with me. Maybe I’m just impressionable, but I don’t care.
Below I’ve created three lists about movies I’ve seen, movies that are coming out in the next few years that I know I will go see, and movies I’d like to see. How do you feel about the book to movie debate? What movies have you loved? Hated? Which do you recommend? Do you read the book before you see the movie? And which movies would you love to see on the big screen?
Movies I’ve Seen Because I Read the Book:
- Harry Potter (all of them) — Fabulous. I own them all on DVD.
- The Help — Ehh. My review of the movie and the book.
- A Wrinkle In Time — Meg set off my gaydar and I couldn’t concentrate.
- Twilight — I continue to pay to see these, but quit reading the books.
- My Sister’s Keeper — Two completely different endings. Why?
- Speak — Kristen Stewart played the role quite well.
- Pride and Prejudice – The BBC movie was very true to the book.
- Holes — Book is excellent, movie is almost as good.
- Carrie — I can’t really remember either. I was 13.
- The Outsiders — There were a lot of notable actors in the movie!
- Anne of Green Gables — I have a soft spot for the movie. Love both.
- Murder on the Orient Express — Again, I was 13 and don’t remember.
- The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons — Flash and Trash x2.
- The Nanny Diaries — Book was better than the movie. But the movie had Scarlett Johannson.
- Hoot — Liked the movie better than the book.
- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe — Movie was better (don’t hit me).
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid — The movie made me laugh, the book made me mad.
- Ella Enchanted — Cute book, but the movie was weird, it tried to be too modern (Escalators? Really?)
Movies Based on Books that I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE
- The Hunger Games
- Ender’s Games
- Into Thin Air
- If I Stay
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- The Great Gatsby
- Forest of Hands and Teeth
- Jane Eyre
- The New Wrinkle In Time
Movies Based on Books That I Wish Would Be Made
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
- Matched by Ally Condie
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (I just want to see how they’d even do it!)
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
- 1984 by George Orwell (could be done VERY well, I think)
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner (would be better on screen than in print)
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Anything by John Green (would be hard to do well)
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart