Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter 2013 Adult Winter Reading: Books Into Movies

Adapting books into films is nothing new. In fact, the practice is as old as motion pictures itself. Birth of a Nation, the D.W. Griffith film widely considered to be the first full-length feature, was based on a novel. Since then, there have been many movies adapted from books, and even some good movies adapted from good books. Books chosen to make into films have spanned all genres and intended audiences.

Many of these books will be in high demand, so get your holds in soon! There are, of course, many more books that have been made into movies. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to search the library catalog to find others.

This past holiday season, director Peter Jackson revisited J.R.R.Tolkien’s Middle Earth to bring us the first part of a film trilogy adapted from The Hobbit, a prequel to the series The Lord of the Rings. Other fantasy and science fiction books that have been made into movies include Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Another popular genre for film adaptation is ‘chick lit.’ Some books in this category that have been made into ‘chick flicks’ are: Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding, or The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger.

But it’s not just genre fiction that makes for good cinema. Smash hit bestsellers that have recently hit the big screen include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson, which was made into a Swedish-language film as well as an American version. A couple other recent book-to-movie blockbusters are The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, which held a spot on the bestseller lists for months, both before and after the film, as well as Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

Many classic and well-loved films were adapted from novels. James Dean’s star turn in East of Eden was adapted from the book by John Steinbeck. The Wizard of Oz is from the book by L. Frank Baum, although Dorothy’s shoes were silver rather than ruby in the book. Another film from those earlier eras of film that was adapted from a well-loved book is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. One of the most celebrated films of all time, Gone with the Wind, was originally a book by Margaret Mitchell. Some classic films from the more recent past that have been made into movies include The Godfather, by Mario Puzo, and The Graduate, by Charles Richard Webb.

Some authors seem to be particularly inspiring to screenwriters and filmmakers. Some have had multiple books and short stories adapted for the screen. In the classics department, Jane Austen rules as an enduring force. Some of her books, such as Pride and Prejudice, have become movies more than once. Two recent movies based on books by a living author were The Road and No Country for Old Men, both by Cormac McCarthy. Dennis Lehane also had a pair of mysteries made into movies with Mystic River and Shutter Island. Many of Nicholas Sparks’ books, including The Notebook have been filmed. John Grisham is another writer whose legal dramas have proven to be well-suited for the silver screen, including The Pelican Brief. But of course, one author rises above the others when I think of movies made from books: Stephen King

If nonfiction is your thing, a few books that have been made into good movies are: Girl, Interrupted, a memoir written by Susanna Kaysen about her stay in a mental ward, In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, or A Beautiful Mind, a biography of mathematician John Nash by Sylvia Nasar.

Remember, if you complete a book that was adapted for the screen as one of your four Adult Winter Reading selections, you will be entered into an extra drawing for prizes. Here are a few more book suggestions in a variety of genres, all of which can be found at Cooper-Siegel Community Library:

The Cider House Rules, by John Irving

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Push, by Sapphire (film titled Precious)

The Reader, by Berhard Schlink

-Emily Miller
Reference Dept.