Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tolle Lege Thursday: Summer Musts and Movie Busts
You're thinking I've gone off the deep end right? Now this idiot is making up names just to keep the alliteration. Well... you're WRONG! Tolle lege is Latin for "take up and read". I talk a lot of TV, movies, and music on this site... but my real passion involves a good book. So I decided that once a week I should celebrate the written word... it is what got me started doing this stuff in the first place.
Today's is a two part topic: Summer Must Reads, and Movies Based On Books That are Much Better.
I start with the former.
SUMMER MUST READS:
1)Anything by Janet Evanovich (particularly her "Stephanie Plum" series.)
The best thing about these books is that you get an ab workout...while you're reading. Evanovich is a master at crafting her characters. With fifteen books in the Plum series you'll have plenty to get you through your days at the beach.
2) Anything by Patricia Cornwell
Again Cornwell writes a series of books (Dr. Kay Scarpetta)... and I have yet to find one I didn't like. Granted, I much prefer the books at the beginning of the series (they're less political and take a few more risks)... this is still a series that doesn't dwindle with age.
My favorite is "Black Notice" because in the first page Cornwell writes a letter that's addressed from Epworth Heights in Luddington (yes she spelled it wrong, in reality it only has one 'd'). Considering that is my hometown that book will always be near and dear to my heart.
3) G.M. Ford
The name sounds like a bad play on the auto industry... but GM Ford will undoubtedly rev up your engines in his Leo Waterman and Frank Corso series. This well tattooed artist has a magnificent imagination and balances enough action, adventure, and mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat. With book names like "Who in the Hell is Wanda Fuca?" you know that you'll also be getting a good laugh during these reads.
4) Finally I leave the mystery genre to pass on some historical fiction: Philippa Gregory
I'll touch on "The Other Boleyn Girl" later on... so instead I'll suggest you spend time with Gregory's other period pieces, including: "The Other Queen" and "The Boleyn Inheritance". These are well researched, and incredibly presented novels that weave together fact and fiction in a way that makes you wish you could be thrown back in time. If you like history, even a little, you'll love these books.
MOVIES BASED ON BOOKS THAT ARE MUCH BETTER:
1) The Other Boleyn Girl
I love the movie. Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, and Natalie Portman shine. But the movie doesn't hold a candle to Gregory's book. The movie cuts out a large chunk of the timeline... and isn't able to fully flesh out the characters in a way that does them total justice.
2) The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons
Again, I loved both of these films... but Dan Brown's books have so much more to offer. They're seeping with details and woven with multiple story lines that the movies had to ignore in order to make. They are the type of books that make you think... and even if they are historical fiction does it hurt to question the status quo once in a while?
3) The Kite Runner
I'm upset that they even tried to make a movie out of this book. Every page is wrought with emotion. The story is raw, the characters incredibly well crafted. The movie got the message right... but it didn't capture nearly the emotion that the novel did. It failed to touch audiences in nearly the same way. And it melted down the culture that had made the book so unique because it didn't want to offend an American audience.