Tag Archives: books

Book to Movie, Should it be done?

There are countless books and novels out there. Some are fresh off the presses, while some are decades or even centuries old. However, nowadays it seems like every book, regardless of age, is being made into a movie. Two of the most famous book to movie franchises are the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. The Chronicles of Narnia is another example, as is Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, The Help, The Martian, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not to mention all of the movies based off comic books, if we want to count those as books. More and more, we get movies that are based off books. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it really a good idea?

books to movies
“The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums.” Photo from: https://storiesinsightsandweirdthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/chorvs.png

The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums. A book can tell you exactly what is going on, exactly what a character is feeling, and exactly what the impact of a decision is in each and every scene. It’s much harder to convey these sorts of things on a movie screen. Which isn’t to say it can’t be done, but you need both a good actor and the right actor, and that doesn’t always happen. When a character’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions are directly told to an audience, then everyone has a better understanding of what’s going on in a scene and a better understanding of why another scene or an action can have significance. But in a movie, characters don’t stop to explain everything; you are along for the ride and you have to figure out some things on your own. This can lead to a murkier understanding and lessens the impact a movie can have.

Admittedly, this goes both ways. Books tend to do a poor job of conveying action in a scene, whereas movies have a definite edge in terms of visual appeal. If, for example, a massive battle is occurring, it’s hard to imagine the sheer scale of it. But in a movie, you can experience the entire thing. You can get close ups to see the emotion of a character and you can get shots that pan around the entire battle. It’s hard to be awed by words on a page, but it’s easy to be awed when you can see it happening for yourself.

Movies and books are always going to be tied together because of their nature; they’re mediums for telling a story. While there are times when a book can work well as a movie, they probably should not be made into movies as often as they are.

Four haunting must reads

In a world of Netflix and endless hours spent online or on a phone, the act of simply reading a book has become something of a novelty. While nothing’s wrong with some mindless television every now and again, it is my firm belief that reading is not only good for the mind but also for the soul. Finding a good book can be hard, but here are five extremely great books that will ignite your love for literature.

"The Haunting of Sunshine Girl" is a must read. Graphic from Good Reads
“The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” is a must read. Graphic from Good Reads

1) The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

Based on her hit Youtube Series, “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl”, talented teen, Paige McKenzie, released the first book in her series earlier this year with plans to release the sequel soon. In addition to her numerous book deals, a movie for the first book is already in the works.

The story revolves around a bubbly teenaged girl named Sunshine and her mother who begin experiencing disturbing paranormal activity upon moving into a new house. While the plot seems cliche, the story is incredibly creepy and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

2) Anna Dressed In Blood by Kedare Blake

This lesser known, but awesome, novel follows high schooler, Cas, a ghost hunter. Cas travels around, ridding towns of ghosts that plague the locals. When he embarks on a mission to destroy the bloodthirsty spirit of Anna Korlov, a teenaged girl murdered decades ago, he finds himself infatuated with the enemy making it difficult to complete his mission.

The book is the first in a series and will soon be made into a movie.

3) Evermore by Alyson Noel

Evermore revolves around a teenager, Ever, whose life is turned upside down when she loses her family to a fatal car crash. Once the most popular girl in school, Ever becomes a recluse, depressed by the death of her family and disturbed by her ability to read people’s minds when they touch her- a power that emerged after the crash.

Soon she meets Damen, a handsome Immortal, and discovers the troubling secret about who she really is.

This book was slightly popular in the Twilight craze of 2006-2010 due to the mortal/immortal love story. However despite being a seemingly copycat novel on the outside, the story is well written and entertaining.

4) Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

While her books are mostly marketed towards middle schoolers, Mary Downing Hahn is the queen of thrilling ghost stories. While you will find her excellent novels on bookshelves everywhere, Wait Till Helen Comes is one of the best.

Following her mother’s remarriage, Molly and her brother Michael are forced to move in with their new stepfather and devious stepsister, Heather.

Their new house is actually a remodeled church, which means that an old cemetery lies behind the house. Heather is drawn to the cemetery and Molly soon discovers that Heather has befriended the ghost of a young girl named Helen. Helen is malicious though and has sinister plans for Heather, leaving the burden of saving her step sister on Molly’s shoulders.

The book is a quick and chilling read. The movie is in post production and is set to be released in 2016.

Maybe it’s time for a trip to Barnes & Noble?

Why you should be participating in NaNoWriMo (if you’re not already)

November 1 marks the start of “National Novel Writing Month” a.k.a. “NaNoWriMo”. While the idea of writing an entire novel in a month seems daunting, the NaNoWriMo process is extremely fun, social, and easy.

So how does it work?

First go www.nanowrimo.org and make an account. Next create your profile and register your novel. As you write all month, log onto the website each day to log your word count. The minimum number of words you need to have a “complete novel” is 50,000. If, at the end of November you have achieved this goal, you log your final word count, paste your story onto the website so that your win can be verified and then you are eligible to receive all sorts of cool prizes including a free printed copy of your book and free e-book publishing.

Look, NaNoWriMo's logo has a viking's helmet. How could you NOT want to get involved with that coolness? Graphic from NaNoWriMo
Look, NaNoWriMo’s logo has a viking’s helmet. How could you NOT want to get involved with that coolness? Graphic from NaNoWriMo

When you create your NaNoWriMo account, you specify your exact location so that fellow participants in your area can connect with you. Each region has a leader who schedules meet and greets and writing sessions which usually take place at coffee houses or bookstores. Some of these sessions even turn into overnight lock ins, encouraging writers to collaborate and share ideas.

If you’re not into the idea of writing in public, the website also has numerous message boards so you can talk to writers from all over the world.

Even if you don’t “win” a.k.a. meet the 50,000 word minimum, the whole experience of meeting new people to bounce ideas off of is terrific. Plus, it’s a great way to get into a writing routine so that you never get too busy to write.

While NaNoWriMo is an awesome thing for all writers to take part in, it’s especially important if you’re suffering from writer’s block or feel like you’re too busy to write. The encouragement that you receive members is unparalleled. The website even e-mails inspirational quotes and messages to your WriMo inbox daily.

In addition to nurturing the novel process, NaNoWriMo also hooks you up with people who can help you find out what you want to do with your novel once it’s been completed.

So if you have an idea, but need that push, start writing today! It’s never too late to get to work.

Read the book before you see the movie

 

 

When a new movie comes out that’s based on a book people start to think about reading it before they see the movie. Some may actually read the book while others might forget or not have enough time in their schedule to read it before they have time to see the movie. However, there is an imperative reason why you should make a point to read that book before you watch the movie version of the story.

 

The book is better than the movie! Graphic from Galley Cat
The book is better than the movie! Graphic from Galley Cat

Movies are great, they bring to life a story that was once just a thought in someone’s head. They show detail and put faces to names and give us the director’s point of view or how he saw the story in his own mind. What about your own mind, though? Have you ever read a book and then a movie was made based off of it and you went to see the movie but were quietly disappointed with the actors or scenes?

You pictured it one way in your head while you were reading the story and you liked it that way. Now that it has been portrayed to everyone differently, it doesn’t seem like it’s right to you. This is why reading the book before the movie is important.

Sure, watching the movie is fun and if you didn’t read the book then you probably thought it was great. You got to see what the director envisioned and now that’s your vision of the story too. If you were to read the book first, you would have seen it your way and not just how the director filmed it. It’s important to create your own images and scenes about a story in your head. You will most likely enjoy it more because it’s specifically your own version of the story that no one else will understand or experience.

You will feel like you enjoyed the story more than anyone because of the way you saw it first.  Also, comparing the movie to the book is always fun and interesting too. Don’t forget about your own imagination, read the book before you see the movie.

 

Fantasy and sci-fi invite imagination and introspection

Perhaps more than any other genre of entertainment, the fantasy and sci-fi genres require the most dedication and the greatest scope of imagination.

Unfortunately, fantasy and sci-fi are often looked down upon. The reasons can vary, but they generally get a bad rap for being campy or having a fanbase that is simply neurotically obsessed about the genre; that factor I won’t deny. Concerning the camp, you do have to be willing to suspend a great amount of belief to accept the world of fantasy and sci-fi. After all, we are talking about genres where people summon flaming rings of mind energy and gravitic warp engines are readily accepted.

In my experience, the most overt trivialization of fantasy and sci-fi was actually during my senior seminar project in college. As my fellow graduates were presenting their 20 minute presentations, one student was presenting on a topic roughly as follows: Is Frodo the true hero of the Lord of the Rings? No, Aragorn more explicitly follows the path of a hero.

It wasn’t a very original topic in my opinion, and it was apparent that either the student was beyond nervous, or they hadn’t really practiced their presentation and decided to wing it. After he was finished, one of the professors blatantly asked, “What is the value of studying fantasy literature?”

The world of fantasy and sci-fi literature is as vast and meaningful as the worlds the books host. Graphic from Books and Iced Coffee
The importance of fantasy literature is as vast and wonderful as the worlds the books host. Graphic from Books and Iced Coffee

The student froze- he didn’t have an answer. For what seemed like five minutes, he stumbled on and on, unable to come up with a decent answer to the professor’s question and, ultimately, it was never resolved.

I have no idea whether this professor was sincere in his opinion that fantasy is worthless. He had a reputation for asking “gotcha” questions, but that is neither here nor there. The true question is why would he feel it necessary to ask that question? Are fantasy and sci-fi worthless trivial pursuits that sully the name of good literature?

I’ve yet to discover what good literature is. That requires quantifying something that’s a personal feeling between a person and their own tastes as a consumer.

The answer I desperately wanted to shout from my seat is that literature began as fantasy. Fantasy, for human experience, is a seminal piece of storytelling. Whether you’re a religious person or not, there are gods you do or do not believe in. I imagine that the greatest majority of Americans and people in the world today regard Norse and Greco/Roman mythology as just that– mythology. However, for those people, these gods lived and breathed in the world.

Fantasy is important because consumers love it. It asks us not to look at the real, but to look at the unreal and fathom how such impossible things can be possible. If you are engrossed in a realistic murder mystery set in modern day New York, little suspension of disbelief is needed. These things can, and do, happen all the time. However, for fantasy and sci-fi, more willingness to suspend disbelief is required.

Fantasy and sci-fi are important because we live and breathe it. The most popular movies at the box office during this millennium are superhero movies and Peter Jackson’s take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Fantasy and sci-fi matter because the masses love them, and more importantly, humanity has always had an affinity for these kinds of stories. Gods, monsters, demons, elves, and dwarves: they all have much more in common than what first meets the eye.

Knowing a writer is a unique experience

People who read get a lot of credit as deep thinkers whose intelligence is unparalleled. They visit and visualize worlds inside their minds simply by looking at words and absorbing the information in front of them. There’s something beautiful about a person who can sit in complete silence and ponder the meaning of and visualize a world outside their own, or feel the feelings a first-person narrator describes. However, has anyone ever thought about the beauty in the person who can create those worlds?

Sure, authors make a lot of money for popular books, but in daily life and in movies, people who read are always these mysterious, deep characters with big hearts. No, this isn’t some ploy to get my friends here at Whim laid (sorry, guys). I think people who prefer to read and those who prefer writing are kindred spirits, but us writers deserve more credit than we get.

I think there’s something to be said about those who can observe things around them and use words to touch the souls of an audience. Reporters get a lot of negative coverage these days . Sometimes journalists are accused of being nosy and overbearing. Recently, Brian Williams was suspended for exaggerating details of his coverage of the war in Iraq.

It’s disappointing, as a student of journalism, to see someone who so many look to for news abuse his position. It also makes me worry that this incident will increase the distrust that many have towards media. But for those who approach their job honestly and creatively, there’s a world inside their mind which holds immense beauty.

In one of my classes, my professor stressed how the use of words and language in general can paint many different pictures. News stories that would be bland from one perspective can be deep and thought-provoking in another. It takes a lot of skill to write something that will truly stick in the reader’s or viewer’s mind.

If you come across the opportunity to befriend, date or simply know a writer, do it. We see things in many different perspectives because we have to. Being a good writer means being able to comprehend that your perspective isn’t the only one possible. Good writers have empathy and a desire to understand the feelings of others so that we can project them in our writing. Whether someone’s a creative writer, a news writer or someone who simply writes in a journal, there’s something beautiful and sane about someone who can take feelings and put them into words.

Fifty Shades of Grey – condoning abuse?

After serious thought, reading the books, and hearing everybody’s uber-enthusiasm about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I can’t help but think: that this story is seriously messed up.

The trilogy is titled Fifty Shades of Grey because the main man is named Christian Grey. He’s definitely a complex, rounded character (“rounded” because his personality changes quite a lot during the story). However, I think the “grey” should also be applied to the gray area that is the type of BDSM relationship between him and the female protagonist Anastasia Steele. While many girls and women have read this story and been intrigued, entranced, and in all forms interested in the Grey-Steele encounters, it seems that the more serious, eerie aspects of the two have gone either unnoticed or ignored. . But here’s the reality: Christian Grey and Ana Steele are in an extremely unhealthy relationship that should not be coveted by anyone.

For example, Christian Grey is incredibly jealous. He loses his mind when Ana gets stared at, hit on, or if other men are friendly to her. During Ana’s friend Kate’s photo gallery exhibit, Christian buys all the pictures of Ana because he “does not want anyone else to see [her].”

Christian also compares Ana to his mother. If you don’t know the story, sorry to ruin it, but Christian’s mother was a reported “crackwhore.”He’s not a fan of women at the beginning of the story.Grey was sexually abused by an older woman for the majority of his adolescence, leading him to see women as objects and luring him into the BDSM fantasy lifestyle.

Christian stalks Ana on more than one occasion. When she goes out with a friend to a bar against Grey’s wishes, for example, he flies out to confront her about it.

There are a few moments in the books where Mr. Grey is so rough with Ana that she cries and screams and leaves him until he comes begging her back.

Grey does not let Ana consult a lawyer about her BDSM contract before signing it.

Christian is possessive. When Ana asks him why it’s so important to him for her to change her name, he says it’s so everyone will know she is his. Ana has incredibly low self esteem. It seems she only stays with Christian because she feels sexy with him.

Everyone has been raving about this movie and I’ll  probably go see it too — mostly because I want to know how this erotic trilogy could possibly be shown on the big screen.Christian Grey’s control over Ana does NOT show love, but something else entirely. This isn’t a relationship that should be hashtagged “relationship goals” or coveted in any shape or form.

The Great White Moby Dick! Why is it great?

What makes a book a classic? Or even, who decided that book was better than another one. When you Google the question “What makes a book a classic?” An answer immediately comes up. “A classic book is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, either through an imprimatur such as being listed in any of the Western canons or through a reader’s own,” No one said it was a good answer, but we shouldn’t rely on Google for a good answer. We look to them to have the right answer, and as far as I’m concerned, that was the right answer. A classic book is more or less called a classic, until everyone else has caught on and agreed.

One example of a classic work that remains a mystery to me, as to why its a classic, is Moby Dick. To start with, who wants to read about whales? The book was received terribly by the public, no one cared or even wanted to. That isn’t entirely true, but from Melville publishing the book in 1851 to his death in 1891. Only 3,500 copies of the book were sold. That means in the span of forty years, he sold less than a hundred books a year.

MobyDickTonyMillionaireCoverPoster
“Whales were just something not enough people care about, because realistically who cares about whales?”

By today’s standards that wouldn’t get you nationally recognized or anything, but it would get you that pat on the back from your friends. All of them probably saying the same thing, “Oh yeah! Its a great book, I don’t know why more people don’t read it.” Then as soon as your back is turned they start to wonder how you even got published in the first place, because they wrote a novel they want to get out there, since you did, so can they.

Melville was not a bad writer. His plot is a solid one, he created some of the most noteworthy characters of all time, and his visual imagery is excellent at points. The only problem is the subject. Whales were just something not enough people care about, because realistically who cares about whales? Not in the environmental way, as in when they die the ecosystem goes out of whack. But more along the lines of, people are not frequently affected by whales, so why think about them?

The thing that eventually drove people to pick up this book was the publicity it received from other academics, such as D.H Lawrence or Nathaniel Hawthorne. Back then that was the equivalent to having the sticker that said New York Times best seller on it. This brought in waves of new readers, just because this smart guy said it was good, I’ll believe it’s good too because I’m smart too. One thing that helped is half the people reading didn’t believe in whales. Because the idea of a sea monster was fiction. Of course now the idea seems silly, because we have seen whales on TV or documentaries or wherever. But back then people who didn’t have anything to do with the ocean job-wise stayed away from the ocean.

The main idea is that Moby Dick would not have become a classic on its own merit. So who is to say that it should be a classic at all? The only thing I saw when I was reading it was an outdated “bromance” story. Because honestly, the book was about whether Ishmael liked Queequeg or Ahab more. Whales were just a side thing.

Book review: The fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best – emotional and gripping, with witty characters and a story that keeps you glued to the book until the end. The book follows a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster as she falls in love and learns important lessons about life, death and dreams. It is, as Markus Zusak says, “A novel of life and death and the people caught in between.”

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A touching story about a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster who learns about life, death and everything in between. Photo by Creative Commons.

However, some readers may not like the somber tone of the story. Most of the main characters are either dying or debilitated, or related to those who are. With that in mind, let’s delve deeper into the story. Continue reading Book review: The fault in our stars