Top Ten Tuesday: Books to be Made into Movies

Top Ten TuesdayI am having trouble with the plugin that handles Amazon links, but I decided I should publish this anyway before the expiration date on this topic is too long past.

I like this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic. Which books should be made into movies? Here’s my list:

  1. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. I think this book would be great in Tim Burton’s hands. It wasn’t my favorite read, but it has such strong imagery that it’s begging to be made into a movie. I think I heard somewhere that it actually has been optioned.
  2. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon. It would probably only work as a miniseries, and God knows who they would cast, but it’s such a great series. I’d love to see the books made into films à la The Thorn Birds.
  3. Looking for Alaska, John Green. I didn’t like this book a whole lot, but I could see it making a pretty good teen movie like Some Kind of Wonderful or Pretty in Pink.
  4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs. Another one with a lot of visual imagery and some great humor that would be fun to watch.
  5. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde. I’ve actually talked about this one before.
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger. It would be tricky to pull off, but I think if the director did internal monologue voiceovers, it might work.
  7. American Gods, Neil Gaiman. This could be a sprawling sort of epic with the right cast and script.
  8. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins. If this has been made into a successful movie, then I haven’t heard about it, but it would be a great gothic tale.
  9. Wicked, Gregory Maguire. Why not? They brought it to Broadway. Would be fun to cast Wizard of Oz lookalikes where possible, too.
  10. King Lear, William Shakespeare. Seriously, why hasn’t one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays been made into a huge movie. They’ve done just about every other major play and even minor ones. I have seen filmed stage versions of this, and there’s a good PBS one, but not exactly major motion pictures.

What about you? What books do you think should be made into movies?

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Top Ten Book Club Books

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is the top ten books that would make great book club picks. Some of these books I have actually read with a book club; others I haven’t, but I think they might make for good discussion.

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer: It’s a book about book clubs! What could be better to read with a book club?
  2. Moloka’i, Alan Brennert: This might be because I just chose it for my book club, but I think it would be great for discussion, especially because it’s a good story, but it has some flaws.
  3. The Paris Wife, Paula McLain: I think this one would be great for literary book clubs who want to learn more about Hemingway and his circle.
  4. The Kitchen Daughter, Jael McHenry: It might be fun to bring the dishes described in the book to the meeting. I also think discussing adult Asperger’s would make for an interesting evening.
  5. The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters: I picked this mostly because I would like to talk about the ending and see what everyone else thinks happened at the end.
  6. The Help, Kathryn Stockett: I liked this one a lot and see it being a good book to talk about when you’re done with it. I could even see a good discussion about whether it’s another in the long line of “white people solve racism” books/movies.
  7. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins: Marian and Count Fosco are great characters. So was Frederick Fairlie. He’s hysterical, in fact. I think it might be interesting to talk about how Collins popularized some of those tropes we consider clichés.
  8. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde: There is so much bookish fun in this one. I think book nerds would really like reading and talking about it.
  9. The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry: I am not sure it would appeal to everyone in the group, but it has a classic unreliable narrator, and those always make for juicy discussion. Plus you could try to brew up some “Difficul-tea” and try out lace reading (if you can figure it out).
  10. Madame Bovary’s Ovaries, David P. Barash and Nanelle R. Barash: The premise of this book is that you can explain the behavior of some characters in great literature through evolutionary psychology. It’s an interesting read. It’s sure to generate some discussion; I can’t imagine you’d get a whole group to agree on whether or not the authors are right. It serves the dual purpose of making you interested in the literature they discuss, too. The Goodreads reviews on it are all over the place.

Honorable mentions: Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt (only left out of top ten because everyone’s surely read it by now); and Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland.

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The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins’s novel The Woman in White is one of the first “detective novels” and is still considered one of the finest Victorian “sensation novels.” I decided to read it after reading a student’s praise of it while reading AP applications (we have an application process to take AP English courses at my school). I have heard references to the novel for some time now, one of the most recent in conjunction with the recent spate of Charles Dickens novels such as Drood and The Last Dickens. I decided to download the eBook version on my iPhone. I have been reading it since about April. It might be a little too long to read on the iPhone. I had some trouble with the files, too. Near the end of the book, I found an odd bug that caused me to be unable to turn to the next page. The only way I found around it was to use the slider to scan ahead a few pages and then backtrack. Also, one version of the eBook that I tried did not break the book into chapters in the way it was designed to be broken and instead had one long chapter to cover the whole book. If you’ve not used eBooks on Stanza before, this likely won’t make much sense, but chapters are fairly important to me because they help me keep track.

In reviewing The Woman in White, I should point out that though many might consider the novel to be clichéd, it is in fact the originator of many tropes that became clichés in later fiction: the innocent girl who marries a man who is deceptively charming, but alters into a cruel wastrel only after her money once they marry and the mysterious character who looks uncannily like one of the other characters. However, Collins shows a propensity for developing some interesting characters. It’s rather a shame that Laura Fairlie Glyde, whom I considered so dull and uninteresting, is the one who captures the main narrator Walter Hartright’s love, when by all rights, it should have been her half-sister, Marian Halcombe, who is much more intelligent and interesting a character. Collins’s characterization of the evil Count Fosco and Laura’s uncle Frederick Fairlie are also excellent. Frederick Fairlie’s voice as he narrates his portion of the story is truly funny. The novel is often described as an epistolary novel, but I’m not sure that’s a good description. It is told by multiple narrators, all of whom have different pieces of knowledge about the main plot: Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco’s plot against Laura and her fortune. However, it is not precisely told in the form of letters only. The journal of Marian Halcombe and narration of Walter Hartright form the bulk of the novel, and it’s not made clear that any of Walter Hartright’s narration is epistolary. I found the book to be engaging, particularly when the plot picks up steam. I think anyone who likes Victorian fiction might be interested in reading this book for its portrayal of the times in which it was written. I don’t think most book lovers would consider time spent reading The Woman in White to be time wasted.

I have three books ready to read on my iPhone: Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and E. M. Forster’s Howards End. I have not decided which to read yet. If you have strong feelings about one of the three, I’d love for you to let me know in the comments. I should note that Mansfield Park remains the only Jane Austen novel I’ve not yet read, and Vanity Fair was cited by a colleague (a well-respected English teacher) as his favorite novel. On the other hand, there are a lot of novels in the Classics app that I haven’t read yet, either: Dracula could also be calling my name. Choices, choices.

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