Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 5 Tuesday: Book to Movie Adaptation

My productivity level is at an all time high right now, so I'm really excited to make a Top 5 Tuesday post on schedule! This week's topic is book to movie adaptations! I would include a rationale for picking this topic, but it honestly just popped into my head randomly as I was scrolling through Goodreads and it stuck.

5. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book is like a baby to me. I want to protect it and keep it all to myself, so when I heard that this book was a movie, I got a little nervous because 1) so many more people knew about the book now and it as no longer my little secret and 2) I did not want to see any injustice done to this book. Eventually I gave in and watched the movie and it made me just as emotional as the book, so it received an A+ in that regard, but I did have a few problems. Some of the plot got a little skewed in the movie, which disappointed me because I thought the way everything played out in the book was beautifully done; however, I can understand why the changes were made in order for the plot to be better carried out through a film. With this in mind, the film did a good job portraying the emotions behind the book, but it wasn't everything I hoped for.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This movie came out the year after I had originally read the book for school, so it was still pretty fresh in my mind when I saw it for the first time. I remember distinctly being annoyed by everyone who had hated the book the year prior, but now professing their love for it just because Leonardo DiCaprio was going to be in the movie. With all that aside, I went in with an open mind and tried to ignore the swooning girls around me. I thought the movie captured the story of the book very well, but perhaps made the characters too likable. In the book I remember that the characters were all irritating and unlikable, but in the movie they all seemed more genuine, but that might just be due to placing faces with the names. Overall the movie was very well done and stayed loyal to the plot.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I could have easily grouped all of the Harry Potter movies into one ranking for this post, but decided to just include my favorite one of the movies to evaluate this time. One of the major reasons why I think the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best of the Harry Potter movie adaptations is because it matches the tone of the book the best, which helps the movies transition from them being all about how cool it is to be magical to the more darker, mysteriousness of the later books/movies. I also think the introductions to new characters such as Sirius, Peter, and Remus were excellent and paralleled the book nicely. It is also was easy to follow along for people who hadn't read the book, which I know is important for movie adaptations so that they can appeal to a broader audience rather than just those who have read the book. I also thought the way the characters acted in this movie were very honest (besides Ron) in terms of how they are in the book. 

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is the only movie out of these five that I have only seen once, so it is more difficult for me to find things to say for this one. I remember seeing this in theaters and being in awe of how visually pleasing this film is. The visual elements helped bring out important concepts such as the overbearing presence of Nazis, which was represented with the huge, bright red flags that over powered the feeble, dingy homes and the pure, white snow. [SPOILER] My favorite scene from the movie is when the Nazis are smashing in the windows of shops and homes of the Jews and dragging them out into the streets while the only sound is that of the children singing. This part portrayed the childish innocence Liesel had in regards to the war. [END OF SPOILER] This movie also remained loyal to the plot of the book, for which I am extremely thankful.

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book to movie adaption caps off my list simply because of how honest it is to the book. I don't think I have ever seen a movie that has remained as loyal to the book as The Help. I actually watched the movie before reading the book, but as I read the book I was thinking "oh my gosh, this is exactly how it happened in the movie too!" Entire monologues were even taken from the book, which is incredible. The movie also captured the era very well, which gave it a layer of authenticity. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

What am I Reading?

Since I have unfortunately put this blog on the back burner, I decided I would post a little something just to stay active. I have finally found a little bit of time to pick up some books and decided to share those with you.

As you can see, I am currently reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).
I recently received a care package from my grandma and in it she included The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm, which I have been dying to get my hands on. I have wasted no time getting started and have enjoyed everything thus far.
For my English class, I am writing an evaluation essay on Jonathan Safran Foer's writing and am reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (again) for "research". Basically I just wanted an excuse to set time aside to read this book again.
I hope you are all reading wonderful books as well! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top TEN Tuesday: Books I've Read for School

As you might recall, I did not post a top five Tuesday last week or the week before and promised to make it up by making this week a top ten! This week is going to be the top ten books I have read for school.

10. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I had to read Of Mice and Men my sophomore year of high school and I remember thinking I wasn't going to like it at the beginning. My teacher piled on assignments for this book which also initially took away any pleasure I could have had while reading. Since I was in honors English, we always read books after the regular 10th grade English classes so everyone had already spoiled the ending. Despite all of this, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very well written and created a great class discussion. The ending was my favorite part because at first it was a bit of a shock, but it really caused me to think about the book and think about it more. 

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I read this book for 9th grade English because we had to do group book reports and this was the only book my group agreed upon. It definitely took me awhile to get into it and for me to fully understand everything that was happening, but once I figured it out, I was hooked. I sped through the second half of the book and enjoyed it. Is it one of my favorite books? No, but it was definitely a book worth reading.

8. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was one of three books assigned for my first ever summer reading assignment. I thought it was going to be a dry, boring, classic, but it is so much better than that. I was bored at the beginning, but once I got about halfway through, the plot started to reveal itself and became extremely interesting. This is actually a book I hope to reread in the near future. Also, if you haven't read this book yet, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Wuthering Heights.

7. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

This book was assigned during the same summer as Rebecca, so I definitely read some good books that summer. This book captivated me from the start because it was very mysterious and intriguing. I knew from the summary that it dealt with clones, but it was much more intricate and thought provoking than just a basic science fiction novel. I have actually recommended this to many people because it was a quick read and definitely interesting. I also hope to reread this book to see if my opinion has changed at all.

6. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Most of you are probably questioning why this was a mandatory read for school. Well, my seventh grade English class had a unit about mythology, specifically Greek mythology. This was the only time I remember every single person in my class actually reading an assigned book in its entirety and actually enjoying it. I know I was one of the people who immediately went out and bought the rest of the series when we finished reading this one in class. I have actually been meaning to read this one again because I know I will enjoy it because it's just a fun book and appropriate for people of all ages.

5. The Catcher in they Rye by JD Salinger

This is one of those books where I don't remember much of what happened, but I remember loving it anyways. I loved the writing style in this books and was one of those that I actually finished even though I didn't need to in order to complete a project. I also think this book is one of those love it or hate it books and I personally really enjoyed it. 

4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I can honestly say I don't remember anything about this book, but when I read it in 9th grade, I was the only one in my class who genuinely enjoyed it. I actually gave it a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, which is pretty good for a book I don't even remember. I think the creepy and eerie tone made me fall in love with it because something about creepy books just immediately speaks to me.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I remember this book being a really well written book that made it easy for everyone to enjoy. I especially loved the childhood innocence that was translated in the book, which only made it more enjoyable to read. This is one of those American classics that I think everyone should read. This was also my favorite book for awhile after I read it.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I think I was the only person in my 10th grade class who actually enjoyed this book when we had to read it. Most everyone else only pretended to like it a year later when the movie came out, which really irritated me. This book is timeless and captures the era of the 1920s perfectly. Also, F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is simple, yet beautiful. I honestly did not expect to get such a great story out of this book when I started it.

1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Ah.Crime and Punishment. I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite books of all time. Despite the whooping page count, I managed to read this over the summer for AP Literature. I was intimidated at first and know that many of my classmates never even read it! I admit that near the middle it got a bit boring, but the last 200 pages really made up for it and tied all the elements together perfectly and left me on the edge of my seat. I stayed up until 2am to finish this book and was in awe by the time I put it down. 

I apologize for the inconsistency of my posts lately. I hope to get better at posting on a regular schedule. With school taking up so much of my time, it's difficult to find time to read or blog much. I did receive two books in the mail today so hopefully I can read and review those soon!

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