Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Books on the Big Screen

I've been living under a rock lately. I've been in denial about it until I just caught up with one of my favorite book blogs, Early Word, and saw that Lisa See's fantastic novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is coming out in theaters this summer. I hadn't even known it was in production! It's definitely time for me to come out from under my rock. So I decided to see what else I wasn't aware of. It turns out that the next few months are chock full of some great books coming to the big screen. Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants starring Reese Witherspoon is coming out on April 22nd. Ok, I did know about that one. Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed hits the big screen on May 6th starring Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. A great flick to see with girlfriends! On July 8th, One for the Money, based on Janet Evanovich's fabulously fun series. Katherine Heigl plays Stephanie Plum. Can't wait! Also being released on the same day is David Nicholls' One Day staring Anne Hathaway. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan will be released on July 15th. The trailer looks gorgeous. Sarah's Key is coming to theaters on July 22nd. The Help will be released on August 12th. This is sure to be huge! And of course, the most important movie of my summer: the final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 15th. I'm excited and sad at the same time. I also read that Jennifer Lawrence (from Winter's Bone) has been chosen to play the part of Katniss Everdeen in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. According to Early Word, some people were complaining because the blond Lawrence didn't fit the book's description of Katniss. I know Katniss is described as dark-haired and olive-skinned, but in my imagination, she was always blond and fair, so I think Lawrence fits perfectly. I can't wait to see what they come up with for this movie.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

If you're enough lucky to be Irish...You're lucky enough!

Tonight I'm celebrating St. Patrick's Day discussing James Joyce's collection of short stories, Dubliners. I read Dubliners in college and remember enjoying it. But since I've been having such a hard time slogging my way through Ulysses over the past several months, I wondered if my memory was faulty. Did I really enjoy it, or did I just tell myself that I did? Would I still enjoy Dubliners now? Is it as difficult to read as Ulysses? Since our book discussion fell on St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to read an Irish author, and really, who better than Joyce? If I chose Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake, I knew I'd lose all my members, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to revisit Dubliners. I've found that I am enjoying it quite a bit. It's a refreshing break from the hard work one must put in to Ulysses. Dubliners is a great introduction to Joyce, and I'm so glad I picked it up again. The New Dubliners was published a few years ago to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dubliners and contains stories from leading Irish authors such as Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Joseph O'Connor, Bernard MacLaverty, and Frank McGuinness. I've ordered this and am so excited to read it.

Angelina Benedetti's 35 Going on 13 blog has some great suggestions for Irish YA fiction for adults. She reminded me that I've been wanting to read Bog Child. I'm going to be on an Irish fiction bender.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


In the past couple weeks, I've been given the responsibility of being the library liason to Deerfield High School and handling teen programs here at the library.  I quickly realized that I hadn't spent much time reading teen books since my Young Adult Lit class in grad school.  I have read the first 3 Twilight books wasn't particularly impressed.  I like the idea but not the end-all-be-all sort of love they depicted.  That being said, I was interested in reading what else was out there in the not quite human love world!

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon features Renee Winters, a teenager who has recently discovered her parents dead in the woods.  Their deaths are not grisly but don't quite make sense either.  Her grandfather steps in and quickly enrolls her at Gottfried Academy.  Gottfried Academy is a boarding school that focuses on classes such as Latin, Philosophy, Horticulture, and "Crude Sciences".  Renee doesn't immediately fit in but starts to build a group of mismatched friends.  She also develops a crush on the school's gorgeous, quiet guy.  Might I point out the beginnings of Twilight comparisons?  Add in cold skin, lack of interest in sleep, and lack of dating history to said hot guy and need I say more?

As can be expected, nothing is quite as it seems at Gottfried Academy and strange incidents start to come to light.  I will admit, I didn't quite follow their explanations for everything (way too complicated at points!) but I was dying to know what the clearly not human people actually were! They don't explain this part of the story until the last half of the book.  I made the mistake of reading something that gave it away and was pretty mad at myself.  It's probably more obvious to other people more well read in this area but I was entertained for quite a while trying to guess.

Overall, the story probably doesn't flow as seemlessly as I would have liked and there were a couple moments of "huh?".  But, I thought it was a much more believable teenage romance than the Edward-Bella black hole.  I also felt it painted an interesting picture of the school and enjoyed that it wasn't set in such a typical environment.  There is a definite gothic theme to the story that I appreciated.  I would recommend Dead Beautiful for anyone who is looking for another Twilight-esque book and for those who might not have really liked Twilight to begin with.  On to my next teen read!