Archive for the ‘Read the Book First’ Category

Read the book first #3

January 13, 2014

Read the book first #3

I know I’ve said many times how much I don’t like spoilers…my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised.

However…

If I’m going to both read a book and see a movie, I want to read the book first. Oddly, I’ve never had a book spoil a movie for me, but I’ve had the reverse be true.

That might not be true for you. I know part of it probably is that I don’t visualize when I read. I’ve written about this before, too, but I don’t see the characters (or hear their voices) when I read. I also know that puts me in the minority (again). ;)

I remember when my Significant Other and I saw the first Harry Potter movie. My SO said Harry’s chin was wrong. I didn’t think that, because Harry’s chin hadn’t been described in the book. Messy black hair, glasses, and a scar…check.

The time when I found out that I was unusual in this was when I had read a book (back in the paper days), and then my SO was reading it. I asked my SO about how the book was going and I was told, “I’m having trouble reading it because when I hear this one character, I hear [the actor] Darren McGavin.” I said, “What do you mean?” “When I hear the voice, I hear Darren McGavin.”

Me: “You hear the character’s voice?”

SO: “You don’t hear the character’s voice?”

We had one of those classic committed couple “discussions” about which one of us was crazy. :)

Well, as you know, I like to do the research.

I was teaching different groups of people most days at that point, training computer software.  I started polling them.

It turned out that about fifteen percent of the people didn’t visualize the characters or hear the voices when they read.

So, that meant I was the weird one. :)

Actually, it varied quite a bit. In an advanced PowerPoint class, pretty much everybody would visualize. In an advanced Excel class, not very many people would.

I’ve had long discussions about this with people, and some of them seem to think it’s impossible for me to enjoy books without seeing the events. I get involved in it…it’s just all conceptual.

Oh, I do admit that sometimes I visualize a scene…if it’s poorly written. That surprises people, too…they think a well-written book is more likely to take you “into the scene”. For me, though, if something is not well-written, I may have to work out the logistics of the scene…where’s the window out of which that character jumped? Why couldn’t somebody stop that person…what was in the way?

The upshot of this long introduction is that, if I’m going to see a movie, I try to read the book first. :)

Here are some books that have adaptations coming to US movie theatres in 2014…in case you feel the same. I’m not listing everything, of course, and if you don’t see one, it may be because the publisher has blocked text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition (I don’t deliberately link to books which do that).

Outside of The Hunger Games, there were several box office disappointments last based on young adult fiction: Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, and The Host all failed to gross $40 million at the US box office (for more box office information for last year, see my post, 2013 The Year in Movie Box Office in The Measured Circle). However, this adaptation, including Shaileene Woodley and Kate Winslet, has been getting a bit of buzz. The two sequels already have release dates booked, so you might just want to start reading all three books: The Divergent Series Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile). It’s a dystopian novel, categorized on the product page as Teen & Young Adult Romance.

Directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls), based on a six novel series for young adults. Features Sarah Hyland and Gabriel Byrne.

Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Jumper) directs Tom Cruise with a script co-written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects). Sort of sounds like Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. :)

It’s nice to see this one on the list, being made from a book published three decades ago (rather than a currently popular title). Producer/screenwriter Akiva Goldsman directs Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Russell Crowe, and Jennifer Connelly in this fantasy romance.

Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel has sold literally millions of copies and won the Newbery medal. The cast includes Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift.

There are five…here is a list of some of the others:

  • The Maze Runner
  • Heaven Is for Real
  • This Is Where I Leave You
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Paddington
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • The Hobbit: There and Back Again
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
  • Gift from Eykis

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Read the book first #2

March 11, 2013

Read the book first #2

I know I’ve said many times how much I don’t like spoilers…my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised.

However…

If I’m going to both read a book and see a movie, I want to read the book first. Oddly, I’ve never had a book spoil a movie for me, but I’ve had the reverse be true.

That might not be true for you. I know part of it probably is that I don’t visualize when I read. I’ve written about this before, too, but I don’t see the characters (or hear their voices) when I read. I also know that puts me in the minority (again). ;)

I remember when my Significant Other and I saw the first Harry Potter movie. My SO said Harry’s chin was wrong. I didn’t think that, because Harry’s chin hadn’t been described in the book. Messy black hair, glasses, and a scar…check.

The time when I found out that I was unusual in this was when I had read a book (back in the paper days), and then my SO was reading it. I asked my SO about how the book was going and I was told, “I’m having trouble reading it because when I hear this one character, I hear [the actor] Darren McGavin.” I said, “What do you mean?” “When I hear the voice, I hear Darren McGavin.”

Me: “You hear the character’s voice?”

SO: “You don’t hear the character’s voice?”

We had one of those classic committed couple “discussions” about which one of us was crazy. :)

Well, as you know, I like to do the research.

I was teaching different groups of people most days at that point, training computer software.  I started polling them.

It turned out that about fifteen percent of the people didn’t visualize the characters or hear the voices when they read.

So, that meant I was the weird one. :)

Actually, it varied quite a bit. In an advanced PowerPoint class, pretty much everybody would visualize. In an advanced Excel class, not very many people would.

I’ve had long discussions about this with people, and some of them seem to think it’s impossible for me to enjoy books without seeing the events. I get involved in it…it’s just all conceptual.

Oh, I do admit that sometimes I visualize a scene…if it’s poorly written. That surprises people, too…they think a well-written book is more likely to take you “into the scene”. For me, though, if something is not well-written, I may have to work out the logistics of the scene…where’s the window out of which that character jumped? Why couldn’t somebody stop that person…what was in the way?

The upshot of this long introduction is that, if I’m going to see a movie, I try to read the book first. :)

Here are some books that have upcoming (and early 2013) adaptations…in case you feel the same. I’m not listing everything, of course, and if you don’t see one, it may be because the publisher has blocked text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition (I don’t deliberately link to books which do that).

Beautiful Creatures (the movie) February 14
Beautiful Creatures (the book)

Warner Brothers probably hoped for the next Twilight franchise with this one, reportedly giving it a $60 million budget, and with a cast including Jeremy Irons, Emily Rossum, and Viola Davis. Unfortunately, it has not opened strongly in the USA.

The Host (the movie) March 29
The Host (the book)

It would be a surprise if this one doesn’t make a profit (especially with a $44 million reported budget). The novel was written by Stephenie Meyer (who wrote the Twilight series). Saoirse Ronan, while not a huge box office star, has a good reputation. The director/screenwriter, Andrew Niccol, isn’t normally a tentpole maker, but has done some interesting work (The Truman Show, In Time).

Alongside Night (the movie) July 12
Alongside Night (the book)

Originally published in 1979, this is a dystopian novel by J. Neil Schulman about the economic collapse of the United States and a counter-government movement. Since Schulman is also credited with the screenplay (and is directing), it sounds as though this may be a case of the author being able to revive a book which had fallen out of print, both through the Kindle platform and now a feature movie whose stars include Kevin Sorbo, Garrett Wang, and Jake Busey. I think there is somewhat of an audience for this, but I think it may be more of an arthouse picture than a mainstream hit.

Horns (the movie) October 11)
Horns (the book)

4.1 stars with 408 reviews at time of writing is a very good score on Amazon. This is a horror novel, but also has humor. Alexandre Aja directs Daniel Radcliffe, and the timing of the movie is good. I would guess we could be looking in the $60 million dogro (domestic gross) range for this one, but it’s always a difficult guess. :)

Carrie (the movie) October 18
Carrie (the book)

Actually, Horns had better make its money a hurry, with this movie right on its heels! This is a remake, of course, and the fact that it stars the magical Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore is a plus.

Ender’s Game (the movie) November 1
Ender’s Game (the book)

This could be the break-out non-sequel of the year…based on a book that is some people’s favorite book, with a great cast (Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfield). However, I do think there may be protests about the author of the book (Orson Scott Card), although that’s somewhat separate from the material of the book.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  (the movie) December 13
The Hobbit (the book)

This is part two of the trilogy (!) of movies based on the prequel to The Lord of the Rings. The first one has made about $300 million just in the USA, and this one should also do well.

Well, those are a few of the titles…happy reading, and see you in the movies!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Read the book first #1

September 22, 2011

Read the book first #1

I know I’ve said many times how much I don’t like spoilers…my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised.

However…

If I’m going to both read a book and see a movie, I want to read the book first. Oddly, I’ve never had a book spoil a movie for me, but I’ve had the reverse be true.

That might not be true for you. I know part of it probably is that I don’t visualize when I read. I’ve written about this before, too, but I don’t see the characters (or hear their voices) when I read. I also know that puts me in the minority (again). ;)

I remember when my Significant Other and I saw the first Harry Potter movie. My SO said Harry’s chin was wrong. I didn’t think that, because Harry’s chin hadn’t been described in the book. Messy black hair, glasses, and a scar…check.

The time when I found out that I was unusual in this was when I had read a book (back in the paper days), and then my SO was reading it. I asked my SO about how the book was going and I was told, “I’m having trouble reading it because when I hear this one character, I hear [the actor] Darren McGavin.” I said, “What do you mean?” “When I hear the voice, I hear Darren McGavin.”

Me: “You hear the character’s voice?”

SO: “You don’t hear the character’s voice?”

We had one of those classic committed couple “discussions” about which one of us was crazy. :)

Well, as you know, I like to do the research.

I was teaching different groups of people most days at that point, training computer software.  I started polling them.

It turned out that about fifteen percent of the people didn’t visualize the characters or hear the voices when they read.

So, that meant I was the weird one. :)

Actually, it varied quite a bit. In an advanced PowerPoint class, pretty much everybody would visualize. In an advanced Excel class, not very many people would.

I’ve had long discussions about this with people, and some of them seem to think it’s impossible for me to enjoy books without seeing the events. I get involved in it…it’s just all conceptual.

Oh, I do admit that sometimes I visualize a scene…if it’s poorly written. That surprises people, too…they think a well-written book is more likely to take you “into the scene”. For me, though, if something is not well-written, I may have to work out the logistics of the scene…where’s the window out of which that character jumped? Why couldn’t somebody stop that person…what was in the way?

The upshot of this long introduction is that, if I’m going to see a movie, I try to read the book first. :)

Here are some books that have upcoming adaptations…in case you feel the same.

The Hunger Games (book)
The Hunger Games (movie)

Suzanne Collins’ trilogy has been wildly successful (Collins is a member of the Kindle Million Club). The movie is headed to the big screen in a big way. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) directs Jennifer Lawrence, and a host of stars: Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and more. Scheduled for release March 23, 2012 in the USA.

The Hobbit (book)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected (movie, part 1)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (movie, part 2)

The book is being broken into two movies (December 14, 2012, and December 13, 2013).  A lot of the creative team from the hit Lord of the Rings movies has been reassembled, including director Peter Jackson, co-screenwriter Fran Walsh, and many of the actors. Hard to see how they couldn’t be big hits.

A Princess of Mars (book)
John Carter (movie)

There have been many movies and multiple TV series based on Burroughs’ Tarzan, and a series of movies based on Pellucidar series (in the 1970s). His Mars (or Barsoom, as the locals call it) series of books has been popular. However, making a movie out of it is a challenge…important characters are humanoid, but not human…which is tough to pull off. In 2009, there was a version with Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Traci Lords…but I’m betting you didn’t see it. The March 9, 2012 big screen version is different.  It’s being directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo), and was sort of thought of as Pixar’s first live-action movie…but it won’t be released as a Pixar production (but as a Disney one). The stars are big: Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, and Samantha Morton, among others. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) plays John Carter, and Lynn Collins (True Blood) is Dejah Thoris. They’ve worked together on a movie before: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book)
Oz: The Great and Powerful (movie)

The Wizard appears in several of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and in fact, his character evolves a great deal. Since this is a prequel to the first book, though, I’m only linking it to that one. Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies) directs James Franco and Mila Kunis (and yes, Raimi fans, Bruce Campbell appears). The March 8, 2013 release may be pretty dark…the first book (which is actually one of my least favorites in the series…I’m a big Oz fan) is harsher than the later ones, so that may not be inappropriate (even though it could surprise some people).

The Woman in Black (book)
The Woman in Black (movie)

Susan Hill’s 1983 novel has been made into a long-running play, and had a television adaptation written by Nigel Kneale. The big buzz here is about Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) having the lead. Movie buffs will also be interested to know that this is from Hammer, the studio that made the Christopher Lee Dracula movies. Release date: February 3, 2012

Cogan’s Trade (book)
Cogan’s Trade (movie)

George Higgins has been adapted before (The Friends of Eddie Coyle). Now, this 1974 novel re-teams director Andrew Dominik and star Brad Pitt (the worked together on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).  Other stars include Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini…I’m guessing they aren’t going for the Yo Gabba Gabba! crowd. ;)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (book)
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (movie)

This one is a bit odd. The book, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, is a non-fiction work for expectant mothers. I sold quite a few of them when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. The movie is a romantic comedy, with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, and Matthew Morrison (from Glee), among others. It’s due to be delivered on May 11, 2012.

Les Misérables (book)
Les Misérables (movie)

This is a movie of the musical of Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic. Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs an all-star cast: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and his King’s Speech star, Helena Bonham Carter. Geoffrey Rush (also from King’s Speech) and Emma Watson are rumored to join the cast.  Since this one isn’t released until December 7, 2012, Watson won’t be in a box office battle with her Harry Potter co-star Radcliffe.

Robopocalypse (novel)
Robopocalypse (movie)

Steven Spielberg directs from Daniel Wilson’s science fiction novel…that’s enough to guarantee a hit. ;) It’s not due until 2013, and no real casting news yet.

Life of Pi (book)
Life of Pi (movie)

Yann Martel’s Man Booker prize-winning novel is being directed by Ang Lee and stars Tobey Maguire. David Magee, Oscar-nominated for Finding Neverland, takes on the difficult task of adapting a book known for the richness of its language…never an easy task.

There are literally hundreds of other movies based on books in the works. I did limit myself to books with Kindle versions (and where text-to-speech access has not been blocked by the publisher). Let me know if you found this interesting…if you did, I may do another one later. :)

Oh, and I’ve had some interesting discussions about whether movies are ever as good as (or better than) the book…I say yes. That’s for another time, though.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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