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Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst movie adaptions of a book

Top Ten TuesdaysBest and Worst movie adaptions of a book, otherwise known as the longest Top Ten Tuesday post ever. I love this topic because it is one that I find myself constantly complaining about. I cannot stand it when great books have to suffer bad adaptions. It is just sad to see something you love be tortured and twisted into something completely different from the author’s intention. However, there are times when it goes so well that you want to thank the writers for not screwing it up. I don’t know that I’ll be able to stop at ten but I’ll try.

Best Adaptions

1. The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – I know that many are scratching their heads right now. A Twilight movie? Really? I say yes and here is why. Somehow the writers were able to stay true to the book and manage to shock the audience all at the same time. This one makes the list for the ending confrontation sequence on its own. I have never seen a book adaption that was able to make me mad one minute and applauding the next. I kid you not. Applause broke out in my theatre when we figured out what was going on. Not only was it a shock but it stayed with the story (in an unexpected way) AND it threw everyone for such a huge loop that you didn’t have time to guess what was going to happen until they were showing you that they had in fact messed with you completely.

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – I loved this series because it had the guts to stay true to the original work as much as possible while not making the movies so painfully long that no one could sit through them. Then they went back and made them longer for home release so that  people could see most of what was missing! It was a brilliant way to make the fans happy while making a profitable movie. It also earned them more money by creating two versions of the movies. I have all three of the extended editions of the movies sitting on my shelves and love watching every minute of them.

3. Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone – I add this one because of all the movies, this one holds truest to the books. It tells the story faithfully and builds a level of trust with the audience that they were going to need in order to get the audience to stick with them over seven more films, including the one that is on my list of worst movie adaptions ever made.

4. The Princess Bride – Don’t bother reading this book. Really. We all love the movie and there is a reason that it differs so much from the original material. I rarely say this about a book but this is not one to encourage someone to read after hearing that they absolutely loved the movie. While there isn’t anything really wrong with the book, it is so vastly different from what ended up on the screen that most readers will be disappointed. The book has a much different audience than the movie as well. I think it’s a great adaption because they took the source material and turned it into something completely new. The book as it was wouldn’t have made for a good movie. The screenwriter here did a masterful job!

5. The Green Mile – I think this one ends up on the list simply because it is one of the most faithful book to screen occurrences that I have ever encountered. I finished reading the book and then watched the movie in the same sitting and was pleasantly surprised to find out exactly how accurate they were to each other. I really appreciated the accuracy because I don’t think the story would have been as good if they had left things out.

6. The Silence of the Lambs – Yep. Had to be said. This was a great adaption of a truly chilling story. Not for the faint of heart but definitely one worth seeing and reading. I hesitate to include the sequels simply because I think that they missed something that the first movie had. The only one that even came close for me was Hannibal and they completely ruined the ending. They should have filmed the book ending. I know I’m one of the few but I actually liked the book ending so much better than the drivel they created for the movie. Silence was by far the most faithful to the original material and while some of the others had some truly chilling scenes, this one started it all.

7. A Requiem for a Dream – Okay, I’ve only seen this one once. I don’t think I could ever watch it again. It is incredibly disturbing and is full of mature content due to the issues it deals with. However, due to is powerfully redemptive qualities, I think it is one that must be mentioned. While the book does a good job of dealing with the issues that come from drug addiction, the movie takes another step into the confusion and lengths addicts will go to in order to get their fix. This one doesn’t shy away from anything and so it is not one that most people will find appropriate to view due to it’s extremely graphic nature. This is the ultimate PSA about drug use. Unfortunately it is so graphic that many people will never watch it.

8. The Hunger Games – I thought long and hard before including this one on the list. While it was a really good movie, they made some serious mistakes that will be hard to fix. There are entire characters missing and plot points that were not included that needed to be there. The whole thing about the Mockingjay is so wrong. They really needed to leave that bit of the story alone. If you haven’t read the book you don’t know that there is a vital character completely missing from the movie. However, they did an amazing job of communicating how bleak their lives are outside of the Capitol and how horrific the games are. The other thing that bothered me was the mutts at the end of the movie and how they left out the most horrific detail behind them. That being said, I walked out of the theatre after seeing that movie and it stayed with me in a powerful way, the way a good movie should. So I think that it is overall a wonderful adaption, even though there a couple of things I would have done very differently.

9. The Wizard of Oz – I can’t leave this one off the list. Yes I know all the issues but I simply don’t care. It’s a classic for a reason. It is also one that should never be remade. You can tell other stories from Oz or show other perspectives but this one simply shouldn’t be touched.

10. 10 Things I Hate about You – Didn’t realize this one was an adaption? Yep! The source material is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and this tale simply hits it spot on. I’m a big fan of Rom-coms in general but this one is great. it is one of the best examples of taking a classic tale and making it modern in the best sense. It maintains the original feel of the story while making it matter to a modern audience. Add Heath Ledger to the mix and it is an automatic win.

Worst Adaptions

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – This movie cut so much out from the original story that it felt completely rushed and like half of the story was missing. It is the worst of the Harry Potter movies in my opinion and one I wish could be completely redone or at least added to. it really needed some serious help. The fans wouldn’t have cared it if was even another half hour in length if it had felt more relaxed in its pacing and hadn’t skipped large chunks of the story. I want an extended version of this one so we can see all the missing pieces.

2. Beautiful Creatures – This one failed simply due to horrific casting. Lena was one of the worst casting decisions I have seen made in recent film history. This movie is supposed to be exciting but I fell asleep in the middle  because it simply was missing any emotion. You cannot do a good film adaption of a book if you don’t get the main characters right. It simply doesn’t work. Add to that the fact that there were entire characters missing and you’ll wish they would have left this one alone.

3. The Lightening Thief – This could have been awesome and it just wasn’t. It was a great book and the movie was just cheesy. It had some decent moments but overall it was so bad that I’m shocked they are doing the second one. I hope they don’t mess this one up as much as they did with the first one.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo – I absolutely love this book. I am an advocate for the unabridged version if you can get your hands on it. The movie however completely twists everything. It isn’t even the same story. The ending is completely off base. Major characters are missing completely and it’s just cheesy. This one is one of those books that deserves a serious movie adaption, not something loosely based on a great piece of literature that is a massive farce.

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Eric Bana. Yep. That and half of the story was completely missing. I was so disappointed in this one.

6. Eragon – I loved the book. Loved it even more when I found out exactly how old the author was. The movie looked like it was directed by a kid though. It missed every bit of magic that the book contained.

Remember when all the fan girls screamed at this image??

7. Twilight – I know that the last movie in the series made the best list but honestly this one simply is completely off when compared to the other movies in the franchise. Yes I know it suffered from a tiny budget and that they had no idea how it would explode but the poor filming is just painful when compared to the rest of the films.

8. The DaVinci Code – I love Tom Hanks. However, this was completely the wrong role for him. There were so many other great choices but nope. Tom Hanks gets the main character role. I knew it was doomed when they made that announcement. When I found out that Ron Howard was directing, I cringed and decided that I would wait until it hit on DVD. I was glad that I didn’t pay money to see this one.

9. A Wrinkle in Time – Someone please make a good movie version of this book because the book is amazing. The movie is so bad. It could be this amazing creepy dark masterpiece with an amazing redemption type ending. Instead it’s cheesy and not worth watching. Read the book guys, avoid the movie.

10. The Hobbit – I saved this one for last and the main reason is that while this could have been amazing, turning this into three movies is just painful. I can understand two but three? Really?? I fell asleep in the middle of the  first installment and I can’t see myself paying to go see the rest. I’ll wait for the DVD and probably until they are all done so I can get through the whole story at once.

I know this post is crazy long but what would you add (or delete) from my lists?

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Top Ten Tuesday on Thursday: Books that you are most intimidated by

Top Ten TuesdaysSome books can just scare you away for one reason or another. Many of my favorite books actually tend to be on most people’s list. My list isn’t exactly your typical but here it is:

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville – I have been so intimidated by this one that I haven’t even given it a try. For someone who doesn’t like fish though, a book about the obsessive hunt for the elusive legendary catch seems like something that wouldn’t work out well for me.

2, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saaverda – I have heard so many wonderful things about this book from a bunch of different people but I have yet to tackle this one. I really don’t know what is stopping me but I just haven’t gone there yet.

3. The Divine Comedy by Dante – For some reason epic poetry is simply not my style. I need to read this one because of how often it is referenced in modern literature but I simply haven’t gotten the guts to tackle this one yet.

4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky –  I have heard so many great things about this book especially when people find out that I am a fan of Tolstoy. I own it but haven’t cracked the cover yet.

5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – I know this one is highly regarded in some circles and have heard enough about it to know that it is one of those required reading pieces but I simply don’t know if this one is up my alley.

6. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle – I have read a couple of the Sherlock Holmes tales but I simply don’t enjoy them that much. I am not a mystery fan. I simply have never liked reading the genre. I don’t know if this one will ever get tackled. My husband who doesn’t like to read though, loves these.

7. Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke – I have had this book borrowed from the library and then bought my own copy but I have yet to pull it from the to be read pile and open the cover. Anyone read this one yet and have some compelling reason to get tot his one soon?

8. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – I know this will be shocking since this is the exact kind of book that would normally be right up my alley. However, I’ve heard exactly how many main characters die in this series and I don’t typically handle that well so I haven’t yet cracked the cover. I know it’s supposed to be wonderful but I haven’t been able to dig into this one.

9. Dracula by Brom Stoker – I know. I need to read this one if I’m a fan of vampire books and I haven’t read the classic tale. I’ve started it a few times but haven’t been able to get through it.

10. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak – This was my grandmother’s favorite book. I don’t quite know why I haven’t gotten into this one but I haven’t dived in yet. I think this will be the first one on this last that I attempt.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books about Traveling

Top Ten TuesdaysHonestly this one is going to be really easy because I don’t really care for books that have large amounts of traveling in them generally. Of course if I stretch the topic I think I might be able to come up with something… hmm… let’s see….

1. The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachael Joyce – This book is unique. Honestly most of the elements of this book are things that I typically don’t enjoy but this book is such a great story that even though it didn’t fit into my norm, I loved it. You can read my review here and another perspective here.

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Technically about travel right? Okay, I don’t think this is what they meant but still technically fits the category so here it is. Time travel is the exception to the travel rule, for the most part.

3. Overseas by Beatriz Williams – Yep, time travel again. Science fiction for the win!

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – This one is all about travel, to a fictional place but still about travel!

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – The first trip across Middle Earth. Definitely an exception to the travel rule

6. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – It takes three books to get that ring to Mount Doom but they eventually reach their destination.

7. The Child Thief by Brom – A twisted dark journey to Neverland, Not for the faint of heart, squeamish or easily offended.

8. The Oz series by Frank L. Baum – I’m not talking the movie (although it’s great) I’ve actually read these and they are a ton of fun and since the whole thing is following Dorothy through Oz, it counts as travel right?

9. Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard – A journey of faith, I enjoyed this one much more than Pilgrim’s Progress because it was much easier to read and made me think more than Pilgrim’s Progress.

10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – I love this book. I have always found the characters so interesting and easy to relate to. As they journey with the witches to save Charles Wallace, I often wonder if the author wrote this in response to fighting siblings as an example of how a sibling should act.

I really can’t believe actually came up with enough….

 

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Top Ten Tuesday (on Thursday): Freebie – Popular books I can’t stand.

Top Ten Tuesdays

Full disclosure, I haven’t been on my blog in a while. I set up a bunch of posts a few weeks ago because I knew I wouldn’t have time. I logged back in today after the end of a crazy school year. Realized that I hadn’t put in a Top Ten Tuesday for this week and it was Thursday. Oops. So here it is. Better late than never??

We’ve all been there. It was supposed to be this fabulous story that people couldn’t get enough of and yet for some reason you didn’t connect with it. Everyone looks at you like you have a second head when you admit to the fact that you simply can’t stand the book or the author. Yep, here’s my list of books I’ve been looked at like a crazy person for not liking.

1. Feed by M.T. Anderson – I’ve heard nothing but glowing admiration for this book. I wasn’t even able to get halfway through before I threw it back into my library bag in disgust. The book is not a stretch of imaginative writing, in my humble opinion it is simply bad writing. I couldn’t get into the story because the writing was just horrible. To all those YA fans out there who recommended it to me over and over again, sorry but I simply don’t get it.

2. Watership Down by Richard Adams – I tried three times to read this one since I’ve heard so many times that it is a must read. I simply couldn’t get through it. I found the writing to be obnoxious and the characters completely dull. I got about a third of the way before I gave up again and for good. I am a huge fan of other animal based books (I love the Redwall series by Brian Jacques) but this one simply couldn’t get or hold my interest for anything.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Whether it was because it was required reading, the fact that I find the time period completely uninteresting or that the characters annoyed me, I have never felt any kind of love for this book. I know that many people will disagree but I also won’t be spending a ton of money to go see the new movie no matter how much I typically like the other movies the director has done.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Everyone seems to have read this one. I found it trite and predictable. Also completely uninteresting. Yep. I really don’t get all the hype surrounding this one at all.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I came, I read, I despised. Scarlett drove me completely insane. Even though I read the whole thing I never could get to the point where I could even remotely stand her as a character. Sorry to all those fans of the epic story but you can have it.

6. Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson – Yep. I found the writer annoying and the main character more than a  bit self – important. When it came to light the at least some of the book was fiction, I found myself annoyed but not shocked.

7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame – Smith – Can we say poor writing? The thing is that I’ve really enjoyed some of this author’s other work, just not this one. It is so forced that it’s completely broken in my opinion. I’ve read others of this type and loved them. This one, I simply couldn’t stand. Try Jane Slayre instead.

8. Wicked by Gregory Macguire – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this man is one of the driest writers I have ever read. Period. Add in really inappropriate content and it’s not worth the read. The musical on the other hand – go see it!

Okay, I’m running out of ideas but can anyone add a nine and ten to this list? What popular books do you despise?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics that instantly make me pick up/buy a book

Top Ten TuesdaysThis could be a very very long list. I’m a avid readers and find a lot of things that interest me. I think it would honestly be easier to do a reverse of this list because there is very little that I find uninteresting to read about. So I think you’re going to get both today. The ones that will make me pick up a book and the ones that will make me throw a book back on the shelf like it’s diseased.

Topics/Words that make books fly into my hands

1. OZ – Yep. I’ve loved the original series since I was little. To this day, if it’s on TV, everyone knows they aren’t going to be getting the TV back anytime soon.

2. Stephenie Meyer – Odd I know but if she recommends it or it is written by her, no questions asked, I’m checking it out.

3. Dystiopian – As much as I complain about the overabundance of dystopia fiction coming out, I still read tons of it. I find the different ideas fascinating. (Can we add this word to spell check and the dictionary already?? I hate those little wavy red lines popping up under things I know are right.. grr)

4. The Doctor – yep. If you’ve read my blog, you know have I a slightly unhealthy obsession with anything related to Doctor Who. I’ll even read authors who admit to throwing references into the book in the forward or acknowledgements. (Maybe I need help….. nah).

5. Fairy Tales re-imagined – I have always loved fairy tales. I love them even more when authors take the original story and flesh out the characters, adding their own spin to it. Right now there are so many wonderful books doing this. I really like it when they blend the modern with the original. A modern person getting pulled into something magical. So much fun to read.

6. Steampunk – I have to admit that I love this stuff when it’s good. So often though it is all flash and no substance. I like steampunk with substance.

7. Music – If the story is about musicians or has a large music element to it, the chances of me picking it up to read are highly likely. As a musician, it is always interesting to see how others write about music. Right now I’ve got a couple of music books waiting in my rather large stack and it is taking some serious will power not to yank them out and read them now.

8. high fantasy with a very high word count – Yep, I love a good long fantasy series.

9. Anything with the words geek or video game – I’m not talking about books based on video games. I don’t want to read about the game worlds. I’m talking about books about uber-geeks or gamers. Being a huge geek myself, it’s like reading about a friend I haven’t met in person yet.

10. hidden worlds – I love the idea of secret societies or a world existing just next to our own that bleeds through to ours. The idea that something much more interesting is going on that we simply don’t notice is intriguing.

Rant about 'adult' content in books...Okay, not a bad list If I do say so myself 🙂 Anything you think I missed here? Here are the things that will make me throw a book back down when I hear them.

1. Mystery – yep. Hate the genre as a general rule. I usually figure them out way too soon and they are just not interesting.

2. Murder investigation – see number 1. (Unless it is a serial killer – then I ‘might’ be interested)

3. Romance – we are talking the cheesy Harlequin kind.

4. Biography – I don’t find real people that interesting – sorry.

5. Non-fiction – Yah. No.

6. 90% of Christian fiction – Why? Because it is poorly written and cheesy. (Actually I think the 90% number might be generous… that implies that 10% of it might be okay – I honestly don’t think the number is that high). Please someone – write something good! I beg you.

7. Self- Discovery – This means the main character is going to be stuck in their own head most of the book. It also means it is probably going to be a HUGE snooze fest. There are notable exceptions to this one though.

8. Ernest Hemingway – I simply can’t stand the way he writes. If an author is compared to him, good luck getting me to read his work.

9. Western – I live in the Southwest. This gets shoved down my throat enough. No thank you.

10. Anything with half dressed people on the cover – No thanks. Just no. I don’t normally judge a book by its cover, but in this, I think I’m justified.

Comments? Suggestions? Think I’m crazy? Totally agree? Let me know 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Favorite Fantasy Characters

Top Ten TuesdaysHere we go… this list should be easy 🙂

1. Hermione Granger – I wonder if J.K. Rowling somehow met me and cloned me for this character even though she lives halfway around the world. Even down to the frizzy brown curls and the know it all attitude which I try to keep under control.  Yep, I was Hermione in high school. I knew she was going to pick Ron from the first book… ugh. (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

2. Kahlan Amnell – She’s amazing. That’s it. Nothing else really to say. Again I tell everyone. READ THESE BOOKS. (Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind)

3. Elisa de Vega – This girl grows in hardship and becomes something amazing. She is forced into a certain position due to who she is and yet she doesn’t allow it to control her life. I want the third book already! (The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson)

4. Celia Bowen – What a character. The whole story centers around this girl and her ability to alter perception of the world around her. The competition between herself and her unknown opponent is intriguing and while she is the center of the story along with Marcus, the rest of the book is still wonderful. I think she’s a favorite simply because the book is so good. (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern)

5. Edward Cullen – Confession. I was really trying to not mention Twilight this time. I didn’t make it. Sorry. I find all of the Cullens intriguing because the reader is only given snippets of who they are. We get more of Edward than most but there is so much more that I want to know about this character. Really wish Midnight Sun was finished. Just saying…

6. Tris – Those who have read Divergent know why she’s amazing. Those who haven’t though, should go find out. Tris comes from a totally different world than the one she chooses for herself. She is forced to go so far outside of her comfort zone that it disappears. I love that she does things on her own terms and tries to live outside of the expectations of others. (Divergent series by Veronica Roth)

7. Jane Fairfax/Austen – Can you imagine Jane Austen in the modern world? Yep. That’s the idea behind this character and she is hilarious to read. I laugh every time I open these books. Simple as that (Jane Fairfax series by Michael Thomas Ford)

8. Ender Wiggin – Honestly I could fill the rest of the list with characters from the Ender universe but I think that might annoy everyone. Why Ender? Simple. He was the one who sold me on the series. I think I might like Petra and Bean better but Ender started it all. (Ender saga by Orson Scott Card)

9. Matilda – A girl who likes to read and has telekinesis? Sign me up 🙂 (Matilda by Roald Dahl)

10 Clary Fray – She is a wonderful character who dives into a world that tries to take everything from her time and time again. Cassandra Clare based her on another character on this list though so her inclusion should come as no surprise. (The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare).

There are so many more names I could include on this list but these were the first ones to come to mind so they made the list. Who makes your list?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Romances

Ahh love… that thing that makes characters do all kinds of stupid things like leave the person they love for their own good, marry someone they don’t care about, and commit suicide because the person you love is dead. Of course it is also the reason husbands and boyfriends are currently scrambling to get restaurant reservations and will make an attempt at romance in just a couple of days. In honor of the holiday, here are my top ten favorite romances (if I can find ten that is…)

Top Ten Tuesdays1. Anne and Gilbert – When love starts with a smashed slate and takes 3 books to be realized, you know it’s gonna be good 😉 (Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)

2. Ginny and Harry – These two don’t let a little thing like love keep them from their destiny. Of course it also means that she wasn’t there during some of his toughest challenges but that was his own fault. I loved this story because I never reached a point where I got annoyed with them. (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

3. Richard and Kahlan – These two are the definition of epic romance. These two have so many obstacles to overcome and so much in their way and yet they love each other even when the entire world would rather see them apart. The two are ready to give up anything and everything for each other while still working to do what is best for their people.They are the embodiment of true love conquers all. If you haven’t read these books. Start. Now. No really, don’t even finish this list first. (Seeker of Truth series by Terry Goodkind).

4. Peeta and Katniss – Yep. It starts with a loaf of bread. Survives a futuristic Colosseum (twice) and endures through brainwashing and torture, not to mention a love triangle. (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)

5. Jane and Rochester – When the idea of a rich guy falling in love with the help came from.  I love that Jane doesn’t give up her standards for love.  She is rewarded for keeping her ideals. Just wish there had been a bit more to the ending… So reader, I married him is just not quite enough. (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

6. Bella and Edward – Do I really need to explain this? Really??? If so, go back and read the many Twilight themed blog posts. (The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer)

7. Percy and Marguerite – Nothing like a story about a woman falling in love with her husband. It’s sweet and conventional and just a great story. (The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy)

8. The romance in The Crown of Embers – I don’t want to give away who the character is because it might completely ruin the first book but only true love refuses the immediate because it is the right thing to do. I want book three – yesterday. (The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson).

9. Eve and Caleb – Leaving your love for their own good. Frustrating but wonderful at the same time. Often compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, these books are wonderful. (Eve by Anna Carey)

10. Valancy and Barney – These two get thrown together in what seems to be a temporary situation but realize that they mean more to each other than they thought. This is a story where love sneaks up on the characters in the best way. (The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery)

Who are your favorite romances in what you’ve read?

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