Saturday, February 28, 2015

5 Surprising Movies that are Based on Books

As we sit comfortably on his couch with an array of snacks an pillows, my movie-buff friend glares at me as he shovels a handful of popcorn into his mouth, daring me to say what I had almost said.
         But I refrain. Mostly because the argument that would begin when I said the words I am inevitably going to let out was one we'd had too many times.
       We watch the movie, me laughing and crying at all the wrong places, and settle into a nice lull as the credits start rolling. Then it happens - I say the posionous words - they just slip out involuntarily!

"The book was so much better"

And there began a well-worn argument that went on all night, and at the end of it we agreed to disagree. As usual.

I have this conversation with my movie-buff friend every single time we watch a movie that has been adapted from a book, and I just might be starting to get tired of it.

Well this blog post is not going to be about that tiring argument A. because I'm obviously going to side with books, and B. because you've probably had a similar argument yourself or at least read about it somewhere (my favorite Youtuber did one here).
          It's going to be about the movies themselves - not about how bad they were, but just the fact that they were made. Because, let's face it, it's a huge tribute to books that Hollywood is giving them any attention at all - movies are just bigger than books (I blame all the flashy cars, scantily clad people, and groovy soundtracks).

So here's a list of movies that you didn't know were based on books (or plays as the case may be)

1. Lion King
Awww.. [I'm just giving you some space to recover from the cuteness that is this^ picture]

Anyway, Lion King is actually based on Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. Okay, maybe the Bard didn't invent the idea of an evil uncle, but look at the general story line. A just and noble king is accidentally-on-purpose killed by his evil brother, the confused prince has a vision of his father, is sent away and kept company by two chatty and foolish childhood friends - and then comes back to avenge his father and claim what is really his.
        A bit of a stretch, but Shakesphere's play was originally a tragedy, and it was adopted by Disney - of course there was a happy ending, and no reality in the situation! (If you close your eyes to the fact that most of the movie characters are animals - you can almost see it)

2. Mrs. Doubtfire
The much acclaimed comedy with the much beloved Robin Williams dressed as a matron is actually based on a book by Anne Fine, named  Alias Madame Doubtfire.

3. Silver Linings Playbook
Another acclaimed comedy - I see a pattern arising. Silver Lining's Playbook was actually a book by Matthew Quick before it was redone as the award-winning movie that brought Jennifer Lawrence to the A-list.
       Actually, I did read this book before I watched the movies, and I must say that the adaptation was very liberal - more than half of the original storyline is destroyed and the other half is ruthlessly enhanced into a very glamorous version of itself!

4. Slumdog Millionaire
This gorgeously-made movie (that won too many awards to count) ranks really high on my favorites list (right up there with Requiem for a Dream and The English Patient), and turns out it was adapted from a book called Q&A by Vikas Swarup - that one is going on my To-be-Read list!

5. Shrek
Steven Spielberg apparently acquired the rights to shrek from William Stieg who wrote a book of the same name.

So it's not really about whether the book or movie is better, it's about whether the movie was made from a book or not!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Word of the Day - Pickwickian

I woke up this morning to absolutely delightful news; today's Word of the Day is


1. (of words or ideas) meant or understood in a sense different from the apparent or usual one.
2.(of the use or interpretation of an expression) intentionally or unintentionally odd or unusual.
3. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Mr. Pickwick, central character of The Pickwick Papers .

I've only known this word as something Charles Dickens would say, and it never ocurred to me that it would become a real, official word. 
     As far as ambition goes, I think that's mine - future word-maker (doesn't have quite the ring of Word Nerds but I'll take it) in the making! 

Anyway, back to the word: not only is this a nice tribute to great fiction, but it's also a fun thing to say - PICKwickian, Pickwickian, PICKWICKian...I could go on forever!

I've had a hard time coming up with a way to squeeze this word into conversation, but don't worry I will find out a way to squeeze this into polite conversation, or maybe I'll just say out loud at a random inappropriate moment - just for the heck of it. 

Here are some real people who used the word without sounding stupid:

She also said, smiling subtly, that she used the wordfriends in a Pickwickian sense…I replied that I did not know what she meant; and she said to me…"My friends, there are no friends!"
-- Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution , 1954

...In some curious Pickwickian way, of course. You know: it's true, but you consistently act as though it weren't...
-- Aldous Huxley, After Many a Summer Dies theSwan , 1939

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Kurt Vonnegut Book Review

          The name science fiction suggests a genre of mechanical, complicated stories set in a wonderfully horrid future of absurd technology. It suggests confusion and breaks for googling quantum physics references (try "The String Theory"). What it doesn't imply is a hard-hitting, and ironic, commentary of human nature.
          Kurt Vonnegut is one of those men whose futuristic science-y crap is actually a testimony to what's really interesting - people and their interesting interesting lives.

 Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

Told with deadpan humour & bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon &, worse still, surviving it ...

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding 'fathers' of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he's the inventor of 'ice-nine', a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet.

The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three ecentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker's Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh..

A fake religion. A banana republic. The end of the world. A beautiful girl. 
That's all there is to this book really. 

Riding on the wave of the typical Cold War fear of an instantanteous end to this world, this 1963 novel is just so perfect for its time. 
        Tiny chapters (just one or two pages long) are woven together by the wise, insightful words of a fake religion. These flickering episodes were precisely like seemingly unconnected flashes of memory - the true memoir of a wandering mind. 
       The science really only played a minor role (while single-handedly progressing the entire plot) with the idea of the atomic bomb popping up as often as I imagine it must have popped up in the 60s. Ultimately, it is one man's heartless science that lead to the much-feared (and much-celebrated) end of the world.
         I really don't know what to say, I enjoyed the irony, the dark humor, and almost felt myself transported back to the unrest of the 60s with a mindset of uncertainty, and fear - a coarse humor of a grim kind. 

The title Cat's Cradle comes from the string game we all played as kids - a tangle of fingers and thin threads to make coherent shapes. (Here's a picture because I'm a terrible explainer:)
And it ties into the mood of uncertainty of the book. "We've been lied to!" is what the title screams, and this is explicitly laid out when one of the characters (a midget character - just to give you a visual, and to display the absolute randomness of this book) joins in,
               No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's….[And] No damn cat, and no damn cradle.

         So if you ever wonder what it was like in the 50s, pick up this book before you go reading dreary journalistic articles about "Teenage Delinquency," and "Life After the War." It'll give you an accurate representation of an entire era - not bad for a science fiction book. Not bad at all. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Lovers' Tag

Hi everyone :)
So my fellow book blogger Azee has tagged me in my first ever book tag.. Thanks girl!
I love reading her book blog, and I must admit that I've stolen some ideas been inspired by her a number of times - so check out her blog The Book Ponderer/UnderCover Critique (yes, it has so much cool that it needs two names).

The tag is just a number of questions that I get to answer and pass on to others. So without much further ado, here goes nothing..
(sidenote: is the phrase 'here goes nothing' actually supposed to mean anything? Or is it sarcasm? I haven't been able to find its origins - the internet has failed me again)

1. Do you have a specific place for reading?

I don't really think about where I am and what I'm doing when I'm reading - I live in the world of my characters, revelling in the sounds and noises of Narnia, Hogwarts, Middle Earth, or turn-of-the-century New York. 
      But the ideal book-reading spot, for me at least, would be cozy and warm with the vibe of a dusty old library (without actually being dusty or old or a library). The kind of place to cuddle up on a cold Winter's morning.

Something like this would do just fine
2. Bookmarks or a Random Piece of Paper? 

I may be expressing the unpopular opinion here, but I love eBooks and have never had much use for bookmarks.. (More on that later). 
       But that doesn't mean I don't collect them. I came across this marvelous business online whose whole bookmark theme is "Reasons to use this Bookmark" and they make adorable bookmarks with little reasons like "There's a noisy eater in the room," and "The dog desperately needs a walk."
These are just a few of my growing collection
3. Can you just stop anywhere or do you need to finish a chapter?

If I do stop at all, I need to finish a chapter. Of course. 
(I spend most nights reading books, and then leave the house with dark circles, unbrushed hair, and poorly-picked out clothes)

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Nope. I'm a big eater, and I'd hate to eat mindlessly while reading - and then regret not savoring the food later. (Haha I bet you thought I'd be worried about the book or the Kindle!)

5. Music or TV while reading?

I prefer music to television, but I mostly avoid both (for the same reason as the food question above - simply cannot multi-task, and would regret not enjoying the music or the TV). 
       Sometimes I listen to music just to flush out distracting voices from the outside world (I'm a compulsive eavesdropper) - just some Bon Iver-esque tunes to be the rythmic motions of my brain cells - reading really is soothing (even if you're reading Stephen King's psychological terror). 

6. One book at a time or several?

At this point, I must confess that I am not as much of a bibliophile as I thought I was. 
Firstly, I read books on one week intervals because it takes me that long to be able to transition from the gorgeous ending of one book to even the thought of begining another. 

So, no. I am not one of those brilliant souls who can read more than one book at a time. 

7. Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

Sometimes it really depends on the book. A few books have dragged me into the outside world just so that I can feel the wind between my fingers as I flip their pages; others have pulled me into the depths of despair, and all I can do is ball up in bed and read through the night. 

8. Read out loud or silently?

I have to admit that I sometimes re-read particularly delightful parts of my books out loud - for the people in the room with me, and, if I'm alone, just for myself. 
        On the other hand, I always read poetry out loud - my voice is the only thing that can bring it alive in my particular way. I also love listening to poetry because everyone makes each piece sound different. 

Is anyone still with me? We're almost done you guys! Hang on :)

9. Do you read ahead or skip the pages?

I do. 
It's not a crime! Don't look at me like that!
I really don't know anyone who isn't guilty of the sin of skipping pages. No one is that saintly!

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

This is yet another question that doesn't apply to iconoclastic Kindle-reading me. But I always kept my books in pristine conditions. 

Okay, here we go! Last question - and again, it doesn't end in a nice divisible-by-5 number.

11. Do you write in your books?

It's incredible easy to make notes on our Kindle, and they can be pages long if I wanted. I never wrote in my traditional books but that is only because I slipped small pieces of paper with my commentary in between the pages instead. 

If you're still here, I congratulate you on your spectacular achievement on slogging through this collosal post, and thank you :)

I nominate: 

Christine at Bibliophilic Madness
Alex at The Books Buzz and 
Eduardo at Booming Books

Plus if anyone else reads this, and wants to do it - you're welcome to!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Presents for the Quintessential Bookworm (that are not books)

         I recognize that holiday season is long gone (No, I do not consider Valentines Day a holiday. I mean the words 'love-is-in-the-air' are sickening enough without the ubiquitous commercialization and gory beginnings), but who said presents should be confined to Christmas and Birthdays anyway?

Buying presents for book-lovers is a bit tricky. It may be tempting to just drop into the closest Barnes and Nobles and just pick a random paperback, but that's a bad idea for many reasons.
I repeat, DO NOT buy your bookworm friend a book!

First of all, you cannot buy them a copy of their favorite book, because they probably already have one (and most bookworms like their old worn-out copies thank you very much).

Second, they might not like the book, but will still read it one day and hate every moment of it. Do you really want to inflict that much torture? (compulsive reading should be a disorder.. I once read a Gossip Girl book that I found at the back of my bookshelf; it made me frown so much that I started to worry that my face would get stuck that way)

Luckily, there are plenty of other book-related things that you could get your favorite bookworm without actually having to stir further than your laptop.

Book Fashion

Is your book-lover the stereotypical train wreck who's always forgetting to brush their hair because they were too engrossed in their book? Or are they the pinnacle of modern fashion?
Either way, book fashion is something they will love - I mean which bookworm doesn't want to literally wear their passion on their sleeves?

A book scarf featuring The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Find more here:

Bookshelf Accessories

Every good bookworm has a spectacular bookshelf that needs accessorizing :)

Book sculptures from third-hand books
Check out some amazing book accessories here:

And lastly, if you absolutely must celebrate Valentines Day and plan to buy flowers for your Bibliophile, why not give them book roses? If you're asking me what I'm talking about - they're literally roses made of books. Books and Valentines..who would have thought?

Book roses
Find more at:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

6 Quotes that Sum up Literary History

          Snippets, and phrases. Philosophies, and quips. Pages long, and blink-and-you'll-miss-it short.
Quotes are bite-sized pieces of literature. To go. 
They're almost the fast-food of reading, but healthier. 

So here's a quick order of all the most unforgettable quotes in literary history.

Steven Chobsky - The Perks of Being A Wallflower
This quote is a legend of contemporary times, and there is no way you could have avoided hearing about it...even if you've been living under a rock.

Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities
Looks like I simply cannot write a blog post without mentioning Dickens in it at least once...or is it that he just cannot stay out of my blog?

T.S. Eliot - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
From: tumblr. com
Yes, T.S. Eliot you apparently did, because that poem has indeed changed lives and maybe even diverted fate a couple of times..

Anne Frank - The Diary of A Young Girl
This coming from a girl in the middle of a genocide. This coming from a girl hiding from men who were wont to kill her because of her name, her religion, her ways of life.
      Nobody can stress the significance of this quote enough.

F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
If you weren't forced to read this book in high school, you must have at least gotten a glimpse of its recent(ish) blockbuster remake, starring Leonardo Dicaprio (of all people).
         This is the perfect nostalgia quote.. The fact that it is in Popular Culture is an added bonus.

I wanted to make this a nice even number (for some reason, I like it when numbers are easily divisible by five - my math classes have scarred my brain in a way that I will never understand), buuut there's just one more quote that will make this fast-food meal a perfect one...

Kurt Vonnegut - God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
And that is all anyone ever really needs to know about life. Really.

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