Recent Movie and TV Adaptations 2022

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Catherine, Called Birdy– book by Karen Cushman – copied and pasted from my Instagram post:

Overall I found it to be an enjoyable adaption of on of my favorite middle grade novels but I did have a few issues with the ending.

MILD SPOILERS HERE
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The book ended on an ambiguously happy note. The film made it far less ambiguous. It was definitely what the viewer would have wanted for the character, but historically speaking, it was anachronistic. The anachronistic element didn’t ruin anything for me really because there were many, seemingly intentional, anachronistic elements in terms of music, dialogue, etc. But for me, the ending took me out of thing in a way that those elements didn’t. I don’t say that’s a bad thing because, as I said, the film’s version is definitely nicer for the character! But it’s just sort of a note I had on it. Overall, I’d still recommend it to fans of the book.

[BOOK][MOVIE]

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Luckiest Girl Alive – book by Jessica Knoll – I was kind of disappointed in this one. I liked the book because it was a thriller that also addressed some larger social and cultural problems. The film addressed those problems too, but to the exclusion of what made the book an entertaining read. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a film addressing this content. But, in the book, I wanted to know Ani’s mysterious backstory because it affected her present. I was given just enough information to slowly puzzle it together as I read. That’s why the larger issues worked: because they were part of a compelling whole. Without that, what is left feels like a facile look and some serious problems.

[BOOK][MOVIE]

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The Wonder – book by Emma Donohue – I was actually surprised this film worked as well as it did. The book was beautiful but very ambiguous. It left things up to the reader to interpret. I was worried that ambiguity wouldn’t work on film, which is a more concrete medium. But, fortunately, the filmmakers didn’t feel the need to give the viewer easy answers. It feels sort of like a dream, which is just right for the source material.

[BOOK][MOVIE]

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Where the Crawdads Sing – book by Delia Owens – This one is a little tricky for me to review because while I liked the book a lot, I didn’t love it the way a lot of people did. I felt that the film adapted the story well, and that the scenery and setting were accurate to the descriptions in the book. Since the setting of the book felt almost more important to me than the plot or the characters, that was the part I most wanted to see done well, and it was.

[BOOK][MOVIE]

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The Midnight Club – book by Christopher Pike -This is copied and pasted from this post:

For context I loved The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, but I wasn’t so thrilled with Midnight Mass. I felt like this was a return to characters I cared about and invested in. I liked the frame structure with the kids having a story telling club, and us seeing each story, as the larger story of the club unfolds. I read Christopher Pike’s novel it’s based on about a million years ago. The series also seemed to incorporate some bits and pieces from Pike’s other work. For some reason I remembered the book having a twist, that wasn’t in the show. I looked it up, and it doesn’t look like it was in the book either. So now I thinking something else entirely had that twist?

[BOOK][SERIES]

Persuasion – book by Jane Austen – Umm, I wrote a long post about this here. But here’s the short version:

I knew going in, that whatever I’d be watching, it wouldn’t be Persuasion as written by Austen. I tried to let those expectations go and watch it with an open mind. As a standard Hollywood romantic comedy, it was fine. No more, no less. I certainly didn’t find it as offensive as some did! The historically anachronistic elements didn’t bother me because they seemed intentional. But there’s no Jane Austen there, and when I wanted her, I felt her absence. For example, when Anne reads the note that Captain Wentworth has written her, that beautiful love letter comes off like a note jotted on a post-it with a number two pencil. Actually, I won’t say there’s no Jane Austen there. Rather it’s the wrong Jane Austen. While Austen is known for satire, Persuasion isn’t where those elements primarily come out.

[BOOK][MOVIE]

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Bridgerton, season 2 – book (The Viscount Who Loved Me) by Julia Quinn – I actually preferred this to the first season of Bridgerton in many ways, and I think that where it diverted from the book, it was wise to do so. For the first 50% or so of the season it was fairly faithful. But, at a similar point in the book there was a plot point that would not have played well in a visual medium. I was curious to see how the show handled it, but aside from a brief mention, and a side plot involving something similar with other characters, it was all but omitted, which I think served the show well. I do wish the show hadn’t played up the love triangle plot, but you can’t have everything!

[BOOK][SERIES]

Magpie Murders – book by Anthony Horowitz – I actually still need to watch the last two episodes of this one, so take what I say with a grain of salt! I read the book about four or five years ago, and enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was an innovative twist on the whodunnit, which is typically not a genre that sees tremendous innovation. I think it was best to see the series a few years removed from the book, because while I remembered the overall premise, I’d forgotten most of the actual plot, so I’m able to enjoy the show without knowing all the answers.

[BOOK][SERIES]

Of course, there are also about 100 streaming channels out there that I don’t get! I want to see all these but don’t have access at the moment!

  • Pachinko (AppleTV+)
  • No Exit (Hulu)
  • Kindred (Hulu)
  • The Essex Serpent (AppleTV+)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (HBO Max)
  • Station Eleven (HBO Max) (though I’m not sure how I’d feel about this one post-COVID…)

Anything else I need to see? Or anything that you disagree with me about?

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Top Ten Tuesday: What To Read Next Wishes

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

This week’s topic was:

June 21: Bookish Wishes (List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you.)

But I’m on a book buying ban until I read some of what’s on my shelves (I’m not, however, on a book borrowing ban, so the library is fair game…) and I don’t really feel comfortable with this. So I decided to tweak it a little and make it the 10 books I hope to read next (time, life and work permitting) A lot of these are books I have, I just have to get to…

  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – I read this years ago, but my book club is doing it next month, so I’m going to try to give it a reread at some point soon.
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I’ve had this on my TBR for years. When I was trying to think of things for my Future Classics list I did a bit of googling to get ideas, and I saw a number of lists with this on it, so I think it’s time for me to tackle it.
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now. I’ve heard it’s best when you’re in the mood for something very atmospheric though, which I haven’t bee lately but hope to be soon.
  • A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash – I’ve been meaning to read more by indie authors, but as usual, so many books, so little time! I do hope to get to this soon though, because I’ve heard good things.
  • The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier– This was a long ago gift from my Aussie book buddy. Actually she got it for me last year, and got the sequel for me this year, but I still haven’t read this one (*hangs head in shame*) I love Marillier but I keep getting sidetracked!
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – This is one of a few long (700+ pages) books that are taking up shelf space. I used to dive right into hefty tomes, but in my old age I’ve gotten more hesitant. I’ll reach for one and then think: “I’ll get to that later, this other book looks like something I’ll finish in a day or two…”

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for Classic Lit Based on Your Favorite TV Show

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

November 16: Books to Read If You Love/Loved X (X can be a genre, specific book, author, movie/TV show, etc.) For this one I’m recommending classic literature on the basis of TV shows. But I’m not recommending the book if it’s a direct (or not so direct) literary adaptation (too easy!). I’m recommending classics that remind me in some way of these TV shows. Just to be clear, these aren’t always read/watch alikes, but they have something similar in terms of subject, theme, characters, or tone.

image source: wikipedia

1. Squid Game- I’m tempted to say The Hunger Games as a recommendation here, but I don’t know if I’d call that “classic.” I’ll say Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Twisted games that turn into a survival match, though at least in this one, the people involved are children. I know it’s a short story, but I’ll also shout out Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery here: another game of chance with deadly consequences

2. Game of Thrones- I feel like Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien is sort of a no-brainer here. They’re both epic fantasies. I mean, there are even articles out there about how they’re similar!

3. Bridgeton– The obvious recommendation here is the novels of Jane Austen. Yes, I’m aware that Jane Austen is great literature, and Bridgeton is fun TV. But fans of the regency romance in Bridgerton will probably find something to love in Austen. If you want to get away from the obvious, check out Fanny Burney, whose work influenced Austen. Yes, maybe I’m cheating by mentioning authors here rather than single books, but I don’t care!

4. Downton Abbey– For this one I went with Howard’s End by EM Forester. Both deal with the British aristocracy in the early 20th century. Like Downton, Howard’s End has strong themes about class and foreshadows that worldwide change is imminent, and an era is ending in terms of upper class way of life.

5. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel– I had a tie for this one: The Group by Mary McCarthy and The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. Both deal with women’s experiences in work and love. Both are set in New York City, too.

image credit: wikipedia

6. You– Actually now that I think of it, Dexter can also be a good show to pair with Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. All involve a murderer as the protagonist.

7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend- This might seem kind of weird, but go along with me for a moment. Crazy Ex- Girlfriend is about a mentally fragile woman who is obsessively in love with a man. So is Passion by IU Tarchetti (it’s been published under both titles). Plus, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show with strong connections to musical theatre. Passion became a Tony winning musical by Stephen Sondheim.

8. The Good PlaceThe Divine Comedy by Dante. I feel like this is sort of self explanatory too. Both deal with what happens after we die, if we’re good, bad, or somewhere in between. But actually as I write this, it strikes me that Sartre’s No Exit could also work as a pairing.

9. Stranger Things Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury- Both are about kids (about 13ish years old) fighting evil. Both also have strong nostalgic tones for their era (1980’s and 1930’s respectively).