Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

30 Day BC – Day 11 : Your Favourite Book That Has Been Made Into A Film

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Plenty of my favourite books have been made into films. I can’t say that I’ve always really enjoyed the adaptations tho, but there are some that I’ve loved.

Books That Became Films That I Enjoyed:

virgin

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. This is such an odd premise for a book but the film version really brought the book to life for me. The casting, the location, the dreamy, ethereal way in which it’s shot. Thumbs up.

harry

Harry Potterby JK Rowling. You’ve already sniggered at me for being such a massive Harry Potter geek but I still don’t care and I still think they’re ace. My only complaint with these films is that they sometimes truncate the stories to fit. I understand why, but I still don’t like it so I was glad when they decided to split book seven over two films instead of trying to cram it all into one. To say I am excited about the final installment this summer is a massive, massive understatement.

shutter

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. I read the book before I watched the film so I knew the twist at the end was coming. It was interesting to watch the film knowing the ending tho, it gave it a whole new dimension of guessing. I’m notoriously bad at working out twists – I’m not sure I would have got this  (I certainly didn’t when I read the book) but I kind of like it that way.

witches

The Witches by Roald Dahl – actually, most of Roald Dahl’s books have been made into films and I love them all. I remember watching the film on a ferry on the way to France when I was probably 7 or 8 and being absolutely terrified. Those witches were disgusting!

21

Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich that later became “21”. The plot in the book actually differs slightly to the film, but I liked them both. I have a bit of a soft spot for Kevin Spacey so that might have helped a little bit.

running

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. This quirky little film is one of my favourites. It’s weird, don’t get me wrong, but it’s good and definitely worth a watch.

Books That Should Have Stayed As Books:

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Berniere. Nicholas Cage is on my list for this atrocity. Why do they mess with time lines of books? Why?

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seobold. My favourite parts of this book are Susie’s heaven scenes  so when Peter Jackson decided to rework that into some seventies trippy nightmare he totally lost my vote. That and the fact that her mother’s character became weak and insipid made me hate this film so much I wanted my money back.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. I’ll confess that I didn’t actually see the Tim Burton version of the film but since the only film I like of his is Big Fish it’s unlikely I’d enjoy this. The trailer was enough to put me right off.

Obviously bloody Atonement by Ian McEwan has to be in this list. Terrible book, terrible film.

I try not to watch films of the books I really love, now. I think in my heart I’m always a book girl and if I read it first the film always has the power to disappoint. I can never understand why film makers take beautiful, well loved books and change them completely for the film edit. They’re well loved for a reason, guys. How about you just leave them alone?

30 Day BC – Day 10 : A Book You’ve Always Meant To Read And Never Got Round To

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Hrm. This is a bit of a difficult one. My ‘to read’ list on Goodreads has 59 books on it right now but I’m not sure any of those are books that I’ve always meant to read.

So these are the ‘Have been meaning to read these books for a while’ list instead:

yes man

Yes Man by Danny Wallace. Q actually owns this and it’s been on our bookshelf since I moved in six months ago but there have always been books I’ve wanted to read first. I’ll definitely read it this year tho.

no

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I’ve actually read a lot of Haruki’s books but Norwegian Wood was the first one I ever saw of his, back when I worked in WH Smith and was all of 16 years old. I’ve seen the film (& boy was it weird) so I’d like to read the book to compare.

the end

The End by Lemony Snickett. There are 13 books in this series and I’ve read 12 of them, so it stands to reason I should finish it, really. Right? I think the only reason I hadn’t is because my library didn’t have it at the time, which is a pretty poor excuse!

paris

I Heart Hollywood / I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk. I read I Hearrt Paris when I was on holiday last year and really enjoyed it. Plus Lidsey kelk is funny (and her twitter feed is also worth a follow if you’re into that) so hopefully I’ll get my hands on a copy of these soon.

30 Day BC – Day 9 : A Book You Read When You Feel Down

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I tend to re-read books when I feel down. Like a comfort blanket, I guess. Something I know I already love and understand, rather than the potential disappointment of something new. All the old favourites like The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveler’s Wife come out, as well as anything else that I happen to own and is on my bookshelf.

virgin

Depressing as it may sound, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is one of my favourite books, and is very easy to read. It’s a beautiful story (& a stunning film) and although the plot is sad the writing is not.

My other go to choices tend to be anything by Douglas Coupland (Girlfriend In A Coma and Miss Wyoming are standard) or anything by Stephen King. Apparently, I don’t like to read happy books when I’m down. Who knew?

30 Day BC – Day 8 : The Book You Can Quote Best

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I really, really am not the type of person that quotes books. Don’t get me wrong – I will quote Friend’s episodes at you long beyond when it is even remotely funny but books don’t tend to stick in my head. I think partly because I read so many books (and therefore so many words and quotes) and also because I just don’t really quote much. I talk about books A LOT  (and pretty much to anyone who will listen) but I don’t ever really directly reference text.

lightness

The only quote from a book that I can even vaguely recall is from The Unbearable Lightness of Being* about people being born hermaphrodites and being split in two. That love is the longing for the other half of you. The actual quote is:

He suddenly recalled the famous myth from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.” so you can see how well that managed to stick in my brain, huh?

So no. I don’t quote books, but if you want to know the dialogue from The One With Five Steaks & An Eggplant, I’m you’re girl.

*Side note: My mum read this book title out loud as “the unbearable lightness of being Milan” (because the author is Milan Kundera) which made me giggle and is probably an entirely different kind of book.

30 Day BC – Day 7 : A Book That Reminds You Of Somewhere

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I’m going to go with any Mike Gayle book for this one. Most of his books are set in Birmingham (presumably because he comes from Birmingham) and I used to spend a bit of time there with my best friend (since he also, wait for it, comes from Birmingham). It’s a pretty tenuous link at best tho – it’s not like he writes graphically intense paragraphs about wandering around the Bullring Centre or hanging out in Brindley Place. It is nice to get a sense of a time and place from his books tho, and every so often understand a reference rather than just reading it and absorbing it as fact.

The only places I’ve travelled to are America (Wisconsin and Chicago specifically), Canada, Australia, France, Italy and Prague. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books based in or around Prague or even Italy for that matter although I suppose Joanne Harris’ Chocolat did remind me of the women that I saw in France a lot on our family trips there when I was younger. Likewise with Australia and Canada – I’ve read Thornbirds but it didn’t remind me of the Australia that I saw and I really can’t think of any books I’ve ever read that were set in Cananda. Hrm.

I think this is really telling me that I should travel more and read more books. Which is fine by me.

30 Day BC – Day 6 : A Book You Either Couldn’t Finish Or Struggled To.

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There are actually only a couple of these, which I’m surprised at. I thought there would be  a lot more, given how many books I pick up from the library based on their covers or title.

life of pi

First up is The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I borrowed this from a friend and lent him The Wind Up Bird Chronicle in exchange. Definitely not  a fair swap in my opinion. Excuse me for sounding ridiculous but is this story really about a boy and a tiger in a boat? Or am I missing something fundamental? I knew I was supposed to like it, but I really, really didn’t.

rose

The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie. I borrowed this from my mum when I moved back to Cornwall last year but I just couldn’t get into the story – it just seemed too preposterous. A girl who sees a boat from the past? (Maybe I should stay away from books that have weird boat themes). What? It just didn’t seem to make sense and I found myself not caring whether or not she could see the past or was going loopy. I didn’t get much further than that before I abandoned it to read something I could actually get my head around.

gideon
The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson. I picked this up because it was part of the Richard & Judy book club thing and I’d liked a couple of their previous ones. (The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Death & Life of Charlie St Cloud). I couldn’t get past the third page tho – I can’t remember why now but I think it was mostly the language. It might have gotten better and I probably didn’t give this one much of a fair chance so if anyone who’s read it wants to change my mind feel free.

atonement

Atonement by Ian McEwan. God how I hated this book. I finished it but I very nearly didn’t. There is a special place in hell reserved for Ian McEwan and also for all the people who told me “watch the film, it’s so much better!”. It isn’t and you’re all going to burn.

30 Day BC – Day 5 : The Book That You’ve Read The Most Times

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I don’t actually tend to read most books more than once or twice because the stories get stuck in my head and they get predictable to read but there are, of course, some exceptions to that rule.
It probably won’t come as a surprise that my three favourite books are on this list, as well as some old classics from my childhood.

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  • Microserfs – Douglas Coupland
  • The Lovely Bones – Alice Seobold
  • The Dark Tower Series [7 books] – Stephen King
  • Harry Potter Series [7 books] – JK Rowling
  • Malory Towers Series [6 books] – Enid Blyton

 

The Dark Tower series I have probably read twice overall, but that equals 14 books of the same story which is a hell of a lot of pages. I actually read the fourth book first; I borrowed it from a friend’s mum when I was at school because I liked Stephen King and it looked interesting. I read it in drips and drabs after that as the books got released and I actually paid £20 for the hardback copy of the final installment because I just couldn’t wait to read it.
They’re incredibly different to your traditional King novels – set in another world where time has moved on and Roland of Gilead is the last Gunslinger left. I love the way that they intertwine with some of his other novels like Hearts In Atlantis and The Tommyknockers. Even if you don’t like King I’d recommend trying these books.

Harry Potter and the [insert obstacle here] books have been firm favourites of mine for years. I read some of them before they decided to turn them into films so it was a bit of an interesting experience watching the first one. The characters I had created were forever replaced by Daniel Radcliffe and co but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing and I’ve enjoyed the films as well, which rarely happens with me. Everyone knows the plot of Harry Potter by now, but knowing the eventual ending still doesn’t detract from the storyline for me. (Also, how cool* are those stamps?)

The Malory Towers series was something I got into as a kid and recently re-found a couple of in my local library. I read a lot of Enid Blyton books when I was a kid (I remember buying about 60 of them from a car boot sale once for what was probably about a fiver) but Malory Towers was always my favourite group.
They were set in Cornwall but it always seemed like a different place to the Cornwall I grew up in, all wild moors and seaside swimming pools. It was something about the boarding school atmosphere – something I never experienced – that drew me in and they’re a lovely bit of escapism every now and again.

There are other books that I’ve read a couple of times but I’m not sure how many more times I’ll be able to before they’re too etched on my mind to be enjoyable. The above books I think I could read until my days were up and I’d still get some pleasure out of it every time.

*yes I think Harry Potter is cool, no you may not judge me for it. Move along.

30 Day BC – Day 4 : A Book You Lent Out Once, Never Got Back And Miss

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Gosh some of these titles are long. This award will have to go to Haruki Murakami’s The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. I leant it to a work colleague in exchange for The Life of Pi (which I tried and failed to read) and then we had a bust up and I never saw him again. I think I would have stayed in touch if I’d realised that he still had my book, because I really, really loved this one.

This was the first Haruki Murakami novel that I ever read and it remains a firm favourite. So much so that I’m going to have to buy another copy to replace the lost one.

Runner Up:

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (as mentioned yesterday, sorry). I actually now technically own about three copies of this book because I keep buying it and then lending it out to people. I don’t mind tho, it’s definitely one of those that everyone should read at least once.

30 Day BC – Day 3: Your Favourite Book To Recommend To Friends

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I like to recommend books that I think people might not have heard of before so I present to you:

Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom. I remember looking at this book when it was recommended to me and thinking “This doesn’t look like my kind of book.” But it’s such a delicate story, all the more touching for the fact that it’s based on reality, not fiction, that tells the tale of Mitch’s reconnection with his favourite college professor whose acceptance of a disease that robbed him of everything he loved changes everything. It’s powerful, and beautifully written.

Jasper Fforde is becoming more popular in the UK (I know Mike and Ellie have read some of his stuff and I’m hoping to turn Q on to him too) – an old, old friend recommended this to me and leant me his copy so I could devour it straight away, and devour it I did. Funny, based on books, intriguing – Jasper Fforde knows how to spin a good yarn. The Eyre Affair is the first in the series, altho they’re definitely all worth checking out.

30 Day BC – Day 2: Your Least Favourite Book Of All Time

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The prize for this goes straight to JD Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. I did not understand the hype around this book. I’ve read it twice, once when I was a teenager and again last year, wondering if my tastes had matured. Either they hadn’t or it was still a book that I didn’t understand and didn’t enjoy.

The only thing I even remotely liked about it was the cover of the copy that I owned (above). Stripes? Yes please. I should have kept it shut and just stared at the cover, it would have been an entirely more pleasant experience for me.