Blog Hop: Page vs. Screen

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: What was the one time you thought the movie was better than the book?

There are actually a number of movies that were better than the book…although I do think the trend is usually the other way!

One of the big ones is Horatio Hornblower.  I watched the miniseries, went to the books, and found out all my favorite bits of the miniseries weren’t in the books.  What’s especially odd is that the miniseries had much, much better development of the characters and their relationships than the book did–not the usual situation.  Oddly enough (or not), the same author wrote The African Queen.  Exact same problem with regard to best bits and character portrayal compared to the Hepburn/Bogart movie.

More likely to raise some controversy…I also feel that the movie Stardust was better than Neil Gaiman’s book.  Two reasons: he summarizes a major journey that sounds like the most interesting part into only a few pages; the movie portrays this portion much better.  Second, he subverts expectations at the end with a kind of non-climax…and there’s a reason people like climaxes.  I preferred the movie’s admittedly more conventional ending.

Have you encountered times when the movie was better than the book?  What made the difference for you?

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Book Review: Relativity

Still catching up on some of my unreviewed challenge reading from late last year…  My last parallel universe book was Relativity by Cristin Bishara.  Another YA one, it explored how a family and a town can change in different universes.

Ruby’s mother died when she was four; now sixteen, her father recently moved them from California to a tiny town across the country, with a new stepmother and horrible stepsister.  But then Ruby finds a mysterious old oak with a door in the trunk—and going inside takes her to alternate worlds.  What if her mother didn’t die?  What if she had an older brother?  What if the town was a haven for art and science instead of, well, not one?  What if her best friend from California lived in this town instead?  How is Ruby different—and can she find the perfect life?

This was a great one for exploring my favorite parallel universe question—how does one event in the past change everything that follows?  I really enjoyed the exploration of Ruby’s different lives and how different she herself is.  Her desire to find the “perfect” life is very relatable—and heartbreaking, because it’s so clearly a doomed quest. Continue reading

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Blog Hop: Daily Occurrence?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Is every day a reading day for you?

Yes.  That’s the short answer!  I read every day, and honestly doubt there’s been a day in the last, say, ten years when I didn’t read for at least a few minutes.  I read in bed before I get up in the morning; over breakfast; on both my breaks at work; over lunch; and again in bed before I go to sleep.  Any of those times could be disrupted or interfered with on any given day, but it’s unlikely for all of them to be missed.

I often end up reading less on weekends, oddly enough, because I fill that more open time with other things (like writing or socializing or, less virtuously, TV).  But weekdays are pretty set for reading time, and even the weekends include some at the beginning and/or end of the day.

So, yes.  Every day is a reading day.  I’ve never been quite sure what people do with themselves who don’t read.  I mostly read in snatches of 15 minutes or less, and it’s the perfect, brief relaxation for those times.

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Book Review: Crossover

I finished out last year’s Newbery reading by reading the (almost) most recent book on the list.  The 2015 winner, Crossover by Kwame Alexander, sat at the top of the list all year, until I finally added 2016’s winner in December.  A basketball story, I had some doubts about this one—and if I’d realized the format, I would have had more!  But it was surprisingly enjoyable.

Josh and Jordan Bell are twin brothers and high school basketball stars, cheered on by their father Chuck, retired professional basketball player.  Josh is our narrator, telling the story through poetry.   He uses poems to express his doubts and fears as his father begins having health problems, and his confusion and jealousy when he and his brother both develop crushes on the same girl—who seems to prefer his twin.

So the whole book is poems.  Mostly blank verse and other experimental types, which is not even the kind of poetry I like, when I (rarely) read poetry.  And yet, it actually worked.  Alexander did a compelling job telling a narrative and exploring characters through this highly unusual format.  I’m sure there are those who really loved the format and I might not go that far—but it was interesting and didn’t present the barrier I expected at all. Continue reading

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2017 Reading Challenges

Welcome to a bright and shiny new year!  There are wide empty metaphorical bookshelves to be filled with this year’s reading, so let’s dive in to new plans.

PictureNewbery Medal Winners
Goal: 20 Newbery Medal Winners, halving the number remaining
Host: Smiling Shelves

It’s probably no surprise I’m returning to this one.  It went very well last year, and besides–now I feel invested.  With 41 to go, I can’t quit on this list now!  Not every book on here has been good, but I’m intrigued by what they all are and I like the challenge of reading down a specific list.

Diverse Reading
Goal: 20 books with non-Caucasian protagonists
Host: ???  Haven’t found an official challenge yet

Now more than ever, this feels important.  I’m setting the goal at 20, which is what I read last year, and hope to exceed. I may expand this to minority groups of categories other than race, but we’ll see.  For the moment, I’m looking for books–recommendations of titles or helpful lists very welcome!

Continue reading

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