Literary Movie News: Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper in the Movie Adaptation of Ron Rash’s Serena

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are reuniting to star in Ron Rash’s Serena, and the only thing I am worried about is that I haven’t read the book yet. The trailer makes it look all kinds of angsty and dramatic, it’s also period piece to boost, ya’ll. The goal will be to read it before I see the movie, and my motivation to do this is doubled by the fact that I’ve read some of  Nothing Gold Can StayRash’s powerful and moving collection of short stories.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Simon Vance (Narrator)  Audiobook Review

Weekend Movie: Lee Daniels’ The Butler – Movie Trailer

I’m planning on taking a little bit of a break from reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch this weekend to catch The Butler with my mom and some of my friends.

What do you plan to do/read/see this weekend?

Whatever you do, I hope it’s a good one.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Simon Vance (Narrator)  Audiobook Review

Oz the Great and Powerful (Movie Trailer)

Oh internet, where have I been? This is what happens when you don’t have a television and you skip all the ads online. In the five seconds I was waiting to skip an ad on YouTube, I saw that there was a trailer for an Oz movie, which okay, I had heard vague rumbling about. I thought it was coming out next year, but it is out today, and I have just spent my morning (thus far, it is only 6:30 now) watching all the trailers and promo.

I think it looks fabulous. Of course, the fascinating part about all of this is that we know who this dude becomes. When Dorothy finds him, however many years down the road, he has become a prisoner to his own hype and image – hiding out from his people, and behind a lot of smoke and mirrors, to hold onto his power. Now we see him as he started out; ambitious, frustrated by the limitations of life in a small town, and surprised by an opportunity to be a big man in a troubled city. This is one instance where I love knowing the end.

Oh yeah, brought to you by the post I mercilessly bumped to talk about Oz this morning. You’ll see that post on Sunday.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Master of Love by Catherine LaRoche   Book Review

Watching TV – The Vampire Diaries, Scandal, & Downton Abbey

Watching TVI watch TV sporadically, and when I do I always want to write about it.  What I watch changes from week to week changes and sometimes I don’t watch it at all, so think of these posts as little surprises. Who knows when they will pop up or what I will have watched! If you a sporadic watcher too, feel free to grab the button and talk about what you’ve been watching. I’ll so a round-up at the end of the month if you have posts to share.

The Vampire Diaries

Believe it or not I am actually up to date on this one, in spite of approaching the point when I have become rather “meh” about the whole thing. The vampire mythology totally mystifies me now – it has gotten too convoluted! With this episode, I was wondering why Tyler had to turn because Rebekah wanted him to? I thought he had broken his sire bond, or does that only work between him and Klaus? Confused now on that point. Or maybe she compelled him? Does anyone know? I am not the most careful viewer of this show so it is quite probable that I have missed something.

I like Rebekah, and I enjoyed seeing her put the screws to that trio (Caroline, Elena, Stefan). I can’t wait for Klaus to find out that little sister has been un-daggered, and that she ain’t happy. They had pretty much de-clawed Rebekah, and it was nice to see her pull them out and slash folks up. It’s one thing to show a vulnerable side to a “bad” character, but they had taken it to the extreme, an I had forgotten how vengeful and bad-ass she could be. Hear her roar.

Truth or Dare was genius.  I loved it and I loved what Elena had to say. The band-aid was ripped off in their little session, and I was glad that Elena got to see just where Caroline’s loyalties lie in addition to setting the record straight with Stefan. I have never really been a fan of Stefan. The goodness and the righteousness are a little too much for me. I have preferred him bad, but it looks like he is about to add a whole other level to it. But last night was the epitome of just why I don’t like him. Damon has sat on the side and watched all manner of things go down between Stefan and Elena and he and to grin, bear it, and try to be the better man, and he has because he loves her too. The minute Stefan’s heart is broken, he is the vengeful asshole, plotting and planning against EVERYONE. Poor baby, except I feel no sympathy for him at all. Go as fast as you can to Damon, Elena. I think if it would be interesting if Klaus could compel Stefan to remember her and how he felt about her. I wondered why Rebekah didn’t do it herself. It would be fun to see how Stefan would react to loving more than just Elena.

Please let Bonnie wake the hell up and do her own investigation into expression, instead of taking the word of the man she doesn’t know from Adam.  Her aspect of the story is snoozeville because I have a hard time with how gullible she’s being. Shane is creepy. Why aren’t alarm bells going off? Also, don’t Stefan and Damon know how bad expression is? They found out when they went to New Orleans. Seems like someone would have informed Bonnie, the good a righteous, just how much she is playing with fire

I like seeing Matt. Even though they have dragged him out if obscurity to play Jeremy’s vampire trainer. I was hoping that the would pair him with Rebekah so that he would have something, anything to do/take care of/ be involved with. But now that Stefan and Rebekah have formed an unholy alliance, I guess that is that. Boo.


I like this show against so much good sense. It is beyond out there, but yet, I watch it anyway. I was so happy when Cy and James adopted the baby. Aww. James has wanted this for so long. I hope it works out for more than a minute. Hmm.

I like Scandal and I watch it, but why do they have to strain credulity to the max? Huck getting played (and twice!) is just too much for me. Too much! He is smart, super assassin, who thinks of everything and this happens? Sigh. The first time he was all “in lurve”, but homegirl had almost killed the president and he is talking into cell phones? I think real Huck would have handled things more securely and not lost his family?

Liv in bed with the hospital bed with the prez. Smh. It looks like her thing with the congressman/senator, whoever he is, is done. Put I don’t want her with Fitz. Let them move on. There is nothing attractive about their relationship.  I have to watch the last half of the last episode. Hope my head doesn’t explode.

Oh, and why couldn’t she take the small olive branch that Mellie offered? They have had some rough times, but i was hoping. She sent them both back to business as usual.

Downton Abbey

I am generally late to the party in watching TV shows. This is no exception, but I am glad that I finally sat and watched the first three episodes. The show is pretty much like crack, and so soapy! I think I was expecting a drama that was really staid and I think I got more of that with the first episode, and can I tell you that I agonized over Bates and whether he would get to stay on as valet. I was so happy to see his relationship with Anna develop and that he slowly starts to fit in with the staff. The episode with his leg was hard to watch. Reminds me of something that would have happened on an episode of Little House on the Prairie. I am loving all the characters, but I am anxious to learn more about O’Brien and Thomas because their constant unhappiness and scheming keep me on the edge. The whole entail situation is rather galling, but at the same time, I like the family that stands to benefit, and it seems as if Matthew will be more into having Mary as a wife as he thought. Things changed quickly from the first episode to the second.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Out of Twenty: Lenore Appelhans, Author of Level 2, Answers Eleven Questions

Les Miserables – Movie Trailer

We still have a ways to go until this Christmas Day release, but I am really excited about this movie!

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Out Of Twenty: Patricia Harman, Author of The Midwife of Hope River, Answers Ten Questions

The Woman In Black – Movie Trailer

 Just about two years ago I read Susan Hill’s novella The Man In the Picture. I had some issues with the novella format, and though the story was creepy, I wanted more detail and resolution in the plot. The soon to be released The Woman In Black  is based on a novella  by Susan Hill and this trailer conveys all the creepiness that was promised in my reading of The Man In The Picture. In years past, I’m not sure I’ve been satisfied with the explanations of events offered in most horror movies I’ve seen, but I hope that this one won’t disappoint. The trailer is amazing in that it features all the scary images known to terrify me in childhood – clowns, old gothic looking houses, and scary looking dolls. This is definitely not a picture I plan to see alone!

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 The Rook, by Daniel O Malley   Book Review

The Hunger Games – Movie Trailer

You have probably been living under a pretty well insulated rock if you haven’t already seen the trailer for The Hunger Games (based on the book and trilogy of the same name by best-selling author Suzanne Collins).

So, I know, you already saw it. But…look again. Isn’t it fabulous? Have your emotions been stirred? Have your tears welled up? I will be the first to admit that I thought all the young’uns were a little too long in the tooth to play their middle teens, but from what I saw in the trailer, all look perfect in their roles. I guess it’s the magic of Hollywood. And Lenny Kravitz! Perfectly cast. Has just the right cockiness and swagger for the role he’s playing. So far  it looks like it will be a pretty stellar adaptation!

Haven’t read the books yet? What are you waiting for? You have until March 23, 2012. On your mark, get set, go!

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Defensive Wounds by Lisa Black   Book Review

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Movie Trailer

I have to say that the fact that this movie is coming out baffles me a little. I know that we tend to re-make movies and bring them here. That list is long and varied, but usually they don’t have uber-popular international record-breakers like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/Millennium Trilogy attached. A lot of people who have read these books have probably had the opportunity to see the movie if they wanted to see it. I’ve seen it. But now I will go again? And why? To compare versions? The movies have received lots of acclaim, Lisbeth Salander has a fairly recognizable face, and they have all been out pretty recently.

I can only guess maybe this is for the people who have heard of the books but have not seen them, like this type of movie in general, aren’t into sub-titles? Comparative literature majors? Thoughts? Have you seen the older movies? Will you see this new one?

Also, days before Christmas is interesting timing for a big movie with this subject matter. The books were pretty dark and so was the movie. I can’t imagine having Christmas breakfast or dinner and following it up with this film.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham   Book Review

One Day, by David Nicholls – Interview and Giveaway

In an intriguing premise, One Day, by David Nicholls follows the lives and relationship of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley over the course of twenty years of the date July 15. The two formally meet just as they are graduating from college and as subsequent years track them, they are many things to each other –  not speaking, friends, in bad relationships and bad careers or  both, and more often than not, never on the same page about their feelings for one another.

One Day is a book that I could easily imagine as the film that it has become, and definitely brings out all the nostalgia and latent emotions surrounding difficult love affairs with people that may or not be the right fit. Dexter may be somewhat charming and good looking, but he is not the best choice for a bosom buddy and an even worse choice for a boyfriend or lover, but of course that doesn’t stop the sensitive and intense Emma for struggling with her feelings for him for twenty years.  I am looking forward to seeing this laid out visually because I think film might solve a lot of the issues I had with the execution of the novel. Most of this is communicated through heavy dialogue (which admittedly, I’m not crazy about), and lengthy explanations catching the reader up from the previous year. It was hard to concentrate on the one day.

The movie trailer, however, looks absolutely compelling and I can’t wait to see the film.  I also enjoyed this little feature on the book and movie:

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a webinar with the author and screenwriter, David Nicholls. It proved to be a fascinating look behind the scenes at the novel writing, adaptation and filmmaking processes. I asked a couple of questions about the adaptation process and the books David would like to see his characters reading.

A few of the adaptations that you’ve worked on in film have been of classic literature. How did you find it was to make the transition in working on more modern pieces? 

David Nicholls:  That’s an interesting question.  I’ve been really lucky in adapting.  I think if I was to draw up a list of my favorite books, I’ve kind of somehow managed to get myself the gig of adapting them.  And that’s been wonderful.  And I’ve only ever adapted books that I love passionately like Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, and Far From the Madding Crowd (by Thomas Hardy).

But, the most contemporary book I’ve adapted was an incredible memoir by Blake Morrison called And When Did You Last See Your Father?  And the challenge with adapting that was that it was a memoir, that Blake Morrison was very much alive and very much looking over my shoulder.

And the approach there was really to treat it as a work of fiction and to kind of get Blake’s standing blessing to be able to invent.  And that was interesting because it was a more contemporary story and because Blake’s wonderful book didn’t really have a narrative, it didn’t really have a plot.  That was part of the challenge, to impose a plot on it whilst keeping faithfully to the book.

With books like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night and Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Great Expectations, the job of writing is a little bit more like editing.  I think in my version of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, maybe 15 or 20 percent of the dialogue was entirely made up.  The rest of it was a kind of colloquialized, naturalized version of Hardy’s dialogue; likewise with Great Expectations, which I’ve just been writing. Dickens is much more sayable, much more speakable than Hardy.  Hardy isn’t a very natural, he isn’t a natural dialogue writer.  Dickens actually heightens with wonderful dialogue.

So, those adaptations have all been quite reverent.  And consequently, I feel a certain distance between myself and the book.  Adapting my own work, which I’ve done twice now, you have to find a balance. You want to fight in your corner on the things that you want to keep hold of, but also accepting that it’s a collaboration and you are going to have to say goodbye to things that you love.

So, when I’ve adapted my own work, there’s always been stuff which I’ve lost that I’ve found quite tough to think about.  But, I was a screenwriter before I was a novelist, so I was kind of braced and prepared for a certain number of those sacrifices.

Having said that, I’ve really loved doing this and I loved doing Starter for Ten.  I think if it ever happened again, then I would probably pass the book on to someone else. If another of my books was picked up for adaptation, I think I’d probably step aside, because I think sometimes it’s useful to have an objective editorial eye, someone with a fresh take to mold the material.  But, with One Day, I felt so close to it and so attached to it I would have found it very hard to pass it off to someone else.

I’m sorry.  It was a very long answer, but the short answer is, with a classic novel, you have to be reverent but editorial.  You have to approach it editorially as much as creatively.  And with adapting my own work or book, you have to be a little freer, a little bit tougher, and a little harsher in terms of letting things go and changing things.

I was wondering, Emma is very literary.  In fact, she’s very literary and she’s always making recommendations to Dexter on what he should be reading.  What would you recommend, based on their characters?  What books would you recommend to help them along?

David Nicholls: Help them along?  Well, let me think.

I mean, Emma and I have quite similar tastes.  I think she likes Emily Brontë and Jane Austen more than I do.  And I probably like Dickens and Hardy more than she would.  And she loves Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which is a book I’ve never got on with.

But, for Dexter, I think the coming of age novel is important for Dexter.  I think books like Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus, the books about the travails of youth, the kind of foolishness of youth, the foolishness of young men.  I think, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Goodbye, Columbus are the books I’d probably press onto Dexter.

Emma, it’s hard because she’s so well read and her taste is so good.  I think apart from Wuthering Heights she has very good literary taste.  I think I’d be too scared to tell Emma to read a book, because she’s so well read and smart.

But, yes, what else does she give to Dexter?  I think she gives him some Milan Kundera, which were books that were very, very much around in the late ’80s and early ’90s.  Everyone was reading those novels.  I don’t think I’d presume to give Emma a book.  I think she’d probably have read it before me.

I also have a giveaway for those who might be interested. Fill out the form for an opportunity to win the prize below, valued at $30.95 and provided by Focus Features.

One (1) winner will receive:

  • Copy of the movie-tie in edition paperback book
  • Clear cosmetic case
  • Necklace
  • Moleskin Journal

I will draw a winner in a couple of day on August 19th, the release day for the film adaptation of One Day.

For more about the movie, visit the official website  and/or the Facebook page .

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Lola, California by Edie Meidav

Hugo – Movie Trailer

When The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick came out in 20o7, I wasn’t blogging, I had not been introduced to graphic novels and I had no way to even conceive of reading a novel in pictures. I remember picking it up in the stores and being completely mystified. I put it back down pretty quickly. Here’s a look at the description and what I missed out on.

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

It definitely looks like fun, and it has now made the leap from a novel in pictures to a novel turned movie. I guess the beauty of this book is that it came complete with storyboards to work from. It’ll be in theaters Thanksgiving of this year. Plenty of time to pick up a copy to “read” if you haven’t already. I might pick up a copy by then as well.

Dd anyone read this? Can you chime in on the experience of “reading” a book that was mostly only pictures?

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 You Know When The Men Are Gone, by Siobhan Fallon – Book Review