Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations: Part 1

As a booklover, I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with movies based on books I’ve read. On the one hand, it can be awesome to see your favourite books brought to life on the big screen. On the other, it can be irritating or downright disappointing when certain details or subplots are left out, major events are changed, or the essence of a character is lost. Here are some of my favourite book to movie adaptations (more to come in Part 2).

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
(based on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares)

The ultimate friendship movie – lots of falling in love, making mistakes, growing up, family drama and, of course, being there for your friends no matter what. I have watched this movie many times and I’ll probably watch it many more.

Sisterhood Traveling Pants movie pic

Room
(based on Room by Emma Donoghue)

This movie was amazing and really brought the book to life. It was one of those movies that you keep thinking about long after you’ve watched it. There were several intense scenes where I was on the edge of my seat, hoping everything would work out. I’m thinking particularly of the scenes of Jack in the truck and Jack talking to the police officer. The mother-child bond and chemistry between Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) was so evident on the screen.

Room movie

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(based on Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)

This was my absolute favourite adaptation of the series; I could watch it over and over. There were so many intense and emotional scenes. It has all the best of the first Hunger Games: the reaping, the training, the interviews with Caesar Flickerman, and of course the actual Games. But added to that is the growing tension of unrest and rebellion in the districts, the twist of the Quarter Quell, and the additional twist at the end – the realization that there’s a bigger plan being orchestrated.

Catching Fire gif

The Spectacular Now
(based on The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp)

I haven’t read the book that the movie is based on, so I can’t speak to whether it’s a good or accurate adaptation. However, the movie itself was really good. It felt very realistic, with top-notch acting – it seemed as though the characters weren’t performing from a script at all but simply coming up with things to say as they went along, as you would in real life. They stumbled over words and talked over each other. They did things that made you want to shake them, scream at them, ask them what the hell they were doing. This movie is not a glossy, polished Hollywood blockbuster; it demonstrates the messy, imperfectness of life.

The Spectacular Now gif

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
(based on – what else – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling)

Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with these movies. It’s certainly awesome to see Hogwarts and the Harry Potter universe come to life on the big screen. On the other hand, some of the movies bug me, whether because they leave out so many details or even whole scenes that would’ve been amazing to watch or because they miss the boat in some way. I recently re-read the fourth and fifth Harry Potter books and then re-watched the fourth and fifth movies and I felt this way about those adaptations. But despite all this, I couldn’t NOT put Harry Potter on the list. I mean, come on. That’s why I chose the very first one. I quite like this one as an adaptation; it’s where everything begins and I think it captures the, well, magicalness of the magical world. We are introduced to that world along with Harry, and we’re just as much in awe as he is. Plus, who can resist baby-faced Dan, Rupert, and Emma?

Harry Potter trio

 

Harry Potter gif letters

 

More coming in Part 2!

What are some of your favourite book to movie adaptations?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Ten Books Set Outside The US.” Here are my picks!

Kephart One thing stolen

1. One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (Italy)

Set in Florence, Italy, this was a beautifully written book about a girl whose mental state and capacity for communication seem to be strangely diminishing. The book follows her as she travels around Florence, searching for an elusive Italian boy and gathering strange objects, and tries to figure out what’s happening to her.

Hingston dilettantes

2. The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston (Canada)

This book is set at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada, is written by an SFU graduate, and I was reading it while I was attending SFU myself, so that was pretty cool. Two editors of The Peak, SFU’s campus newspaper, are trying to save the paper amidst approaching graduation, a free daily paper coming to campus and stealing readers, a Hollywood star returning to finish his degree, film shoots on campus, and lots of absurdity. It was hilarious and full of smart and funny observations about college life, and some inside jokes about SFU campus life specifically.

Forman just one year

3. Just One Year by Gayle Forman (Amsterdam + Mexico, India)

This is the sequel/companion novel to Just One Day, and it’s told from the perspective of Willem as he returns to his home in Amsterdam, and then travels around to places like Mexico and India, all the while searching for a girl he knows only as Lulu and growing as a person. Lots of lovely descriptions and beautiful passages.

Marchetta looking for alibrandi

4. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (Australia)

Melina Marchetta is amazing and this is her classic coming-of-age novel about Josephine Alibrandi, an Italian-Australian teenager who learns about and navigates school, friendships and relationships, family, and her heritage. If you haven’t read any of Melina Marchetta’s novels, do it now!

Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

5. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (Canada)

This is where my interest in Prince Edward Island began. One of these days I will get there and I will visit the real Green Gables!

Teller Nothing

6. Nothing by Janne Teller (Denmark)

In a small Danish town, a seventh-grade boy decides that nothing means anything, so he climbs a tree and refuses to come down. His classmates try to convince him that things do have meaning, and to do so they resort to increasingly shocking and extreme measures. To be honest, I don’t recall if I actually enjoyed this book, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the type of book you’re supposed to enjoy. I think it’s supposed to be unusual and thought-provoking and a little bit twisted, and if that was the goal, then it definitely succeeded.

Kephart Going Over

7. Going Over by Beth Kephart (Germany)

This book is set in 1980s Berlin. Two teenagers are in love, stuck on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall. Full of lovely, literary writing, it provides a glimpse into a historical time period.

Giordano solitude prime numbers

8. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano (Italy)

A prime number can only be divided by one or itself; special primes are prime numbers like 13 and 15 that are close but still separate. The two main characters, Alice and Mattia, are called twin primes because they too are close yet still remain lonely and isolated. This book is certainly not a happy read; it was rather bleak and depressing at times, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense. It was an interesting concept and very well-written.

Nilsson heart's delight

9. Heart’s Delight by Per Nilsson (Sweden)

A book about first love and first heartbreak. Over the course of a night, a boy assembles a random assortment of objects, including a potted plant, a grammar book, condoms, and a movie ticket, and decides he must get rid of them. As he tosses each item out the window or into the garbage chute, we find out that each has some significance in his relationship with his heart’s delight and learn what happened in this relationship.

Van de Ruit Spud

10. Spud by John van de Ruit (South Africa)

I confess that I haven’t actually read this, but it’s on my list! It’s about a boy who starts at a boys-only boarding school in South Africa, and according to the blurb, it is apparently full of “illegal midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays that will leave the entire family in total hysterics and thirsty for more.” It sounds hilarious. Plus, I just found out there’s a movie adaptation, and Troye Sivan plays Spud!

 

Have you read any of these? What books set outside of the US have you read?