June Round-Up: Book to Film (30 before 30)

In June, I went to Disney World on vacation with my family. It was awesome, other than the ridiculous heat. In honor of my trip, I decided to read books that had become films. My methods of choosing themes are simple, folks. (It did turn out semi-humorous when I read Cloud Atlas and in the future segment, they call films disneys.) I’m publishing mid-July because yes, I am watching the movies as well.

All of these are adult fiction, so no, I wouldn’t read these in class. Therefore, not grading them.  Also, all of these movies had mixed to negative reviews. Because I had low expectations of most of the movies, I enjoyed them quite a bit. 🙂

One Day, David Nichols. The premise of this book is pretty straight-forward.  Emma and Dexter just graduated from college on July 15,1988, and they meet and nearly hook up on that day. It is decided that they will be friends instead. The book checks in on them every July 15th and continues the story of their friendship for twenty years.  They have a lot of highs and lows, but no matter what, they stick together. I really liked the book and the friendship “Dex and Em” have.

Movie: I was hesitant about this one.  I read a few reviews saying Anne Hathaway’s accent changed midway through scenes, that type of thing.  Upon hearing how she got the part (awkward meeting, then sending a playlist about what songs Emma’s listening to?), I was going to avoid it out of annoyance. But… Jim Sturgess. Slight crush. And it was at the library, so, hey, free.  Because my standards were lowered, I did end up enjoying the movie, if nothing else but for the transformations over twenty years. Anne, you regressed to your pre-Princess days! We dressed like that in the 90’s?  Wow, Jim’s going to look good with gray hair! 

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert.  This is one of those books I had lying around unread, and it had been mentioned in two of my March books (at least one mentioned the whole praying thing… you know, to God?).  When previous books mention it, I kind of have to read it. Call it a compulsion. Again, simple premise: After a devastating divorce, Gilbert gets to go to different countries and gets paid to write about her healing process. Gee, wish I could heal by eating pasta in Italy, doing yoga in India, and talking to the local medicine man in Indonesia.  I’m oversimplifying it, of course.   But… yeah. That’s about it.  It took me some time reading it. I think I spent 3 days reading it, which normally I just speed through. She split it into three sections of 36 chapters (equaling the number of prayer beads on a string, 108), so I also felt compelled to read in multiples of 3, 4, 6, or 9. BECAUSE I’M THAT NERDY. And I felt I had to reach a goal before taking a nap or something.

Movie: Montages of pasta a movie does not make.  There just wasn’t much plot to the book to make a movie.  It started off with the divorce, which made you just go, “Goodness, what a b.  Gosh, she likes this idiot instead?”  I liked Richard from Texas in the book; he was less likable in the movie.  It didn’t really hold my attention.

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell   Now, here’s a doozie of a book. I’m not going to summarize the six stories that make up the novel.  They’re all completely different, but linked together in weird ways that make you second guess the part you just read. The stories are told in a “nested” style, where they end the story on a suspenseful part and start the next. I kept trying to figure out the links between stories and I’m not sure if I enjoyed the stories for what they were because I was so busy looking for links. My favorite was Luisa Rey (the connection was clear, it was a good story).   I liked some stories more than others,  and if I’m going to be honest, I don’t know how much of this I understood.  I could tell it was well-written. I could tell I needed to read it a second time to fully get it, and that won’t happen for a while. I’m okay with announcing to the world, “I’M NOT DEEP! I READ MORE YA LIT THAN A HIGH SCHOOLER!” So, there’s that. I just wanted to let you know, dear reader. It wouldn’t be fair to you otherwise.

Movie: It’s a little clearer that the stories are linked together by, as the filmmakers worded it, a reincarnated soul, as shown by the same comet birthmark. It drives the connectedness of humanity home– “we are not our own, we are bound to others.” Wonderful cast. Downside: nearly three hours, although I felt it was time well spent. This is a hard book to translate into film. They did well,  although yeah, still hard to follow.

Want to talk about not deep? Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith.  Yes, the same guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  One has to take it in that spirit. It’s written like a biography with excerpts from letters and historic tidbits. Like P&P&Z,  it hilariously weaves history and explains mysteries we’ve always wondered about… with vampires and Mr. Lincoln.  Now, true history? At least some of it is. Like, everything I know about the Lost Colony of Roanoke actually was in the book. I can’t verify everything, though.  This was a pretty fun book.

This is the only movie from this post that would appeal to both the husband and me. This was not well received by movie critics, but my friend Robin thought it was hilarious. Husband, who hadn’t read the book, kept saying, “What the heck?” and laughing. (I should have kept a running total of “what the hecks.”) It’s got gross stuff in it, of course, as there are vampires and hunting them, but overall pretty funny.

So, fun month of books.

P.S. I just hit publish on Bastille Day (July 14) and only now realizing if I published in two hours, it would be the date we would check in on Dex and Em. Alas! I can’t time everything perfectly, I guess!


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