4 Books to Read Before the Movie

As much as I know and understand the movie adaptions are their own entity and they don’t always follow the books they’re based on, I enjoy reading and like to come up with my own ideas of what characters are like before seeing the movie versions of them. I also find that knowing the story beforehand helps me to get excited about a movie.

It will come as no surprise that I am, and have always been, a read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie girl. Probably always will be. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones yet. So here are 4 books (and a bonus) that I want to read before the movie comes out.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, and with the movie coming out soon, it feels less like and eventuality and more like a high-pressure need. I love adventure stories. I love the feeling of being on my own. I love stories about other women who have gone on adventures alone. I know I’m going to like this book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I saw the trailer for this movie when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars on opening weekend. I cried my way through the trailer, as I cry my way through many things. I seem to like things that will make me cry, so this should be a good exercise.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Another instance of seeing the trailer and wanting to read the book first. Also, since a friend of mine found out I haven’t read this, she’s been telling to. Highly recommended. Admittedly, this one isn’t as high on the priority list as the other two, but I want to give it a shot.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
This book has been critically acclaimed and has been on my radar for a little while, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer that it moved onto my to-read list. Mystery, suspense, you’ve got me hooked. Besides, it’s about time I start reading “grown-up” books. I guess.

Bonus:
The Giver by Lois Lowrey
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Okay, so this one is more of a re-read than a to-read. I read this book as assigned reading in middle school and loved it. In many ways, this book is the precursor to many, many YA dystopian novels. The Giver is a book that I imagine changes and grows with you and I’m looking forward to reading it again with new eyes. In regards to the movie: I’m nervous, but curious.

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Hello, My Name is Rachel and I’m a Crier

Guys, I’m a crier. Always have been, always will be. It’s a trait I got from my mother who cries over The Wizard of Oz (and now I do too). I cry for good things, I cry for bad things, I cry out of frustration, and I cry over TV shows a LOT. Not even always sad moments in TV shows either. There’s an episode in Fringe where Walter’s love for Peter is just so overwhelming I’m sobbing every time I watch it.

I cry when characters get together and when people die and when they live miraculously. Basically when there is an excess of emotion – no matter the feeling – I’ll probably shed a tear or two. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I will be a blubbery mess even when no one else understands why I’m having such a strong response.

I’ve gotten used to it, as have many of my close friends. I choose carefully who I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with for this very reason. While there are very few people who can hold a dry eye through that movie, I knew I needed someone I would be about to ugly cry in front of because that was a real possibly (that turned into an actual reality).

On the TV side, the show I’ve been crying over recently is Call the Midwife. It’s a BBC show that has just finished it’s third season (series if we’re being British), and is scheduled to return for a fourth next year. The show centers around nurses who work out of a convent in London’s East End in the late 1950’s. Every episode is filled with a strange, but wonderful combination of beauty and decay as the nurses tend to both births and deaths in the community, along with dealing with their own personal lives and dramas.

This show is gorgeous, poignant, and soulful as it quickly shows both the similarities and differences of the times. One minute the universality of human nature is surprising and wonderful, reminding you that even though these characters are in a time very far removed from us, they are still very much like us. The next minute the changes of the times are starkly clear. A character has an asthma attack and halfway into the thought “Get her inhaler”, you realize that there isn’t one to get.

This show has turned me into an absolute WRECK and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve still got a season and a half to power through and I couldn’t be more excited to cry.

Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that I finally got a job. I’m a receptionist at a small production/distribution company and I’m excited about it and what it could become. I’m glad to be employed, but I know that a job taking up my time isn’t the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately. Even before I got the “You’re hired” phone call I had been having troubles putting my thoughts into posts.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t seem to express myself in the same way that I used to. For the past month or so I’ve written multiple blog posts that have never seen the light of day. I kept trying to be timely and failing. I wrote posts about the How I Met Your Mother finale, the Divergent movie, and Captain America: The Winter Solider. I have so many thoughts on these things, but I can’t seem to articulate them well enough to feel confident in hitting publish.

I want to talk at length about how much I adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie-ness. I want to have deep discussions about the Marvel cinematic universe. What the last few films will mean for the next ones. How they are tying the movies into Agent’s of SHIELD. How SHIELD is finally starting to pull on my heartstrings. But I can’t seem to come up with the words.

Even beyond media I never got around to writing up a post about my writing goals for this quarter. I’m sure if/how they change in balance with working full time, but I can’t even seem to outline it for myself. Using my phone alarms to be on time, a new planner, how I’m dealing with buying a car; all things I’ve written on our thought about writing on, but haven’t gotten out the way I want to.

My frustrations are because I know that I’m not where I want to be. I know I could be doing better. But I’ve lost track of how to do it. So I want to say that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to write, but I’m starting to see that route is going to get me NOWHERE, so it’s time to rethink.

It’s time to plan and organize and figure out what’s reasonable within my new schedule and current commitments. I don’t know the answer yet, but this post it a declaration that I’m going to try. I love my job, but I know that I want to do more with myself than just get by, it’s not going to be easy, but I know I’ll be better for it.

This Has Been: January 2014

This month has been my first of the “real world”? There’s a question mark there because I’m not even sure I know what that means. Am I a part of the real world now just because I’m done with school assignments? That doesn’t seem right? What world was I in before? Nevermind that though, we can leave the philosophic musings for another time.

Some highlights from January include:

Going Snowboarding for the first time in a few years. I never got a chance to go while I was at school in Chicago (the midwest is far too flat), but I finally got a chance to go to the mountains down here in SoCal. I’m excited to go again and for the many other adventures that are sure to come.

Started to write a DONE list in the evenings, reminding me of the things I did get done instead of beating myself up over procrastination.

Brought my scooter in for a tune up. Not sure that this is really a huge high point, but my scooter is cleaner and runs better now than it has for the last few months, so I’m pretty happy with that.

Got back to blogging. One of my new years resolutions is to get back into the habit of blogging (more on my new years goals in my one little word post, here).

Came up with a routine to start following and have been tweaking it and reorganizing it ever since.

Lot’s of reading! Ton’s of TV! I’m still reading some of the stuff books I got for Christmas and I’m searching for new books almost every day on my Kindle. Gotta keep my eye out for those deals.

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Overall it’s been a weird month. I struggled a lot this month with not having a schedule and the same structure that I’ve been so used to for the past 16+ years of my life, but I think I’ve figured out a way to rebuild that structure and am getting to a better place for it.

What I’m Reading: July to November

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

I think this is round four.  I’ve lost count.  I finally got myself an Amazon account and I subsequently feel like a much more grown up human.  One of my first purchases was a Kindle which I’ve been LOVING.  I’m devouring books at a crazy rate with this thing.  I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think there something to do with not quite comprehending how much I’ve read on the electronic format.  Not knowing how far I’ve gone makes it easier for me to plow ahead.

Out of Oz by Gregory McGuire
The fantastical conclusion to the Wicked series, follows the journey of Rain, the granddaughter of Elphaba, more commonly known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Since we last saw the Land of Oz, the conflict with Munchkinland has grown into the beginnings of a full blown war. Rain joins the not-so-merry band of The Clock of the Time Dragon, and begins growing up on the road. Along the way we run into familiar characters such as Brr, more commonly known as the Cowardly Lion; Candle and Liir, Rain’s parents; Dorthy, the strange girl from Kan-sis; and eventually, Tip, a character new to the Wicked series, but recognizable to fans of the Oz-verse.
Just like the others in the series, Out of Oz is a complex book full of unexpected turns and a new way of looking at the traditional Oz-ian legend. It recalls on your knowledge of the three former books in the series as well as testing your memory of the Oz books you read as a child. As always, the Land of Oz is filled with strong characters and gorgeous settings. As the final book in the series, it does not disappoint.

The Shack by William Young
This book was heavy. There were a lot of good thoughts and a lot of hard ideas to think on wrapped in a narrative that was both supernatural and a little bit loopy. A lot of people think this book is the be all end all of explaining a lot of spiritual things (or at least, that was what I was thinking heading into it), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it as much as I was expecting to be. It was good. It’s not a desert island book though.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield
I read this entire book in a day. Insane. To be honest though, I’m not surprised by that one bit. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for years, and it was the first book purchased on my Kindle. I loved pretty much everything about his book. Adventure, Utopian society, and YA romance. Pretty much perfection. My only qualm with it being that it took this long for me to pick it up. I feel like it would have been much more impactful when I was 16. I’m not sure that it was published when I was 16 precisely, but even a few years closer to Tally’s age it would have hit closer.

Daisy and the Pirates by JT Allen
This is more of a short story that I read for one of my internships, but I’m including it because it’s fantastic and it can be bought on Amazon.  It’s a Kindle-only book, but absolutely worth it if you have a Kindle.
It’s a little bit Swiss Family Robinson, where Daisy and her family are on a boat that gets taken over by pirates and wind up shipwrecked on an island, find pirate gold, and have to somehow take said pirates down.  Of course Daisy manages most of it on her own because YA and adults are stupid, but that aside, it was a really quick, really fun read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I love this book. So much. I was drawn to it at first by it’s title alone. I am a fangirl, but the idea of fangirls and specifically of fandom and fanfiction isn’t really acknowledged in media. Which is fine with me, but it was striking to see something acknowledging it at all. Secondly, I found out recently that it started as a NaNoWriMo novel. Can anyone say awesome? Because I can.
Besides the clear love of fandom, this is also a very real story. It follows a freshmen in college as she works through college, relationships, life, and fandom. She’s a famous fanfic author which I love. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to be Cather.

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A little bit slimmer on the reviews this round because a lot of what I’ve been reading is scripts that I’m not allowed to talk about.  Or maybe I am.  Honestly, I’m not sure, but to be on the safe side I’ll not.  Besides, I would rather save this space for prose books that everyone can buy as opposed to insider movies that wont be out to the general public for years if they ever make it past the production phase at all.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

Right Now…

Santa Monica

Shifting my life around to fit better in LA. A little nudge in that direction, a little tug here, trying to find the best way that my life fits here.

Planning out my schedule. This fall will be at least one, possibly two internships and 9 credit hours of online course work.

Organizing my finances. Because apparently I’m almost an adult now. Whatever that means.

Trying to get back into the groove of blogging, but I keep running into chronic lateness.

Spending days at a time without leaving the apartment, writing, tooling around on social media, and watching Fringe. A few other summer shows, but mostly Fringe.

Hanging out with one of my best friends who is visiting on her way back to Seattle.  Which involves…

Swimming in the ocean.  Not something I would have done on my own, but a lot of fun all the same.

Printing pictures for the first time on the photo printer I’ve had for over a year. Including some underwater pictures we took at the beach.

Yearning to get back into yoga, and getting excited whenever I see a studio relatively near me.

Wearing shorts and tank tops around the apartment, because it’s too damn hot for anything else.

Hating the heat. My body does not respond well to heat (sunburn, heat rash). I know I chose this, and I’m dealing with it, but I was clearly made for temperate zones.

Eating simple foods to keep the burners and oven off.

Loving my new shorty haircut.  I cut it all off to donate to Children with Hair Loss, following along in the #hairfohazel and #itgrowsback campaign that is happening around the new The Fault in Our Stars movie.

Riding my scooter new around town when I leave the apartment.

Going to fancy LA premiere parties. Like you do.

Describing delicious food as a “good life decision”. In and Out. Watermelon.

Spending less by eating in as much as possible and going to free things. Like sitcom tapings and parties with friends.

What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round three, and I’m at 20 books so far for the year.  I feel like I’m slowing down, so maybe my goal of 26 wasn’t too far off.  The program I’m in right now is kicking my ass so I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked.  In fact, I had hoped to be done with at least one more book before this post went live.  Alas, it was not to be.

In the meantime (sort of) since I last did a book review round up I’ve joined Goodreads, a site that helps keep track of books that I’ve read and what I’d like to read.  Now if only that would sync to the public library and they would just send me stuff.  Like a Netflix for books.  That would be awesome.

Goodreads makes it really easy for me to make up this post because I review books as I read them and then to make this post I simply copy/paste the reviews into WordPress.  If you’re on Goodreads, let’s be friends.  You’ll also be able to see what books I’m currently reading (usually about three), and leave comments.

Fed Up with Lunch by Sarah Wu
I remember following Mrs. Q when she was blogging back in 2010. I was a regular reader all through the project, but got a little lost afterwards. I knew there was a book and I’d been meaning to read it, but never got a chance until I saw it on sale at my local bookstore. A really fun read, and a very insightful book about everything that’s not quite right with school lunches.

Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
I have adored the Jessica Darling Series for a long time, but somehow only just got around to reading this fourth in the series. I’m planning on reading Perfect Fifths soon too and I’m so excited. While the other books took place over years, this one is the thoughts and musings of Jess from only one week, the week the infamous Marcus Flutie has given her to think about weather or not she wants to marry him. As a life-long shipper and a big fan of Marcus, I had to quell my excitement over this development, somehow knowing it could never be that easy. This book is full of references and mentions of the previous books, but also brings in new characters and surprising stories that did nothing short of make my heart exceedingly happy. So exceedingly happy.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus is the fantastically told, true story of a jew and his family in Poland during the rise of the 3rd Reich. Woven in between horrors, the narrator tells about dealing with his elderly father (the protagonist in the WWII story). Both stories are ripe with depth and honesty. The artist uses personified animals to show the different races and sects of the characters. I was moved by this telling of the Holocaust like i had never seen it before. Highly recommend to anyone interested in WWII/Holocaust stories or fantastically rendered characters.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I have been casually interested in this story for years, always remembering in the back of my mind the story of a young man who died in Alaska. I don’t know how i came upon this when I was younger, as Chris died before I was old enough to understand what death was, but regardless I am glad to have stumbled upon this book. I think Chis was brave, perhaps a bit under prepared, but nevertheless a strong character and someone I would have been proud to know. His story is told well in these pages, with a heartfelt honesty that is both refreshing and shockingly simple. Well done. I hope that Chris’ story will continue to be an inspiration as well as a cautionary tale.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Robert B. Grant & Thomas Lennon
This is not my usual reading material. For one thing I’m much more interested in TV then movies. I’ll admit my naivety, but most movie-specific guides turn me off from the get-go. To add onto that, I’m not really interested in making the “boat-loads of cash” they keep talking about in this book..

My Life Without God by William J. Murray
I finished reading this book in two days. There are a few factors in how quickly I managed to get through it. For one thing it’s good. The writing is easy to follow and I continually want to know what happens next, though… Another reason I read it so quickly because i kept waiting for the turnaround. To have a life without God implys that there was also one with God. I kept wanting the author to find God already so he could stop making mistakes. I kept thinking ‘oh, it’ll be in the next chapter…or the next one’ it’s literally the last chapter and I wish that he had gone more into how his life was changed after. The last and least of the reasons I read this book so quickly: no internet at my new apartment.

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Oh, that was six!  For some reason I thought there were only five since last update.  6!  Awesome!  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

Previous Book Review Roundups:
January to March
March to May

Adaptions

One of the questions that comes out of the Superheroes discussion from a few weeks ago is the question of adaptions. Most superhero TV shows or movies are adaptions from comic books or graphic novels. Some from straight novels.

Studios and executives (people who fund moves and TV shows) LOVE adaptions. Something that is being adapted from something else will have a built in audience: the people who watched/read/followed the original material. Those people will come out and see a movie or tune in every week for a TV show because they’re already invested. This is especially true with direct interpretations.

There are two type of adaptions: the more obvious and “normal” is the direct adaption, where they take what’s on the page and put it on the screen. The more removed is what I call a “loose” adaption. The first will be pretty true to the original while the later will often can mix it up and be a little different.

Direct adaption stories will lock in the hard core fans. You are guaranteed a decent sized audience with a direct adaption… if you can pull it off. The hard part of direct adaptation is that if things are too different from what the fans had been thinking of then there will be push back. Talk of people ruining the original story. Some of this will happen regardless, but sometimes if the control room doesn’t look exactly the same or better than the fans imagined it in their heads… you could be feeling the back end of some serious hate.

With a direct translation the creators live and die by how accurately they portray the original source material. And even if it’s pretty close, sometimes it’s not enough. At the same time there’s fear of looking too much like the old material and if that material is culturally outdated or morally suspect to today’s society it can lead to calamity. So sometimes you just change it all.

The changing everything mind-frame leads to a loose adaption. This is something where we skip a generation and follow our main character’s son or daughter. Or where we take a side character and give them their own story entirely. Parallel to, and occasionally intersecting with, the original story, but able to stand on it’s own. Or when we take the characters and story from an older novel and put them in modern times.

A lot of times a loose interpretation can be more accessible to an audience who isn’t familiar with the source material. It allows for more wiggle room as you redefine characters we know and introduce us to new ones. Settings and relationships can feel more fresh in a loose adaption, and the re-introduction can be a great way for new viewers to access old material.

Of course this is not to say that one type of adaption is better than the other.  Only that the two are different, and it’s good to be aware of the differences. What are your favorite adaptions? Is it a loose adaption or a direct adaption?

 

This Has Been May 2013 Edition

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Just as I suspected, this month was very much a rehashing of the beginning of this year. Time spent at home alternating between blogging, watching Netflix, reading books from the library, and not quite knowing what to do with myself. Okay, there was a little more happening overall, but in general that’s what it felt like.

Probably the most exciting thing this month was a short trip to Seattle to visit my friend Allason. We hung out at sculpture gardens, went to the massive REI while on our way to a fancy film festival party (because we’re classy like that), and got to spend some time with another friend of ours. Of course this trip also included late night life decision discussions, accidentally weeding our friend’s backyard garden for two hours, and a very delayed flight. Overall a highly successful weekend.

I also got a chance to hang out with a bunch of old high school friends. Some I went for lunch or rock climbing with, others I met up with for a beach bonfire… which turned into hanging out in the mission after the wind started to get to us. It’s been great to see old friends and catch up on what’s happening with everyone. Some I’ve been keeping up with, others I was surprised by in the best sense. It’s weird to be in a group and slowly discover that I’m the only single gal in the group. How’d that happen? Craziness.

I did manage to get myself together enough to get a motorcycle permit and then to sign up for and take a motorcycle safety course, which I completed last weekend. I will be getting a certificate in the mail withing a week or so and then I can take it to the DMV and they will send me a motorcycle license in the mail. Magic.

For the moment I’ve abandoned my original script projects. I need to find a way to habituate writing and especially writing on stories and ideas. I’ve gotten blogging for the most part, but I need to find a way to consistently work on original stories. For now I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. I am still interested in the ideas and may return to them, but right now they’re not working. (Perhaps I need to find a writing mentor?)

While my story-writing fell through, I’ve been happy with my blog writing. I’m working on some bigger ideas and coming up with some concepts for what I want a redesign to look like. I also posted my first vlog. You can check out my channel here and if you like it subscribe! I’m not sure yet what my initial posting schedule is going to be, but down the line I’d like to put up one video a week.

On the entertainment front I finished The Good Guys and hemmed and hawed for a while deciding to watch Fringe next (other options included Chuck, JAG, and a West Wing re-watch). I finally got around to watching The Cabin in the Woods (review to come), and I’m so glad I did. I’ve also been reading a lot. I just finished Eat Pray Love and am working my way through a few others at once. I’ve made myself an account on Goodreads to keep track of my reading habits. I think I may have accidentally invited my entire Facebook friend list. Sorry guys!  If you’re a member we should be friends.

What have you guys been up to this month?

What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round two, and I’ve gone through another 6 books.  I’m sort of impressed with my progress.  Lately I’ve found myself reading for hours on end.  I keep looking for the midpoint, the next round of plot development, something to up the stakes.  I keep remembering that books don’t have the same structure as television does.

1984 by George Orwell
Written during the beginning of the cold war, 1984 portrays a society where everything is regulated and the only emotion is hate.  Big Brother, the ruling power that may or may not actually exist, controls the past the present and the future, with his minions updating the records every time something changes so that the history books say that things were always as they are.
I don’t really know what my opinion on this book is other than finally understanding the references to it.  I’m happy to now be one of the enlightened, but other than that I have no strong feelings for of against it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Of savages and class societies, Brave New World examines how the introduction of one “savage” impacts others in the society.  In a world of birth control and mass consumption, we see the flaws of the system resulting in a writer, the savage, and the savage’s keeper being given a choice: stay where they are or be sent away where no one will see them again.
It’s a classic, and I enjoyed it.  It get’s pretty deep, and sheds light on the world in which is was written as much as the possibilities still to come in the world we live in today.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Leviathan and John Green
Once again with my love of Young Adult literature   This one is written from the point of view of two guys both named Will Grayson, and the perspective flip flops between them.  While I liked the story, one of the Will Graysons seemed to think in one of my pet peeves (where everything is lowercase even when things should be uppercase. like the beginnings of sentences and the word i) which made it hard to concentrate at first.

Long Drive Home by Will Allison
This is the beginning of my reading novels meant for actual adults (beyond the classics).  Written as a father’s confession to his daughter about how he and her mother broke up, it’s a touching, yet sad story of the end of a marriage due to a series of mistakes and half truths.  A quick read, and a touching story.

Love is the Higher Law by David Leviathan
Upon seeing the cover of this book I immediately checked it out.  It’s about three kids and their memories of 9/11, and the friendship they began because of the events following the attacks.  It’s a topic that’s very close to my heart and with the recent attacks on Boston, all the more real.  Again, this book is told from shifting perspectives, and in the best way possible.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
A book about women and their love lives.  This book has so many characters it makes my head spin a little.  They are all somehow connected to the main three, Isabella, Lauren, and Mary, who all live in New York and are trying to find happiness in their jobs and in their love lives.  It chronicles them watching as friends get married and they are bridesmaids again and again.  The large cast of characters was a little disorienting at times, but overall I really loved this book.

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I seem to be making much quicker work of 26 books than I thought I would.  I suppose I was in a state of inertia where I hadn’t read anything for so long that I didn’t know if I would be able to continue, but now that I’ve started I can’t seem to stop.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?