Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monday Mix: If You Liked… You'll Love...

--by Hanje Richards

Lots of movies are based on books, and some books are actually based on movies. In this Monday Mix, we share some of the pairings of books and movies that we own at The Copper Queen Library. If you liked the book... you might like the movie. If you liked the movie… you might love the book or the audio book.

Alice In Wonderland - In 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps the most popular heroine in English literature. Countless scholars have tried to define the charm of the Alice books — with those wonderfully eccentric characters the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, the Mad Hatter et al. — by proclaiming that they really comprise a satire on language, a political allegory, a parody of Victorian children's literature, even a reflection of contemporary ecclesiastical history. Perhaps, as Dodgson might have said, Alice is no more than a dream, a fairy tale about a trials and tribulations of growing up — or down, or all tumed round — as seen through the expert eyes of a child. Book and movie versions.

Angela’s Ashes - Memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy — exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling — does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors — yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness. Book and movie versions.

Awakenings - The remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world. Book and movie versions.

Cider House Rules - First published in 1985, this is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch — saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted. Book and movie versions.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - An international publishing sensation, this is the first in Stieg Larsson's Girl... trilogy. This novel combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric tale.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together, they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. Book, movie and audio versions.

The Girl Who Played With Fire - Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, this is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past. Book, movie and audio versions.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest - The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy. Lisbeth Salander — the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels — lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge — against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back... Book and audio versions.
In Cold Blood/Capote - On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged for the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people. Book and movie versions.

Capote - In November, 1959, the shocking murder of a smalltown Kansas family captures the imagination of Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), famed author of Breakfast at Tiffany's. With his childhood friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), writer of the soon-to-be published To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote sets out to investigate, winning over the locals despite his flamboyant appearance and style. When he forms a bond with the killers and their execution date nears, the writing of In Cold Blood, a book that will change the course of American literature, takes a drastic toll on Capote, changing him in ways he never imagined. Movie.

Kite Runner - Amir and Hassan are childhood friends in the alleys and orchards of Kabul in the sunny days before the invasion of the Soviet army and Afghanistan’s decent into fanaticism. Both motherless, they grow up as close as brothers, but their fates, they know, are to be different. Amir’s father is a wealthy merchant; Hassan’s father is his manservant. Amir belongs to the ruling caste of Pashtuns, Hassan to the despised Hazaras.

Their fragile idyll is broken by the mounting ethnic, religious, and political tensions that begin to tear Afghanistan apart. An unspeakable assault on Hassan by a gang of local boys tears the friends apart; Amir has witnessed his friend’s torment, but is too afraid to intercede. Plunged into self-loathing, Amir conspires to have Hassan and his father turned out of the household.

When the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir and his father flee to San Francisco, leaving Hassan and his father to a pitiless fate. Only years later will Amir have an opportunity to redeem himself by returning to Afghanistan to begin to repay the debt long owed to the man who should have been his brother. Book, movie and audio versions.

Memoirs of a Geisha - We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village where, in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child's unusual blue-grey eyes. From there, she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha's elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O'Hara. Book and movie versions.

Orchid Thief/Adaptation - From Florida’s swamps to its courtrooms, New Yorker writer Susan Orlean follows one deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man’s possibly criminal pursuit of an endangered flower. Determined to clone the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii, John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, along with the Seminole Indians who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean – and readers of The Orchid Thief – will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion. Book.

Adaptation - Director Spike Jonze delivers a stunningly original comedy that seamlessly blends fictional characters and situations with the lives of real people: obsessive orchid hunter John Laroche (Cooper), New Yorker journalist Susan Orlean (Streep), Hollywood screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Cage), and his twin brother, Donald (also Cage). As Charlie struggles to adapt Orlean's best-selling book The Orchid Thief, he writes himself into his own movie. The various stories crash into one another, exploding into a wildly imaginative film. Movie version of The Orchid Thief.

The Shipping News - Huge, homely Quoyle works off and on for a newspaper. His cheating wife Petal is killed in a car crash while abandoning him and their two preschool daughters. Wallowing in grief, Quoyle agrees to accompany his elderly aunt and resettle in a remote Newfoundland fishing village. Memorable characters – gay aunt Agnis, difficult daughter Bunny, new love interest Wavey, many colorful locals in their new hometown – combine with dark stories of the Quoyle family's past and the staccato, often subjectless or verbless sentences to create a powerful whole. Book and movie versions.

Snow Falling On Cedars - This is the kind of book where you can smell and hear and see the fictional world the writer has created, so palpably does the atmosphere come through. Set on an island in the straits north of Puget Sound, in Washington, where everyone is either a fisherman or a berry farmer, the story is nominally about a murder trial. But since it's set in the 1950s, lingering memories of World War II, internment camps, and racism helps fuel suspicion of a Japanese-American fisherman, a lifelong resident of the islands. Book and movie versions.

Sophie’s Choice - This complex and ambitious novel opens with Stingo, a young Southerner, journeying north in 1947 to become a writer. It leads us into his intellectual and emotional entanglement with his neighbors in a Brooklyn rooming house: Nathan, a tortured, brilliant Jew, and his lover, Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman whose wrist bears the grim tattoo of a concentration camp... and whose past is strewn with death that she alone survived. Book and movie versions.