Debh2010's Blog

Books and Knitting – go figure

Two More

Well, I left out an important book to movie that was actually the first one I went to after the Forrest Gump mess.  It was my own fault, as I left it in the other room.  Oh, and I’ll tell you about the one I just finished this morning when I’m done with that.

Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella.  Shoeless Joe was the book from which Field of Dreams sprang.  Both are excellent.  Initially, I was doubtful about the book, though I’m not sure why.  When I picked it up, it was skinny and looked a little too simple, and I guess I judged the book by its cover.  I was wrong. 

Here’s a bit from the back of the book:  Shoeless Joe is about baseball.  But it’s also about love and the power of dreams to make people come alive.  Will you be among the Iowa dreamers who can see a cornfield stadium filled with baseball’s greatest heroes?

It’s just as good as the movie ever hoped to be and maybe a bit better.  The screenwriter, Phil Alden Robinson (also the director), had to change a few things in the book to make a movie, but the only major change is that in the book, the writer was J.D. Salinger.  I’m not sure what caused the change from Mr. Salinger to Terrence Mann, but it doesn’t diminish the story one iota, and as a bonus, you get to see James Earl Jones in action.  The book gets **** stars and the movie gets ****1/2 stars.

on mystic lake, by Kristin Hannah.  This one is not a movie, but is a very good read if you like family dramas.  This is about Annie Bourne Colwater and how she loses herself, then finds herself, then has to go through a little more work to get it right in the end.  It’s a good one.  You don’t get a classically happy ending, but you are left with a lovely feeling of hope.  Good books do that to you.  You can laugh a little with it and shed a few tears if you’re inclined.  I liked it. ***3/4 stars.


December 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books vs. Movies

Well, well.  Last time I blogged, I was writing about Forrest Gump and what a disappointment the book was.  That set me off.  You know how I am.  Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of reading where the book has been made into a movie.  Of course, I’ve read other books along the way too, but I have my opinions and you poor souls have signed on to share them with me.

First up:  Atonement, by Ian McEwan.  This book was recently named by me a perfect book, my favorite book.  I stand by it.  I think I must have read it already this year, but it did my heart good to read it yet again and then watch the film.  The movie was produced in part by Mr. McEwan himself and adapted to a screenplay by Christopher Hampton.  The acting was sublime, starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy.  Ms. Knightly had already become one of my favorite fun actresses to watch, but I developed my high opinion of Mr. McAvoy while watching this movie and then the bonus features at the end of the DVD.  Just marvelous.  ***** FIVE, I repeat, FIVE stars for BOTH the book and the movie.

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry.  It had been years since I’d read this story, but I fell right back into it like I’d never left.  I do love a good old-fashioned shit-kicker, and though there’s more to this story than cowboy-ing, it has multiple Old West elements and really keeps me interested.  The book gets **** stars.  It was made into a television mini-series in 1989 starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.  It was a great adaptation and really engaging to watch, but I wish they’d waited a few more years to do it.  The technology available to them leaves a few of the elements looking a little clunky, but it’s so well-acted that I wouldn’t want them to try and do it over.  I liked Diane Lane as the main female character, and I liked that it let us see Ricky Schroeder as a nearly grown young man (for those of us who really liked him on Silver Spoon).  In my humble opinion, the television series gets ***3/4 stars.  I’m glad they did this book over the course of 8 television hours, as it wouldn’t have been worth a stink to do a 2 hour  movie and think it would be any good at all.  I wish they could have made it with all the bad language and a little more violence, and I wish they’d had a more convincing actor in the role of Blue Duck.  He wasn’t as scary as he was in the book, and he needed to be.  And his wig looked fake.  I kind of wondered if he was really a Native American.  Yeah, they could have cast that part better.  Still, I’m a fan.  It’s worth a watch.

Here’s a couple that don’t have a movie attached, that I’m aware of: 

Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume.  I really like Judy Blume’s books.  She writes for teenagers and she writes for adults and I like the way she uses words to get it out there.  Summer Sisters is a story about friends made by choice and life made by circumstance.  It’s joyful and sad, relaxing and riveting.  Good overall book to read.  ***1/2 stars.

Perfect Match, by Jodi Picoult.  Perfect Match is the story of a prosecutor of child molesters whose own child is assaulted.  The path she chooses as the child’s mother is shocking, but you get it immediately.  The twist at the end is shocking and you feel that one right in the gut.  ***3/4 stars.

Friends & Lovers, by Barbara Delinsky.  This is a re-release of two of her stories:  Having Faith and The Dream.  Adequate romances, nothing to truly blow the doors off of your bus, but more than good enough to read and pass some pleasant quiet time.  *** stars.

THR3E, by Ted Dekker.  Wow.  This is one weird, taut, riveting psychological drama.  I didn’t want to put it down, but pieces of it were just a tad fantastic for my brain.  I do have issues when it comes to suspending my sense of disbelief.  We’ve been down that road before.  However, when I could let go of it and just ride the story, it swept me up.  Well worth the price of it.  ***1/2 stars.

About a Boy, by Nick Hornby.  I almost typed “delightful” because it is, but it has a darker undercurrent which truly prevents it from being delightful.  Instead, let’s try Excellent.  This is a growing-up story about a boy and about a man.  It all goes together nicely by the end.  The book gets ***3/4 stars.  The movie was made in 2002 and starred Hugh Grant.  When Mr. Grant is on, he’s truly on, and I think he fits this part so well that it might have been written just for him.  I felt that way while reading the book too, but I haven’t done that much research to know one way or the other.  It’s brilliant.  If you haven’t seen it, I would seriously recommend it.  Wonderful investment of about 2 hours of your time.  Movie gets **** stars.

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up, by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain.  I tried to read this book twice before I actually latched on and could give it a decent suck.  This is a story about four friends who are graduating from high school and about to make their way into what amounts to the real world.  It’s very well-written and quite enjoyable.  Happy ending sort of book without getting too sticky sweet.  Worth a read if you find it cheap.  I’m giving it *** stars.

I’ve got two going at the same time now, and bless her heart, The Kid bought me books for Christmas.  My little dumpling pays attention to her mama.  Unfortunately, her mama is coming to the conclusion that she’d rather read than write.  To the extent that I’m dreaming of this plot line that I came up with on my drive home from work.  Two.  Weeks.  Ago.  I’m going to have to write it down, but I’ve been resistant.  Not sure why. 

I did buy two notebooks the other day at the store.  I didn’t need notebooks, but they smelled right.  Sigh.

Happy Reading Everybody!!  Merry Christmas to all of you!

December 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment