Monthly Archives: March 2012

Books Into Movies

Everyone has seen a movie adaptation of a book at some point or another. You may not have even realized it is an adaptation sometimes. Often the movie is made of a popular novel but sometimes, the movie comes around and it’s only later we realize it was once a book.

For my part, I enjoy reading a novel and wondering what it would look like. Of course, like any other reader, I visualize in my mind’s eye what’s happening as I read the words on the page. I don’t always picture specific features and often I’m bored by long, sweeping descriptions of settings and architecture. But to see those things brought to life on the big screen can be impressive and stunning.

I’m sitting here watching the most recent film adaptation of “Jane Eyre.” It is one of my favorite novels and a classic romance. It is a very fine imagining of the story and I quite enjoy the visuals they’ve come up with in this one.

Of course, the classics are made and remade over and over again. How many adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” or “Alice In Wonderland” are there? Then again, some are done once and considered unmatched, never to be attempted again. Or at least, not until the next generation of filmmakers comes along. I think it must be a difficult thing to adapt a book to film. Books often cover such long spans of time or have such complex plot points, it would be hard to compress it into a two hour slot, even three. It continues to be attempted though and we, the viewing public are glad for it. 🙂 Well, most of the time, anyway. Maybe not all bibliophiles want to see their favourite books make it to the big screen.

It does seem that there are more and more movies being made from books these days than ever before. Or maybe it’s just that we see more advertising about them. All these so-called blockbusters: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “The Hunger Games,” and “The Hobbit,” to name a few. I’ve just come across this article, listing some of the upcoming adaptations. I’ve read a few of those books and am looking forward to the movie versions. What about you? Are any of them ones you’ve been wanting to see?

This has got me thinking about all the movie adaptations I’ve seen over the years and whether or not they were worth it to me. Of course, I haven’t read the books for a lot of movie adaptations I’ve seen, like “The Help”. I recommend that one, by the way. Loved the movie and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

One of my all-time favorites is “The Princess Bride.” I remember seeing that movie when I was younger and watching it many times throughout the years. I didn’t read the book until I was sixteen years old, I think. That was a pretty close adaptation of the book, in my opinion. I also quite enjoyed the film version of “Emma,” with Gwyneth Paltrow as the title character. It’s been some time since I read that book though so I couldn’t say for sure how good an adaptation it was. I know I’ve mentioned before how much I loved the BBC miniseries “Pride and Prejudice.” Still a favorite. I also recently fell in love with both the book and BBC adaptation for “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Such a wonderful love story and the miniseries, even though it cut a few things out in the interest of time, no doubt, is quite good.

Hmm. Seems I favor the classics, don’t I? Not always. I also really loved “The Lord of the Rings,” and I’m looking forward to “The Hobbit.” I enjoyed “To Kill a Mockingbird” when I was younger, both versions, but I haven’t read that in quite some time. “Jurassic Park” was a lot of fun, as was “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” The Harry Potter series was good but that was a tough series to put into film, I bet. Still, they did a decent job, in my opinion. My favorite of that series, book and movie, was “The Prisoner of Azkaban.”

I remember watching “L.A. Confidential” and then reading the book a few years later. The book I didn’t like at all. The movie, I loved. That doesn’t happen a lot. More often than not, people hate the movie but love the book. Then I sometimes read a book, see the movie and find I didn’t really like either of them. Like “Revolutionary Road,” and “Never Let Me Go.” Not among my favorites, that’s for sure.

Wow, I’m realizing I could go on and on about all the book-to-movie adaptations there are. I’m watching “Field of Dreams” now, though I’ve never read this book. There’s so many, too many to list in one place. I guess I just wanted to talk about turning books into movies, plays or cartoons. Everyone has their favorites, and not-so-favorites. I’ve told you some of mine. What are yours?

As always, take care and happy reading.

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Blech…

Can’t write. Feel sick.

Maybe next week I’ll feel less like dying.

Take care and happy reading.

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What Happened to the Love Letter?

Do you send birthday cards? Anniversary or Christmas cards? Valentine’s Day, Easter or Labour Day cards? 🙂 I know you send some or all of those. Who doesn’t? When was the last time you actually sent a non-holiday or special occasion card or letter – a real one! Not an e-card or email!! – to someone in your life? Not just your lover or spouse. It could be for a friend, family member or even an old college buddy.

When my best friend went off to university in another city – two hours away but at the time it felt like we’d never see each other again – we used to send each other cards all the time. Just plain ones, saying ‘hi, what’s up?’ or funny ones to make each other laugh. I used to have an actual pen pal, in England, I believe. I couldn’t even tell you her name now. We corresponded for about a year when I was maybe eight or nine years old. My cousins and much of my extended family live in Winnipeg, so my cousin, Sarah, and I used to write letters to each other, sending pictures of things we thought the other would like. I still like to send cards and packages with hand-written notes in them to my friends in far-off places.

So what happened? Why doesn’t anybody do that anymore? The obvious answer is that we do still write to each other, but it’s via the internet. Facebook, emails, Twitter and a slew of other methods I wouldn’t have a clue about. I’m not saying I don’t use those outlets as well, because I do. I’ll send a quick text to my brother or friends to figure out a plan for the weekend. I’ll facebook someone or write on their wall when I think about them. There’s nothing wrong with using those outlets. It’s easy, free – except for texting, depending on your mobile plan – and often, you get the instant response we all crave.

What about just writing something just for the sake of writing? In the olden days, people wrote to each other just to catch up and let them know what was going on. In today’s world, our closest friends are often physically our closest friends. We can pick up a phone and call them, send a text or walk down the street and drop in for a cup of coffee. What if your closest friends weren’t so close? What if you had to save separately just to talk to someone long distance on the phone? What if you could only facebook them and chat on-line? Would you be more inclined to write a card or letter to them? Maybe not that often, I suspect.

But… what if that person was the love of your life?

I’ll tell you something, I love to write letters. I love to write emails too, come to think of it. I am practical and it costs nothing to send an email, while sending a card or letter via snail mail costs money. I love just sitting down and writing a letter to someone, sharing what’s new and asking how things are where they are. I love being able to edit an email before I send it, correcting any spelling errors and whatnot. 😉 But even hand-writing a card or letter is a wonderful thing, errors and all. I think seeing the smudge of a finger or scratched out word is so personal, you can almost feel the person writing to you.

I especially love the idea of a love letter. How amazing would it feel if you were seeing someone, even someone who lived two blocks away, and one day in the mail, between stacks of bills and flyers, you see an envelope hand-addressed to you. Do you wait to open it after the bills? Of course not! You tear into it, thinking it might be a card and check from Grandma, or a thank you note from your girlfriend after a baby shower. Instead, it’s a love note, written in choppy printing or angled cursive expressing how much you are thought of, desired and loved.

*sigh*

Doesn’t that just make you melt? That someone thought enough of you to take the time to pick a card, uncap a pen, and write what they think of you? My goodness. If you knew something so simple could get such a reaction, would you do it more often?

As much as I love to receive those sorts of letters, I also love to send them. And not because of any desire or need to get a letter in response. I just love sending them.

Is it a dying habit? Probably. I’ll do my part to keep it going, as often as I can afford to. I love putting together packages to send to my friends. I love writing what I’m thinking about someone into a card and imagining their reaction when they receive it. If I could afford to keep a PO box, I’d list the mailing address here and wish that my readers would send postcards from all over the place!

For now, I’ll leave for the week, wondering and hoping that you’ll reach out to someone in your life like this. It’s never, ever, a bad thing to let your loved ones, near and far, know that they are in your thoughts and cherished.

Take care and happy reading.

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Love and Loss

I had written another blog entry for this week, but something has changed my mind on subjects. This is tough to write and if it was hand-written, the ink would be smudged by many tears.

It’s been a difficult week this week. A very good friend of mine since high school lost her mother. While not a loss within my own family, it sure feels like it. As teenagers, there was a small group of us who were closer friends than the rest and our parents were more than familiar with all of us. I’d known her mother since I was fifteen years old, just as my friends have known my family. I was incredibly sad not only because my friend was going through such a difficult time, but also because I was going to miss her mother. Someone doesn’t become a part of your life for so long to just fade out without noticing. She will be missed by more than just her family, if her funeral service yesterday was any indication.

Also, I’m reminded of the sad fact that I am reaching an age where many friends might start losing parents or watching them suffer through illness. Only it’s not just age that dictates that. As I’m sure you’re aware, disease and accidents can strike anyone, at any age. There’s no preparing for it, even if you know it’s coming and as a friend, all you can do is hold a hand or offer a shoulder, as insignificant as it might feel.

I’d be lying if I said I was solely focused on my friend’s loss this week. It has been on my mind, obviously and I’m sure making my coworkers wonder why sudden waterworks were the thing every day since I heard the news. It got me thinking also, as so many things do, how I try to write realism into every story. With something like this coming along, I can’t help but be affected by it and wonder about it in relation to my stories. Gosh, that makes me sound incredibly selfish but I suppose it’s a coping mechanism for me with many things. If you’ll stick with me, I might eventually make some sense today. :–\

Losing someone you love is never easy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a break-up, death or a move. You don’t want to see the person go but so many times, it’s out of your hands and out of your control. Does this make the loss easier or harder? Who’s to say? I’ve experienced loss of both kinds and I couldn’t pinpoint which was more difficult for me. Any kind of loss requires a period of recovery and mourning. I don’t just mean the loss of someone to death. Don’t tell me you’ve just been able to bounce back the day after your boyfriend broke your heart. All these break-ups and losses need time to deal with, mourn and eventually, accept.

Maybe you’d think someone who’d lost someone close to them wouldn’t want to ever feel that way again. Maybe the fear that you’d lose more and more of yourself would keep you from ever feeling anything for anyone again. Sure, that’s true. If you don’t care about anyone, you can’t care about losing them.

I can’t imagine living life like that. Yes, I’ve been hurt and I’ve been sad. I’ve been so torn up that it literally makes me sick to my stomach and I can barely move. I’ve also never been so hurt that I haven’t been able to love and be happy again.

I don’t just mean romantic love. From something as minor as loving a pet – and a lot of you will say that’s not minor – to loving and being willing to die for my family. I can’t imagine holding a newborn ‘niece’ or ‘nephew’, the children of my closest friends, and not feel my heart expand to fit them in. I can’t imagine not feeling the need to comfort, laugh and share my heart with someone special, no matter how badly I’d been hurt in the past.

It’s frightening to me how many people might pass up the opportunity to love and be loved. I often think about how every single great romance or love story would have never happened if one or both people in the relationship had been too scared to take the chance again. Some people don’t want to be hurt by someone breaking their heart. Others don’t want to face the harsh reality of a long illness and still end up losing their loved ones.

In relation to my own stories, I’ve never written something so serious as the loss of a loved one affecting a current relationship. Maybe because it would be such a sensitive topic and getting it just right is a challenge I’m not up for yet. That’s not to say I’ll never address it and I know for a fact that people can overcome those fears and fall in love again.

I suppose all I really want to say or convey is that I hope no one ever keeps themselves from feeling and experiencing all the different forms of love. Yes, it will be sad to see that person go, or to watch them walk away, but all the time in between far outweighs the loss. At least, it does in my opinion. I don’t pretend to know how everyone feels on this subject but I know myself, and I know my own heart. I won’t stop loving and letting my heart grow. I don’t know how to be any other way. I have loved and do love with everything in me, otherwise, what’s the point?

Now, go and hug your nearest loved one, be they four-legged, family or significant other. You never know what tomorrow will bring and it’s the easiest thing in the world to share a hug, a quiet moment and those three little words.

I’ll leave you with this quote, from Barbara DeAngelis. I’ve always loved it and found it to be true.

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”

Do take care, and happy reading.

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