Monday, March 30, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: The Votes Are In!


Thank you all so much for participating in MOVIE MADNESS MARCH!  What a great month it has been, and I cannot thank you all enough for contributing, commenting, and spreading the love!  Today marks the final day of our month of movies, and with that comes the votes for the best and worst book to movie adaptations according to our readers.

I was quite surprised with the responses on this survey!  I thought that we would have a lot more duplicates that we did, but sadly we did not.  There were a couple of responses that were repeats, but for the most part, I only have a simple list of movies for you.  Without further ado, let's take a look at the results.  Those marked with an asterik are the duplicates that I have mentioned.

FAVORITE BOOK-TO-MOVIE ADAPTATIONS

Hunger Games 
Lord of the Rings* 
RED* 
Shawshank Redemption
 The Dead (a short story by James Joyce) 
The Great Santini 
The Princess Bride 
The Thin Man 
Winter's Bone

LEAST FAVORITE BOOK-TO-MOVIE ADAPTATIONS

Anna Karenina 
Eat, Pray, Love 
Eragon 
Gone with the Wind 
Percy Jackson & the Olympians* 
Queen of the Damned 
The Grapes of Wrath 
The Lovely Bones 
Troy*


Be sure to check out all the amazing contributions for MOVIE MADNESS MARCH right here.  And, thank you again for participating!

Do you have any movies that you would add to these lists?  Which post(s) were your favorite to read this month?

Friday, March 27, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: Remains of the Day


Kai from FICTION STATE OF MIND is our guest today for Movie Madness, talking about Remains of the Day.  Please give her a warm welcome, and share your thoughts with her in the comment section below.

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This 1993 film has been flitting around in my memory since I bought the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro in January. This year I have challenged myself to read some classic novels. I decided I was going to watch the movie again after reading the book.

This quickly became a problem as I struggled through the novel despite the beautiful writing. The Remains of the Day is a first person narrative from the perspective of English Butler Extraordinaire, Stevens. A letter from a former housekeeper sets Stevens to reminisce about his years in service to his former boss, Lord Darlington.

Stevens plans a journey to see Miss Kenton who is recently divorced and despairing about her future. It is Stevens’s intent to ask Miss Kenton to return to Darlington house and as he travels towards her his memories about their past overtake him.

Unfortunately, the novel’s use of flashbacks is really distracting and makes it difficult to follow the thread of the story.

The Movie however is Stellar! I originally rented this story years ago after seeing Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility. I was looking for more films of hers and discovered this one. Anthony Hopkins does a superb job as Stevens, every movement and gesture by him speaks volumes about a man that spends his life being unobtrusive.

Emma’s character, Miss Kenton brings an infusion of energy into the household. Sparks fly between the pair immediately. Steven’s is appalled by Miss Kenton’s familiarity with the staff and even himself. The two wage a very respectable war between the hallways of Darlington Hall. It soon becomes obvious to the viewer that the two have deeper feelings between them. Miss Kenton’s rash nature however leads her to try to get an emotional response from Stevens by threatening to marry and leave Darlington.

It backfires. And now the years and emotional distance between them seems to possibly be at an end. Yet life is rarely that simple and though both seemed primed to finally confess their feelings a twist of fate may leave them separated for ever.

Everything in this film is subtle yet emotional. The is one of the earliest Merchant/Ivory collaborations and it received stellar reviews. The cast is superb. I forgot Christopher Reeve was in this film. He does a great job in the small but important role of Mr. Farraday the American millionaire who saves Darlington Hall from being destroyed.

It’s everything I love about British films and it has a satisfying yet bittersweet ending. I highly suggest it to fans of British films.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Blogger: Irene from Mysterious Bibliophile

Today please welcome Irene, who blogs at Mysterious Bibliophile.

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How long have you been blogging?

This blog has been active for 10 months; I've previously owned other blogs on books, film, and homeschooling.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

I am an eclectic reader and blogger, but my primary focus is on mystery and suspense. This genre is important to me because it connects me to my mom, who died in 2003. She was a huge mystery aficionado and wrote her master's thesis in fictional female detectives. It is also the genre I write. 

What's your favorite place to read or blog?

The recliner in our T.V. room.

What have you learned from other bloggers or your readers?

So much! Recommendations of genres, books, or films I might not have otherwise considered. Myriad ways of looking at books and films. Benefiting from being exposed to so much really terrific writing and reviewing.

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

Definitely by its lover. That said, I am a huge sucker for a gorgeous book cover, even if I'm buying it for my Kindle and won't see it anyway. I can't explain it.

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I don't care for Wuthering Heights, which is a well-loved classic. Brooding, slightly creepy men just don't do it for me.

To DNF or not to DNF?

I definitely DNF. With so many great books out there that I'll never get a chance to read, I am way too old NOT to. :-)

What's one book that intimidates you?

Ulysses, and just about everything else by James Joyce (besides Portrait of an Artist).

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

Your responses showed you fitting into three different personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.
Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin.
Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.


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Thank you for joining us today, Irene! Remember to check out Irene's blog, Mysterious Bibliophile, and leave a comment or question.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: Last Day to Vote!!


REMINDER:  Today is the last day to vote!  This post was originally shared earlier this month, and we will be sharing the results next week to wrap up our month of Movie Madness.  Take a few minutes to share your favorites, or lack thereof!

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All month long, we are talking about movies with a literary spin.  As a reader, we tend to have pretty strong opinions about books that are made into movies.  We oftentimes find ourselves hesitant when the word is spread that our favorite book is being made for the big screen.  We worry that the movie won't give our book the justice that it deserves, and we are very well known in saying, "The book is always better."  When the movie finally hits the big screen, we leave that theater loving the story even more OR cursing at how ridiculous it turned out to be, complaining about the ruin.

Now, it is your turn!  Chime in with your favorite adaptation as well as your least favorite by filling out the form below.  If you cannot choose just one for either of these questions, feel free to complete the form multiple times.  We will be taking your votes until Wednesday, March 25, then compiling the data and sharing it at the end of the month.

When you are done, be sure you check out all of our latest MOVIE MADNESS guest articles.

Ready.  Set.  Go!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring 2015 Bloggiesta: Blogging Advice from Book Bloggers International


Welcome to the Spring 2015 Bloggiesta!

Not familiar with Bloggiesta?  Check out their website.  In short, it is an event that happens four times a year and allows bloggers to clean up and improve their blogs.  Who doesn't need that?!?

Today, it has been requested that bloggers share the best advice that they have received about blogging.  Here at Book Bloggers International, we (the minds behind BBI) thought we would all take a few moments and share our advice with you here.  Without further ado, we present to you our advice . . .

Becca of I'm Lost in Books

The best blogging advice I ever received was to not be afraid to be original, to be creative. I am this person already but I grew up thinking I needed to fit in and not rock the boat and keep the status quo. I decided to take this blogging advice and run with it, and it has proven to be invaluable. I do what I want, I create my own ideas of what my blog and blogging should look like, and I don't let anyone tell me I am doing it wrong. There is no right or wrong, there is only the same and different. I would much rather be myself on my blog - putting a piece of myself into my reviews, creating my own features, showing other bloggers love instead of viewing them as some sort of competition. Luckily for me, these things work for my blog and it makes me happy because I am myself.

Caro of A Girl That Likes Books

The Best Blogging Advice I've ever received is: don't do it for the clicks. In other words, if you are going to be blogging, reviewing, etc, do it because you enjoy it and you have things to say. Don't become a slave of the clicks and the page views. Don't freak out because the first month (heck, the first year) your blog doesn't have a ton of followers; it takes time to find your own voice and your own style. Don't be discouraged by a low traffic week, or month, keep doing it for yourself.

Tasha of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books 

When I was first blogging on Xanga, years before I started a book blog, I ran across some great advice from a fellow Xanga blogger who was insanely popular on the network. In a post about how she got so popular, she added a paragraph at the very end titled, “What to do when you get hundreds of comments.” It thought it would be about how she managed to maintain that level of popularity, but it wasn’t. Her advice? Turn off your computer. Leave your phone. Go outside. Ignore your email for at least 24 hours. Play with your kids, go out to dinner with your significant other, hang out with your friends. 

Even though I’ve never received even close to a hundred comments on a post, that piece of advice has stayed with me. Basically it’s saying that whenever things in the blogging world seem overwhelming, take a step back. Gain some perspective on what your blog really is and why you started blogging in the first place. Being a successful blogger isn’t about spending all your time on social media or email, or stressing about popularity, it’s about supplementing your life with something you enjoy doing.

Tif of Tif Talks Books

The best blogging advice I ever received is twofold.  One, be yourself.  Find your own voice and use your imagination.  Don't try to be like all the other bloggers out there.  Do something different.  Stand out.  And, your readers will come to you.  Second, be realistic.  If you have a busy home life, don't burn yourself out by trying to post every single day or multiple times a day.  If blogging is your hobby, make sure to keep it fun and enjoyable.  Try to be consistent, but don't push your limits and ruin the desire.

Now that you have heard our advice, it is your turn to share your's!  What else would you add?

Friday, March 20, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: Libraries in the Movies!


Let us give Wesley of Library Educated a warm welcome.  She is here today to talk . . . LIBRARIES!  And, not just any libraries, but some of the best libraries featured in literary movies!  Read on, enjoy, and please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Tif and I were brainstorming about ideas for this post and we agreed on a post that would talk about libraries and librarians in movies. I decided to take it a step farther. We’re going to talk about libraries and librarians that are featured in movies that are based on books! Another layer of literary fun!

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco/ The Name of the Rose directed by Jean-Jacques Annard

In the 14th century, a friar, William of Baskerville (played in the movie by Sean Connery) and his novice Adso of Melk (in the movie, a very young Christian Slater) is sent to a monastery high in the mountains of northern Italy to solve the mystery of some disturbing deaths, all members of the monastery’s famous scriptorium. The movie is filled with intrigue, lies, shady pasts and a hidden labyrinth of a library. I love this movie! It feels moody and grim, the library is mesmerizing and the setting is beautiful AND scary somehow. Also, Sean Connery, come on!

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by JK Rowling/ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire directed by Mike Newell 

Obviously, books and the library come into play in all of the Harry Potter books, but we’re going to focus in on one: Goblet of Fire! When you need the answers about surviving underwater, who do you turn to? Books and the library of course! And Neville, with his love for all things botanical, can’t forget him. And you can’t talk about any of the Harry Potter books without talking about Hermione, the girl who was always hauling around a book and had all the answers. She would have been prime librarian material! This personally is my favorite Harry Potter movie, and not just because I find a certain Bulgarian Krumdidlyumptious!

“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neil and Bill Oakley/ The League of Extraordinary Gentleman directed by Stephen Norrington 

Do you have a movie, that even though you know it’s not really a good movie you love it anyway? That’s LXG for me. But how can you blame me? (There are multiple volumes of the graphic novel, so if the premise intrigues you but you don’t like the movie there’s still hope to be found in the source material!) Characters pulled from some of literature’s greatest hits are recruited to form basically a literary superhero group to fight supervillains also pulled from literature. The members of this super league meet each other in a beautiful setting, a medieval library. What makes this library so wonderful is that it actually exists! And you can visit it! It’s the library at the Strahov Monastery in Prague and it appears to be just as beautiful in real life as it is in the movie. There’s also a scene in a library in the home of the mysterious Dorian Grey… (Also another Sean Connery movie, unintended theme!)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood/ The Handmaid’s Tale directed by Volker Schlöndorff 

To begin with, have you read this book? If you haven’t, please read this book. If I had the ability to stick one book in the hand of everyone I knew, this would probably be it.

It’s hard to even sum up in a few sentences but here it goes: The world is awful. There’s been all kinds of disasters and this incredibly scary government comes to power. Women who aren’t aristocratic (or are in some kind of way “criminal”) are forced to be handmaids. It’s their job to get pregnant by high ranking men (who are married) in a demeaning ritual once a month that also involves their wives. They get 3 chances with three different couples and if they don’t get pregnant they get sent to the colonies (not somewhere you want to go). Offred is one such handmaid. She used to be a librarian before things went to hell in a handbasket. Her situation is a little different because her assigned male sex partner is The Commander, and he takes an interest in her as a person. They sit in his library/office and play Scrabble and drink liquor (all of this a big no-no). Some of these evenings are where Offred learns more than any other handmaid usually does…

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Featured Blogger: Julianne from Outlandish Lit

Today please welcome Julianne, who blogs at Outlandish Lit.

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What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

My intent was just to be super clear about what kind of books I read! Sometimes I read pretty run of the mill adult literary fiction, but what sets my heart aflutter is stories that are weird, surreal, quirky, experimental, and/or dark. Or, for lack of a better work, outlandish!

How long have you been blogging?

Oooh, this is a good question haha. I want to say 2 years or so, but I had to stop for like a year early on due to school. So really only 1. I still feel like a new blogger.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I try to introduce people to books that they might not otherwise read. Books that are a little stranger, or aren't hugely popular (though I do like to read some of those books too). I love contemporary fiction, but I also review backlist books! And I try to keep my posts interesting and fun to read (like reviews in the form of chatlogs with another reader, or the occasional youtube video).

What's one book you think everyone should read?

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer!

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

I'm veeeeery partial to pretty, modern covers. I can't help it. Looking at books is almost as good as reading them, kind of.

To DNF or not to DNF?

I want to say that I can DNF, but like can I in practice? Hard to say, because I never do haha. It's not that I CAN'T, I just don't want to. I can stop whenever I want, I don't have a problem. I just sometimes get caught up in spite reading. Once I start saying "blah blah blah" out loud as I'm reading, it's probably a good sign that I should stop, though.

What's one book that intimidates you?

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I started it a couple years ago, but it's too hard to commit to!

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

I go to school for CGI and visual effects, so I'm generally doing some sort of 3D modelling or compositing on the computer. Otherwise, I'm watching horror movies, camping, drinking Angry Orchard, playing the bagpipes, knitting, going to thrift stores, performing in live lit shows, or eating $2 tacos somewhere in Chicago.

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

The All-Rounder

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Thank you for joining us today, Julianne! Remember to check out Julianne's blog, Outlandish Lit, and leave a comment or question.