I love reading almost as much as I love knitting, and it’s not unusual for the two to compete for my attention. Knitting usually wins out during the day, and in the evening, there is nothing better than curling up in bed with a book. This summer, most of my reading selections had a running theme – Books that Are or Will be Turned into Movies. This was not intentional, although, as a rule I usually try to read the book before I see its movie.
This summer, I have had the pleasure of reading:
Water for Elephants
The author, Sara Gruen, writes about a young veterinarian student named Jacob, who runs away and joins a traveling circus after losing his parents in a car accident. Told as a series of Jacob’s memories, coupled with glimpses of his present day life, this book is a gorgeously visual read. Sara was able to capture both the lushness and grittiness of what it would have been like to be part of such a unique microcosm of society. Highly recommended.
Character from the book that I am most excited to see portrayed in the movie: the deliciously evil August Rosenblum, portrayed by the fantastic Mr. Christoph Waltz.
Eat Pray Love
A memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, whom after a long, bitter divorce, decides to find herself by spending a year traveling abroad. She starts in Italy, where she learns the language of Dante and overindulges in the culinary delights of the various regions. She then travels to India where, through meditation , she learns to let go of mistakes she and others have made in the past. Finally, she arrives in Indonesia, where time with an old medicine man begins to open her heart to new experiences, which includes a possible new love. The author, having lost all her money in her divorce, was paid an advance from her literary agent to go on this journey and then write about it, so the whole “Wealthy Westerner seeking Eastern enlightenment” felt forced and cliched at times. That being said, the book was an interesting glimpse of what it might be like if you could just go out into the world and BE, without the worry of real-life responsibility.
Character from the book that I am most excited to see portrayed in the movie: the abrasively honest Richard from Texas, played by Richard Jenkins. His one-liners were possibly the best part of the whole book.
The Lovely Bones
In the beginning of this story, we are introduced to Susie, a young girl trying to overcome her murder in her version of heaven. From heaven, she is able to look down upon all of her friends and family, and watches them grieve and deal with the tragedy of losing a child, as she herself grieves about losing her childhood, mourning all the experiences she will never have. She has an especially strong connection to her father, who is overcome with a relentless vengeance trying to find his daughter’s killer. It is a story that stays with you, if only because the tragedy has too often happened in our society. I read this in one sitting.
Character from the book that I am most excited to see portrayed in the movie: the creepy George Harvey, played by Stanley Tucci, who no doubt had to go to a very dark place in order to play his character.
Written by Galt Niederhoffer, this was probably one of my favorite books this summer. This is the story of The Romantics, a nickname bestowed upon a clique of Yale friends who have a history of dating solely within their small group. They reunite after college for the marriage of two of their own – Lila and Tom – at Lila’s WASP-y family home on the coast of Maine. Laura, the only Jewish member of the group, and therefore the unspoken outcast, is Lila’s best friend. The only problem is, Laura used to date Tom, a fact that both perturbs the icy Lila and haunts the brooding Laura, who is still, of course, in love with the groom. The author touches on themes of religion, class, society, and what happens when they start to mix together. A good, guilty-pleasure read for the end of the summer.
Character from the book that I am most excited to see portrayed in the movie: All of them. The characters were so intertwined in the book, that I am curious to see if the ensemble cast brings the same idiosyncrasies of the group to life on the big screen. The film is being billed as ‘The Big Chill’ for the current thirty-something generation.
Next on my reading list is My Life in France by Julia Child, followed by a second attempt at The Magic Mountain, by Thomas Mann. I’d love to hear what you are reading – let me know in the comments! ~J