Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top 5 on Tuesday: But the book was better

There are a number of movies coming out this year which are, of course, based on books.  If you'd like to get a jump on things, I have some titles you might like to check out.  Word to the wise--if you read the book for free from the library, you can then decide one of three things: 1) You didn't love the book enough to spend $11 at the theaters, 2) You loved the book so much, you'd hate to see it potentially ruined onscreen or 3) You can't wait to see it in theaters.  What have you got to lose?  Nothing but yourself.  In a story.

(FYI, for the complete list of "books to read before they hit theaters, check out the link here.  What I've listed are my top 5 picks, based on...well, my opinion.)

Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed. 
 The very honest memoir of a woman who lost everything, and with nothing left to lose, goes on a 1,100 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.  Her outlook at the end is, to say the very least, much changed.  The film version will star Reese Witherspoon playing Strayed. 

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. 
By the author of Seabiscuit, Unbroken has been extremely popular with readers of all stripes.  Another true story, this follows Louis Zamperini, 1930's track star and participant in the Berlin Olympics who became an airman during WWII, after his plane went down in the Pacific in May 1943.  What follows is his harrowing account of survival after being captured by Japanese forces.  What clinches it for me is that not only was it scripted by the Coen brothers and directed by Angelina Jolie, but that Zamperini himself was consulted on the film.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  In a utopian society, 12-year-old Jonas has been given his life assignment--he will be the "Receiver of Memories", and only "The Giver" knows the truth about their society and its past, which he must now pass down to Jonas.  The film's cast includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Alexander Skarsgard, which all has my interest piqued.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.  This young-adult novel has been a huge favorite of teens and adults alike--my guess is that the movie, if done well, could be just as big.  The premise is not for the faint of heart: Hazel and Gus are two normal teenagers in love, witty and rebellious.  Except that they met in a cancer support group, with Hazel constantly accompanied by an oxygen tank and Gus making jokes about his prosthetic leg.  The book is beautiful and tender, and I am really hoping that the movie will retain that delicacy and grace.

Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn.  Please note that another of Flynn's novels, the very popular Gone Girl, will also be made into a film released in 2014.  Why am I selecting the film for Dark Places instead of Gone Girl?  First, as much as I loved the twists and turns in Gone Girl, fact is, I just preferred Dark Places as a novel.  Second, I think Dark Places will translate better on film.  It's a gut feeling--I'm not sure I can explain it adequately.  Third, cast.  Ben Affleck is playing the male lead in Gone Girl, and I have to say that I would not have gone in that direction.  I'm just going with my gut on this one.

Have you read through the full list?  What are you looking forward to seeing or reading this year?  I'd love to know!

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