Books that Are Better Than the Movie: Additional Readings

When are books not better than the movie?! Imagining your own creative space based on the elaborate written description hardly ever translates to the screen! Now, it is very easy to create a list of books that surpass the film, so we are going to focus on ones with prominent female leads. Of course there are hundreds more and these are just a selection of my favorites, feel free to comment with ones you feel are essential to add!

 

The Princess Diaries Series By Meg Cabot
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The Princess Diaries movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews is a certifiable classic and a personal favorite. However, if you read the book, the movie was so Disney-ified it took away from the real and relatable problems that Mia faced. The book also added depth to the story! Large essential pieces of the book were missing or changed to make it more pleasant for a family. Like her grandmother is meant to be a meanie, think Yzma and not Grace Kelly.

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Also, her father is not deceased. He suffered from testicular cancer and with his perpetual revolving door of much younger women, was unable to have an heir other than Mia. She is the last resort for the family when confronted with the possibility of losing the crown. The series of now 11 books, with the most recent installment coming out in 2014, the story continues to grow and evolve well beyond the two movies. Much love to Chris Pine, but the second film was so off track from the book, that it is hard to even consider it. If I have ever given you book recommendations, ditch whatever nonsense I fed you and put this series at the top of your reading list.

Pride & Prejudice By Jane Austen

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For that matter any Jane Austen, movie, retelling, or web series, is such a blessing to have to relive the content of 200 years ago. I will find any chance I have to discuss the work of Jane Austen and therefore it is no shock that she has made this list. Pride & Prejudice has numerous remakes, but the two that are considered the crux that Austenites perch their hopes on are the Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen’s 2005 film and the original masterpiece is the six hour 1995 mini series featuring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. However, for the sake of being nitpicky, we will just discuss the 2005 rendition. Though this movie is beautiful and adds to the story the almost kiss in the rain, the way he flexes his hand and his face changes with every meeting from stern to free and hopeful, and the happiness we saw between Jane and Bingley’s proposal.

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However, I feel it is essential to read the book to really feel the depth of Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s change in affection.Throughout the movie it appeared to be a somewhat abrupt change as he repaired his “transgressions”, but the book correctly shows that it was the work of several meetings, their shared interests, and his actions. Yes, Pride & Prejudice is not in today’s vernacular, but that just increases the amount the book pulls you into its world of Austen’s day. Austen probably never imagined her work would make the impact to the movie, television, and web industries as it has, experiencing her work in the way in which she intended is essential. I’ll leave you with this famous quote by the author herself, “I declare there is no enjoyment like reading!”
Other renditions that are worth a read/watch are North and South by Elizabeth Glaskell and released as a miniseries in 2004, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and released as a Netflix show in 2017, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty featured on HBO in 2017, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins premiered in 2012.

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Some upcoming exciting small screen releases are Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, A Wrinkle In Time By Madeleine L’Engle, and Anne of Green Gables By LM Montgomery. I am so excited to see these portrayed again! Please share what you are excited to see coming to the screen and feel free to recommend other books that you feel just blew the movie out of the water!

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May & June Book Announced

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The Time Traveler’s Wife By Audrey Niffenegger

National Bestseller

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler’s Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

Help Us Pick Our Next Book

It’s time to pick our May & June book club book. The theme is: Books Made into Movies. Pick your favorite below or feel free to add your own suggestions.

Other Feminist Reads

Hey Guys!

Hope you are enjoying The Notorious RBG! Because this is such a stellar telling of the life of a key feminist of the past century, I wanted to point out some other seminal feminist pieces!

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

By: Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDun

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This book beautifully explains that while feminism is something we continually need to strive for in the US and other developed countries, the suffering and need is necessary on a global scale. They discuss sex trafficking as well as skills building and loans. Amazing story telling coupled with informative narrative really makes this an astounding read.

By: Caitlin Moran

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Caitlin Moran is a fabulous comedian from the UK. Within her book she discusses the hilarious stories and heart wrenching pitfalls of growing into a woman that respects herself and fights for equality. Her audiobook had be in tears from laughing and then yelling from injustice. This book is not informative to the plight of the gender, but it is a great narrative delivered with comedy and snark.

Of course the list could go on and on! However these are two on either end of the spectrum in terms of feminist lit. I have always considered myself a feminist, but have just begun reading a variety of materials on the topic. Both of these selections I read as a result of Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson’s feminist book club. Her picks are so enlightening and not always what we expect. So please check out their group on Goodreads for more recommendations!

Meeting Sunday

Hi everyone!

Just a reminder that we are discussing our first book, Wild, this Sunday at 5 pm via Oovoo. Once you have created your Oovoo account and search “literaryladies” and add us as your friend! We will invite everyone that is online on Sunday to our book discussion.

 

March & April Book Announced

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Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

New York Times Bestseller

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she has only tried to make the world a little better and a little freer.

But nearly a half-century into her career, something funny happened to the octogenarian: she won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg first made her name as a feminist pioneer are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute.

Notorious RBG, inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself and brought to you by its founder and an award-winning feminist journalist, is more than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg’s family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

Questions to Think About During Wild

One wise, mystical leader (Oprah) chose this as her book club book and created these great questions to consider after reading!

  1. When Cheryl discovers the guidebook to the Pacific Crest Trail, she says that the trip “was an idea, vague and outlandish, full of promise and mystery.” Later, her soon-to-be ex-husband suggests she wants to do the hike “to be alone.” What do you think her reasons were for committing to this journey?
  2. In the beginning of the book, Cheryl’s prayers are literally curse words—curses for her mother’s dying, curses against her mother for failing. How does her spiritual life change during the course of the book?
  3. Cheryl’s pack, also known as Monster, is one of those real-life objects that also makes a perfect literary metaphor: Cheryl has too much carry on her back and in her mind. Are there other objects she takes with her or acquires along the way that take on deeper meanings? How so?
  4. “The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail…was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do,” writes Cheryl. “How there was no escape or denial.” In what ways have her choices helped and/or hurt her up to this point?
  5. “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves,” Cheryl writes her first day on the trail. She is speaking about her fear of rattlesnakes and mountain lions and serial killers. To defeat that fear, she tells herself a new story, the story that she is brave and safe. What do you think about this approach, which she herself calls “mind control”? What are some of her other ways of overcoming fear?
  6. At one point, Cheryl tells herself, “I was not meant to be this way, to live this way, to fail so darkly.” It’s a moment of self-criticism and despair. And yet, some belief in herself exists in that statement. How do the things Cheryl believes about herself throughout the memoir, even during her lowest moments, help or hurt her on the PCT?

Comment if you had any reactions to these or thought of any other questions while reading!

Further Reading Inspired by Wild

While reading Wild, I was able to listen to a few other long-distance backpacking tales from the Appalachian and the PCT (Still have not found one for the Continental Divide Trail).

Two of the ones I was able to listen to were AWOL On The Appalachian Trial and Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Both were telling of the day to day life on the trail, but also covered the emotional journey.

AWOL, a hiker name, had several missteps within his journey and often found himself at the whim of others. Through hitchhiking and asking to sleep in front yards, AWOL made his way slowly up to Maine from Georgia. He was taking a pause after some financial hardships in 2002 and decided it was time for him to commit to the journey. He is much more by-the-book and exact in his retelling than other books.

Carrot Quinn wrote Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart after she completed her 2013 trek of the Pacific Coast Trail. She found and lost love, she addressed her problems with food security, and of not having the proper gear. She was not focused as much on the getting there, but as her emotions surrounding her days. She is not as exact on the places she stopped or the guide she uses. However, she does say how many miles she walks in a day, the details of her zero days, and when she had to resupply. The only note I may add is that she is Gluten Intolerant and often eats gluten along the trail leading her to stomach pains. She also had tendinitis, tonsillitis, and a parasite that were all self-diagnosed. So take some of the emotions with a grain of salt and focus on the bigger journey.

Wild led to an interesting world of backpacking and long distance hikers that most do not go down. However, these stories are intricate and independent. It really shows the meaning of “Hike Your Own Hike”.

Please comment on other backpacking or adventure novels you would recommend!

January & February Book Announced

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

#1 National Bestseller

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.