Top 10 Tuesday: Best Book to Movie/TV Adaptations, Part 2

I wasn’t really in the mood to do this week’s TTT post because (a) it’s winter here, (b) then I have to ask, what the hell is a “winter read”, and (c) I’m likely to do a TBR post soon. Instead I’m doing an older topic from The Broke and the Bookish‘s archives which is top ten best/worst book adaptations. The criteria for making this type of list is always hard because is it a matter of how closely the adaptation followed the source material or is it about the quality of the actual adaptation? In my case, it’s usually a bit of both. I’m cool with the adaptation making changes to the book’s story as long as they’re good changes and don’t mess with my enjoyment of the movie/show. I actually did this same topic for a top ten last year but since then I’ve seen a few other adaptations that I’ve thought were pretty good. Then there were others that missed out on my original list. Besides, no-one’s ever said you can’t do the same topic twice. And well, if they have…er, my blog, my rules, I guess.

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Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

This is a dark and slightly odd book with a significant shift right in the middle. The movie does a great job of matching it’s eerie tone and remains very close to the book’s plot. Rosamund Pike is perfect as deranged “cool girl” Amy, while Ben Affleck also does a great job as her imperfect husband, Nick. The only thing I wish it’d done was include the couple’s final lines of dialogue.


 

13 reasons why

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Controversy aside, in my opinion TRW is a good adaptation of Jay Asher’s book and in a lot of ways, I think it even surpasses it. Often where adaptations deviate from their source material, it’s a bad thing but with this one it works well. The decision to spread Clay’s experience with the tapes over several days instead of one night and actually taking the time to flesh out each of the characters involved enhances the story and ideas of the novel rather than damages them.


Call Me By Your Name

Call Me by your Name – Andre Aciman

This is a beautifully written book, and although it’s difficult to transfer prose and imagery over to film easily, this adaptation manages to capture the tone of the novel instead through scenery, music, camera angles, and expressions. The set locations are stunning and the casting is absolutely perfect. Also, while the ending is a little different from the novel (which is sort of an extension on the film), it’s still fits the spirit of the story whilst still being damn heartbreaking.


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Love, Simon (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) – Becky Albertalli

I had high expectations for this one and to my relief, it met them. This is another adaptation where there were a few changes made to the plot, mostly in terms of cuts (likely for time reasons). However, the movie never strays from the feeling of the book and is always true to the characters. It’s super adorable, majorly feel-good, diverse, and an easy movie to re-watch.


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The Martian – Andy Weir

The success of The Martian as a book rests heavily on the humour, sass and strength of it’s main character, Mark, and this translated extremely successfully over to the adaptation. Matt Damon is fantastic in the role, as is the rest of the cast of famous faces. The movie’s funny, visually striking, and also manages to get a bit less bogged down in some of the scientific elements than the book, which is a big plus.


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The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I had heard that this particular series was quite different from the book but after recently, finally, watching it, I found it to actually be quite similar. Yes, some of the ages are different and you get a lot more background with regards to the characters and how Gilead came about, but for me these additions have enhanced the story and answered a lot of questions that I know I had while reading. The acting is great all around and the show itself is extremely addictive, even if it’s sometimes hard to watch.


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It – Stephen King

I don’t usually do horror movies, at all. I am the biggest wuss you will ever meet but I was determined to see the 2017 movie adaptation of this book and despite looking through my fingers at several points, I really, really enjoyed it. The child actors are all great in their roles and Pennywise is damn scary. Although the movie only focuses on the child part of the book, it’s still a HUGE book and they did a great job cutting down the story while still keeping the important parts intact. 


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And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

There have been a lot of adaptations of this particular story, because it’s just so good! In this instance though I’m referencing the 2015 BBC mini-series. This version dwells on the darker undertones in Christie’s story, making it a little bit more modern somehow but it still remains both stylish and true to the novel, right to the very, bitter end. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there’s some eye candy in the form of Mr Aidan Turner.


Divergent

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Say what you will about the later entries in the series, both films and books (*cough* they sucked *cough), but I really like the adaptation of the first book (Yep, judge away, I know). I’ll admit, they did cut out and strip down some characters (e.g. Edward), and rework certain plot elements but I liked the casting and the story changes never really impaired my enjoyment of the movie. Now I just happily watch it as a stand-alone.


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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Alright, I’m not a huge John Green fan but having read the book and seen the movie for this particular one, even I have to say that it’s a well done adaptation that should have satisfied fans of the book. The actors are chosen well  (Shailene does a great job as Hazel), the plot sticks closely to the book, the tone of the movie is very JG-esque, and the ending is still grab your tissues worthy (okay, well, for those people that aren’t me).


Special Mention
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Two adaptations were made of this novel, one English speaking and the other in Swedish and surprisingly, both of them are not only very close to the book but well done too. The actors in each version do a great job bringing the characters to life, especially Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, and the plot is mysterious and engaging. Be warned though, this isn’t a lighthearted book and neither movie shies away from the darker content.


And there we have it, another top ten done and dusted. Was there a favourite of yours that I missed? It might have been on my first list on this topic published last year. You can find that Top 10 here.

What are some recent adaptations that you’ve enjoyed?

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School

So, first up, sorry for the lack of posts last week. Turns out that getting home at 8 PM multiple days in a row is not conducive to publishing blog posts but I promise that this week I will back in full force – tags, memes, reviews and discussions. Let’s get the ball rolling with TTT.

This week’s topic is Back to School and the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish  have given us quite a bit of freedom as to how we interpret this. I’ve decided to go fairly literal and discuss books that involve schools or academies of some kind. It’s a bit of an odd collection of books but eh, my blog, my list. In no particular order…

1. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

My current, amazing read. This novel features a “school” of sorts except that in this instance it’s focused on shaping its students into proficient assassins. With the teachers not above theft, poisoning, dismemberment, and torture, the trick is surviving the training process. Yikes!

2. Vampire Academy Series – Richelle Mead

I was the biggest fangirl of this series in my mid and later high school years. You’d think it’d be the most trope-y, lame thing ever, but it’s not (well, in my opinion). This series was when I first fell in love with one of my favourite authors – Richelle Mead.  A school that teaches it’s students to use elemental magic and kill bad vampires, yep, sign me up.

3. This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

To be honest I actually wasn’t expecting a school setting for the first half of this book.  I don’t know what I was expecting, really. Regardless, the two main characters meet at school while one is doing reconnaissance and it all ends up a mess from there (for the characters that is, not the plot because this book was great!).

4. Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult

Quite a socially relevant book for the United States when it came out, a time in which school shootings were regularly in the news. It’s an interesting look at the students, teachers and families linked to a high school in the lead up to and aftermath of a shooting by one of the students. Both emotional and a little scary.

5. Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling

I’ll probably use Harry Potter on almost every list I ever create from here until the end of time but I think you can see why it’s justified here. Hogwarts: the most awesome magic school in literature. Enough said.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

The events that make up this novel are triggered by the main character, Charlie, starting high school. It’s here that he meets the interesting cast of characters that we follow throughout that year. We get the usual high school story plot points – the big dance, relationship dramas, bullying, house parties – and yet they never seem to feel cliché here.

7. The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

The focus of these books isn’t the school setting, especially considering the characters always seem to be busy dealing with other things like disappearing forests, mixed up timelines, searching for dead kings, and so on. However, Aglionby Academy does play a role in shaping the characters’ identities – Ronan’s disregard for his studies, Adam’s dedication to them, Gansey’s outward appearance as the almost stereotypical Aglionby student, etc. Plus, it’s the whole reason the boys are referred to as ‘The Raven Boys’.

8. The Austere Academy – Lemony Snickett

Across the thirteen books that make up A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Baudelaires find themselves in every possible setting you can imagine – a circus, a reptile house, ski slopes, a submarine, a mill, and of course, a prestigious preparatory academy. As with every book in the series, it’s weird and yet very enjoyable.

9. The Mediator Series – Meg Cabot

Going back to my tween years with this one. I used to love this series. Suze is a catholic school student with the ability to see ghosts. She often has to work with her school principal, Father Dominic, to work out what’s going on with restless spirits in order to get them to move on. The first book involves her trying to rid her school of a very angry former student turned poltergeist.

10. IT – Stephen King

I’m probably stretching things with this one but whatever. In one of the two concurrent story lines, the characters are all kids aged about 12 or 13 and attend the same school which is how they meet one another. It also means they all happen to attract the attention of the same awful, older bully.

Top 10 Tuesday: Villains, Criminals & Other Nasties

As usual, TTT is a weekly meme by the The Broke and the Bookish and it’s currently on hiatus so that means picking whatever takes my fancy from the list of previous topics. This week I’m doing villains. In no particular order here are some of what I consider to be the best:

Voldemort (Harry Potter Series –  J. K. Rowling)

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Snake-like face, soul split into multiple pieces in order to cheat death, set on murdering teenagers year after year… yep, as if I wasn’t going to put him on this list.

Ramsey Bolton (A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin)

I’d wager that when you think about the crappiest of the Song of Ice and Fire villains your mind either jumps to a) Joffrey Baratheon or b) this little shit:

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When your favourite past times include flaying, raping, dismemberment, and feeding people to your dogs, you definitely deserve a spot on a top 10 villains list.

It or Pennywise (It – Stephen King)

Books don’t usually manage to scare me, but I’ll admit that for most of this novel I was a little bit nervous. If you aren’t afraid of clowns, this’ll help you understand why someone could be. A creepy, clown shaped, ancient entity that can make your worst fears a reality and spends his time eating children…

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Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m out.

Amy Dunn (Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn)

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I wish I could find a better way to describe Amy than this, but here it is: This bitch be crazy. Like verging on sociopath material. In a book full of shades of grey characters, it’s saying something that Amy’s able to stand out. I won’t say much about the why and how because SPOILERS but trust me, she belongs here for a reason.

The Darkling (Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo)

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This is probably one of the few likeable villains on my list. And by likeable I mean I actually sat around thinking: if this guy basically succeeded in killing everyone else in the book right now, I’d probably be cool with that. That is some solid charisma right there. I can’t even explain it, he’s evil. Really, really evil. But do I like him more than the love interest? Yep, 100%.

Count Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket)

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Count Olaf isn’t what you’d call a successful villain but you do have to give him points for determination. No matter how many times he’s defeated by three intelligent orphans, he’s back at it in the next book with another not so brilliant plan, a terrible disguise, and and high levels of self-confidence.

 

Annie (Misery – Stephen King)

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The second of the two King villains on this list. Anyone who will smash your legs with a sledgehammer to get you to write a novel, uses individual hairs as a security system, and can survive being hit in the head with a typewriter is someone to be very, very afraid of. Annie is, to put it bluntly, freakin’ crazy.

Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal – Thomas Harris)

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I love intelligent villains. Sure, crazy ones are fun on occasion but having a villain that actually poses a challenge for the hero in more than just a physical sense is fantastic. Hannibal is a great example of this. He’s articulate, calculating, suave, and well, happens to be a cannibal. While he’s not actually the central villain of either of these novels, there’s never a moment when you’re not wondering exactly what’s going on inside his head and suspecting that it’s something sinister.

The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis)

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Anyone who can manage to turn sweets into something dodgy is bad news in my books. Sure, there’s the turning people into ice sculptures, killing Aslan, stopping the change of seasons and well, kind of removing all joy from the world, but honestly, for me, her biggest act of villainy is probably stopping Christmas from ever happening. How dare she! I LOVE Christmas.

The Witch King of Angmar (The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien)

So originally I was going to put Sauron in this spot but then I realised that he kind of does stuff all and just sits around on his fiery butt while everyone else does all the work for him. And then we have this guy…

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Head of the Nazgul, rides a massive dragon-like creature, almost kills Frodo with a poisoned blade, wields a mace like a nutjob, and is just generally creepy as all hell. No man can kill this guy. Lucky we had Eowyn.

The Dim Sum Book Tag

I saw this on someone’s blog a little while back and thought it looked like fun. Then it popped up on Jessica (The Awkward Book Blogger)’s  blog the other day, and I knew I just had to give it a go (thanks Jessica)! I love dim sum and I love books, what a match made in heaven for my first book tag post.

The Dim Sum Book Tag is the brainchild of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Jenna @ Reading With Jenna. Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine in which food is served in small (tapas-like) portions and is common during yum cha (which means drinking tea). This tag is inspired by good company and good eats.

Rules:

Here are some rules to devour this tag:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  2. Devour dim sum and answer the tag questions
  3. Tag five others to join your round table for some dim sum fun
  4. Food coma

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Tea: A book that started off hot but quickly turned cold

It (Stephen King): I wouldn’t say this one quickly turned cold because for the most part it was excellent, it just failed to stick the landing. For most of the book I was actually anxious at how scary some of it seemed and then all that went out the window with a really badly introduced sex scene and a silly explanation as to what IT was.


Chiu Chow Dumpling: A book that features elements of land and sea

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A Conjuring of Light (V. E. Schwab): I love this series, it’s one of my favourites of recent years. It took me a while to get into this instalment for some reason but by the time Kell, Lila and Alucard were sailing around in search of a certain item, I was definitely mesmerised again.


Rice Noodle Roll: A favourite multilayered character you’ve read (ex. traits? skills? morally ambiguous?)

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Kaz Brekkar – Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo): I love a good anti-hero. It’s always wonderful to get a character that has layers, one that you’re not sure exactly what they’re going to do in a given situation. Kaz is exactly that. He has a heart, but it’s buried beneath a very carefully crafted façade, and he never fails to surprise me!


Shrimp Dumpling: A book with a transparent blurb that gives the story away.

I can’t think of anything I’ve read recently that’s done this however someone I know recently read The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and they thought the blurb gave away massive late book spoilers.


Steamed BBQ Pork Buns: A book that is fluffy on the outside but packs a punch of flavor (ex. message? depth? controversy?)

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Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen): Sure, the message is pretty evident from the title, but I’m going with it anyway. Wrapped up in a love story are two important ideas. First, we shouldn’t judge people based on their families, their wealth, first appearances, etc. It’s important to get to know them because they may surprise you. Second, we must not let pride and stubbornness get in the way of doing the right thing.

Side note, I love BBQ pork buns. If I could live off them without getting fat, I would.


Chicken Feet: A book with divided opinions

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Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas): I know so many people who adore this series and then others, like myself, who haven’t really been that impressed. The opinions have only gotten more divided as the series has gone on, particularly in regards to book 5.


Lotus-Wrapped Sticky Rice: A book you’ve received/given that was nicely packaged

To be honest, I’ve never received or given a book in anything other than your basic wrapping paper. I mean, sure I’ve had some nice wrapping paper, but nothing that sticks out in my memory. Plus, the stuff I wrap tends to look like a truck’s run over it so I doubt we’d classify that as nicely packaged. Clearly I need to up my game!


Egg Custard Tart: A book that uses simple ingredients and clichés but executes it perfectly.

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Eragon (Christopher Paolini): A lot of people would probably disagree with me on this, but I actually quite enjoy Eragon. It includes so many different fantasy tropes – the old and wise mentor, the chosen one, an evil ruler, a damsel to be rescued, and so on. Yet, I still think it’s a solid fantasy book. Maybe not “perfect” as the question says but pretty good!


Mango Pudding with Evaporated Milk: Any book recommendation + beverage/snack that’s a winning combination

I don’t usually eat while I read, mostly because I’m worried about getting anything on my books, but also because I’m really not coordinated enough to do both at same time. However, if I had to pick something, it’d probably be hot chocolate because what story couldn’t possibly go with hot chocolate?


Fried Sesame Balls: A book cover with embossed text/design you just love to run your fingers over.

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Uprooted (Naomi Novik): I love running my fingers over the gold ripples at the top. Also, it’s just generally an amazing looking cover.


Dim Sum Steam Cart: The type of carrying bag you use to bring books around.

To be honest I only really carry my books and kindle around inside my handbag. Super boring, I know. It’s of a reasonable size and made of brown leather. I’ve had it for several years now and it was a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle. It has heaps of space, looks great with everything and is super durable!

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Tag

I tag (all of which are wonderful blogs that you should check out if you haven’t already):

Azia @ The Uncharted World Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense | Wendy @ Birdie Bookworm | Jackie @ Too Much of a Book Nerd | Alice @ Arctic Books | Nicole @ Live Life Reading | Swetlana @ Reading Through the Nights | Taylor @ Mischievously Managed Books

Feel free to skip it if you’ve already done it (oops!), don’t do tags, or just generally don’t want to do it.

Also, if you’re feeling up for dim sum fun, I tag you too!

And…Food Coma!! *passes out*

Love Ashley