Excellent Motivation for Reading: Movie Tie-ins

Of late one thing that crosses my mind whenever I scan the papers for movie screenings – plenty of them are book adaptations. Sure, this isn’t a new phenomenon, but you have to be amazed at the rate beloved books are being translated to the screen lately.
I Am Legend. Atonement. Beowulf. No Country for Old Men. Stardust. The Golden Compass. PS I Love You. Bourne Ultimatum. Love in the Time of Cholera. The Jane Austen Book Club.
Can’t remember the last time such a rash of book adaptations arriving so close to each other.
I love it when books I have an interest in gets Hollywood’s attention. I like the feeling of finding out how others have imagined the same scenes and characters that I have envisioned in my head. I like to be enraptured all over again by the story, to nitpick, to admire, to have the opportunity to experience a great story again in a different form.
I remember my first novel-brought-to-life movie, The Firm, based off of John Grisham’s novel of the same name. It probably wasn’t the first one, really, but that’s as far as my memory takes me. I remember distinctly being disappointed with the movie, as the film took the edge off the ending, and made it reconciliatory. It stank like a skunk in the living room.

I also remember being quite thrilled at the announcement that The Lord of The Rings was being moved to the big screen, the disappointment when I learnt Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett was cast, the anticipation, and the relief of being proven wrong with the cast, and the satisfied purr at the end result.
So yeah. I love to read the books before going to see the film. That’s why the recent rush has been a great motivator for me to go back and pick up the books before I go and see them.
Here are some of the more interesting ones for me.

I’ve always been a Neil Gaiman fan, and I have long thought that his works were overdue for the silver screen translation. Stardust boasts an A-list cast, and promises a wonderful story. I’ve the book sitting on my shelf for years now, so this is as good a time as any to pick it up – and it’s a short book too. I loved American Gods, and I think when that gets translated I’ll be excited as a bookworm in the Library of Congress.

Another fantasy book adaptation, and franchise to boot, The Golden Compass looks all dressed up for success. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has been acclaimed for years, but I’ve still not gotten around to them. Looking forward to reading the first book (I recently completed purchasing the trilogy), and having Nicole Kidman playing the part in my head.

Ah, a Cormac McCarthy no less. No Country for Old Men has been getting very good reviews from book pals, and I was surprised to learn that it was made into a movie. Of all the movies listed here, I think I’m most curious about this one. My copy of No Country has been sitting on my shelf for close to a year already, so this is as good a time as any to dip in.

I actually shopped for a copy of Beowulf when I found out it was made into a movie (rather belatedly, I must add, and in the most unusual manner – I saw it in a computer game ad). I remember previously that the prose was too tough to get into, but then found an edition that was more my level (not the book I linked to). A whale of a story – monster terrorizes village, guy whacks monster, monster’s mother gets with the guy (insert loud exclamation here)… it’s a mess! But apparently it’s fodder enough to get Angelina Jolie. I wasn’t sure I could stand watching Jolie pout in an action flick, so I’m doubly unsure if I had to watch a CGI Jolie pout.

This book just happens to be one of my favourite horror stories of all time, and the only one that I’ve read was able to set my pulse rate slightly higher than I’m normally accustomed to while sitting in a comfortable chair reading. I was overjoyed to hear it was being made into a movie. But my triumphant fist pumping stopped in midair when I next found out that it was helmed by none other than Will Smith! Imagine going to your favourite sushi restaurant and finding out they have substituted the unagi with fish fillets. Sorry, I like Will enough, but I Am Legend is too much of a legend for this chap to handle..

But perhaps I’m wrong, you say! Perhaps my intuition is as crappy as watching Barney rolling around in mud, and perhaps Smith would be as great as Elijah Woods was in LOTR despite my reservations!
Another big name translation. Big name for those who follow the literature scene, that is. Atonement is purportedly one of McEwan’s best books. I don’t have Atonement, unfortunately, but I have Saturday. I’ve read neither, and I suppose I will buy and read it first before watching it.

Cecelia Ahern is an impressive young woman. Most would not be able to nurture a successful writing career behind the shadow of towering parent, especially if the parent in question is the Prime Minister of a nation. But she did, and managed in many respects to become more famous than her father (because you wouldn’t be able to name the Irish Taoiseach if I asked you, but you’d fall over yourself telling me the name of the author for PS I Love You). Now I didn’t read this book, but my wife did, and if I remember correctly she liked it.

So there, my list. It’s not exhaustive, I know. But already it has motivated me to pick myself up and read. And that’s good.


  1. this is my first time, reading your blog….hmmm… with so many good books to read i know who to go to now….hehehehe 😛

  2. direstraits

    Thanks, pleng. If you wish to get any ideas for what to read, ping me. Not that I’m an expert, but I can recommend some pretty good books.
    You may also want to keep a look out for bookbabble.net, my new project. It’s still new, but it’s gonna grow. 🙂

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