Writing

New Year, New Plans

I did a lot of thinking during the last month of the year and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m writing this blog about the wrong subject.  Or, I should say, writing about the books I read isn’t enough.  While I am always reading something, what I read does not always inspire me to write a full-blown blog entry.  Therefore I’ve made too few entries this past year.  And my heart wasn’t always in those I did post.  So I feel that I either must end this blog altogether or expand the subject matter beyond my bookshelves.

Now, I have many, many interests but I am an expert at none.  My first instinct was to expand my entries to books and movies.  Then I thought I might add TV shows and music to the list of subjects about which I write.  But like with reading, I feel that one’s taste in movies, shows, and especially music is very personal.  And maybe it’s the trauma of middle school talking but I don’t trust that I won’t be judged harshly for my tastes.  Nothing personal, but the internet hasn’t shown itself to be the safest place to pour one’s heart out.

I’ve also considered posting snippets of my own fiction writing.  Again my trusts issues come into play.  Even though the writing is probably mostly crap, I can’t trust that my ideas won’t be stolen.  I have issues.  We all do.  I know that but I’m only now beginning to realize that these trust issues of mine are holding me back not only in my blog but with my fiction.  Maybe, instead of the usual resolution to get fit or be more responsible with money, my 2017 resolution should be to work on my trust issues.  And not just my trust of strangers on the internet but also I need to learn to trust myself.  This, I believe, would greatly benefit my writing as well as other areas of my life.  Which I don’t trust you enough to talk about.  Still, if I’ve actually posted this, it is a step in the right direction.  Right?

Now, before the trust exercises begin I must post my annual Year in Review of the books I read in 2016.  I went well over my goal of 30 books with 46 but that’s because I didn’t do very well at my other resolution to focus more on my fiction writing.  I could blame a particularly tough year but the truth is I’m just really good at believing my own excuses.  Neither did I succeed in completing Reading Challenge I attempted.

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2016 Reading Challenge from modernmrsdarcy.com

I thought it would be simple with only 12 books but I’m still working on the book that intimidates me – James Michener’s Alaska – and I never got around to the book I should’ve read in school or the one I’d previously abandoned.  That’s not surprising considering that I didn’t want to read them the first time around.  Here are the books I read to complete the other challenges:

A Book Published This Year:

(Goodreads.com giveaways were quite helpful in completing this one)

A Book You Can Finish in a Day:

(I should write an entry on what this local children’s author has meant to me)

A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read:

A Book Recommended by your Local Librarian:

A Book Chosen for You by Your BFF:

A Book Published Before You Were Born:

A Book that Has Been Banned at Some Point: 

A Book You Own But Have Never Read:

(To be fair this category is true of most of the books I read.)

A Book You’ve Read at Least Once:

And now for my top read of the year:

I chose Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.

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Amy Stewart’s wonderful Kopp Sisters series is based on the experiences of real-life sisters Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp in the 1910s.

I know I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating but it was just such a fun surprise and I think many people would enjoy the tale based on actual events.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the author’s page dedicated to these three brave women.  I think it just proves that librarians really do know the best books.  Plus there’s a fantastic sequel for when you finish long before you want it to end.

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Fantasy, Reviews

Review: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride by William Goldman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is there anything better than discovering one of your favorite movies is based on a novel? The wonderful thing about The Princess Bride is that it has all of the qualities that make the movie so classic only more. The characters you love are even more lovable – and the ones you love to hate or even more detestable – (Fezzik, if possible is more wonderful!), the quotable lines are all there plus so many more moments of wicked humor left me smiling long after I finished it, and there is even more edge-of-your-seat action. Even though I knew how it was going to go, I still couldn’t put the book down because I had to know how our heroes would escape the many dangers.
If I have one complaint, it would be the interruptions by the author. The plot of The Princess Bride is exactly the kind of story that a reader can disappear into until they are one of the Florinese witnessing tale first hand. So when Goldman breaks in to explain things he’s cut out or the publishing experience, he drags you back into reality. It is bad enough that I had to come back to reality when the book ended. Which brings me to another semi-complaint. WHY ISN’T BUTTERCUP’S BABY A REAL THING? I read the 25th-anniversary edition in which the first chapter of a long lost sequel to The Princess Bride was included. It seems like it could have been amazing. But these are petty complaints. If you love the movie version of The Princess Bride, read the novel!

View all my reviews

Reader's Rights

That’s Not How It Happened In the Movie!

No, that’s not a typo.  I know there is some debate about whether it is better to read the book or see the film adaptation first. a63a58cdd13b01b21b39997c9fcb215e Frankly, I don’t care.  I love movies just about as much as I love books.  I discover a lot of my reading material through movies.  Just check out my book lists on Goodreads.com; it is packed with books adapted into movies and plays.  On rare occasions, a book’s adaption will put me off reading a book I was on the fence about.  Not because the movie is necessarily bad but because it just didn’t interest me enough to read the book.

Like many readers, I enjoy the opportunity to use my imagination in picturing the characters and the settings based on the author’s descriptions and representations.  And like most, I am usually (but not always) disappointed in the movie if I’ve read the book first.  I often feel like I could have done a better job and kept all of the good bits in.  My worst experience with a film adaptation was that of Corelli’s Mandolin.  The novel is so wonderful and beautiful that I often skipped classes during college because I could not put it down.  So when I heard that it was being adapted, I absolutely had to go see it.  They cut out all of the best scenes and characters and changed the most moving moments completely.  So, you know, your typical film hack job.

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Just looking at the picture makes me sad.

On the other hand, when I see the film first and like it (inspiring me to read the book), I typically enjoy both.  That certainly proved true of two of my most recent reads.

When I found out that The Princess Bride began life as a novel – written by William Goldman who also wrote the brilliant screenplay – I knew I had to read it.  But I was a little nervous going in.

Would I be disappointed?

 Would it ruin the movie for me? 

Could the book possibly be as funny as the hilarious and classic movie?

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NOT A CHANCE!

NO WAY!

AB-SO-LUTE-LY!!

For anyone out there who loves the film version of The Princess Bride – and I know there are a lot of you – I definitely recommend reading the novel.

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And so many of those quotable lines are in the book!

 

The characters you love (and love to hate!), that fabulously wicked sense of humor, and the edge-of-your-seat adventure.  It’s all there.  Only more so.  I think that’s what I love about finding out a movie I enjoyed is based on a book.  The book gives me more of the things I loved about the movie.  And it’s at its best when the movie manages to capture the overall tone of the book like The Princess Bride does.

Before reading The Princess Bride, I finally – after looking at it sitting on my shelf for years – read Seabiscuit:  An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand.  I just loved the film version.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good underdog (or horse) story?  I think I thought the non-fiction book would be dry and dull like a textbook.  It was neither.  Though there were many more differences between the book and the movie than with The Princess Bride, they shared the most important qualities.  There is the connection of the Seabiscuit’s story to his historical era, the heart-stopping excitement of the race scenes, and the emotional connection to the characters, human and equine.

The book, though, also has a lot of information (I learned so much about the sport of horse racing, a subject I didn’t even know I wanted to learn about) and several major changes and omissions were made in adapting it for the film.  Does that mean that I like the movie any less?  No, not really.  What it means is that whenever I watch it from now on, I will be saying, “That’s not how it happened in the book!”