Books Gone Movie

You can convince me to see just about any movie if you tell me it’s based on a book. If I read the book first, then I tend to enjoy the movie more. However, if I see the film first, I might buy the book…but I usually never get around to reading it. Take The Namesake, for example. Loved the movie, but still haven’t read the book (its on the shelf collecting dust). The Moral Compass? Couldn’t get into the movie. Refuse to read the book (its on the shelf collecting dust). Wicked? Enjoyed the book and I’m finally going to see the musical this fall. The Ruins? Really liked the movie (surprisingly) and became even more intrigued by the excerpt found below.

So, here are the trailers and book excerpts for flicks that are coming to theaters soon or that you may have missed. What do you recommend?

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (EXCERPT)

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn’t happen.

In my junior high yearbook I had a quote from a Spanish poet my sister had turned me on to, Juan Raman Jimanez. It went like this: “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” I chose it both because it expressed my contempt for my structured surroundings a la the classroom and because, not being some dopey quote from a rock group, I thought it marked me as literary. I was a member of the Chess Club and Chem Club and burned everything I tried to make in Mrs. Delminico’s home ec class. My favorite teacher was Mr. Botte, who taught biology and liked to animate the frogs and crawfish we had to dissect by making them dance in their waxed pans. (Read more)

Comment: I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I honestly feel like I’ve waited forever for the film version. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of Mark Walhberg’s acting skills, so I am a bit concerned about him playing the father. Sigh.


Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (EXCERPT)

Teddy Daniel’s father had been a fisherman. He lost his boat to the bank in ’31 when Teddy was eleven, spent the rest of his life hiring onto other boats when they had the work, unloading freight along the docks when they didn’t, going long stretches when he was back at the house by ten in the morning, sitting in an armchair, staring at his hands, whispering to himself occasionally, his eyes gone wide and dark.

He’d taken Teddy out to the islands when Teddy was still a small boy, too young to be much help on the boat. All he’d been able to do was untangle the lines and tie off the hooks. He’d cut himself a few times, and the blood dotted his fingertips and smeared his palms.

They’d left in the dark, and when the sun appeared, it was a cold ivory that pushed up from the edge of the sea, and the islands appeared out of the fading dusk, huddled together, as if they’d been caught at something. (Read more)

Comment: I haven’t heard anything about this book or movie until now, but I am secretly STAN for Leonardo DiCaprio. I can’t think of one role that I’ve disliked him in—The Beach, Catch Me if You Can, Titanic, Revolutionary Road…yeah…I like DiCaprio.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (EXCERPT)

When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he’d wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease. Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a black and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.

Comment: I downloaded the audiobook version from iTunes and couldn’t focus long enough to get into it. I guess I’ll have to actually READ the book.

Derby Girl (film titled Whip It) by Shauna Cross (EXCERPT)

All I have to do is get around the track five times. I can do this.

I line up, the whistle blows, and I immediately stumble as I take off. I keep skating, fighting my wobbles, and get around the track one time with relative ease (yes!). But then something clicks on the second lap. I lean low into the track, push as hard as I can and—bingo!—I go flying out of the turn at speeds the other girls haven’t even touched. For a second, it feels like I might not be able to control the speed, but I bend my knees lower, and manage to go even faster. From there on, the track is mine, I attack it with all I have . . .

At practice, the humiliation factor decreases as my skating improves. Even though I’m covered in bruises aka “derby kisses” I feel surprisingly proud of what I’m learning to do (it’s so weird; I’m kind of like a jock). I even sneak out late at night to covertly practice my T-stops and power slides in the driveway, determined to catch up to the other girls.

I love the way the wind whips through my hair as I fly through the turns, sitting low, leaning into the track for maximum speed. My life feels like it has been so slow for so long, it’s fun to finally be going fast.

Comment: Did you see Eve in the trailer? Nice cast on this one.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (EXCERPT)

Clare: It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.

I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.

I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I’m tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that’s been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?

Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes unwillingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow? (Read more)

Comment: I have walked past this one in bookstores on several occasions. I can’t say that I ever bothered to read the summary or flip through the pages. Now that the film is coming out, I hate that I ignored this book for so long. I’m really interested now.


Five Roundabouts to Heaven (Film titled Married Life) by John Bingham (EXCERPT)

I had been looking forward all day to the visit. Indeed, I had been looking forward to it ever since we had planned our trip to the south of France, and I had arranged the route so that we would pass through Orléans. It was a visit that I had wanted to make for a long time, a kind of pilgrimage to a shrine of happiness now suitably veiled in the rosy mists of youth.

Nineteen years is a long time. One cannot remember everything, and the tendency on occasions such as this is to remember only the happiness. The weather seems always to have been warm and sunny, the days filled with love and laughter, the nights throbbing with the notes of the nightingales in the woods, and, in my case, with the blithe croaking of the amorous frogs in the moat around the château.

If I concentrate hard enough, I can, of course, recall that there were minor irritations and frictions, but it is true to say that they never lasted long. We were all too young, too filled with the joy of living; and perhaps the mild and gentle air of the wooded Sologne country was itself an antidote to prolonged bitterness.

Even the pangs of youthful jealousy have a curious sweetness in retrospect, for with the near approach of middle age the emotions, in matters of the heart, tend to be flattened, and the ecstasies and agonies toned down. (Read more)

Comment: Don’t like the excerpt, but the film has hope.


House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker (EXCERPT)

He stood motionless in the entryway, staring at his own shadow splayed before him like a stain upon the floor. He studied the patina of dust, sampled the stench of mold and rat urine, listened to a beam settling one more fraction of an inch toward the center of the earth.

This room bore so little evidence of the events that had led to the dawn. From this vantage point, it was just one more abandoned house. Interesting.

But the rest of the house told the truth.

Beneath his boots, the floorboards lay shoulder to shoulder like the buried dead, cupped with creeping moisture, edges buckling, obscured by gray dust and fallen flakes of white paint.

Across the foyer, at the base of a wall, the rose-printed wallpaper fluttered. Behind one of the roses, something scratched, pushed, gnawed, and clawed until a black, whiskered nose burst through. With a wad of shredded wallpaper in its jaws, the rat wriggled through the hole, then rested on its haunches and met his eyes. Neither found the other’s presence alarming. The rat skittered along the baseboard and disappeared around a corner.

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (EXCERPT)

In the summer of 1642 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a teenage boy was accused of buggering a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves, and a turkey. This is real history on the books. In accordance with the Biblical laws of Leviticus, after the boy confessed he was forced to watch each animal being slaughtered. Then he was killed and his body heaped with the dead animals and buried in an unmarked pit.

This was before there were sexaholic talk therapy meetings.

This teenager, writing his fourth step must’ve been a whole barnyard tell-all.

I ask, “Any questions?”

The fourth-graders just look at me. A girl in the second row says, “What’s buggering?”

I say, ask your teacher.

Every half hour, I’m supposed to teach another herd of fourth-graders some shit nobody wants to learn, like how to start a fire. How to carve an apple-head doll. How to make ink out of black walnuts. As if this is going to get any of them into a good college.

Besides deforming the poor chickens, these fourth-graders, they all walk in here carrying some germ. It’s no mystery why Denny’s always wiping his nose and coughing. Head lice, pinworms, chlamydia, ringworm–for serious, these field trip kids are the pint-sized horsemen of the apocalypse.

Comment: I like the trailer…

BlindnessBlindness by Jose Saramago (EXCERPT)

The amber light came on. Two of the cars ahead accelerated before the red light appeared. At the pedestrian crossing the sign of a green man lit up. The people who were waiting began to cross the road, stepping on the white stripes painted on the black surface of the asphalt, there is nothing less like a zebra, however, that is what it is called. The motorists kept an impatient foot on the clutch, leaving their cars at the ready, advancing, retreating like nervous horses that can sense the whiplash about to be inflicted. The pedestrians have just finished crossing but the sign allowing the cars to go will be delayed for some seconds, some people maintain that this delay, while apparently so insignificant, has only to be multiplied by the thousands of traffic lights that exist in the city and by the successive changes of their three colours to produce one of the most serious causes of traffic jams or bottlenecks, to use the more current term.

The green light came on at last, the cars moved off briskly, but then it became clear that not all of them were equally quick off the mark. The car at the head of the middle lane has stopped, there must be some mechanical fault, a loose accelerator pedal, a gear lever that has stuck, problem with the suspension, jammed brakes, breakdown in the electric circuit, unless he has simply run out of gas, it would not be the first time such a thing has happened. The next group of pedestrians to gather at the crossing see the driver of the stationary car wave his arms behind the windshield, while the cars behind him frantically sound their horns. Some drivers have already got out of their cars, prepared to push the stranded vehicle to a spot where it will not hold up the traffic, they beat furiously on the closed windows, the man inside turns his head in their direction, first to one side then the other, he is clearly shouting something, to judge by the movements of his mouth he appears to be repeating some words, not one word but three, as turns out to be the case when someone finally manages to open the door, I am blind.

Comments: I don’t care for Julianne Moore. Since she’s in the film…I’m a little suspect. Really hate a few of her films.

The Ruins by Scott Smith (EXCERPT)

They met Mathias on a day trip to Cozumel. They’d hired a guide to take them snorkeling over a local wreck, but the buoy marking its location had broken off in a storm, and the guide was having difficulty finding it. So they were just swimming about, looking at nothing in particular. Then Mathias rose toward them from the depths, like a merman, a scuba tank on his back. He smiled when they told him their situation, and led them to the wreck. He was German, dark from the sun, and very tall, with a blond crew cut and pale blue eyes. He had a tattoo of an eagle on his right forearm, black with red wings. He let them take turns borrowing his tank so they could drop down thirty feet and see the wreck up close. He was friendly in a quiet way, and his English was only slightly accented, and when they pulled themselves into their guide’s boat to head back to shore, he climbed in, too.

They met the Greeks two nights later, back in Cancun, on the beach near their hotel. Stacy got drunk and made out with one of them. Nothing happened beyond that, but the Greeks always seemed to be turning up afterward, no matter where they went or what they were doing. None of them spoke Greek, of course, and the Greeks didn’t speak English, so it was mostly smiling and nodding and the occasional sharing of food or drinks. There were three Greeks—in their early twenties, like Mathias and the rest of them—and they seemed friendly enough, even if they did appear to be following them about. (Read more)

Comments: I really want to read this book. Love the excerpt. Enjoyed the movie (especially after witnessing silly tourists firsthand in Mexico last summer).

In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke (EXCERPT)

The sky had gone black at sunset, and the storm had churned inland from the Gulf and drenched New Iberia and littered East Main with leaves and tree branches from the long canopy of oaks that covered the street from the old brick post office to the drawbridge over Bayou Teche at the edge of town. The air was cool now, laced with light rain, heavy with the fecund smell of wet humus, night-blooming jasmine, roses, and new bamboo. I was about to stop my truck at Del’s and pick up three crawfish dinners to go when a lavender Cadillac fishtailed out of a side street, caromed off a curb, bounced a hubcap up on a sidewalk, and left long serpentine lines of tire prints through the glazed pools of yellow light from the street lamps.

I was off duty, fired, used up after a day of searching for a nineteen-year-old girl in the woods, then finding her where she had been left in the bottom of a coulee, her month and wrists wrapped with electrician’s tape. Already I had tried to stop thinking about the rest of it. The medical examiner was a kind man. He bagged the body before any news people or family members got there.

I don’t like to bust drunk drivers. I don’t like to listen to their explanations, watch their pitiful attempts to affect sobriety, or see the sheen of fear break out in their eyes when they realize they’re headed for the drunk tank with little to look forward to in the morning except the appearance of their names in the newspaper. Or maybe in truth I just don’t like to see myself when I look into their faces. (Read more)

I’m headed to Redbox to see if I can find a few of these. When I do posts like this I get a little confused. Should I spend time catching up on my reading or movies? I guess the answer is obvious. READ! But in this day and age of technology, why spend a few hours or days on a storyline that I can pick up in 2 hours or less? Kidding….kinda?

There are plenty more of these books/movies to post, but if you can’t wait until next time, please visit my favorite movies based on books website, chasingthefrog.com.

Happy reading, y’all—but if you aren’t going to read, at least read a book based movie. I give you permission.

4 thoughts on “Books Gone Movie

  1. Just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying your blog. You have pretty diverse tastes, which gives your reader the opportunity to find out about a range of popular fiction (from Cormac McCarthy to Alice Sebold). Keep up the good work!

  2. I think we might be soulmates, between the books, movies and cats.:) I also saw and loved The Namesake so much I never got around to reading the book. I thought that was so funny when you wrote that.

  3. If I see a movie first, then generally there are a couple of reasons why I choose to pick up the book afterwards
    the movie was okay/good but there is something missing – characters not fleshed out enough, I sense that the plot was more/too complicated for the movie to handle, etc. This is why I’m currently reading Howl’s Moving Castle.
    Or sometimes there are just an insane amount details that the movie has to leave out – which is how I came to read both David Simon’s “Homicde” and “The Corner” even after having seen them on tv.
    But if the movie captures the mood, plot and characters of a story – basically if I walk out of movie theater satisfied, nope, I don’t pick up the book no matter how much more story there is – I’m looking at you Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia.

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