Tag Archives: book adaptations

Can’t Get Enough Mr. Darcy?

It is a truth universally known that authors take inspiration from works they have read and stories they have heard and loved, this is why there are so many retellings of our favourite stories. Fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythologies are often re-told thousands of times over with unique settings and plots in each version that speak to the author’s and society’s views at the time. Whether they were written to teach lessons as many of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales were or to explain the name of a flower which grows by a pond, all were influenced by how society was perceived at different points in time.

I’m always interested in retellings of fairy tales and mythologies whether they are Young Adult, Children’s or Adult novels, however I am also very much interested in retellings of Classic stories especially those from Jane Austen. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been retold many times over and is still being retold in novels and they themselves are being retold in films. If you are a fan of the classic novel, have read it countless times and are looking for something similar but slightly different, give these books and series a try! Or if you haven’t read the original source material, request your copy here.

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

ppz Did you ever read Pride and Prejudice and think, what this books needs is zombies? If so, this book is for you, if not, give it a try, it may surprise you! Keeping the same text but altering it slightly to include a zombie plague that has overrun England and a warrior Elizabeth Bennet, Grahame-Smith’s novel is a wonderful and fun take on the classic with some fantastic illustrations to boot. There is also a film version of the novel that came out recently which you can also check out, though it veers a bit from its source material it’s still a fun picture.

  Austenland by Shannon Hale

austenland

Ever fantasize about living in Jane Austen’s world? In Austenland Jane Hayes is allowed to truly experience the world of Jane Austen thanks to a gift left to her by her recently deceased great aunt. She travels to an exclusive resort where guests can experience the wonder of the regency era and perhaps even some romance of their own. Filled with hilarity, wit and the fun of a Jane Austen novel, Austenland takes many a fan’s dream of meeting Mr. Darcy and turning it into a reality. There has also been a film adaptation of the novel that is also available starring Keri Russell.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Hoopla digital

ldiaries  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries started out as a web series available through the Pemberley Digital channel on YouTube but has become a phenomenon. Though there are 100 episodes in total they are only around 3 to 10 minutes in length each. This smart, well-acted modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is sure to delight those new to the series, with Lizzie Bennet as a graduate student working on her thesis by creating a vlog with her friend Charlotte, and those who loved the book and are craving more of the story. I have to say my favourite episodes are those of Lizzie and Charlotte Lucas, the actors are hilarious together and their re-enactments and imitations of the other characters are spot-on! If you enjoyed this series, Hoopla also has available the Emma Approved web series which is based on the Jane Austen novel Emma, and is excellent as well.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

eligibleLizzie is a columnist of a beauty magazine, Jane a yoga instructor, Mary and Kitty cross-fit enthusiasts, and Charles Bingley was on a Bachelor-type show. Yes, this is a recent adaptation of Pride & Prejudice which is a bit more risqué and deals with contemporary issues (as retellings often do) yet possesses all the feels of the original.

 

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

bjones  Fielding’s beloved novel follows Bridget Jones, a 30-something woman who has a plan for the year to improve her life: lose weight, stop smoking and find a man. In this novel we follow Bridget along through her success and failures as she laments in personal and extremely funny ways to her diary, be prepared to laugh out loud and even think, “I’ve felt that way before.”

 

 

 

lostinaLost in Austen

This film is yet another fun, fan’s dream come true. Amanda Price, a huge P&P enthusiast finds a portal that takes her into the novel where characters are not all they seemed in the book. Unfortunately her escapade changes things, and if she wants to keep the story as-is she must unite Lizzie and Darcy, but what’s a girl to do when she is falling for Darcy and Lizzie becomes transported into her world? A truly enjoyable series with some modern twists and laugh-out-loud moments.

Pride and Prejudice has also inspired many spin-offs and continuations of the series as well as authors considering the novel from Darcy’s point-of-view, which all make for fun reads. Click here to see all that we have to offer.

Last but not least, I can’t forget the wonderful adaptations of the famed novel. Whether you swooned over Colin Firth when he exited the pond, or were entranced with Keira Knightley’s Oscar nominated performance or love both, the library has you covered here!

Let me know some of your favourite retellings of P&P or other classics in the comments below.

Aileen

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What are some (possibly) great upcoming book-based movies?

What are some (possibly) great upcoming book-based movies? I ask myself this at least a couple times a year. This is one of those times, given that the best non-action-with-amazing-special-effects movies are released in the last part of the year to catch a glimmer of Oscar fever.

Book-based movies to me imply quality plots with intriguing, provocative stories and great characters – even characters that develop. Car chases, explosions and 3D effects are somehow of lesser importance. But the reality remains: some movies made from books are just not as good as the books that inspired them. Successful adaptations are possible, but not a guarantee. (Two recent films that survived translation were the films made from Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo [both versions!] and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner).

Why so difficult? Because the mediums are so different. Movies are a more linear form, and can only ‘show’ maybe 100 pages of a book in a comfortable period of time. Books can play on our imagination at different levels that movies can’t seem to reach. For instance, it’s not easy to put the complex interior thoughts of characters on screen, nor the narrator’s guiding voice. I’ve heard that in the upcoming adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina whole sets of characters have been excised to make the film manageable. (Given Tolstoy’s sprawling prose, this was probably a very good idea.)

Although great books are hard to translate to screen, I am glad filmmakers make the attempt. Often they show great creativity as brand new works of art come into being before our eyes. Maybe we need to see movie adaptations as entirely different animals, and not compare them so much to their book counterparts? (An almost impossible thing to do if you’ve read the book before the movie!)

Here are just a few upcoming movies based on books you can borrow in the library:

Les Miserables‘  – Apparently this is the first musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic tale. Why it could be good? A formidable cast for starters: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. A vivid story of crime and punishment in which ex-convict Jean Valjean searches for redemption in revolutionary France.


Life of Pi‘ (original book here) –  A fantastic tale of a Indian zookeeper’s son lost at sea with only a wild tiger to keep him company. Based on Canadian Yann Martel’s bestseller. Trivia: Martel had a hard time selling his manuscript. Many have wondered if this book could ever be put to film, but apparently even Martel likes what director Ang Lee has done!


Rise of the Guardians‘ is a popular inventive children’s book series by William Joyce. Classic characters like the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost come to life to challenge the villain, ‘Pitch the Boogieman’ voiced by Jude Law. Has potential for a fun kids’ movie.


Midnight’s Children‘ is based on the 80’s book by Salman Rushdie.  “A pair of children, born within moments of India gaining independence from Britain, grow up in the country that is nothing like their parents’ generation.” Intriguing.



Jack Reacher‘ – A movie made for Tom Cruise’s talents based on the works of British author Lee Child. “A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.” This wouldn’t be another movie about vigilante justice, would it?


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘ — starring and directed by Ben Stiller, based on the James Thurber short story. A timid man who lives life vicariously through heroic daydreams embarks on a true-life adventure when a negative goes missing. Coming later in 2013.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I almost don’t need to give a reminder about this one. The first of three movies by Peter Jackson to be released over the next 18 months. “A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group fo Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.”

There are many more coming down the road including Oz: The Great and Powerful,  Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations (yes, another one!), Serena, and, you might have guessed, On The Road.

What do you like best? Reading the book before seeing the movie, or the other way around?

Lyle