By December 22, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Book Into Film Pairings, Pt. 4

My last posting on upcoming film adaptations and the books upon which they were based covers films with release dates in the last four months of 2009. Chances are that several of these release dates will shift and that other adapted films will be added to the schedule before the upcoming year is finished, but these films are done or near completion: They will be released sometime in the near future. There’s plenty of time for your group to read them before the film arrives.

I’ll start with three classics for children. Judi and Ron Barrett’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs appears in theaters on September 18, 2009. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is due on October 16th, and Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox arrives on November 6th. All three have been made into animated films by top-notch artistic talents. The books–from 1982, 1963, and 1970 respectively–have all withstood the test of time. Adult book groups might enjoy one or more of these books or films in combination with a meeting in which you share the books that influenced you as children. I’ve tried this theme with three groups and we’ve had a marvelous, insightful meeting on all three occasions.

Kurt Eichenwald’s nonfiction book The Informant has been made into a film starring Matt Damon that will open on September 18th. It’s the story of Mark Whitacre, an executive of Archer Daniels Midland who blew the whistle on his company’s price-fixing schemes. ADM’s scam netted them billions of dollars (and the company also got us all switched from regular sugar to less healthy high fructose corn syrup, but that’s another story), but prosecuting the case proved to be an amazing challenge. This complex but exciting tale of white collar crime could make a movie even better than Erin Brockovich or A Civil Action.

Director Martin Scorsese brings Dennis Lehane’s thriller Shutter Island to the big screen starting on October 2nd. Set in 1954, the story involves a Federal Marshall sent to an island off the New England coast to search for a murderess gone missing from an insane asylum. That’s just the beginning of a plot full of amazing twists and an atmospheric setting that I can’t wait to see in a theatre. A cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer and Max von Sydow gives this film a fantastic pedigree.

The film Amelia, starring Hillary Swank and directed by Mira Nair is adapted from a trio of book’s about the fascinating Ms. Earhart. Susan Butler’s East to the Dawn, Mary Lovell’s The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart, and Elgen Long’s Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved were all part of the inspiration. Let your readers pick the book of their choice about the famous aviatrix and come to group ready to debate the many interpretations of her personality and her disappearance.


Finally, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh have moved from hobbits to Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, due on December 11th. Starring Saoirse Ronan (who moviegoers might remember from the adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement) as the victim of a horrible crime who narrates from heaven, the film chronicles her thoughts on those left behind, particularly her mother (played by Rachel Weisz) and her father (Mark Wahlberg). Despite the fact that it tells the sad story of a child’s rape and murder, the book is ultimately moving, and surprisingly, uplifting. Let’s hope New Zealand’s greatest director and screenwriter’s do as well with this as they did with The Lord of the Rings.



About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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