Monthly Archives: February 2011

Movie Tie-In Editions of Books

Water for Elephants MTIStacy recently complained noted that Maggie and Carley were getting the most blog shout-outs lately. This may be true but that’s because blog post ideas are often hard to come by so I like to give credit where credit is due. This is all to say that I’m apologizing now because this post was inspired by a conversation Carley and I had not long ago about the movie tie-in editions of books.

This topic feels particularly relevant what with the Oscars being just last night. Of the movies nominated this year in the “Best Picture” category, four are based on books: The Social Network, True Grit, 127 Hours and Winter’s Bone.

Whenever a book is made into a movie there is much discussion about how well it will be adapted, whether the actors fit the image of the book, and whether the film version can live up to the print version. Less often talked about is what happens to the books at this point. While their plots are getting glitzed up for the big screen, the books typically undergo their own makeover with new movie tie-in jacket art. Above is the artwork for the soon to be released movie tie-in edition of Water for Elephants, a book I really liked that my mom, my dad, Carley and probably a whole lot of other people liked a lot too. Below is the original jacket cover for the book:

Water for Elephants

I never really thought all that much about these editions of the books. But Carley had. As we wandered the bookstore and noticed a few, she told me how much she disliked when book covers were changed to reflect the movie. I could see her point. It feels a little less genuine. Instead of seeing a teen heartthrob on the cover, I’d rather see what the art director originally envisioned as the best embodiment of the book within.

Then again, if a movie related image will get more people into a bookstore and picking up a book, then more power to it I suppose.

What do you all think of these new “Hollywood” versions of books?


Bloodroot Makes The Tournament of Books

Every March, there’s this little thing called March Madness involving basketball games or some such and Andrew gets pretty into it. Well, this year I may have found my own “madness” to be a part of. I seem to have stumbled across The Tournament of Books, which every spring pits celebrated books from the previous calendar year against each other in head-to-head match-ups until one book emerges victorious winning the title of The Rooster, Champion Book of the Year. No, I don’t know why it’s called The Rooster, but then again I just found out about this tournament yesterday, so please excuse me if I don’t know all of the details yet.

You can see a larger, more readable version of the bracket by clicking here. And when you look, you’ll realize there are some pretty great books in the mix. Of the 16, I’ve only read three – Freedom, Room, and Skippy Dies – but I really liked them. Plus, there are at least a few more in the tournament that I’ve been meaning to read. In fact, one of them is on my mom’s list so it’s definitely in the queue. That would be Bloodroot and it’s up against The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I’ve heard a lot about. This specific showdown takes place March 17 so I will keep you all posted if you don’t follow along yourself.

I’ve never read either book, but I feel like I should be rooting for anything having to do with my mom’s list. So, while Andrew’s anxiously following whatever teams are in March Madness, I’ll be keeping up with these books (not to be confused with the more basketball-related bookies).

Weird Al Wrote a Book…And It Did Well

Weird Al on the NYT Bestseller List

This post is for my brother. Growing up, Adam loved Weird Al Yankovic and all his silly parodies of popular songs. I did not love them as much at the time, but mostly because my brother did love them and so I had to have something to complain about. Surprisingly, I have since gained an appreciation for the crazy musical numbers.

That’s all just background, though, for this current news, which is that “Weird Al” has written a children’s book. And not just any children’s book – one that landed at the number 4 spot on the New York Times’ bestseller list last week and is still holding steady at number 9 this week. Evidence of this success is in the picture above. But what really stood out to me was that he is listed as simply Al Yankovic. It looks so weird without the Weird.

Anyway, his book, When I Grow Up, actually looks really cute. It’s about an 8-year-old who is considering what career he should pursue, from snail trainer to artist who sculpts out of chocolate mousse, and a lot of things in between. You can enjoy an excerpt from the book below read by Weird Al himself:

Cute, right? But for my brother’s sake (and, okay, maybe a little mine too), I have to end with a classic Weird Al song. Amish Paradise, take it away.


Let’s Take The Long Way Home

Let's Take The Long way HomeWhile I was at Borders this past weekend, I casually picked up books I had heard a lot about and read the back covers. Then I got to Let’s Take The Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. I’d skimmed the USA Today review of the book a couple of months ago and it caught my eye again.

Let’s Take The Long Way Home is a memoir about Gail’s relationship with her best friend who died from lung cancer. Gail and Caroline Knapp bonded later in life over writing, dogs, and their shared alcoholic past. As the description says, “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”

The first time I heard about Let’s Take The Long Way Home I noted that it sounded interesting and then thought nothing of it. When I re-read the description in Borders, though, I realized that the name Caroline Knapp sounded familiar. Turns out that’s because her memoir, Drinking: A Love Story, is on my mom’s list.

Now, I think maybe somewhere down the line I will read Let’s Take The Long Way Home. It does seem a little Year of Magical Thinking-esque, which as I’ve mentioned is a bit more sad and depressing than I would normally seek out, but I also like the idea of it celebrating a friendship. And I like that it ties in to my mom’s list. So we’ll see where my reading takes me.

Saying Goodbye to Borders

Borders ClosingLast week, Borders filed for bankruptcy and announced that it will be closing 200 of its stores across the country. From what I’ve heard, only one Borders will remain open in New York City and it is not the one I frequent.

So, in addition to honoring the presidents this past weekend, I also honored Borders by visiting one of the closing stores not once but twice. Okay, so I mostly went to accompany people who had to use up their Borders’ gift certificates before it was too late. But I love bookstores and, even though I’ve always been a Barnes & Noble kind of girl, I’m sad to see Borders go. It’s bad for the publishing industry and it’s bad for book lovers. As convenient as it is to order books online, and I certainly do it plenty, there is no replacement for walking around a store and discovering new books that way.

So, farewell Kips Bay Borders, and best of luck to the surviving Borders.

A Presidents’ Day Weekend Full of Reading

Lincoln readingThis Monday is Presidents’ Day and for some reason that means I have the day off of work and I’m not complaining. But while I’d love to spend the entire extended weekend commemorating the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I’ve got to take some time out to do a little reading.

A few days ago, I started Family Album, but other books must take precedence. I’ve got a few work manuscripts that have to get read this week. This is, of course, entirely my fault – I’ve been wanting to and meaning to do this reading for a while now, but my mom’s list somehow distracted me. So I’ll do like Lincoln is doing in the picture and get to reading (though most likely without a small child on my lap).

The problem is that I’m not that far into Family Album and I’m certainly not hooked yet. I’m worried that if I take a break to read other books when I come back I’ll have no idea what’s going on. So my challenge this presidential birthday weekend is to tackle some work related reading, not completely lose my spot in Family Album, and still have a fun weekend full of relaxing and celebrating another VIP’s birthday – Maggie’s!

And yes, I have just been waiting for an opportunity to use a How I Met Your Mother clip on the blog.

Next Next Up? The Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday SistersThe book club authorities (and by “authorities” I mean Maggie and Steph who are hosting the next gathering) have spoken and our next book is… The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton.

If that book sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve memorized my mom’s list. The Wednesday Sisters comes from the list so I’ll be knocking off two birds with one literary stone by reading it. It’s always nice when that happens though I did not request it.

I’ll have more on The Wednesday Sisters later when I actually get around to it. For now, back to Family Album!