Sunday, December 21, 2008

Books into Movies

Want to stir up a heated conversation in a library? Start discussing movie adaptations of books. Now, as a general rule, I find that I usually prefer the book to the movie. Sometimes, how much I like a movie depends on which I did first--saw the movie or read the book. Very often, it seems that people are more forgiving of a movie's differences from the book if they saw the movie first. Whether you fall into the "love the book/hate the movie" camp or some other camp, one thing I've observed is this--when a movie comes out, circulation of the book at the library increases. Let me repeat that key phrase: Circulation Increases. With that in mind, I am perfectly happy to capitalize on a movie's popularity to promote the book. The following list is my running list that I plan to use to build my "Seen the Movie? Read the book!" display. I am amazed at the shocked expressions on some students' faces when they say "Look at this! Someone ripped off the movie!" and I point out that the book actually came first. Usually, they'll leave with a copy of the book in hand. Cool. Way cool.

101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Saw the Disney cartoon first, loved it. The movie led me to the book. Love it too.

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

Saw the old Disney movie first, which led me to the book. Read it, loved it and then saw the re-make. My son and I both loved that one.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Saw the movie as a child which led me to the book. The movie was not my favorite, but as it led me to the book--I was happy to see it.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Read the book and loved it. Too many of my students, ones who read the book THEN saw the movie, HATED the movie--so I haven't bothered to see that one. Oddly enough, students who saw the movie first, THEN read the book, were ok with the movie. Funny how that works.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Saw the movie first and loved it. It led me to the book, which I also loved.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Read the book first and loved it--the descriptions of the witches and their itchy scalps still gives me a chuckle (and shiver). The movie was fun too, but I'll say I got more out of the book.

Spiderwick Chronicles by DiTerlizzi and Black

My son and I read the books (the first series) first and loved them. When we went to see the movie, my son was totally disappointed b/c they'd changed so much. I thought the movie was pretty fun, BUT not if you were expecting it to be true to the books.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Read the books first. Loved them. Saw the movies afterwards. Enjoyed them. Were they different? Yes. Enjoyable? I think so. Regardless of a love/hate relationship with the books, it is certain that, when a movie is due to be released, the books fly off the shelf as students (and adults!) scurry to re-read. Don't have much time to read 800 page books? The book-on-tape adaptations with Jim Dale as narrator are wonderful for car trips.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I hate to admit that I must be one of the few adults who hadn't read this book before seeing the movie. I loved the movie, which led me to read the book. Loved them both.

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Read the book first, but it was so long before I saw the movie, that there is a lot about the book I just don't remember. Did I like the movie? It was fun, but my son, who is way ahead of me on the books, didn't like this movie nearly as much as he liked the first one.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Goodreads--Great Tool for Readers

Many years ago, I started keeping a book log. In this log, I would write down the titles of books I'd read, maybe a few favorite quotes from the book and a few notes about what I thought about the book--or what the book made me think about in general. In some ways, my book log became a journal. Looking back at these lists brings me back to where I was at that particular moment in my life--metaphorically speaking. Technology being what it is, we now have access to some amazing tools that allow anyone with Internet access (and these days, that basically means anyone who can get to a public library if they don't have a home computer), can log in, create an account, and get started. Here's the address: What can you do with this site? Here's a small sampling:

  • make a list of books you've read

  • make a list of books you want to read

  • rank the book from 1-5 stars

  • write a review

  • join a discussion group

  • create a group to discuss reading topics

  • invite friends to join and share their lists

To see a sample, take a look at my Children's and YA books widget, compliments of Good Reads. It's over on the right-hand side of this page.

Before you sign up, take a look at some of the other programs out there--Good Reads is only one of many. There's also Shelfari and Library Thing and many more--just use your favorite search engine and see what's out there. These sites offer a great way to network about books and reading.