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For this week's Top Ten Tuesday I will be listing some of my favorite films that were books first.
In no particular order:
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
The film: I thought the film stayed pretty darn true to the book. It stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and Jean Reno. Directed by Ron Howard.
While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.
Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.
In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
The film: I first saw this film while visiting my parents. I think my Mom and I watched it no less than ten times. While eating chocolate, of course! Ahhh. Good times. It stars Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, and Alfred Molina.
Try me...Test me...Taste me. When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as instruments of murder. Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate eclair? For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation - as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession. Rich, clever and mischievous, this is a triumphant read.
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd
The film: A Christmas Story. "You'll shoot your eye out." Poor Ralphie. This is my brother-in-law's fave Christmas flick. His kids all chipped in to get him a full size leg lamp. It even came in the crate marked FRAGILE ("fraagillie, must be Italian") with the official paperwork...He cried. It was great. The movie stars Peter Billingsly, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin.
A beloved, bestselling classic of humorous and nostalgic Americana, reissued in a strikingly designed paperback edition.
Before Garrison Keillor and Spalding Gray there was Jean Shepherd: a master monologist and writer who spun the materials of his all-American childhood into immensely resonant--and utterly hilarious--works of comic art. In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash represents one of the peaks of his achievement, a compound of irony, affection, and perfect detail that speaks across generations.
In God We Trust, Shepherd's wildly witty reunion with his Indiana hometown, disproves the adage "You can never go back." Bending the ear of Flick, his childhood-buddy-turned-bartender, Shepherd recalls passionately his genuine Red Ryder BB gun, confesses adolescent failure in the arms of Junie Jo Prewitt, and relives a story of man against fish that not even Hemingway could rival. From pop art to the World's Fair, Shepherd's subjects speak with a universal irony and are deeply and unabashedly grounded in American Midwestern life, together rendering a wonderfully nostalgic impression of a more innocent era when life was good, fun was clean, and station wagons roamed the earth.
A comic genius who bridged the gap between James Thurber and David Sedaris, Shepherd may have accomplished for Holden, Indiana, what Mark Twain did for Hannibal, Missouri.
The Green Mile by Stephen King
Set in the 1930s at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death-row facility, The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffey, a giant, preternaturally gentle inmate condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls. It is a story narrated years later by Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent compelled to help every prisoner spend his last days peacefully and every man walk the green mile to execution with his humanity intact.
Edgecomb has sent seventy-eight inmates to their date with "old sparky," but he's never encountered one like Coffey -- a man who wants to die, yet has the power to heal. And in this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecomb discovers the terrible truth about Coffey's gift, a truth that challenges his most cherished beliefs -- and ours.The film: I mentioned this book last week for John Coffey being one of my favorite literary characters.And Michael Clarke Duncan plays the part to perfection. It also stars Tom Hanks. I must have a thing for Tom Hanks...
Originally published in 1996 in six self-contained monthly installments, The Green Mile is an astonishingly rich and complex novel that delivers over and over again. Each individual volume became a huge success when first published, and all six were on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. Three years later, when Frank Darabont made The Green Mile into an award-winning movie starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan, the book returned to the bestseller list -- and stayed there for months.
The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell
The film: Stars Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, and Imelda Staunton.
Straight from the front line of urban America, the inspiring story of one fiercely determined teacher and her remarkable students.
As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”
With funds raised by a “Read-a-thon for Tolerance,” they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell’s students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition—appearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley—and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.
With powerful entries from the students’ own diaries and a narrative text by Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary is an uplifting, unforgettable example of how hard work, courage, and the spirit of determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students.
The authors’ proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writers’ college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The film: Great movie. It stars Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Queen Latifah
Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The film: This amazing movie was directed by the incomparable Francis Ford Coppola. An all-star cast includes C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swaze, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Leif Garrett.
The Outsiders is a book that delves deeply into the hearts, minds, and stories of a group that had no voice before S. E. Hinton gave them one. She began writing the book at age 15, spurred on by the disturbing trend she saw growing in her high school towards division between groups. "I was worried and angered by the social situation," Hinton writes. "I saw two groups at the extreme ends of the social scale behaving in an idiotic fashion -- one group was being condemned and one wasn't.... When a friend of mine was beaten up for no other reason than that some people didn't like the way he combed his hair, I took my anger out by writing about it."
Thirty years after it was first published, ...
A River Runs through it and Other Stories by Norman McClean
Maclean writes “in my family, there is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” Nor is there a clear line between family and fly-fishing. It is the one activity where brother can connect with brother and father with son. In Maclean’s autobiographical novella, it is the river that makes them realize that life continues and all things are related.
The film: Stars Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, and Tom Skerritt. Robert Redford directed.
The Journey of Natty Gann by Ann Matthews
Natty Gann is a twelve year old Depression era girl whose single-parent father leaves her behind in Chicago while he goes to Washington State to look for work in the timber industry. Natty runs away from the guardian she was left with to follow Dad. She befriends and is befriended by a wolf that has been abused in dog fights, hops a freight train west, and is presumed dead when her wallet is found after the train crashes. Dad gets bitter and endangers himself in his new job. Meanwhile Natty has a series of adventures and mis- adventures in various farmhouses, police stations, hobo camps, reform schools, and boxcars.The film: I chose this one because I vividly remember reading the book when I was twelve.
Sometimes on Sundays, after church, my parents would take us to a movie. At the theater. It was such a treat! Popcorn drenched in butter...Mmmm. Well, it was one of those Sundays, and I had just finished the book so I suggested we go see that one. I learned quickly that nobody likes to have the movie spoiled by the twelve year old sitting next to them, who keeps piping up as to what will happen next. Ugh, I would have had to kick my own ass!
The movie which stars Meredith Salenger, John Cusack, and Ray Wise was fabulously close to the book.
I'm nowhere near done! I haven't mentioned The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Wizard of Oz...But I have to call it quits for now :)Thanks for coming by.
Talk to you soon,