(Bookish) Movie Recommendations: Part One

When two of your biggest interests are literature and cinema, it’s a mental tug-of-war battle trying to decide which of these interests to give in to. For this reason, I decided to cull together a list of films that either involve/relate to books, or for some reason strike me as “bookish.” This way, you sort of get a two-for-one deal of books and movies, even if you only did one of those things!

 

dead_poets_society1: Dead Poets Society (1989, Dir. Peter Weir)

I watched this film the summer before I took a course about poetry, solely for the reason of getting myself interested in the subject. In fact, it is John Keating (Robin Williams)’s job in the film to make his all-boys preparatory school class like poetry enough to take his course seriously. Besides being a film heavily invested in literary & poetic history, it’s a touching look at the impact a teacher can have on their students.

Related book recommendations: The Wasteland by T.S Eliot, any anthology of Modern Poetry. (Norton makes a great one.)

 

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2. Stranger than Fiction (2006, Dir. Marc Forster)

This one has “fiction” in the title, so you can guess it involves books. Unfortunately for Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), it does. You see, Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) is a bestselling author working on a novel about a character she devises named Harold Crick. The thing is, she has a major case of writers block, and she can’t figure out how to kill Harold. Harold, on the other hand, is a real person just trying to navigate his life. And so the comedy and drama ensue. I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan, but this movie was a pleasant surprise.

 

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3. Love in the Afternoon (1972, Dir. Éric Rohmer)

Any of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales could be on this list, but I’ve chosen the final tale here, for its explicit references to books and literature. If you’re unfamiliar with the Moral Tales, Rohmer first wrote them all as short stories, and then adapted them into films many years later.

Love in the Afternoon begins with Frédéric (Bernard Verley) & his marriage with Hélène. However, as the movie cover shows you, Chloe (Zouzou) shows up. This is the basic set-up to all the moral tales, actually; a man is in one relationship or likes one person, and is then tempted by another. You see a lot of reading in the film, and Rohmer subtly places in references to art as well.

As this was originally a blog for teens, I suppose I am obligated to let you know that this film is probably rated “R” for nudity/sexual content.

A second Rohmer recommendation would be the short film The Bakery Girl of Monceau. It’s the first film in the Moral Tale series and has no nudity/sexual content.

Related book recommendations: Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, which are available as short stories/novellas.

 

I’ll be doing a Part Two at some point in the future, but until then, what bookish films would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Testing “The Awesome Author Recommender” Tool

I was scrolling through Reddit this morning and discovered a neat little link called “The Awesome Author Recommender.” Similar to sites like WhatShouldIReadNext, it is a site that recommends you authors based on previous ones you have read. The site claims to use real people, not a computer formula, to recommend an author to you.

Excited to try it out, I first put in Marissa Meyer, the author of one of my favorite YA series, The Lunar Chronicles.

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Well, I suppose Marissa Meyer isn’t the most widely read of authors. For the heck of it, I also tried Ernest Cline, whose books are certainly selling quite a bit at the moment.

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Oh well, we’ll keep trying.

How about a YA romance novelist who has been writing and publishing a multitude of books for years now?

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I do like that the site at least gives me a brief description of the author, even if it can’t make any recommendations to me.

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Hold that thought; no recommendations or even a description of J.K Rowling? Perhaps I’m pushing this a little far, but isn’t she British? This is a British website. Yikes.

Figuring I was being a tad unfair by choosing the previous authors, I tried Jane Austen, in honor of my current read, Pride and Prejudice. Surely something will come up.

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Screenshot of Awesome Author Recommender

Oh dear. That’s a problem.

In a desperate attempt to get the website to make any recommendation to me, I just started searching random authors. Classic ones, modern ones, anything. I also tried ones it automatically began to suggest to me as I typed.

Thankfully, I did get some recommendations, including for Karen Thompson Walker, one of my favorite authors, who has only written one book. Why she is in there but not Jane Austen, I am not entirely sure. Nevertheless, I am certainly intrigued by the site’s sole recommendation to me.

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Lauren Oliver. I clicked “View Books”, and this is what it gave me:

Screenshot of LoveReading's Lauren Oliver page.

Screenshot of LoveReading’s Lauren Oliver page.

Below this was more of her featured books, as well as other books by her, which can be sorted by paperback, hardcover and audiobook.

For fun, I tried out the “compare prices” tool that the site offers on her book, Rooms.

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Gotta love loading symbols.

After several minutes of waiting, I decided to try a different book to compare prices with.

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5 minutes later, I was still looking at this picture.

Oh, boy. I really, really wanted to say something good about this site. For the sake of this experiment, I kept the tabs loading, and even tried them in other internet browsers. Nada.

As other reddit users are saying, the idea of this tool is great. It is unique and pretty close to the experience you’d get asking a librarian for recommendations, yet with a wider scope. Ideally, at least. But there are far too many holes in the site’s author database, and too little recommendations given when you even find an author that is in the database. (For example, I was given just one recommendation for Karen Thompson Walker.) Perhaps in a few months, or however long it takes to add more authors to the database, this will be a fun and worthwhile tool for readers. But at this moment in time, I just don’t think it is ready.

Try out the site for yourself and let me know what you think and/or find! If it were more complete, would it be a useful tool to you? Comment below!  http://authormachine.lovereading.co.uk

P.S If you saw my tweet on twitter, I redid my Tumblr page and am now posting on it again! Hooray! Give it a follow for some cute bookspiration!