(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!

 

 

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The Value of Libraries- A List

When people think of libraries, their mind probably drifts immediately to books. It’s true; at the core of a library is its bookshelves, and the books it contains within them. However, libraries provide far more to their communities than a vast selection of novels and encyclopedias. Here’s a list of just some of the many things public libraries offer here in the United States.

  • Warmth and/or Air Conditioning (by season), drinking water, bathrooms

My area doesn’t have a large homeless population, but we do have a few homeless friends. The library keeps them off the streets, and in a warm environment where they have access to clean, running water, heat/air conditioning, bathrooms for hygiene, and lots of entertainment to keep them busy until they find employment to help them earn a salary to get back on their feet again!

  • citizenship classes and books

Trying to become a citizen of the United States? The library can help!

  • ESL classes
  • foreign language conversation groups
  • computer classes for seniors
  • magazines
  • movies
  • music- free, legal downloadable music from the library prevents piracy!
  • e-books
  • audiobooks (for the blind and for the sighted)
  • travel guides
  • children’s storytimes- promoted child literacy
  • STEM programs- 3D printing, coding/computer programming…for children, teens and adults
  • makerspaces
  • access to opposing viewpoints
  • knowledgable librarians that can help you decode fact from fiction- fake news? not when you consult a librarian and his/her arsenal of research databases!
  • help for the unemployed- job searching, resumes, etc.
  • a family
  • access to research materials, online and in print
  • newspapers
  • museum passes- encourages cultural literacy, empathy
  • resources for learning a foreign language
  • books on a variety of topics: cancer prevention, recipes for diabetics, baby names, history, confidence, mental health, religion/spirituality, exercise, environmental concerns….
  • community programs/events for all ages: dancing, music, movies, karate, cooking/baking, art….anything a librarian or teacher can dream up!

 

This list will never be complete. Libraries evolve as technology evolves. I frequently am asked the question, “do you think people don’t need libraries anymore because of the internet?” My answer is always, “No!” People always will need libraries and information professionals. Technology has evolved rapidly- true. The internet gives us access to a whole new world of information that could never fit in a little building- true. But all of this is only a change in HOW we access information. People still need information, and it is a library’s job to protect a patron’s privacy and right to that information. In addition, the internet is full of false information. People need us more than ever to help them decipher it.

When 3D printers came to the market, we bought them, we learned how to use them, and we began teaching the public. E-readers? No problem! We’ve armed ourselves with databases of e-books and audiobooks for our patrons, and set up a program where patrons can come learn how to use their new devices. Technology is a library’s friend, never its enemy.

If a library has offered you any kind of assistance, given you solace or hope when you felt like you were in despair, I would love to hear your stories in the comments below! Tell me what my list missed, and help this list grow with the millions of ways libraries benefit our communities.

My 2016 Year in Books Survey

The 7th annual End-of-Year Book Survey is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. (I love that blog name!) The questions made me curious, so I figured I would share my results with all of you. 2016 Reading Stats Number of … Continue reading

Bout of Books 15.0: Villain Mashup

So today’s B.O.B challenge is so much fun. I encourage you all to leave your answers in the comments below after mine, because I’m sure you will all have an opinion on this.

Cynthia from http://www.bookbinges.blogspot.com/ asked us to:

  • Pick villains from two different books that you would love to see fight each other. It can be from any genre and it doesn’t even have to be a physical fight. It could be a verbal one as well.
  • Give a short reason why you think these villains should fight each other

My Answer:

Ok, so I’m hoping comics can count here but how about Loki vs. Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles?

The reason? Well, they both have powers of illusion and deception. (Also, I’d secretly want Loki to win because, ahem, well, all I can picture is gorgeous Tom Hiddleston and tell me you don’t want to see him take down that annoying and ruthless Levana…)

Now, if we were speaking about protagonists and not antagonists, here are my picks:

Celaena Sardothien vs. Hermione Granger

Yeah, that’s a weird combination, I know. But hey, the classic strength vs. brains match-up is quite interesting, and both characters are bad-ass in their own ways.

So who are YOUR picks? Would you bring popcorn to watch either of my match-ups? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Quick Tip to Read More in the New Year!

Ah, that lovely time of year when we are all so motivated and pure. If you’re like me, you probably have been setting a hefty reading goal for yourself every year. Maybe you lowballed your goal once and read some impossible percentage of books. Good for you. Or maybe, you failed horribly (goal-wise, at least) and read far less than you wanted to.

For those of you who are sticking with the goals this year, here’s a quick little tip for reading a LOT more this year: read before bed. Even if it’s just 10 minutes of reading, do it.

I’d personally recommend you opt for a real, physical book for this method. Yes, those still exist. For one, this is the perfect way to unwind, de-stress, and relax before bed. There are no bright phone or computer screens messing with your brain’s ability to fall asleep; it’s just you and a story. And then plus number two is that this is extra reading time you don’t need to schedule! You have absolutely no excuses! And this extra reading = more books read this year. Score!

Perhaps this tip is fairly obvious to you, but some people just have not given it a try. Do it! You’ll love it! (But maybe stay away from the Stephen King books, at least at night. Just a suggestion.)

While we’re on the topic of resolutions, I’ll let you know what my “hefty reading goal” is for the year: 75 books. I know, breathe in, breathe out. That’s a lot. For the average person, that’s probably a lifetime of books. But I think I’m up for the challenge this year. *suits up for the ultimate reading battle*

So tell me, what are YOUR reading goals this year? Are you setting one on Goodreads, or foregoing that altogether?  Let me know in the comments below!

4 Tips for Reading Books Faster!

So many books, so little time. It’s the phrase that runs through readers’ heads as they stare, er, glare down their overflowing TBR piles. How are you supposed to read all of those AND the books you want to read AND the books other people are going to ask you to read AND still have a life? While I can’t give you any scientific tips on how to make your eyes move back and forth faster (that’s just weird), I can give you some tips on making sure you finish those books so you can keep on moving.

  1. Read in a distraction-free environment

If you’re distracted while you’re reading, it’s going to take you longer to finish the book. Or, even if you keep reading, your mind is going to be drifting off to the quesadillas that await you at dinner tonight and not your characters who oh-so-desperately want your attention. If you’re reading at home, turn everything off so you can keep your attention at 100. That’s right; turn off those phones, tablets, computers, everything. Can’t do that? Flip your phone over so you can’t see the push notification light and make sure the sound is off. Those things drive me insane if I don’t respond to them. If your home is too loud and distracting, move to the library or the park, where it will be quiet and you can focus on the task at hand. Bonus points if you go to the library and return only with the book you’re reading.

2. Try audiobooks

This point could go both ways. For me, audiobooks are longer than the amount of time it would take me to read a book in one sitting. However, audiobooks allow you to read at times that normally aren’t times you can read, such as in a long car ride, train ride, or walking around town. Just put in your headphones (unless you are driving; I know some people listen to audiobooks while they drive, but honestly I think it’s safer keep your eyes and ears on the road. Stories can be immersive.) and listen to a book of your choice. You can actually get audiobooks free through your local library, both in physical CD form or in digital format that you can download such as through Overdrive. Ask your librarian about such services!

3. Read books you WANT to read

The fact is, if you don’t like the book you’re reading, you’re probably not going to schedule your life around finishing it as quickly as possible. If there’s a list of books you need to read for school, try and alternate so you can fit in books you want to read as well to prevent getting into a reading slump and thinking of all reading as boring.

4. Read shorter books

The trick that works for readathons also works for your year-long reading goals! If you’re trying to read a large amount of books, Infinite Jest may not be the one you want to choose right now. (Unless your goal is to read it, then of course, read Infinite Jest.)

Comic books work too, especially as in-between books like I described in point 3.

However, I’d say that as far as reading goes, quality trumps quantity. It’s not about who read the most books in a month or year or how fast they read them, it’s about reading good books and enjoying them. Of course, setting a goal for the year can be motivating too. So have fun, go read and of course, let me know when you finish your Goodreads reading challenges!

Books I want to Buy and a rant on Bookstores

You’ve heard me say it only a million times; I’m kind of a library fanatic. If I’m reading a book, I probably got it from the library.

However, being the breed of bookworm that I am merits people getting the idea that I must spent years of my time in my local Barnes and Noble. Hence, I tend to accrue several bookstore gift cards on just about every occasion there is. (My high school even gave me a small Barnes and Noble gift card as an award. I was grateful, but you know, do I really read THAT much?) Don’t get me wrong; Barnes and Noble is a glorious wonderland, and so are my favorite independent bookshops and comic stores, but if I’m going to spend money on a book, I better have reason.

I don’t reread books very often, which is why the library is always a great idea for me. Why buy something I’m going to read once? However, after reading Looking for Alaska by John Green at my library, I went out and got the collector’s edition from Barnes and Noble. I definitely plan to reread that book in the future, it’s that good. And maybe get a tattoo, move to Alaska, and name my firstborn HankJohn..

I’m totally kidding here.

About the tattoo.

OK. Fine, I’m bluffing about the first born. JohnHank is a far superior title for a 21st century human (*if you would like some FABULOUS name suggestions, I’m totally your girl! #sarcasm*)

So, here are a few books I want to buy/own at some point in the future:

1. S by JJ Abrams

Yes, you read that right. If you hadn’t already heard, THE JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Fringe, and a whole lot of other shows and films) created the concept for this book. I myself was pretty darn shocked, and excited, when I found out it was a thing a few days ago on Booktube.

I haven’t read this yet, so my desire to own it isn’t based on knowing I want to reread it. I want to own S because I know that inside it, along with the text, are lots of inserts. I think this is such a cool idea, and I don’t know that the experience of the book would be the same at a library. Mine does not own this book yet, so my question would be; are we going to lend it out sans inserts, or not own it at all?

Plus, it just sounds freaking awesome.

2. Armada by Ernest Cline
Again, haven’t read this book yet, but I do have high hopes for it. I already stand behind Cline’s work because of the pure amazingness that was/is Ready Player One. I know Armada isn’t RPO, and you shouldn’t expect it to be RPO, but I know I will enjoy it. Plus, instead of a gazillion 80’s pop culture references I don’t understand, Armada is all about video games, which I can totally be thrilled about.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I just reviewed this one last night, and in my review I mentioned the collector’s edition. I like the idea of reliving Fangirl all over again, because of all the emotions that went on while I read it. I actually had a bunch of overdue fines on this one from not wanting to let it go.

(Oh god, I spent all afternoon with my Frozen-loving cousin and does that song ever end??)

And of course, comics.

Now, I’m not going to list all the comics and graphic novels I want to read in the future. I’ve already spammed my Goodreads friends with Green Lantern volumes. However, I adore some ongoing series like Ms. Marvel, and I’d love to start picking up more of the individual issues. Waiting for trades is an absolute PAIN, especially when some series you are interested in are not even in Trade form yet. *cough* Spider Gwen *cough* I also want to continue on with Saga; Volume 1 had me hooked.

That’s it for today, friends! What books are you looking forward to purchasing/receiving from your super nice pals in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

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