Friday, November 29, 2013

Why Do We Even Like Book to Movie Adaptations?

To get to school, I have to take an hour bus ride each way. I get motion sick, so I can't read on the bus, so I spend my time listening to a podcast called Literary Disco. It's a podcast with three friends talking about books, and sometimes pop culture stuff, and sometimes other stuff that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever but is still funny and entertaining.

Anyway, on one of their podcasts I was listening to a few days ago, they were talking about the excitement around books being adapted into movies. Rider, one of the members of the podcast, was asking why people are so excited to have something that can only exist in their head translate onto the screen. Shouldn't movies and books be kept entirely separate? Is it because we feel pleasure in judging the accuracy of it? Do people want to be pretend filmmakers, and that's why after watching movie adaptations they say "Oh yeah, they got it right"?

They only spent about five minutes on it on the podcast, but it got me thinking. I mean, I was just as excited as everyone else for the Catching Fire movie. But it's an entirely different experience watching an adaptation than just a normal movie. With a normal movie, you just enjoy the story and where it takes you, without knowing what happens. Part of the enjoyment of a regular movie is the plot and the discovery of plot points. In Catching Fire, for example, I knew everything that was going to happen and was even waiting for those events. Okay, up next is the poisonous fog. Then the monkeys. Oh, yeah, there they are! I definitely think part of the reason that I loved Catching Fire so much was because of it's accuracy in regards to the book.

So I think that judging an adaptation on its accuracy is part of why we love adaptations, but only a small part. The ultimate dream for fiction readers is that their fictions would become reality. Yes, what happens in a book happens in someone's head, but I think when a book is turned into a movie it becomes that much closer to being real. There are now real people, real voices, and real-looking events to associate with the fictional events of the book. I think those visual images are a big part of what readers are so excited about in regards to movie adaptations.

That's just my own personal hypothesis as to why there is always so much excitement around book to movie adaptations. What do you think is the reason for the excitement? Do you think book to movie adaptations should exist? Why? Why are they so important to the book community? Would it be better if we all just left books alone? And what did you think of Catching Fire? Or if you haven't seen it, how excited are you to see it?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Recommendation: The First Third By Will Kostakis

One of my favourite things is finding amazing books that aren't hugely popular, books that maybe not everyone everywhere has heard about (read: The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc).

Well, I discovered one of those books the other day, and I would love to share my love of it with you.


As you probably well know by now, Melina Marchetta is my favourite author. I especially love her books Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son (also the Lumatere Chronicles. So yes, all her books except Looking for Alibrandi). All of her books have very strong family and friendship elements to them, which is basically my favourite elements of any books ever.

Well, a few weeks ago Melina Marchetta had an interview with this young author Will Kostakis on her blog, and she talked about this book and the family and friendship elements of it. I thought, huh. I'd probably like that book.


In fact, I might even have loved it.

That book is The First Third by Will Kostakis. It follows a 17-year-old Greek boy Billy while he struggles with his "yiayia" being in the hospital and essentially dying. His yiayia even gives him a bucket list to complete, which has ridiculous things on it like find his mom a husband, bring his older brother back home, and fix his little brother, who seems to not want to have anything to do with anyone but yiayia for some reason.

There are so many things I love about this book. I loved how the focus was on the family and the relationships within it. I loved how developed each character was, and how there was too many layers to count in each one.

For example, Billy's best friend Sticks at first just seems like one of those typical crazy quirky John Green-esque sidekicks, but he actually has issues of own. It adds a lot to the dimensions of his character, and also to the dimensions of the relationship between Sticks and Billy.

So, family dynamic, friendship dynamic, characters, A+.

I also just really love Will Kostakis's writing. He's definitely skilled with words and getting across elements of the story very effectively. He uses Facebook statuses in really interesting ways for plot and character development. Sometimes it's kind of hilarious.

And the last scene is perfect. But you'll have to read it to enjoy the wonderfulness of that part of the book.

I would recommend this book if you love family or friendship stories, or if you like anything by Melina Marchetta, Jonathan Friesen, or John Green.

It's only $6.99 on Amazon, and you can also visit Will Kostakis's website at if you want to find other places to buy it. Also, I highly encourage you to read this interview that Hypable did with Will Kostakis, because the thing he said about the book are awesome.

Have a good week!


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