Sunday Morning Round-Up: Sacks, Sets, and Terry Pratchett

Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews

 

Making Bad Movie Adaptations

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If there is anything that sends a book lover into a frenzy, it’s a bad film adaptation of their favourite book. Of course film-makers can’t keep every scene from the book because the film would just be too long.  And of course, a little altering of details here and there are acceptable, but what really frustrates readers is when adaptations are nothing like the book.  The Reading Room this week published a list of ten books that are nothing like their film adaptations and it makes for interesting reading (warning: there are some spoilers in this article!).  The one that’s always frustrated me (although it’s not on the list, and it’s not a film) is the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome – the characters are so completely different!  I can’t help but wonder, too, what the author of the book must feel when they see their stories are so twisted up and changed – are they happy for that to happen?  What do you think are the best and worst book to film or TV adaptation?

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Women, Potter, and Judging Books by Their Covers

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Women Writers Winning

kindle-254339_640I100 this week announced that 18 out of the top 20 selling ebooks of 2015 so far have been written by women, with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins taking top spot.  It’s great, I suppose, that female writers have managed to grab so many of the top spots but I honestly don’t see why it matters.  If you’ve written a great book, then you’ve written a great book – whether you’ve got dangly bits or not!  By always talking about topics like this, surely all we are doing is perpetuating sexism…patting women on the head and saying “there, there, haven’t you done well?  18 out 20 spots!” but in actual fact, gender has no impact on what makes a good book.  What does have an impact is whether that book is good.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Middle Earth, Don Quixote, and Drinkable Books

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 The 100 Best Novels

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This week saw the completion of The Guardian’s list of the 100 best English-language novels, a list that’s been two years in the making.  It’s an interesting list, and it doesn’t include some of the big names that you’d expect to find so I was surprised at only having read 13 of these.  Comparing it to the BBC’s list, from which I’ve read a slightly more acceptable 38 books, The Guardian seems to have gone for a much broader spectrum.  Robert McCrum, the list compiler, explains why he chose these books over other possibilities, but Rachel Cooke argues that there should be more female writers included.  I’m not sure I agree with Cooke – a list of great books should be exactly that: a list of great books.  There shouldn’t be a quota (or even a discussion) of how many of each gender should be included.  Should we feel the need to include books by authors of a range of ages too?  How about racial profiling?  Or how about, just picking books that are great?  Surely anything but the latter is severely restrictive.  Whatever way you look at it, there is never going to be a definitive list that everyone agrees to.  How many have you read?  Do you agree with McCrum’s choices?

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Tolkien, Threesomes, and Overdue Library Fines

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For the Love of Tolkien

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Perhaps the most famous and most revered fantasy author of the twentieth century, JRR Tolkien’s work is renowned and, well, (let’s be honest) fantastic!  And you think you’ve read everything by him?  You’re wrong!  This month sees the release of the first fantasy story he wrote: The Story of Kullervo.  It was written in 1915, is based on an epic Finnish poem, and has never been published before.  ‘Kullervo the hapless’ is an orphan with supernatural powers and is raised by a dark magician.  Do you need to know any more?  I know I don’t!  This book is definitely on my shopping list.  I’ve written it in pen and everything.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Alice, Quentin, and Murder Mysteries

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Wrinkly Old Alice

Print Collector/Getty Images
Print Collector/Getty Images

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was this week celebrated for having reached its 150th anniversary.  Yes, that’s right, the now iconic novel was published 150 years ago on 2nd August, 1865.  So to celebrate, of course, The Telegraph have questioned whether it’s an “innocent fantasy or dark and druggy” – hmm, I’m not sure if matters either way, so long as it’s an entertaining and enjoyable read!  There are celebratory events going on all over the world but alas, I’m not attending any (although if anyone has spare tickets…), and here is a great list of quotes from the book to get you in the mood!
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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Boris Johnson, Dr. Seuss, and the Birthday Snitch

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Green Eggs and Seuss

PeDr. Seussrhaps we should rename 2015 The Year of Publishing Lost Books as the second famously found manuscript of the year, Dr. Seuss’ What Pet Should I Get? is released this week.  It’s been almost 25 years since Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died.  The manuscript was found in his home back in 2013 but it’s only now that publisher Random House are releasing it.  It’s likely that the book was written between 1958 and 1962, and it features the same brother and sister as seen in Seuss’ classic One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Happy Apps, Hemingway, and Drunkards

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Appy Reading

Photograph credit: Worldreader
Photograph credit: Worldreader

The Obama administration this week has announced a project that is set to turn America’s poor children into avid readers and like everything these days, it’ll be through the use of an app.  The app, designed by the New York Public Library, will hold around $250m worth of popular and award-winning ebooks donated by publishers, which can be accessed by children ages four to eighteen from poor backgrounds.  This scheme is already active in developing countries with the help of charity Worldreader and they have managed to reach an impressive 2.2 million readers in their first five years.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Watchmen, Holidays, and Bookish Prizes

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Go Set a Watchman

Were you expecting anything else to take the top spot this week?  The world is abuzz with the much20150326140533!US_cover_of_Go_Set_a_Watchman anticipated release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, the follow-up of To Kill a Mockingbird.  It’s not even been released yet and still, everyone is talking about it.  You can read the first chapter, listen to Reese Witherspoon reading the first chapter, read reviews of the first chapter, and even share your thoughts on the first chapter.  The novel, which Lee wrote back in the 1950s and was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, is set to beat even Harry Potter’s pre-sales in this unprecedented book promotion but the question now on everyone’s lips is: will it live up to all this hype?  I understand the importance of building excitement but I can’t help wondering whether all this is just a build-up before a fall.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Hobbit Houses, Life Savers, and Bad Apples

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A Real-Life Hobbit House

Peter Jackson, director of the hugely successful Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, has built an exact replica of Bilbo’s house, Bag End, in his basement!  Based on the books by the wonderful JRR Tolkien, Jackson has created an exact replica of the film set under his mansion in New Zealand – and it’s underground and through a bookcase.  Now that man clearly knows how to spend his money.  Whose house would you recreate if you could?  I think for me, it would have to be Mr Norrell’s Yorkshire house, as featured in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

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Sunday Morning Round-Up: Colouring, Amazon, and Another Shade of Grey

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 Grey: The Latest Addition to the 50-Shades Saga

downloadFollowing its publication last week, Grey by EL James has caused (almost) as much furore as the first trilogy.  It’s Fifty Shades of Grey, as told from Grey’s perspective and it’s pretty much all we’ve heard about this week.  The critics hate it and there has been a stream of negative reviews but there is no denying that the public love it and sales have been record breaking yet again.  Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t help but admire James and her publishers for hitting on such an astonishing (and money-making) win.

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