The New Yorker Literary Guide to New Movies

If you haven’t read the book yet, maybe you’ll want to see the movie – first or instead.

Selection of actors for the characters can be disappointing, especially if your vision of the lead is different.   One reviewer commented that she only read the Harry Potter books after she saw the movies, so that Ron Weasley and Rupert Grind were the same to her.  None of the book covers depicted Ron, but he does match J.K. Rowling’s description:

“…all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles and more children than they can afford…”

If I see the movie first, I usually skip reading the book – how about you?

The New Yorker has a heads-up for books-to-movies for the summer:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (it’s been so long since the book release)
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (a good novel destination book)
  • Sarah’s Key – see my review of the book here
  • The Help – reviewed here
  • One Day  (I started this book, but could not get beyond the first 50 pages; with Anne Hathaway in the movie, the story has promise.)
For the New Yorker article: go to The Book Bench
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The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Did Jane Austen’s sister, Cassandra, really burn all of Jane’s letters?  What if some were discovered years later, revealing an intimate part of the writer’s life?

If you are longing to return to the comfort of Jane Austen, Syrie James offers an easy fictionalized biography of the beloved writer in The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.  Staying true to Austen’s writing style as well as to most of the known facts of her life, James creates a story around the secret love life that many have speculated about – even based a movie on, with Anne Hathaway in “Becoming Jane.”  In a clever introduction, James simulates a letter from a Jane Austen researcher, and weaves the action into Austen’s writing of Sense and Sensibility to convince the reader of the truth of the tale.

Maybe it is.

At the very least, the story is a great romantic tribute to the growing fame and sustainability of Jane Austen.  If you are not an Austen fan, you might find the storyline frivolous and a little tedious, but if you are a Janeite – you will appreciate the romance, and the references to her work, especially Pride and Prejudice, and to Jane Austen’s life.

And, if you like it, you might want to move on to The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, by the same author.

Books That Put Me to Sleep

When I commuted for hours, and could get a seat on the train, I would count on opening my book and being asleep after a few pages – no matter how intense the plot.  I was sleep-deprived in those days, but some books lend themselves to snoozing mid-sentence.  Obvious culprits: Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, anything by Thomas Hardy…  I could never finish those famous Civil War epics – Cold Mountain or Killer Angels.  One Day by David Nicholls was overdue at the library for lack of interest, but a movie with Anne Hathaway sounds promising.

I recently joined an online book club.  The titles are never on the current bestseller list, but probably have been at one point, and I’ve found some good books:

But a few of their selections put me to sleep.  When I found a old receipt on page 58 of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, after many nights of trying to read it, I decided that if someone who buys “handcrafted wood and genuine turquoise stone” would hang it up there, so could I.  
Maybe there’ll be a movie.