A guide to books we're reading and talking about this year.
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016
September is all about the start of school which means we pick up books and start on new challenges. This September, Inspired by a column in the Seattle Times, I'm suggesting that you consider reading something that also has been adapted for the screen. The article lists a bunch that are coming to theatres this fall as well as previous films that the author considers to be excellent movie versions. I've listed a few quick picks in a list on the right. What others would you recommend (or recommend that we avoid)? Send me your input using the form in the box just below this one.
What screen adaptation of a book would you recommend (and why)?
Publication Date: 2006-09-05
This one is a draw for me although I certainly have given copies of the book many times more than I've recommended a film. The original adaptation, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starred Laurence Olivier and there is another fairly recent version with one of my favorite actors, Charles Dance. Dream of Manderley!
The Horse Whisperer
Publication Date: 2011-09-27
I put this at the top of the list because IMHO, the movie is worth watching (gorgeous views of the West, lots of pretty horses and Robert Redford actually is believable for once) and the book is not a good use of precious reading time. Although the screen version is still a tear jerker, it left out a number of things that needed editing.
Publication Date: 2000-01-15
Even though Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore give powerful performances in the screen version, I'd recommend making the effort to read this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It will be even better if you read (or re-read) Mrs. Dalloway before you start!
Publication Date: 2012-06-26
Although both the big and small screen versions of this horror story are great fun, the images embedded in my head from reading the book are ever so more frightening. As fall approaches, its the right time of year to hunker down with something really scary.
Let's also kick off this year with a salute to teachers! In these quick picks, they run the gamut from intimidating to inspirational. Here you will find a classic, a couple of contemporary choices, and some children's books to consider. Read on!
Anyone who has ever worked in higher education should spend some time with Hank Devereaux, reluctant chair of the English department at West Central Pennsylvania University. This book is a laugh-out-loud look at academe and a great way to start another school year.
Miss Nelson is Missing
When the terrible Viola Swamp suddenly takes the place of the sweet (but possibly naive) Miss Nelson, the students abruptly realize how much they miss their gentle and generous teacher. What happened to her and will she ever return? Although this children's book is more than 30 years old, it remains in print and a favorite with young readers.
Call Number: PS3573.O558 O43 2003
Set in a New England prep school for boys in 1960, this novel is a masterful exploration of academic competition and individual ethics. Old School quickly made its way onto many "best books" lists and is one of the titles used by in the Big Read program from the National Endowment for the Arts. Readers may find this to be a more challenging read and it's definitely worth the effort.
My Great-Aunt Arizona
Arizona taught for fifty-seven years in a one room schoolhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This very short children's book is a haunting tribute to her impact on students.