Tag Archives: Book

Film Adaptations of Books

Little is more exciting than to hear that your favourite book is getting a movie adaptation. All the action you imagined you finally get to see; the romance you loved you can finally watch play out. Regardless of how excited you are, however, there’s one fact that you’ll have to accept: the movie will be different from the book.

Movies are an entirely different medium than books, and subject to different constraints. Movies generally last between two and three hours; any longer and watching is likely to get tedious, but too short and the audience won’t feel as satisfied. In a long or short story, then, things will have to be cut or expanded upon.

Another general limitation of movies – as well as their strengths – are their audio-visual natures. A book, even an illustrated one, has to pause the narrative every so often to describe things, both to create atmosphere and to describe actions and the area so that everything make sense in context when characters interact with their environment. Movies, incorporating all this into their very structure, are able to focus much more on the essence of the story. The trade-off to this is that, while a book can expand on a character’s thoughts and motivations in-text, movies can’t do this so easily, and so they often get left out, losing potential character development.

Movie adaptations also face another problem, one that often comes from the need to cut out extraneous material from the book: that of accidentally creating plot holes. TV Tropes calls this the Adaptation Induced Plot Hole, and it can happen for any number of reasons: perhaps the explanation behind a plot point was cut (Adaptation Explanation Extrication), leaving it to seemingly come out of nowhere instead of integrating into the plot like it did in the original; maybe an entire sub-plot had to get cut, so any effect it had on the main plot has now no logic behind it; perhaps something that seemed minor at the time and was cut turned out to be important in a later sequel, leaving movie writers scrambling to introduce a now-vital plot point; maybe two characters have been combined into one composite. This last famously caused a plot hole in The Wizard of Oz movie, with Glinda’s character being combined with that of the Good Witch of the North, when it was the latter who met Dorothy at the beginning and only Glinda who knew how to get Dorothy back, causing decades of viewers to think “You wouldn’t have believed me” is a rather poor excuse for withholding vital information.

As unfortunate as the changes can be, they’re necessary if the movie is to be enjoyable; a movie that tries to cram in everything from a book – especially a long or complex one – would be unwatchable. A good adaptation will work with the changes they have to make in order to stay true to the spirit of the original. Instead of just discarding elements of the original too long or complex to cover properly, a good movie might try simplifying it, or expanding bits of the book they left in to include what would otherwise be omitted. Anything that gets added will be done unobtrusively so that it doesn’t affect the main storyline, but will make the film more than just a straight rehashing of the book.

Of course, it’s entirely possible the adaptation won’t be done well. perhaps too much had to be cut or changed, leaving it impossible to follow for people who haven’t read the book; perhaps it had to scramble so much to include the necessary plot points it left the story feeling rushed. Maybe the tone of the book was altered to something lighter or a daring and unusual story changed to be safer or more generic, thereby losing everything that made the original good in the first place. If your first exposure to a book was through its movie and the movie had problems with it, give the book a chance; it’s possible the story was told much better in the book. If a book you enjoyed got a bad movie, feel free to rant about it and recommend the book to people as a better alternative. But don’t feel bitter for long; the book will always be there, ready for you to enjoy.


An Oath of the Blood by Valerie Zambito : Review

“One will be betrayed, one will be lost, one will be gravely injured and one will die.”

Following the destruction of the magical Kingdom of Pyraan, four powerful shifters and a Draca Cat who have lost everything must travel to the lands from which they were once banished with news of an oncoming war against an old enemy and an army which has been in the makings for over three hundred years.

In a race against time, Beck, Kiernan, Rogan, Airron and Bajan must battle against darkness and the stigma of their powers to save a people they hardly know but are forever sworn to protect.

Valerie Zambito’s An Oath of the Blood is an engaging and imaginative tale. With interesting and dynamic characters exploring magic, prophesy, friendship, love, betrayal and war An Oath of the Blood is a compelling fast-paced tale.

An Oath of the Old Blood is the first book in the Island Shifters series, and the novel goes to set the stage for future books, showing us mythologies, powers,lands and people which we only get to see a glimpse of, but all of which have stories which could be told and expanded upon.

I found this to be a light and enjoyable read. There were parts — the ending in particular which seemed overly rushed but for the majority of the story there was a good balance between getting a feel of what was happening, and having things happen at quick pace which gave it an action-packed feel and will keep readers eagerly flipping the page to find out what happens next.

While I haven’t read it, the second book in the Island Shifters series was released earlier this year. I recommend getting An Oath of the Mage to read once you’ve finished this one.
Thank you Valerie for giving your book in exchange for an honest review.


Book Signing!

 
Linda Poitevin (whose name I finally learned how to pronounce!) author of the Grigori Legacy — Sins of the Angels and Sins of the Son — came to Toronto on Saturday for a signing at the World’s Biggest Bookstore. It was quite honestly (in my opinion) everything a book signing should be. Linda, myself and @whitewolfreads spent a few hours laughing, getting weird looks from security and scaring some people into buying her books — the usual stuff. It really was an enjoyable day.

Signings should be fun, in my opinion.. Not just buy the book, get it signed, leave. Actually getting to know the person behind the creation of the world you’re about to enter, and the characters you’ve come to love is important and it’s one of the things that makes a book even better to enjoy. Reading something that’s great from a faceless name while enjoyable isn’t at all the same experience you get once you know the author, and know what they’re like. Or even, on the author’s side — it’s good to get to know your readers. They’re the people who faithfully look for updates about when the next book will be released, signings and readings let you become better known, and it’s a good way to get new fans. Even if there’s not a lot of people that pick up your book while you’re there — seeing you, and seeing people with your book is a good way to get them interested.

If you do get a chance, I highly recommend going out to signings, and hanging around for a bit. Meet some fellow fans, and learn something you wouldn’t have found out just by reading the author’s bio on the back of the book. Plus, there’s something about having a book signed that makes it just.. so much more than it was before.  There’s more sentimental value in a signed book, and makes it feel much more personal.

But then again, I’m one of those people who loves absolutely anything author or book related. Readers, what’s your opinion on signed books/author events? Is a signed book the same as an unsigned book? Let me know your thoughts!

Also, I want to say thank you for everyone who keeps checking up on my blog even though my posts have been sporadic. I appreciate it and I hope now that I’m done school I’ll be able to update more (and get some book reviews up as well).


The Benefits of Reading

English: A multi-volume Latin dictionary (Egid...

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Growing up, we’re all encouraged to read at one point or another. Whether it be Shakespearian plays, out school textbooks, autobiographies or the classics, books played a role in our lives growing up and for a lot of us, they still do. Why is it though, that in many countries around the world, reading is something that’s enforced at a young age? What benefits do we get from reading the books we’ve come to love and enjoy?

I could list a hundred or so reasons on why reading is good for you, and why it’s so important to read… Though, reading brings something different to all of us, and we all perceive books in a different way. In August of last year, Linda Poitevin wrote a post on the subjective side of reading, stating that “readers are going to take from a story what they want (or need) to experience. What one reader sees, another might miss altogether…only to draw from the story something the author him/herself may never have intended.” (Link to this post can be found here). I have to agree with her fully on that, as we all learn or take things away from books that someone else might not even notice.

Whether we’re reading books to relax, escape, or learn; they give us a window into the different facets of human existence that we might not otherwise get to explore. They open a new world away from our own sorrows and fears, letting us escape from reality for a little while; giving us a bigger perspective on life, the universe, and well, everything (to borrow from Douglas Adams). We can learn from the characters — both the antagonists and protagonists and apply those lessons into our daily lives; do what we can to keep from making the same mistakes, avoid the same fatal flaws, learn to approach problems and challenges in different ways. Reading not only broadens our perspective of the world around us, it gives insight to who we are, and how we can apply that to better ourselves.

In the case of non-fiction books, they allows for a more concentrated delve into a topic that’s filled with an abundance of information, it’s something that you can focus on (provided it’s what you have an interest in), and learn loads of fascinating things about. For example, did you know that in space there’s a gas cloud with enough alcohol in it to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. That probably isn’t a fact you’d find in the pages of Lord of the Rings or I, Robot, but it’s still interesting. (Try singing that song — 400 trillion trillion pints of beer on the wall, 400 trillion trillion bottles of beer). There’s a wealth of information out there, amazing facts that most of us can’t even begin to fathom. Some of that information, if not all, we can learn here on the internet, we can see things that friends and different sources post on websites like Twitter or Facebook, and it’s great. However, while reading a tweet with an interesting fact can be enough to pause and make you think, if you don’t take the time to research that tidbit of information, that sentence that you paused over for a moment, then you’re not going to learn anything.

Fiction allows us to understand and better know ourselves, and the people around us; helping us overcome challenges we may face that can correlate to something we’ve read. While on the other hand, non-fiction takes us deeper into the roots of human understanding and knowledge. Find a book on a topic that interests you, whether it’s Freud’s approach to dreams, medieval philosophy or linguistics, there’s so much out there for you to learn. One thing people don’t seem to understand these days is that you don’t need to go to university or college to become an expert on a topic or to learn about it. Find a local library, discover some new authors, there are so many fountains of knowledge out there, just bursting to be read. It’s all out there, sitting on a piece of paper, waiting to fall into your hands and be read.

The stories we read about all have different morals and lessons behind them. Almost every fantasy (or science-fiction) story will have some sort of grievance between races, or classes, reading those stories give us a glimpse into other cultures and into lives of people who are in circumstances so different from our own; or perhaps their lives have more in common with ours than we’d care to admit. Books are the doorway into different worlds, and every world has its lessons. Those worlds — they consist of exceptions; for every rule, there is an exception. That applies here too, if you think there’s something you can’t do for a certain reason, well that shouldn’t stop you from going for it anyways if that’s what you want. There’s always an exception, and who’s to say that can’t be you?

One of the more obvious benefits of reading is that it helps us to develop our language skills and expand our vocabulary.  When we read books, (depending on the size/reading level) there’s typically 10-20 words the average reader will not know the meaning to, by reading the sentence and seeing the usage of the word; it helps to not only teach us the word — plus, if you search up the word or you encounter it later, you’re more likely to learn it quicker. Read to your children, read often, read books over and over. Read when they’re infants and too young to understand; read books filled with words that their growing minds have yet to learn. Read books that will make them ask questions, or that make you ask questions. Read to learn, and read to teach.

Read to develop your cognitive functions, and your skills of deduction. Going back briefly to the developing language skills and vocabulary; in fiction, writers tend to invent a lot of words and terminology, while it may be stinting to newer readers – or those who just don’t read often, it’s something that avid readers become more familiar with and have an easier time in understanding them. Also, in books such as mystery novels, the deduction and improved cognitive development really does play a part as you’re able to pick out the clues, hints and red herrings the author leaves along the way; creating an experience which is much more engaging and worthwhile. Especially while you’re in school, this is a vital factor. Reading often can greatly help you succeed in your education.

Entertainment. Reading is a great way to reduce boredom, allowing your imagination and creativity to flourish. While you relax and read, you allow your mind to be engaged and feel some of the many emotions that let us know we’re alive. It’s like meeting new people every time you open a new book; people that you’ll laugh at, care about, come to love — then cry over, maybe you’ll hate them for a while, grow frustrated and roll your eyes when they do or say something stupid, then come to realize how much you cared about them when they get sick, injured, or even die. Books have a way of becoming like family — the characters, our friends. They’re always there for you, and you can always visit them again; reliving past experiences, going through the same emotions as before. They’ll never leave, or change and become people that you no longer recognize. Characters remain the same fascinating people they were when you first met them, they develop and grow the same ways they did the first time you read their story. They are an escape, they are there to be used, and they are there to prove your insight into yourself, as well as into others.

Our mind creates these vast worlds for us to see with the help of books, it gives us a chance for insight… Why do we read? What do we get from it? There isn’t one firm answer to these questions, but for every page that’s read, for every adventure spanning hundreds of pages, there will always be something for you. A lifelong friend, something to curl up with on the couch for comfort, to show us even in the darkest of moments that there is hope, and there is always more to be discovered.

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