From Page to Screen: The Secret Life of Bees


From Page to Screen:

1*

For those readers that have frequented my blog before it may have appeared, quite obviously, that I love films as much as I love books. Particularly films that have been adapted from stories.

I am the opposite to most readers as I prefer to read the books after viewing the films as this way I do not go through the film thinking to myself: ‘They’ve cut that bit’ or ‘why are they talking in American accents when it’s set in Yorkshire?’ Also, I can enjoy the book more knowing that I am getting much more information out of it than the movie.

This is personal preference of course, and for those that see Books as almost holy objects when it comes to adaptions I respect your opinions on this matter.
 
This blogpost is part of a new series of blogposts that I am going to train myself to do over the next few months. I will take one Book/Film and review it, discuss it or wonder what it will be like if it has not already come out...

I hope you enjoy.
Today’s Book to Film choice is:


THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES

by Sue Monk Kidd

 
I thought I would start off with a relatively unknown adaption rather than an adaption like: ‘The Fault in our Stars’ for the purpose of bringing to light a beautifully adapted and beautifully written story.
Kidd’s writing is superb, it is atmospheric and moving as well as succinct and easy-to-read. I saw the film way before reading the book but both have stuck with me, and I will not part with my copy of ‘The Secret of Bees’ as it is so beautiful.


The Film stars:

   -   Dakota Fanning

   -   Queen Latifah

   -   Jennifer Hudson

   -    Alicia Keys

 

And many other greats actors and actresses. The story focuses on Dakota Fanning’s character Lily as she comes to terms growing up in 1964 America, that at a very young age she accidently killed her mother.
Lily Melissa Owen played by Dakota Fanning

Straight away this is shocking and gripping as you never hear of incidents like this. It is the first scene in the film and a flashback in the book – the main difference here is that Lily knows she killed her mother in the film but in the book she constantly questions it, as she was told she did it by her father T-Ray, who is cruel and abusive, so she never truly believes him.

T-Ray played by Paul Bettany

T-Ray in the film is played with menace by Paul Bettany, a wonderful British actor, but the character is a perfect version of the T-Ray in the book. A malicious man who works hard and follows society’s rules but cannot forgive his daughter, or his wife, for what happened when Lily was younger.

Lily and her former housekeeper Rosaleen run away after Rosaleen is beaten for being black and smart and Lily is berated by her father was interfering in a racial issue. Race is a main theme throughout the book as it begins with the Civil Rights act being passed and also most of the story occurs in the house of the Boatwright women: 3 strong, black women.

You do not normally find books on strong black women, particularly not three black sisters in 1960s America who own their own Honey business and run their own church. It is a fascinating concept and a wonderfully warm story. I love the characters of August, June and May. Whilst August is welcoming and kind, June is prickly but vulnerable and May, my favourite, has such precious innocence and a heart-breaking ability too feel all the pain around her greatly - she has never moved on from losing her twin sister April when she was younger.

The film encapsulates this warmth, casting talented women to play the roles with vigour and kindness.  You can tell in the featurettes on the DVD that the actors got along well and it shows throughout the movie which is a wonderful portrayal of the sisters you only see one side of in the book.

Lily and Rosaleen kind of end up on their doorstep after Lily finds ‘Tiburon’ on the back of a block of wood which has a picture of a black Virgin Mary painted onto it, an item that belonged to her mother. This block of wood is a significant part of the story and reveals much about Lily’s heritage and the 3 sisters and everything ties together well.

Overall it is a coming-of-age story, with racial issues and finding-family themes which creates a warm and caring book and film, very relaxing but still moving. The book and the film will stay with you long after you finish both of them.

So that is it for my first ‘Page to Screen’ post. Let me know what you think, what book to film adaptions you love or disliked, and please suggest any you think I should watch/read, as I said: they are my favourite kind of reading.

Happy Reading.

 

 

-    

 

Book Haul // October


Book Haul

It feels like quite a while since I did a book haul so here you are. I had a great day out in London last week, it was a whim and it paid off! I went to the National Portrait Gallery and saw all my favourite portraits (Plus I stood in a room with Mark Gatiss ((the writer of       BBC’s Sherlock/and his brother Mycroft)) It was lovely!)

But I also went to: A lot of Independent Bookstores.

There is an app called: The London Bookshop Map. It is literally a map of all the Bookstores you could hope to visit in London – and there are loads around the National Portrait Gallery.


Many of them were first-edition bookstores. I saw some beautifully bound books, signed books and some very old books. But by far my favourite shop was ‘All About Books’.

This is your typical British independent bookstore. Think Harry Potter style with all the books piled high, with Ollivander’s ladder needed to reach the top ones. Old dusty editions as well as new ones. They were having an ‘everything £1’ sale and so I picked up 4 books.

 
1.      Writers on Writing by Walter Allen. This is a book published in 1949 and caught my eye because of the title but I bought it because inside the book was a perfectly preserved letter from the Author itself to the recipient of the book in 1949! I love things like this: inscriptions and letters. And this was a jewel to find in a bookshop. The book itself is actually really interesting as well. Win Win!
 
The Letter. Addressed to an Elizabeth, written by the author of the book himself in 1949
2.      World War One Dictionary – you will see a theme throughout this book haul of World War One books. I love reading and learning about WW1 as this is my specialism in my history degree and also what I like to write about in fiction. I thought that this book would be greatly useful for the latter.

3.      Poppy by Mary Hooper – This is one of the books on my wish list. A children’s story on World War One. I am really looking forward to reading this in the space of November which I declare my World War One reading month.

 
4.      Fallen by Lia Mills – I saw this book and I thought that it looked interesting and then when I noticed it was also a WW1 book I thought that it was fate. This is story set in Ireland during the war – a place I have never read about at this time, even with the Easter Rising etc.

All of these books were £1 as I said.

So I had great fun at this tiny little story but the next bookshop I visited my palms were sweaty – I was so happy! It was: FOYLES!

I have finally visited Foyle’s bookshop and for anyone who live in the vicinity of London, or a train station or even anywhere in Britain, I thoroughly recommend going to Foyle’s. It is so classy, so large and absolutely full to the brim with every single book genre I have ever seen – this is what it is famous for so I am glad it lived up to the hype.

I didn’t have long in Foyle’s so I exercised restraint and bought only 1 book:

-          Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I was in search of a Halloween tale and this looks like a great read, and one I have heard good things about. I will start reading this soon. £8.99

And lastly: Today.

I went to my local Waterstones and discovered, to my delight, that they have a huge sales department full of decent books…so I had a little spree:

1.      Shell-Shock ‘The diary of Tommy Atkins’ by Neil Blower: This is in fact a novel, but written by a man who was previously a soldier and so understands first-hand the effects of PTSD. This is another side of World War One I would really like to read more about, thus I bought this book for only £5.

2.      Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff – I really enjoyed one of Meg’s previous books, How I Live now, and so when I saw this book for only £5, when it is relatively newly published and also signed, I couldn’t resist. I have heard good things and I look forward to reading this.
 

3.      Lastly, ‘The Blind Giant: Being Human in a digital world by Nick Harkaway – this book intrigued me by the cover and also the title. However, I didn’t realise until I was just flicking through that it is actually a non-fiction book…but I will read and let you know what I think of it. £5
 

So there we have it. My book haul. I hope that it wasn’t too cloggy. Let me know what you’re reading right now or if you have ever been to Foyle’s! So much fun! Cannot recommend it enough!

Top 5 Books that should be films!

 
Top 5 Wish list
Books to Film Adaptions
 
 
A Top 5 post today! These are my top 5 books I believe would make great films. So far these books haven’t been made into films, as yet, I’m not sure if any are in production but if so: Woohoo!
 
1.      Love Lessons by Jacqueline Wilson
 
-          This is one of my favourite books from when I was a pre-teen. It is pretty hard-hitting novel, particularly for pre-teens, as it is a story about a girl who is home-schooled, has an almost abusive father and then attempts to have an affair with her secondary school art teacher. It is a really interesting premise and very well written. I think it would make a great film as there have been a few events recently revolving around students running away with their teachers: anyone remember the girl that ran away to France a few months ago? I’m not saying that it should be made to raise the alarm, but just to show a different side of the story.
 
2.      Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Coln & David Levithan
 
-          This is one of my newer Christmas favourites. I read it last year around March time but it kept the Xmas alive in me. It is a small romance focusing on Dash & Lily who set each other dares in the city of New York at Xmas but it there is comedy and chance meetings and ultimately warm you’re heart, even when it is snowing…yes I used that cliché description of a Xmas book. Sue me.
It would make a great movie for pre-teens, definitely not a high-budget movie but a sweet little indie film to go and see with your mates or your fella at Christmas.
 
3.      Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
 
-          I will be incredibly surprised if a film version of this is not created in the next 5 years’ time. It has been one of the biggest hyped books on Booktube over the last few months, and for good reason. The characters are my favourite part of the novel as they are realistic: Eleanor is chubby red headed girl who doesn’t fit in and has an abusive step-father and a pathetic mother and then there is Park, a half Korean, half American lad who wears black clothes and reads comics. They are realistic in terms of personality and storyline and I think would be refreshing to see on the big screen!
 
4.      Room by Emma Donoghue
 
-          I read this book a few months ago and I am still thinking about it. Not because it was incredible but because it was such a, again, hard hitting topic, about a woman who was abducted by a man to be used a sex slave and whose son has grown up in this one Room so thinks Room is the whole world. It is a hard book to wrap your head around so visually seeing it might help, it might be traumatising in places as well but it would be interesting to see how well the film industry handled a book like this. I would say that it would be a challenge but it is a story that deserves to be told in more ways than one as it is so horrifying but handles the idea well.
 
5.      Apache by Tanya Landman
 
-          I read this story in Year 8 as part of the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal award, I was supposed to read the rest which were nominated but I just re-read this book. I love it. I have never read anything like it since I read this story – it is about an Apache (a form of Native American tribe in the 1700s) Girl warrior. The difference in treatment of men and women in Apache tribes to Mexicans (who are the antagonists of the story) is not only fascinating but fuels the story of a female Apache who decides to train as a warrior to get revenge for the death of her family at the hands of the Mexicans. There is a romance, which is incredibly subtle and very realistic, a family shame, a lot of fights. It is really good! There are no movies like this: Indian female warriors! Hello? Pocahontas does not count! I think this would be a great film!
 
So there we have it. My Top 5 books to film adaption wish lists! I would love to see these books made into films – mostly because books and films are my favourite things in the world so combining them is great! – Of course I do not want the movies to ruin the books as some books have been murdered so a little side-note:
A little side note...
 
 But...so long as the books are murdered I look forward to seeing these movies! :) Hint Hint Nudge Nudge movie producers!
I hope you enjoyed this post, let me know what books you would like to see as movies! I will comment back :) Happy Reading!
 
 
 
 
Just a little P.S here is a list of movies that are coming out in late 2014 - 2015 which are a books into films adaptions:
 
1. Mockingjay Part 1
2. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
3. Horns
4. Love, Rosie
5. Paper Towns
6. Frankenstein
7. Insurgent
8. Peter Pan
9. Fallen
10. The Scorch Trials (Late 2015)
 




NaNoWriMo!


Don't worry. I haven't lost the plot. Yet. I might lose it during November...as it is National Novel Writing Month!

Hence: NaNoWriMo.

During the month of November budding authors, such as myself, as well as many others write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days. Or at least attempt to.

http://nanowrimo.org is the website that we all shall frequent, posting updates to our story, word count and asking for advice when we get stuck, down or so frustrated we rip the whole novel up and start again with only two days to spare....yeah, don't try the latter.

It is a really awesome challenge, great fun and also a great chance to do new things: meet other writers, try out ideas and generally just challenge yourself to write that story that has been in your head for ages! I have so many characters in my head right now, it is like an over-flowing waiting room up their! Minus the sneezes - although someone keeps coughing as they have consumption...you get my drift.

 
If you feel up for the challenge go online, sign up and start planning...you still have a few weeks to go to get ready, on your marks...Go!

Good luck and Happy Writing those stories that I will hopefully read one day!