‘books & projector’ by Sami Keinänen (CC BY-SA 2.0)
2014 was a big year for turning books into movies and as the year draws to a close, we thought we’d highlight some of them so you can knowingly nod and ask: ‘Ah, but did you read the book?’ and gain some pop-culture/literary cred as you catch up with friends and family over Christmas and New Year.
Gone girl: a novel / Gillian Flynn. On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
The fault in our stars / John Green. Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss and life. Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games is a trilogy comprising also of Book One: The Hunger Games (available in print, audiobook and eBook and DVD; Book Two Catching Fire (available to borrow in print, audiobook and the movie on DVD); and Book Three Mockingjay (available to borrow in print and audiobook); and has been made into four movies. The third movie, Mockingjay Part One was released November 22 2014 with the final chapter coming in 2015.
Winter’s tale / Mark Helprin. One winter night, Peter Lake — master mechanic and second-story man — attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then borrow it on DVD from the Library as well.
Divergent / Veronica Roth. Also available as eBook and audio book, Divergent is set in a futuristic Chicago, where sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life. It’s a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
The giver / Lois Lowry. With yet another tale of a dystopian future, there was a definite them in young adult fiction and film this year. In The Giver, the future is a rigidly structured society where weaklings, dissenters and the aged are removed, and stirrings of individuality are nullified with drugs, children undergo special ceremonies annually until, after 11 years, they face the Ceremony of Twelve, when the Community of Elders assigns them the tasks that will take them through their adult life. But when Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memory, he discovers that the honor of selection is nothing compared to the loneliness and physical pain he must endure as he searches for a way to free his community from the spiritless life it has developed for its members.
This is where I leave you / Jonathan Tropper. Poor Judd Foxman returns home early to find his wife in bed with his boss–in the act. He now faces the twin threats of both divorce and unemployment. His misery is compounded further with the sudden death of his father. He is then asked to come and ‘sit Shiva’ for his newly deceased parent with his angry, screwed-up and somewhat estranged brothers and sisters in his childhood home. It is there he must confront who he really is and — more importantly — who he can become.
Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day / Judith Viorst; illustrated by Ray Cruz. First published in the 1970s, this classic children’s tale was turned into a movie this year starring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell. On a day when everything goes wrong for him, Alexander is consoled by the thought that other people have bad days too.