What Book Would Make A Good Movie?

It's Friday and time for the weekly blog hop hosted by Crazy For Books. This week she's asking

"What is the one book or series you are dying to see turned into a movie or tv series?"

I'm never very anxious to see any book "Hollywood-ized" because so many of them turn out to be  disappointments, but I did read a good travel book a while ago with a story that I think would translate well to film. It's called A Trip To The Beach by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard and my review is here. It's an appealing story about a couple who leave their comfortable life in the US to open a restaurant on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. It's a movie I would watch for the setting alone, but there's a good story and interesting characters to work with as well. I think it would be a fun film.

 Book Blogger Hop

Check out the blog hop and visit some of the book blogs listed there. You may find a few new titles to read and maybe a blog or two you want to follow. Have a good weekend!

"The Prodigal Wife"

The Prodigal Wife by Marcia Willett

Yes! This book was so much better than the first one of Marcia Willett's I read earlier this year. I was hoping that first one could be blamed on "first novel syndrome" and that her writing would improve with each book and thankfully, this one was much better.

The difference is quite remarkable - no gaping holes in the story, no weird, unrealistic behaviour on the part of the characters, and none of the cliches that had me rolling my eyes all the way through "Those Who Serve". It was a nice surprise and a relief because she has a long list of titles I've been hoping to explore.

In "The Prodigal Wife" the main character is...a house, the family home of the Chadwicks which they call "The Keep". It's a house full of memories, a large estate in England where several generations of Chadwicks have always lived under the same roof. Large and beautiful, but more comfortable than grand, it is the setting for much of this story.

The current residents of "The Keep" include Prue, the Chadwick grandmother, her son Hal and his wife Fliss, Hal's son Jolyon, Sam, a 12 year old cousin  who came to live with the family when his parents died, and Lizzie, who was Sam's nanny and stayed on to help Jolyon in his gardening business. It's not as complicated as it sounds because each character is unique and has a distinctive, well-detailed personal story.

Maria, who is Hal's ex-wife and Jolyon's mother, causes all sorts of complications when she comes back into their lives after ignoring them for years, and Jolyon meets and falls for Henrietta, the daughter of Cordelia, an old family acquaintance who thinks she is being stalked. There are plenty of story lines which gives it a nice depth.

There are so many things to enjoy in this book: the characters are realistic and interesting, the setting - both the house and the English countryside - is addicting, and the story is complicated, as real life tends to be. I'd grown so attached to these people and their house that I was sorry to arrive at the last chapter.

Willett's writing makes for much better reading now, but I still don't think I can agree with all the comparisons being made to Maeve Binchy or Rosamunde Pilcher. They are in a league of their own when it comes to story-telling. But...this is a good, well-told story and I'm looking forward to reading her other novels, all of which I hope will be as satisfyingly British and comfortingly human as "The Prodigal Wife".

Book Blogger Hop - Aug 17/2012

It's been a looong time since I took part in this meme. It's hosted by Jen of Crazy For Books, but she stopped doing it for awhile and I really missed it at the time. Then she started it up again in May of this year and I had no idea till I stumbled across the logo on another blog. She's back!

Book Blogger HopTo take part, all you do is add your url to the linky list on her site. It should be the link to your actual post about the hop in which you have put the logo and answered the question of the week.

This week's question is:

"What is the one genre you will NEVER read?"

Well I don't know if it's a genre or not, but I will never read books about vampires. I am so tired of vampires, tired of hearing about them, seeing adds for movies about them, reading about the books all over the internet. I think it's time for a new fad. I think it was time a long time ago. No vampires/zombies for me. I will also never read erotica. Ewww.

The purpose of the hop is to find new blogs you may be interested in following, bloggers who may be interested in following you and, of course, to add all kinds of titles to your tbr. It's not designed to just bump up the number of followers you have. If you add your link without posting about the hop your link will be deleted. It is hoped that bloggers will connect through the hop and use it as a way to create community.

Check it out and have a great weekend!

"The Polysyllabic Spree"

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Apparently Nick Hornby is best known for his novel "About A Boy", which I've never read, and for his work as a music critic, which I'm not familiar with. There are times when I wonder if there is any hope for me at all, but then I did find and read this one. I must admit I bought it based solely on the title. The Polysyllabic Spree. Say it - it's fun! It's quirky and smart sounding. I like saying things that sound smart. The word spree sounds reckless and slightly mad. I like saying things that sound reckless and slightly mad.

As it turns out, it's a book about books - the ultimate reader's genre - so maybe you can judge a book by it's cover, or it's title. Hornby wrote a monthly article for "Believer" magazine (published in California) and 14 of those essays from Sept 2003 to Nov 2004 make up this book, with a handful of book excerpts thrown in. Each month he listed the books he bought and the books he read, then wrote a little about each.

I recognized some of the authours he talked about, but very few of the titles, so it wasn't quite as much fun as it might have been. He's funny though and honest, if a bit coarse at times. The odd swear word is probably there because that's how he speaks and it's meant to be realistic. I just think writers can do better.

I like his down-to-earth attitude about reading; book snobbery does get tiresome. You don't have to like Tolstoy, Dickens, Joyce or any of them. You like what you like. As Anna Quindlen said in How Reading Changed My Life: "the uses of reading are vast and variegated and...some of them are not addressed by Homer" and "...reading has as many functions as the human body and...not all of them are cerebral. One is mere entertainment, the pleasurable whiling away of time." Read what you like; there are no rules.

Hornby admits that the beginning of football season had an "adverse effect on book comsumption". Maybe his confession will make it easier for the rest of us to admit that as much as we love books, they do sometimes have to submit to the stronger draw of other, non-literary, things like watching tv, socializing with real people or just sitting and looking at the sky. It's a relief to hear him say right out loud, on paper, that "boredom, and very occasionally, despair are part of the reading life." Yes. Some books are boring and different people will put that label on different books. There's no shame in being bored with any book. War and Peace had some great writing but some of it was almost terminally boring, so bad it has put me off Russian authours, possibly for life.

If a book about books sounds boring to you, it probably will be. But if you like that sort of thing you might find just what you're looking for in "The Polysyllabic Spree". It was rather fun.

"Secret Daughter"

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Asha Thakkar was born in India where she lived in an orphanage for a year before being adopted by an American couple, Somer and Kris Thakkar, who would take her back to America and raise her in California. She was aware of looking different than the other kids she went to school with but that didn't bother her much - her father, also from India, looked a lot like her. As she grew into her late teens she felt herself growing farther away from  her mother until the distance became, it seemed to Asha, uncrossable.

Kavita and Jesu Merchant were Asha's birth parents (they named her Usha but it had been misread at the orphanage). She was given up for adoption because she was a girl in a culture that had little use for them, and her parents could not afford to raise more than one child. They would wait for a boy. If you are troubled by the fact that they gave their baby girl away, wait till you find out what happened to their first child, another girl born before Asha. I'm glad I was born in Canada. Inevitably, Asha begins to wonder about them - who they were, why they gave her up, where they are now. Eventually she travels to India where she is welcomed into the family of her adopted father and she begins the search for her biological parents.

These three stories - Asha's, Somer's and Kavita's - are woven together over a period of 25 years, partly set in America and partly in India. The husbands play a fairly large part in the story but the book is really about the women in all their various roles as daughters, wives, mothers and grandmothers. We follow them through the joys and sorrows of love, marriage, motherhood and loss and the constant struggle for an identity of their own.

I thought this book was pretty good for a first novel; the plot has some depth and the characters enough complexity to make them interesting. The parts set in India are well detailed and show the disparity between poor and rich in a convincing way. The colours, sounds and smells of India come to life through the story. I was a bit disappointed at the ending - it seemed weak to me. One situation was left unaddressed and another was resolved too easily. I wanted at least one more chapter to sort out some of the complications in a more realistic way.

As a cultural lesson on India it was good and I thought it was a fairly strong story dealing with some hard topics. Overall it was an interesting read that I can recommend. If you do read it, there's a glossary at the back that would have been helpful if I had found it earlier.