Beowulf and the next Tim Burton movie: The latest in literary adaptations

It’s the first day of spring! Despite the crippling drought in California, I admit that I’m enjoying the abnormally warm weather here in the Bay Area. This week I’ve been binge-watching “House of Cards” on Netflix (I’m only on season 2, so no spoilers!), which many people may not know is based on a novel by British politician Michael Dobbs. This remake has got me thinking about other stories that are coming to television and movie theaters!

ComingSoon.net reported two fun facts on March 12, so here’s what I’m excited about when it comes to literary adaptations:

Image via ComingSoon.net

1. ITV, a television network in the United Kingdom, will be re-imagining Beowulf in a 13-part drama series, the filming of which will begin at the end of this month. Kieran Bew (from “Da Vinci’s Demons” and other British TV series) will star as Beowulf with William Hurt as Hrothgar and Joanne Whalley as Rheda. I’m currently reading this epic, so it will be interesting to see it on TV–hopefully following the stylistic footsteps of “Game of Thrones”!

Image via ComingSoon.net

2. Another production underway is the anticipated Tim Burton adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which is scheduled for March 4, 2016. The movie will have a star-studded cast, including Asa Butterfield (“Ender’s Game”) as Jacob, Eva Green (“Casino Royale,” “300: Rise of an Empire”) as Miss Peregrine, and Allison Janney (“Mom,” “Masters of Sex”) as a female version of Dr. Golan, who was originally male in the novel. This is a fantastic literary bandwagon to join, and I’m optimistic that Burton will preserve its creepy-cool vibe.

For even more to look forward to, check out my most anticipated movie adaptations of 2015! And let me know what film and TV remakes you’re psyched about in the comments!

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My Most Anticipated Movie Adaptations of 2015

In my last blog, I shared the most anticipated books of 2015, and today I wanted to extend the discussion to film adaptations. There may be few original ideas in Hollywood, but as long as there are good books out there, we’ll always have good movies!

Here are the films that I cannot wait to blog about this year:

Image via io9

1. “Victor Frankenstein,” release date October 2. Two of the UK’s biggest heartthrobs are set to star in this adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel. Directed by Paul McGuigan, James McAvoy plays Victor Von Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe plays his assistant Igor. This movie will act as a prequel from Igor’s perspective about how he met Frankenstein when he was just a medical student. I have to admit that I have not read this classic monster tale, but I’m intrigued by how these actors will bring this story to life!

Image via Hunger-Games.net

2. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2,” release date November 20. Finally, The Hunger Games saga comes to an end; it’s just too bad that I hated the ending. Despite that, I’ve been impressed so far by the films, and I look forward to seeing Panem’s rebellion on the Capitol. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth have done an excellent job playing Katniss, Peeta, and Gale respectively, and I’m sure fans around the world will be breaking box office records when this finale hits theaters.

Image via Heavy

3. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” release date February 13. Okay, I’m not saying that this will be a good movie. But hear me out: since the book was so crappy, isn’t there no way to go but up? Even if Jamie Dornan looks more creepy than cool, and there were rumors of lackluster on-screen chemistry, I still can’t peel my eyes away from a train wreck waiting to happen. It won’t be nearly erotic enough for fans with its “R” rating, but at least we can look forward to Beyonce’s sexy rendition of “Crazy in Love!”

Well, that’s a diverse selection of movie adaptations! Which ones will you see or skip?

Literary News of the Week: Tolkien, Divergent, and The Giver

Hey everyone!

While I’m on the last half of Reached by Ally Condie, I’d thought I would share some interesting tidbits of literary news that I heard this week. Feel free to share your opinions or post news of your own!

JRR Tolkien at Oxford in 1955. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images (Image via The Guardian)

The Guardian announced that J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of the epic poem Beowulf has finally been published, 90 years after its completion. This is one work of literature that I have never read, and I believe that I had subconsciously been waiting for this moment! Who better of a translator to read than the master of fantasy himself? If you’ve read Beowulf, please let me know whether you liked it, and why!

Image via The Frisky

In movie adaptation news, everyone is making a fuss over “Divergent,” which is out in theaters now, and although I haven’t read it (it looks like a convoluted knockoff of The Hunger Games to me), I’m curious to what makes this series so popular. The Frisky believes that there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and paints it as “a bible-thumping disaster.” I wasn’t aware of Veronica Roth’s spiritual leanings, and was surprised to hear this interpretation of Christian symbolism. For fans of Divergent, does this theory hold any weight?

And lastly, the official movie trailer of “The Giver” was released! I absolutely adore Lois Lowry’s novel; in 1993, it was a dystopian tale way ahead of the current trend. Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, it is now a staple in most middle school curricula. However, this story is so well-written and powerful that people of all ages should read it!

That being said, although I love Meryl Streep, I don’t believe even she could save this movie, which will be in theaters August 15. All her critical acclaim means nothing when someone like Taylor Swift is also on the cast list (yes, really). Unfortunately, I think this adaptation will get lost in the shuffle of sub-par dystopians like “Divergent,” and viewers won’t understand the profundity of its message. Not to mention, would it have killed them to have shot it in black and white?!

Well, that’s all my news for the week. I’m looking forward to celebrating a friend’s birthday tonight, and I wish you all fun weekends as well!

My 2013 Recap!

Well, another year has ended, and I’m always amazed by just how fast time flies by. Although working full-time has slowed my ability to post as regularly as I did when I first started this blog, I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished. I even made the decision to read less books so that I could be involved in NaNoWriMo for the first time, which was a great experience that has encouraged me to devote more time to my writing.

All in all, I read 15 novels, totaling 4,635 pages, ranging from young adult romance to WWII satire to mythological comedy. I’ve ordered them from best to worst, so click on the links for my reviews and add some to your 2014 reading list!

Image via Goodreads

5 out of 5
1. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (2011)
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2012)

4.5 out of 5
3. Every Day by David Levithan (2013)
4. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (2003)
5. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent (2013)

4 out of 5
6. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (2005)

3.5 out of 5
7. Awaken by Meg Cabot (2013)
8. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman (2013)
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
10. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien (2013)

3 out of 5
11. Gilded Age by Claire McMillan (2012)
12. My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2007)

2 out of 5
13. Jinx by Meg Cabot (2007)
14. Nerds Like It Hot by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2006)
15. Pop Kids by Davey Havok (2013)

I also watched four movies related to books in some way, whether the film adapted the novel or vice versa. There’s many others I missed out on this year, so I foresee a few much-needed movie nights in the new year!

Image via Geek Tyrant

4.5 out of 5
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

4 out of 5
3. The Great Gatsby (2013)
4. Some Like It Hot (1959)

So what were your favorite novels and movies of 2013? And how will you be celebrating NYE…with a bang or just a good book?

15 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2014!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a lazy Sunday for me, after finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping like a madwoman yesterday. Today, I’m just making some chicken and dumpling soup, organizing my stuff both online and IRL, and preparing for the last work week of the year before celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

I’m also reading my 15th and final book of 2013: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. It’s been an absolutely exquisite read so far, and I can’t wait to see how it all will end. What a fantastic way to close the year!

I also figured that since I’m reading my 15th book on the 15th of December, why not share 15 things I’m looking forward to in 2014? Sure, I could have picked 14 things to coincide with the new year, but I’ve always been a slight overachiever! So here we go!

1.     Celebrating my 25th birthday (on the 15th of September, no less!). One of my best friends is planning a surprise vacation for me, which I’ll find out about when we reunite for Christmas. She’s the perfect party planner, so I’m crazy excited!

2.     Paying off my student loan. My grace period ended last January, but in a year, I’ve managed to put over $3,000 to my student loan thanks to doubling the minimum payments and using my tax refund. I hope to eliminate the remaining balance so I can snowball those payments into my savings!

3.     Reading more books! Waiting for me on my bookshelf right now include Reached by Ally Condie, Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, and When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro.

4.     Hollow City. The sequel to Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is finally being released on January 14th! Here’s to more creepy photos!

No shirt, no problem!

5.     The parade of pecs…I mean, of Greek myth movies. The Legend of Hercules (Jan. 10), Pompeii (Feb. 21), 300: Rise of an Empire (Mar. 7), and Hercules (Jul 25). Sure, they’ll probably hack the history, but hooray for chiseled chests and six-pack abs!

6.     The Hobbit: There and Back Again. I’m waiting to see The Desolation of Smaug with my family next weekend, but I’m pretty confident I will love it and this finale.

My Spidey sense is tingling 😉

7.     The Amazing Spiderman 2. Ok, last movie-related one, I promise. But it’s Andrew Garfield–’nuff said!

8.     The return of Community. Despite the drama off-screen, including Donald Glover’s early departure, I’m crossing my fingers for #SixSeasonsAndAMovie Cool cool cool!

9.     Game of Thrones, season 4. I realize that I’m wasting most of my bullets on the things I watch, but oh well! How could Peter Dinklage NOT make my list?

Blackjacks FTW!

10.     K-pop comebacks. Rumors are circulating that Korean girl bands 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation are planning to release albums early next year, and many more groups will be revealing new songs and videos. If you don’t know k-pop besides “Gangnam Style,” you’re missing out!

11.     Traveling to new places. I better boost my vacation fund, because the world is too big to sit in one spot for long!

Yummmm….

12.     Trying out new recipes. My “Nom Noms” board on Pinterest has a bunch of untested meals, and I’d like to get my cook on! I’m partial to anything with Nutella as an ingredient!

13.     Reaching 40,000 total blog views. And based on my stats, I should reach this milestone in a few months!

14.     Renewing my domain. I can’t believe I’ve been using bookclubbabe.net for almost a year! It’s been a wild ride!

15.      And of course, blogging! 2013 has been an incredible journey, and I know it’s only going to get better next year!

So what are you looking forward to in 2014? Let’s raise our glasses to another 365 days of awesomeness!

Belated Book-Related News

Another week has gone by, and now it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in California. I know that I’m spoiled living in the Golden State, so I won’t complain too much, but I always get so upset when I have to put away the shorts and bring out the sweaters.

Autumn and I don’t get along very well. Even though it doesn’t snow where I live, I absolutely loathe being cold. Especially when I have to get out of my cozy, warm bed! I hate layering clothes, dealing with dry skin, and smelling or tasting anything pumpkin-flavored.

You can keep your stupid lattes, Starbucks!

Thus, I’m trying to remind myself of what I do enjoy about this time of year: drinking hot cocoa, dressing up for Halloween parties, eating so much delicious food at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and having extra time to spend with family and friends during the holidays.

That, and awesome movies based on books! We’ve got tons to choose from, so here’s a list to remind you:

  • Romeo and Juliet, Oct. 11 – Ed Westwick as Tybalt? I am so there!
  • Kill Your Darlings, Oct. 18 – Daniel Radcliffe plays Beat poet Allen Ginsberg–yet another British actor who pulls off an American accent!
  • Ender’s Game, Nov. 1 – Despite all the controversy surrounding author Orson Scott Card’s homophobia, I hope this movie is just as great as the book.
  • The Book Thief, Nov. 8 – Didn’t read this bestseller, but so many readers are looking forward to seeing this WWII tale on screen.
  • Great Expectations, Nov. 8 – If anyone could get me to enjoy this story, it’s Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Nov. 22 –  You already know about how I feel about the end of this trilogy, and now we’re just one movie closer to it. Sigh.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,  Dec.13 – People may wonder why another trilogy was warranted for this book, but I’m just ecstatic for even more time in Middle Earth!

What else is going on this fall? Well, by now you’ve probably heard that Canadian short story writer Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature! As an 82-year-old who was first published at 37, she’s an inspiration to writers everywhere!

And I’d say she’s lived a pretty full life so far! Congrats!

I would love to read more of her work in the future (Alison over at Hardcovers and Heroines found a great list of short stories of Munro’s which you can read for free!), and I highly recommend “How I Met My Husband,” which is part of her collection Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You.

And speaking of reading (which is pretty much all I speak of on this blog!), The Huffington Post conducted a survey of 1,000 American adults and found that 41% had not read a single book of fiction this past year! How utterly sad!

To combat this, HuffPo released a list yesterday of some of the benefits of reading: it decreases stress, keeps your brain sharp, helps you sleep, and eases depression! Good, because it looks like I need to read to overcome my depression after reading those poll results!

I’m currently 100 pages into my 14th book of the year, Awaken by Meg Cabot, so be on the lookout for my review in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Super Psyched for Salinger!

Hey everyone! I can’t believe that June is over already! This is the first year that I don’t have the luxury of being a student on summer vacation, so needless to say, my slow progress through my to-read list has been getting me down. But I’ve got about 70 pages left of Catch-22, so I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

And as much as I’m enjoying Heller’s novel, it’ll be nice to spend the summer with some beach reads. Two of my favorite chick lit authors have released new works recently, Meg Cabot with Awaken and Sophie Kinsella with Wedding Night. I also have about five romance novels and three other pieces of fiction waiting for me on my shelf. So I’m motivated to enjoy the heat, throw on a swimsuit, and lay out by the pool with a good read!

Of course, when fall approaches I still have something to look forward to! I happened to catch this movie trailer in theaters before watching “The Bling Ring” (Side note: Terribly dull film! As much I like Emma Watson, this bust isn’t even worthy catching on Netflix. Save your money!).

This is a sneak peek into “Salinger,” a documentary on the mysterious author behind Catcher in the Rye, which will be released in theaters on September 6th:

Obviously, after reading Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” I’m super psyched for this film. I remember hearing the news of Salinger’s passing and I felt so despondent over the fact that he left the earth with such influence and yet so many secrets.

I hope that it reveals new insights about his life as a recluse, especially since the trailer has built up so much suspense. Fingers crossed!

So how many of you are also super psyched for this documentary? Share your love for Salinger in the comments!