Richard’s March Recommendation

Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

live and let dieRichard says:  “Live and Let Die is the second novel in Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond series.  At the risk of spoiling Casino Royale‘s ending, the most I’ll say is that it follows directly from the events in the preceding booka marked difference from the movies, which tend toward self-contained narratives.  Agent 007, MI5’s most dependable operative, is sent to New York City to unravel the mystery of ‘Mr. Big’ (AKA, ‘Buonaparte Ignace Gallia’), a shadowy criminal mastermind with connections to the Soviet Union.  In the process, Bond uncovers a disturbing connection between gold smugglersapparently a favorite theme of Fleming’sa voodoo cult, and the USSR’s sinister SMERSH operations.  Naturally, Bond is the only man for the job.

This probably sounds familiar, and rightly so.  James Bond has been fully absorbed into the collective pop culture consciousness; he has changed with the times to suit each generation’s expectations.  As a result, readers who have seen the motion pictures will recognize many of the series’ well-worn tropes, albeit filtered through the lens of the 1950s:  globetrotting adventures, a mysterious and beautiful woman whose primary role is to be Bond’s love interest, a ruthless megalomaniac bent on world domination, and enough racy double entendres to make even Geoffrey Chaucer blush.  In other words, Bond fans will find a lot to enjoy in this book.  It’s worth pointing out, though, that the novelswhile subtly humorousare nowhere near as outrageous as many of the movies.

Live and Let Die was later adapted into a notoriously campy film, notable mostly for featuring Roger Moore’s first turn as James Bond.  One of the series’ more lightweight entries, Live and Let Die lacks the cool sophistication of From Russia with Love or the grandiosity of The Spy Who Loved Me.  Still, the movie has a lot to recommend:  Jane Seymour’s radiant Solitaire (still one the most popular and recognizable ‘Bond girls’), Moore’s wry take on 007, a killer theme song by Paul McCartney and Wings, and a suitably tongue-in-cheek tone.  These items keep the film afloat, even if it lacks many elements of the best Bond flicks.  While it borders on the absurd, Live and Let Die never quite falls victim to the cringeworthy cheese that bogs down Moore’s later performances in a quagmire of ludicrous plots and gadgets.  The book is great and comes highly recommended; however, the film is probably a ‘fans only’ proposition.”

3 Similar Reads

Solo:  A James Bond Novel by William Boyd “James BondBritish special agent 007is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment.  Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.” – Summary from catalog

Rain on the Dead by Jack Higgins “In the past few years, the killing and capture of many Al-Qaeda leaders has left the terrorist organization woundedbut by no means dead.  And they intend to prove it.  On a dark summer night, two Chechen mercenaries emerge from the waters off Nantucket to kill a high-value target, the former president of the United States, Jake Cazalet.  Unfortunately for them, Cazalet has guests with him, including black ops specialist Sean Dillon and his colleague, Afghan war hero Captain Sara Gideon” Summary from publisher

Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen “Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is drawn into the mystery of a child that had been abducted eight years earlier, and must use her skills with age progression as a way to reunite mother and son.  But Eve must face looming demons of her own.”   Summary from catalog

Joanna’s March Recommendation

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

this is where i leave youJoanna says:  “An amusing and, at moments, heart wrenching novel about four siblings who reunite to sit Shiva after their father passes away.  Recently made into a movie starring Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, and Tina Fey.  Both are equally entertaining and worth checking out.”
Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!
3 Similar Reads
While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty – “Veronica Von Holten is about to learn just how badly life can spiral out of control. She’s already stressed by the demands of being a premed major when a series of bad decisions and her parents’ acrimonious divorce leave her dazed and confused.” – Library Journal
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta – “One hundred people have disappeared from tiny Mapleton, New Jersey, in a Rapture-like event that has left the community visibly shaken.” – Booklist
The Vacationers by Emma Straub – “Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary and their daughter’s high-school graduation during a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Franny and Jim Post confront old secrets, hurts, and rivalries that reveal sides of themselves they try to conceal.” – Summary from catalog

Weekly Spotlight On…2013 Books into Movies

movie reelSeveral of the most popular movies this year were based off of a book (Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, The Hobbit, Cloud Atlas and so many more).  There is something about a well-told story that compels people to put the images they see in their heads up for all to see on the big screen.  While the movie occasionally outdoes the novel, I believe that this is rarely the case.  Take, for example, 2012’s movie version of Cloud Atlas.  The movie was considered to be a flop for American audiences, but the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell rose to the top of the bestseller list when the movie was released.  According to an article found on Squidoo, on average, Hollywood releases more than two dozen movies based on books a year.  In 2013, read the book before you see the movie.  Here is a selected list of upcoming movies based on books:

John Dies at the EndJohn Dies at the End (Release Date: January 25th, 2013)

This was originally a 2009 novel of the same name written by David Wong.  A gross–out horror book infused with humor (which actually manages to increase the terror of the reader), Paul Giamatti makes an appearance in this movie most likely to appeal to lovers of cheesy sci-fi or horror movies.  Fans of last year’s Cabin in the Woods won’t want to miss this one.

warm bodiesWarm Bodies (Release Date: February 1st, 2013)

Based on the 2011 novel of the same name written by Isaac Marion, this movie will put a new twist on the romantic comedy by using one of most popular trends in American culture today: zombies.  The story is fairly simple, focusing on a single zombie, R, who yearns for a better life and ends up falling in love with a human girl.  Hijinks ensue.  This one will most likely appeal to the teen demographic.

admissionAdmission (Release Date: March 22nd, 2013)

This comedy, starring comedic heavyweights Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, is based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Jean Hanff Korelitz.  Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who is up for promotion when she takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption.  The book was very well received when it came out, being hailed as, “Strongly plotted, crowded with full-bodied characters and as thoughtful about ‘this national hysteria over college admissions’ as it is about the protagonist’s complex personality.  A fine, moving example of traditional realistic fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews).

the company you keepThe Company You Keep (Release Date: April 5th, 2013 (limited release))

This thriller directed by and starring Robert Redford is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Neil Gordon.  The story is centered on centered on a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.  The film has a lot of big names attached to it, including Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, and Sam Elliott.  Library Journal calls the book an “upscale literary thriller” and it was a 2003 New York Times notable book.

the great gatsbyThe Great Gatsby (Release Date: May 10th, 2013)

This Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel was originally scheduled to be released in the winter of 2012.  While it is usually not a great sign when a movie’s release date is pushed back, Luhrmann’s directorial vision, as demonstrated in films such as Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom, will at least ensure it’s originality and daring.  The cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as the heart-breaker Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as the narrator Nick Carraway, is also promising.  But everyone should still try the book first.

world war zWorld War Z (Release Date: June 13th, 2013)

Continuing in the zombie trend, Brad Pitt will star in this movie based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks.  While the previews make the movie look like a fun ride (if you’re into the zombie thing), the book is a worthwhile read not necessarily for the zombie fun but for the humorous way Brooks approaches contemporary politics, politicians, and foreign policy.  The novel is ultimately an alternate history that asks the question: how would the world really react to a zombie outbreak?  Hopefully the movie didn’t miss this mark.

carrieCarrie (Release Date: October 18th, 2013)

Did Stephen King know when he wrote his very first novel that it would continue to engage audiences far into the future?  Perhaps not, but Carrie has withstood the test of time and there is something about a Stephen King story that begs to be represented visually (again…and again…and again).  Skeptics abound concerning this remake, but it does have promising elements: directed by Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry) and starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In) as Carrie and Julianne Moore as her psychotic, controlling mother, this has enough promise in it to get me to the movie theaters come Halloween.

ender's gameEnder’s Game (Release Date: November 1st, 2013)

Based on the classic science fiction novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, this movie stars Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfiel (Hugo) as Ender.  70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion.  The book is the winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards and has withstood the test of time–it is still one of the bestselling science fiction books in the world today.  The novel is great reading for adults and for teens, especially younger boys.

Publisher’s Weekly also recently came out with a great list of the 10 Most Anticipated Movies From Books. Another great resource to find out what movies are coming out based on books is EarlyWord.  This site gives a comprehensive list instead a few select titles.  Enjoy, and stay tuned for more Weekly Spotlights and staff recommendations!

Laona’s January Recommendation

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

84 charing cross road“I am a big fan of epistolary novels (Ella Minnow Pea, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), so when one of our Adult Services librarians, Dorothy, recommended 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, I took the book home that same day.  It is a short book, and I think I read it in a little more than an hour.  It was a feeling success that I finally finished a book in one sitting! I can’t imagine not reading it in one sitting–I wanted to follow this lovely relationship from start to finish from the moment I opened the book.”

Read about or request this book from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Weekly Spotlight On Books Into Movies

There is, inevitably, a renewed surge of interest in a book once it has been made into movie.  This post is meant to give you a head start on upcoming movies that have been adapted from books.  I, personally, like to read the book before watching the movie and then compare the two.  This is by no means a complete list of movies based on books, but is instead a list of movies that I am excited about and that will most likely spur an increase in library checkouts for the book the movie is based on.  Get ahead of the pack and read the books BEFORE the movie is released in theaters.  So, without further ado, some things to look forward to.  I have included a link to the Internet Movie Database for each title if you want more information:

1) Hemingway and Gellhorn

This is actually an upcoming HBO TV movie starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen, scheduled to be released on May 28th.  It tells of the romance between Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a WWII correspondent.  Gellhorn was the inspiration for For Whom the Bell Tolls and the only woman who asked for a divorce from Hemingway.  Norton is also republishing a nonfiction work titled Hemingway: The 1930’s Through the Final Years by Michael Reynolds as a tie-in with the movie.  HBO rarely ever disappoints, and if this production is as excellent as it promises to be, you can be sure to see For Whom the Bell Tolls flying off of library shelves!

Click her for access to Hemingway’s works in the library catalog!

2) Snow White and the Huntsman

Based off of the fairy tale created by the Grimm brothers, movie adaptations of Snow White seem to be trending at the moment.  Earlier in the year Mirror Mirror came out, to mediocre reviews.  This adaptation is much darker and focuses, obviously, on the relationship between Snow White and the huntsman ordered to kill her.  While some may have their doubts on whether this adaptation will captivate audiences, its impressive cast and visual beauty make this a movie to look forward to.  This is scheduled to be released on June 1st; I highly recommend picking up a collection of the original Grimm fairy tales if you haven’t read them before–some of the stories truly are grim, and can be read by adult audiences as well as children.

Click here for access to Grimm’s works in the library catalog!

3) Bel Ami

Adapted from the novel by Guy De Maupassant, expect renewed interest in this classic novel once the costume drama starring Robert Pattinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman, and Christina Ricci comes out on June 8th.  The story itself tells of a young man’s rise to power in Paris through his manipulation of wealthy and influential women.

Find the book in the library catalog here!

4) Savages

Based on the book of the same title by Don Winslow, this Oliver Stone-directed action movie tells the story of two pot growers who face off against the Mexican drug cartel.  This one is definitely not for the faint of heart, but the name of Oliver Stone will increase interest in both the movie and the book.  This movie is due to be released July 6th.

Find the book in the library catalog now!



5)  Lawless

This movie is based off of the book titled The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based On a True Story by Matt Bondurant.  Due to be released on August 31st, this movie has a very promising cast and interesting premise.  Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.  If the movie is as good as it promises to be, you can be sure that people will flock to read the book as well.

Find the book in the library catalog now!

That’s all for now, keep reading our blog for more updates and trends in the book industry, along with staff recommendations and reader’s advisory tips brought to you by the River Forest Library!

Dorothy’s May Recommendation

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

” Even though you know from the start that the narrator’s 16-year-old son is in prison for a Columbine-like school massacre, the pages practically turn themselves as the chilling story unfolds in a series of letters written by the bewildered mother to her estranged husband.  Publishers Weekly called it “harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous.”  A brilliant, albeit disturbing, novel.  It was made into a movie in 2011;  I can’t bring myself to watch it!”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Access to library catalog here)

2) The Boy On the Bus by Deborah Schupack (Access to library catalog here)

3) Before and After by Rosellen Brown (Access to library catalog here)

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings by Jonathan Fast (Access to library catalog here)

2) Road To Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence by Elliott Currie (Access to library catalog here)

3) Lethal Passage by Erik Larson (Access to library catalog here)

Dorothy’s April Recommendation

The Descendants by Kaui Hurt Hemmings

“If you liked the movie, you will love the book.  A descendant of royalty and one of the largest landowners in Hawaii, Matthew King struggles to deal with his out-of-control daughters–feisty, ten-year-old Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex, a recovering drug addict–as well as his comatose wife, whom they are about to remove from life support.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

Hadley’s January Recommendation

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

“I know it’s nowhere near Halloween, but once again I’d like to recommend something scary-  The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. If you are looking for a literary ghost story with a strong sense of place and an overall Victorian feel, Susan Hill has written several. This short novel brings to mind classics like The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting of Hill House. The Woman in Black will be adapted into a feature film next year, starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, so read it now while it is on the shelves”.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog

Mary Ann’s November Recommendation

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick

“I was excited to hear that Martin Scorsese made a movie based on this book.  I always read the book before seeing the film.  It’s an extraordinary book. There are 284 lush pencil illustrations that work with the text like a duet.  It’s a mystery and an adventure, with a bit of history added.  When you see the illustrations and see the plot develop, you’ll see why Scorsese was intrigued by adapting it to film.  In 2008, Selznick won the  Caldecott medal for this book, which is awarded ‘to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.'”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog

Rebecca’s November Recommendation

Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig

“I recently read “Kiss of the Spider Woman” by Manuel Puig.  This is probably the most well-known work by Argentine novelist Puig.  It takes place in an Argentine prison where two men, Molina and Valentin, are incarcerated together.  Molina is a charming but self-deprecating gay window dresser while Valentin is a dogmatic and intellectual political prisoner, haunted by memories of a woman he left for “the cause”.  The two slowly bond over Molina’s retellings of fantastical and romantic movies until their feelings for each other blossom into something more than friendship.  A haunting, classic novel that explores, among other things, the concepts of love and identity.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog