Welcome to the first installment of a new feature here on The Hub: Reel Good Reads. Despite the super-cheesy title (leave your suggestions for a better title in the comments — I’m easily swayed!), I’m pretty excited! Each month, I’ll round up some of the most talked about new movie releases and point you toward books that will also tickle your fancy. Let’s get started!
The Movie: Perpetual video game baddie Ralph gets tired of being typecast as a villian and decides to take matters in his own hands in Disney’s newest animated feature, Wreck-It Ralph. His attempt to show that he’s hero material takes him through arcade games ranging from extra-pixelated vintage gems to the latest and greatest cart racing games. Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie if something didn’t go terribly wrong…
Book Soulmate: If what’s got you most excited about Wreck-It Ralph is its tongue-in-cheek solute to video games of days past and its celebration of what was once considered the realm of nerds, then 2012 Alex Award winner Ready Player One by Ernest Cline has got to be your next read! Set in an apocalyptic near-future, the world of Ready Player One is filled with people who plug in to OASIS, a huge multi-player world simulation invented by one man: James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves his fortune not to family or friends, but to whomever can find a set of keys hidden in OASIS. Halliday just happened to be obsessed with the video games, movies, and music that he grew up with in the 1980s, which allows this book to become somewhat of a love-letter to the decade that gave us Space Invaders, Back to the Future, and, of course, The Goonies.
The Movie: Stacy and Goody are just two girls trying to make it in the big city in Vamps. They worry about what every girls worries about: people thinking they’re old, where they’ll find their next dates, and, um, where to get their next blood fix. Of course they’re vampires — the name of the movie is Vamps! A somewhat silly romp that uses the vampire trend of the past few years to put a spin on the normal romantic-comedy formula. Hijinks are, of course, included.
Book Soulmate: Look, being a vampire isn’t exactly fun (I’m working very hard to avoid that “being a vampire sucks” pun. You’re welcome!), but being a Fat Vampire is pretty much the worst. In this send-up of the teen vampire genre by Adam Rex, you learn that if you’re turned into a vampire when you’re fifteen and fat, like Doug Lee, then you’re stuck like that for, well, ever. Can Doug find love with the new exchange student from India? Can he avoid being staked through the heart?
The Movie: Oh, what’s that? There’s a new Bond movie coming out? Packed with amazing technology, shiny cars, lots of action, and tons of tension and intrigue? Well, sign me up to see Skyfall, the twenty-third film to feature James Bond. This go-round, Bond has to get to the bottom of an attack on MI6, and what he finds out may put M in more danger than she’s ever been in before.
Book Soulmate: If you can’t get enough spies, then allow me to introduce you to Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz. A series of nine books and four graphic novels, these imports from across the pond feature Alex, who is recruited to go undercover by a British spy organization that may sound a bit familiar. From saving the world from nuclear missiles to stopping assassination attempts, Alex has to use all his wits and, of course, the best gadgets around to defeat all sorts of foes.
The Movie: When a movie’s antagonist is called The Nightmare King, you know things are going to get really serious really fast. Have no fear, though, as The Rise of the Guardians also features Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman — and they’re not messing around. If you thought they were just things that silly children believed in, well, you were wrong. They’re the most unlikely action heroes you’ll meet this year, and they’re ready to defend you from a darkness that has no end.
Book Soulmate: Artemis Fowl is smart. Very, very smart. He also comes from a family with a very, shall we say, luxurious lifestyle. Using his massive intellect and considerable wealth, he’s figured out that fairies aren’t merely something children dream about — and he tracks down the book to prove it. What’s a criminal mastermind to do when faced with all that fairy gold? But stealing gold from the best police force this side of the underworld isn’t quite as easy as it sounds…
Of course, if you prefer your movies to be based on books in the first place, then November won’t let you down. Life of Pi, Breaking Dawn Part II, and Anna Karenina all premier this month.
— Ariel Cummins, currently reading NW by Zadie Smith