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Tag: Yann Martel

Finding Your Next “It” Book

photo by flickr user nSeika
photo by flickr user nSeika

Finishing a beloved book or series is difficult, but not nearly as difficult as moving on. We all know the feeling an especially good read can give – how that book was it, how nothing else can top it, and how nothing will ever be the same. And what do you even do with yourself after you’re done? After wallowing for a while, perhaps eating away our feelings, whether they be happy or sad ones, we do what we do best – we have to keep reading.

But where do you even begin? Usually, you have to figure out what you want first. For me, this is always determined by what I just finished. If it was a sad book, usually I’ll want a more light-hearted pick-me-up to get me through the next few days. If I just blew through a gossipy yet entertaining guilty-pleasure kind of series, I’ll look for a more cerebral, emotional book next. I recently read Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, which provided a fun couple of hours, and for a change of pace went for Life of Pi by Yann Martel afterward. One book will lead you to the next, in its own subtle way – follow the path the first lays down for you.

Once you know what you’re looking for, you need to figure out where to look.

Happy Pi Day!

Pi Pie by pauladamsmith
Pi Pie by pauladamsmith. CC BY 2.0

March 14th (or 3.14) is Pi Day, the annual celebration of the mathematical constant Ï€ (or pi). Pi is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter in all circles, and when represented as a decimal, it never ends or repeats in a pattern. These properties have made it both important and famous to both mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike. In honor of today’s celebration of mathematics, here are some great books for math fans.

And the Winner Is … The Academy Awards®

2013-02-19 13.54.29Anyone who has ever watched the Academy Awards® knows that the awards are not given to the most popular films that young people like (with a few exceptions like The Lord of the Rings trilogy). For the most part, the members of the Academy nominate and vote for serious, more high-brow films like the silent black and white film The Artist or The King’s Speech that have more appeal to older filmgoers (I loved them, but I’m older too). If the Academy voters were to consider films as Best Picture nominees that teens really enjoyed that were based on books, then The Twilight Saga, the Harry Potter series, or this year’s The Hunger Games or The Perks of Being a Wallflower would have been selected.

2013-02-19 14.01.57While it’s true that many films nominated for this Sunday’s Academy Awards® are based on books, most are published for adults, not young adults. That doesn’t mean that some of the many nominees based on adult books aren’t entirely without teen appeal. Argo is based on the book The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez. It was one of four films I saw last Saturday as part of AMC Theaters’s Best Picture Showcase 2013 Oscar® Nominees along with Amour, Les Miserables, and Django Unchained. In addition to being based on a preposterously unbelievable true story, Argo is suspenseful with a lot of humor that balances the tenseness of the plot.

It’s a lot of fun to watch, although I’d heard that parts are made up so it’s more of a docu-drama, as is Zero Dark Thirty. SLJ’s Extra Helping e-newsletter just had an interesting Connect-the-Pop blog post a few days ago by Peter Gutierrez. He interviewed media literacy educator Frank W. Baker about showing students Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty to encourage them to think critically about how these films aren’t necessarily all true but portray a version of the truth.

When Books Come to Life

For many families, the holiday season means presents, parties, and lots of food. In my family, it means a detailed movie schedule and days spent at the movie theater. This means that on Thanksgiving, I found myself at the movie theater. As I watched preview after preview, I noticed how many movies would be coming out this year that were based on books. The next day, I saw The Life of Pi, which is based on the novel by Yann Martel. In the same week, I also saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final installment of the movies based on the book series by Stephenie Meyer. This trend of movie adaptations of books is not something new, and I have seen many movies that were based on a book that I have read.

Whenever I first hear about one of my favorite books being made into a movie, I always greet the news with excitement. I am eager to see my favorite characters and plot lines come to life in such a huge way. Additionally, it is pleasing to know that other people who may have never picked up a novel that I love will be introduced to something amazing. However, this excitement is also accompanied with apprehension. After all, I have my own ideas and interpretations about the characters and stories that I read about, so it can be upsetting to see someone interpret things completely differently and ruin the story for me. Because of my emotional attachment to the books that I read, it is very easy for me to be disappointed with the film adaptations.

Recently, I saw the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. I read the novel written by Stephen Chbosky this past summer and instantly loved it. At the time that I started reading the book, the movie had already been announced, and I was looking forward to it; finishing The Perks of Being a Wallflower increased this anticipation. The film did not disappoint. While some parts of the book did not make it into the film, the movie mostly stayed true to the novel. The actors’ depictions of the characters were, in my opinion, almost spot on. What I think really made the movie such a good adaptation of the book was the fact that the author wrote the screenplay and directed and produced the theatrical version.