Book to Movie Confessions

July 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

As a book lover, it’s inevitable that two movies would have been on my viewing roster for 2013 – The Great Gatsby and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

As a literary snob, it’s inevitable that I’ll tell you The Great Gatsby is marvelous and rich and The Mortal Instruments are teen franchise fluff.  (Teen franchise fluff that I read and re-read.)

As someone who has worked on indie film crews with family in the not-so-indie industry, I’ll tell you that The Great Gatsby was the more phenomenal film.  Baz Luhrmann is incredible.

But here is my confession:

When the house is too quiet… when I need something on the television to pass the time between books… when I’m ruminating on the world at large – it’s not The Great Gatsby that I play on repeat.

I gave a review of the film when I first saw it. I was late to the party, I don’t rush to the theatres anymore. The crowds overwhelm me. I can muster up the energy to exist in a crowd, but I pick and choose those moments carefully. I need to be moving (like on a bike) or listening to an amazing band. Opening night at a theatre has to be for something really special and I’d prefer advance notice. I’ve aged into a curmudgeon, I suppose.

I’m not changing my initial review.  That would be unfair.  I don’t like editing much – I had those thoughts – they existed.  I still agree with them even.  But I’m not sure “fell flat” is how I would currently describe the movie.  Not after a month of having it be my go to television time.  I read 14 books in June, but when I wasn’t reading, I was watching a heck of a lot of The Mortal Instruments.

I clean my house to it.  I sort through closets with it on.  I have to take breaks from it to go teach ABCs and plan history lessons.  But still, it’s there when I come back and I find it comforting.

I think it’s because it is a story I can half be involved in while I’m doing something else… a story that is easy to relate to not because of the angels and demons and typical boy-girl romance, but because there are some things you never grow out of.  There are both beautiful and awkward memories that stay with you.  There are moments I can see so clearly in my head from my own life when I hear someone say a line a certain way.

Teen franchises are so popular because – well, we’ve all been teens before.

More than the romance, the camaraderie of a group of people so devoted to their cause is what draws me to adventure stories like this one.

And yes, I like to joke a bit and say that it’s because I can’t get enough of Jamie Campbell Bower’s face.  But obviously, when he’s there on screen, it’s Jace’s face.  And ultimately, it takes a lot more than a face to get me to watch a movie a dozen or so times – it takes talent and a true tribute to a work of art and I think they did their best.  Even if it didn’t quite live up to my lofty expectations, I think everyone involved honored Clare’s work better than anyone else could have.

I may just go to the theatre when City of Ashes comes out.

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Literary Journal Monday – Gatsby Love

March 25, 2014 at 12:00 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

All About Additional Literary Journal Adventures at Good Books in the Woods

I got to peek at some incoming journals today, they were hanging out on the owner’s desk…

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P1010434The American Mercury

The American Mercury was an American magazine published from 1924[1] to 1981. It was founded as the brainchild of H. L. Mencken and drama critic George Jean Nathan. The magazine featured writing by some of the most important writers in the United States through the 1920s and 1930s. After a change in ownership in the 1940s, the magazine attracted conservative writers. The magazine went out of print in 1981, having spent the last 25 years of its existence in decline and controversy. – from Wikipedia

So that’s cool, but the real juice is this, here in the June 1924 edition…

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For those who don’t know, “Absolution” is important to fans of The Great Gatsby.  Why?  Well, you see, the writing of The Great Gatsby has a rich history.  It may have been published by Scribner in 1925, but Fitzgerald had several previous versions of the literary classic.

In 1923, he had written 18k words for the book that was destined to become The Great Gatsby but scrapped most of what he had written and began again.  These scraps can be found peppered throughout literature under different headings and titles – titles like “Absolution.”

“I’m glad you liked Absolution.  As you know it was to have been the prologue of the novel but it interfered with the neatness of the plan,” Fitzgerald wrote his editor.  The novel in question was none other than The Great Gatsby.

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The above letter is a page from Dear Scott/ Dear Max: The Fitzgerald – Perkins Correspondence.

So many neat things can be found inside the pages of literary journals and I’m enjoying discovering the treasures.

Somewhat unrelated, but definitely something for the Fitzgerald collector that I found while researching this post, are some wonderful embellished journals.  The creators have taken the first handwritten page of The Great Gatsby and imprinted it on the cover of leatherbound journals.  So beautiful:  http://blog.paperblanks.com/2012/09/f-scott-fitzgerald/

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The Still Great Gatsby

January 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Publisher: Collins Classics/ HarperPress

Genre: Fiction

Length: 140 pages

“I hate The Great Gatsby, it’s so boring,” my husband exclaimed when he saw me re-reading Fitzgerald’s novel.

“Boring!? How can you say that? Something happens in every sentence!”

Since I first read The Great Gatsby in my high school English class, I was enamored by Fitzgerald and the magical world of symbolism he weaves. I dreamed of writing something that had as much depth, as many layers. As a 16 year old, I was blinded by that symbolism, all I saw was the green light, the yellow car, the envy, the American Dream. I was caught up in the use of the names Daisy and Myrtle. I was dazzled by the colors and the literary devices.

As an adult with a husband, daughter, and home, for the first time I see the simplicity of the story. I see the story no one talks about, the one beyond the green light and the yellow car. This time I see the beauty of a narrator who is sucked into a world and is omniscient in that world, but is never quite a part of it – like William Miller in Almost Famous. This time I see the epic, but typical, sadness in a story about greed, love, and regret.

If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties and haven’t read The Great Gatsby since high school, I recommend that you do. It looks so different, but still great, from here.

*About this edition: The Collins Classics edition is a dandy little pocket paperback, and actually would serve well for students. There are definitions of words and phrases that are used differently than what is typical. I’d recommend it to teachers who require their kid’s to all have the same edition.

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