Many books have been turned into Oscar-nominated films; I’ve just read a few of them. I found one exception; the children’s book, “Cinderella Penguin, or The Little Glass Flipper” by Janet Perlman was adapted from her 1981 Best Animated Short Film nominee, “The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin”.
For wonderful children’s books made into Oscar-winning animated shorts, check out: “The Ugly Duckling“, Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale; “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, about a bull who didn’t want to fight matadors; and “Gerald McBoing-Boing” by Dr. Seuss, about a boy who only speaks in sound effects.
One of my top 5 favorite films, “To Kill a Mockingbird“ (based on Harper Lee’s only published work), won the Oscar in 1963 for Best Adapted Screenplay. I decided to listen to the audiobook. This classic tells about small-town life, prejudice, and a controversial rape trial in 1935 Alabama. The portions of the book that didn’t make it into the screenplay lent fascinating depth to life in Maycomb County and the people who lived there, but none of it was necessary to the film’s narrative. I think the movie is a near-perfect distillation of the novel, and I couldn’t imagine any other voices than those of the actors in the film.
For two other excellent film adaptations of complex novels, I recommend “Gone with the Wind“, winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, based on Margaret Mitchell’s epic, and “Mystic River“, adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel , and nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Over the last half-year or so, I’ve been on something of a folklore kick. I’m not certain why folk tales appeal to me–perhaps it has been spurred by memories of my British grandmother telling me off-color stories that she remembered from her childhood (none of which I will repeat here).
To continue, some of the appeal would also have to be that they can be quickly read. Believe it or not, us library types are just as often pressed for time and don’t feel like reading a tome. But this is not to say that folk tales lack any depth, despite their being relegated to the realm of children’s stories (at least in our modern culture). But let’s leave any further analysis for the obnoxious literary theorist inside of me that I’ve been trying to suppress since finishing my masters. Folk tales are just entertaining and a great way of understanding people from around the world.
My current read (among others) is: Russian Folk-Tales retold by James Riordan. I’m reading the tale of Vassilisa, who is sent by her evil stepsisters to fetch firewood from Baba Yaga. Sounds like an easy task, right? One major problem– Baba Yaga is an old hag who flies around in a mortar and whose house is fenced by row upon row of the skulls of her victims (Warning: not every folk tale is safe for the children). The good news, though, is that evil is never victorious–well, most of the time.
Here are a few other books that I’ve read:
Latin American Folktales: Stories from the Hispanic and Indian Traditions- Particularly interesting are the Inca legends about their kings.
Russian Gypsy Tales- Amongst other things, explains why you shouldn’t try to summon the Queen of Spades at midnight.
Folk-Tales of the British Isles- Includes the tale of ”Tom Tit Tot,” an inspiration for Rumpelstiltskin.
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales- As opposed to the Disney version of Cinderella, the evil stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by birds as punishment. They don’t call it Grimm for nothin’.
We thought it would be fun to let you know what we, the library bloggers, are currently reading. We certainly have diverse tastes!
Laura S. – I’m currently reading Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. It’s most excellent, a little bit Steampunk and a lot of Dystopian future life. Apparently its a prequel to his Hungry City Chronicles!
Laura E. – I’m reading Taken by Robert Crais. It’s the latest Elvis Cole (World’s Greatest Detective) and Joe Pike thriller. So far it’s been a total roller coaster ride of a read and I’m really cranky that I’ve had to do things like sleep instead of finishing it.
Emily – I’m reading Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow, A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
Phyllis – I’ve recently read I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis and my all time favorite which I’m going to read again is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I am not a Stephen King fan but I loved this book.
Pat – I’m reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, a terrific young adult book about two teens with terminal cancer who fall in love.
Amy B. – I’m reading Big Roadsby Earl Swift. It’s nonfiction about how our modern Highway system was created. I’m also reading Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh. It is a biography about a boy who left his family as a teenager, to escape the rules and abuse received as a Gypsy (or Traveller).
Eric – I am reading Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell and A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane.
Vanessa – I am reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. It is one of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.
Meg – I am reading Pure by Julianna Baggott, Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (the sequel to Delirium).