Read, Listen, Watch
Staff Picks and Suggestions
Even though I really love to read, I’ve never been part of a sustained, organized book club. One of my favorite elements of college was the discussion sections for my English classes. I enjoy thinking about aspects of a text, analyzing them, and also getting to hear what others thought. Of my friends who’ve been part of book clubs, the general consensus seems to be, that after the first meeting or so, no one usually ends up reading the book, and the get-togethers become more haphazard and purely social affairs (which can also be fun, but deviate from the original goal.)
I’ve thought about trying to start a book club at the library. Do you think that students would want to participate, or are they too entrenched in their own studies, to want to pick up additional reading? Do you think library staff, or other faculty and staff from the Northeastern community would be interested? And how narrow of a book club topic yields the best inquiry?
Our video upload attempts got me thinking about video on the web. With the writer’s strike stalling new television shows, I recently read an article on shows designed with internet viewing in mind. It also seems that users (myself included) have come to expect a smorgasbord of free entertainment (including television) on the web. While most networks have jumped on the bandwagon, usually providing a few episodes of their most popular programs online, they hardly offer an exhaustive season catalogue. This past week, I spent a fruitless hour trying to find episodes that I had missed.
Until I purchase a TiVo or DVR, is this a hopeless exercise? Or is the possibility of a complete television canon, free and readily accessible online, in the near future? Or, have users come to demand far too much in the way of free content, and will they be forced to pay for it, one way or another?
I love to read, and make sure to do it on a regular basis, and one stumbling block I occasionally run into is that I imagine all of my friends and family are as excited about it as I am. When it’s time to give a gift, the bookstore lures me in, and I always think that the perfect gift will be a special book that I enjoyed and want to pass along to someone I love. However, experience has taught me that after a point, a gift-recipient will say “Enough! They look good, but I’m never going to finish all of these.”
The earliest silent films often used books as their source material, from F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation taken from Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman. Gearing up for Oscar season, late fall and winter releases seem to regularly adapt popular or acclaimed literature. Beowulf, The Kite Runner, I Am Legend, Love in the Time of Cholera, Atonement, The Golden Compass, No Country for Old Men, Persepolis, and P.S. I Love You are all adapted from novels or short stories. Of those, I’ve only seen Atonement so far. I enjoyed it and would recommend it, but I certainly didn’t think it measured up to Ian McEwan’s novel (which I loved). But at the same time, if I love a story enough, I’m happy to see it in almost any version.
What adaptations are you most eager to see this winter? Which book do you think would make a great movie? (Who would you cast?) And are there any movies which you think have blasphemed the books they were based on?