book angst

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

nobody & co bibliochaiseIn light of today's earlier post, this one seems a bit trivial and pointless... but life does go on...

So... I'm having book angst...

What is book angst, I hear you ask... well, I ALWAYS have a book on the go, even if I'm not actively reading it at the time, there's always something on my bedside table (and in my blog sidebar) that I'm theoretically reading at the present time. And I'm having dramas in my brain about what to read next...

I think it all stems from possibly having too many options about what I could read since Christmas.

And possibly it also comes from the fact that the last couple of books I've read were somewhat disappointing.

Firstly there was Blood Price by Tanya Huff, which was just slow, mostly uninteresting and completely predictable... so much so that I'd worked out how it was all going to end (more or less... maybe not all the details, but the whole general kind of outcome) by about a third of the way in, and it really didn't surprise me or deviate from that idea very much. So I won't be bothering to read any of the others in the series. And I'm just glad that they're on loan from Stu and not something that either Ma or I paid good money for.

That was followed by Stardust.

Now I LOVED the movie version... but the book just fell flat on its butt I think. Whether it was because I'd seen the movie first (more on that in a second) or what, but I just felt like the movie dealt with the ideas presented in the book to a much better degree and took them to their logical conclusions and tied the whole thing up as a cohesive story in a much better way. In the book there's not really any great sense of dread or danger from the main villain (in fact she's absent for large chunks of time)... and she's sent on her way at the end with basically a wave and a handshake which just left me feeling vaguely underwhelmed... whereas the movie gives you that big confrontation and resolves it accordingly. Don't get me wrong, its a sweet book, but the movie is infinitely better in my opinion.

Which brings me back to the whole "Book Then Movie" or "Movie Then Book" dilemma. This tends to happen to me a lot, but whichever version I tend to see first ends up being the "real" version in my head and the other one doesn't always live up to it (and I'm highly likely to pick it apart because it doesn't conform to the standard laid down by the other version).

That's not always true of course, The Princess Bride movie and The Princess Bride book actually compliment each other more than compete, and I like them both for their differences and changes rather than in spite of them. Actually that might be the key... if a book and a film COMPLIMENT each other (meaning they don't have to be exactly word for word the same, but they need to build on each other in some way) then I'm quite happy...

Interview with the Vampire is another example... I'd heard a bunch of stuff about the changes they'd made to the movie and this, that and the other... but during the opening credits I saw that Anne Rice had actually written the screenplay... so I just let the movie be what it was, because it was all coming from the same source, and that was okay by me.

Sometimes having read the book first is a little easier, provided they don't completely butcher the movie version (Eragon and Howl's Moving Castle, I'm looking at the pair of you!), because you know that there is only a finite amount of information they can take out of a, for example, 400 page book when they're turning it into a 110 minute movie. And sometimes when you go from Movie to Book you kind of wonder how the hell they actually got the movie they made out of that book... and you also realise that a lot of time they just kept bits here and there and made it all up.

Which is part of the reason I'm a little hesitant about reading I Am Legend. I mean the movie wasn't stunning, but it was quite good... however I always find myself sitting there reading the book going "well that's different from the movie... and why did they change that... and who the hell is this character... and where's this other character... and why didn't they keep this bit in... or leave that bit out"... that whole kind of thing. And I'm fairly sure that Legend is going to be one of those books... where they changed SO much of it to make the movie that the two versions are going to have just enough overlap to annoy me, and the rest of it will be totally different.

So, that's what... problem 3? 1. Too many choices... 2. Last couple of books were disappointing... 3. Worried whether Legend will be any good... yep... okay, good...

Number Four in my list of book angst items is that I've been intending for AGES now to read the entire Discworld series from start to finish. There are books in there that I haven't actually read yet, and I've never read the whole thing in order, and it's been on my to-do list for probably about a year now. But it's a 30-ish book series... so if I start it now, I'll still be reading it come April or May, at the earliest... and I not only have all the books from Christmas that I haven't read... there's also the books from the book sale in October...

So basically I've settled on Twilight for now... partly because it removes the decision for now, and I want to give myself some thinking space, try and work out a plan... maybe I do just need to dive into the Discworld books after this one... then, hopefully, by the time I finish all of those, then enough time will have gone past that I can read Legend without comparing it to the movie TOO much...

Then of course, there's the books I may or may not pick up when I'm in Sydney... *sigh*

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lamingtons Wednesday, January 23, 2008 1:43:00 pm  

my biggest problem with books, is that when the plot dries up and the dialogue becomes trivial, i tend to drop the book and never read it again. one of the more infamous examples of when this happened to me, is with the unknown terrorist by richard flanagan which was purportedly an interesting read, but i could barely finish half the book before being overwhelmed by boredom.

Monty Wednesday, January 23, 2008 3:46:00 pm  

OMG - you are the only other person in the world that I know who's read The Princess Bride!!! Most people don't even know there's a book! How good was the book! I agree with you, it just complemented the movie and as a result, both the movie and the book were enhanced in my eyes! You're obviously a man of taste!!! :-)

yani Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:11:00 pm  

Lamingtons: I don't I've ever really done that (dropped a book halfway through)... or if I have it was after about the first chapter or something. If I start something, then I finish it, even if it takes me forever. The worst case ever of that was when I tried to read Frankenstein... took me at least two months.

Monty: The Princess Bride ROCKS! I discovered it totally by accident in Borders, and just HAD to have it. It's just a shame that the whole "introduction" section and the "revised" nature of the book is as much fiction as the rest of the book. Still love it though!

Monty Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:50:00 am  

Hey, when are you coming to Sydney??? Just noticed that last little comment on your post...


yani Thursday, January 24, 2008 5:29:00 pm  

*points to the little counter on the sidebar*

45 days give or take... March 11-14

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