The Giver Movie

This week the first trailer for The Giver was released. The movie is set to come out this August, and it stars people like Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, and Taylor Swift.

I first read The Giver early on in my school career and then again for my Children’s Literature class in college. It seems like people have one of two opinions on The Giver – either they hate it or they love it – there doesn’t seem to be much in between. Although we did talk about some of the issues with the book during Children’s Lit (I think the numbers in the community didn’t quite add up or something like that), I still really enjoyed the book both times I read it.

I find it interesting that a movie for The Giver is coming out now. The Giver was written as a dystopian YA novel long before dystopian YA novels were cool. Of course there were other dystopian books out there like 1984 and Brave New World, which I still want to read, but The Hunger Games was far from being a thing in the ’90’s when Lois Lowery wrote The Giver.

I was interested to see how they showed Jonas’s world in the trailer. It is a futuristic society, but I always pictured it as being more idyllic as opposed to futuristic. Maybe that’s because I was just learning what dystopian and utopian were at the time. In my mind Jonas’s house, family, and world was very traditional. They had a round, wooden table where they ate (I don’t know if that was in the book or just in my mind), and I pictured a lot of grass everywhere – maybe because of the final scene in the book, if I am remembering that correctly.

SPOILERS in the next paragraph:

It looks like the movie is in color when in fact a lot of the book was in black and white, although they didn’t really emphasize that too much, if I remember correctly, until the end. But I feel like they could do kind of drab colors vs. vivid colors or something like that to show a contrast there. I’m not sure how that will play out, but I am kind of interested to see what they will do.

Also in the book Jonas and all his friends are twelve, while actors such as Brenton Thwaites and Taylor Swift are in their twenties. This is also understandable when compared to The Hunger Games or Divergent movies, and I don’t think that in itself would stop me from seeing the movie. I might just have a book Giver and movie Giver distinction in my head.

So it looks like my image of The Giver world and the movie do not line up, but that is understandable. I wonder if my image of it would have changed had I read something like The Hunger Games, Matched, or Divergent before reading The Giver.

I also think it is interesting that The Giver movie is coming out now. If I remember correctly, it is a pretty visual book, which would lend itself to a movie. I always saw it as the precursor to the dystopian trend in young adult books, so in a way it makes sense to come out now. But it also seems like the dystopian trend is slowing down a bit in the book world, or at least that’s how I feel.

Of course, the movie industry and the book industry are two different things, but they connected with things like this. I just thought the timing was interesting, but I also don’t necessarily think that will harm the movie too much in itself. All in all, I’m interested to see how the movie does, and I guess I’m going to be rereading The Giver sometime before August.

Here is the youtube link to the trailer.

Also, I am going to see the Divergent movie tonight, and I am pretty excited.

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Operation: Bookshelves

A few weeks ago I started a rather ambitious project: organizing my bookshelves. I have two bookshelves in my room – a tall white one and a shorter brown one. They have always been jam-packed full of books, but as I was going through them I noticed that 1) I tended to double layer books on the shelves and then forget what books I had 2) it got to be pretty cluttered.

I am not one for getting rid of books, but I do have limited space, and many of the books on my shelves were ones that I either wasn’t going to read or didn’t really want to keep, so now I have a large shopping bag of books to donate and another bag in the works. It was getting to the point that books were stacking up around my room – the windowsill, my desk, bedside table, under the bedside table, next to the bookshelf. There was definitely room for improvement.

I also took this opportunity to loosely organize my books into categories. So far I have fantasy, religion, and classics/lit fiction (which is split between the top shelf and third shelf down). Each section is loosely organized by author – it’s not the dewy decimal system, but it works. I also have a few books that are doubled up to save space, but not as much as before.

I still have the second bookcase to go through, but I was noticing there are a lot of books in that shelf that I would be okay getting rid of. There are a few keepers (Harry Potter, my yearbooks, playbills,) but there is a lot of potential space there as well. I also need to go through my notebooks from over the years that took up the bottom two shelves of the bigger bookcase – I am planning on consolidating them to one shelf. I am a hoarder of notebooks and while I do want to keep many of my stories and journals from over the years, the ones that have one page written in them and don’t go anywhere after that I don’t need to keep forever. I’m not entirely sure what I will do with them yet, but I can cross that bridge when I come to it.

I also have a stack of miscellaneous college books I either want to keep or haven’t been able to sell over the years (obscure modern irish plays I’m looking at you) so some of those will be added to the pile as well.

I’m pretty excited about this because it will clean up my room and make my bookshelves less intimidatingly messy than they were before. Also, if I don’t double up all my books I will have more room to put finished origami projects. A few months ago I started doing origami and it stuck. It’s great thing to do while watching tv or a movie (it doesn’t help my Netflix addiction) and its pretty and satisfying. Right now a lot of my origami is in my office space, but with the extra room I will soon have, I can expand to my bookshelves as well.

So here’s a few pictures of what I’ve done so far:

bookshelf 1 (with my “I’d rather be on Martha’s Vineyard” sign and a phizz origami ball I made last week) –

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A close up of the Phizz ball –

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A few other origami projects I’ve done recently (a kusudama and a rosette) –

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Stardust is Amazing (and so is Neil Gaiman)

I don’t have an excuse for why it took me so long to read a book by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is an author I knew I would love. I love fantasy, fairy tales, and excellent writing. I have friends who are huge fans of his, who have gotten their books signed by him, and who have urged me to read his books. But every time the subject came up I was either in the middle of another book with a long list of books to read afterwards or I was in the middle of school and didn’t have any plans for recreational reading until coming up for air during winter or summer break. Not a good excuse, I know. I’ve even written a post about an article of his, but last week I finally, finally read a book of his- Stardust.

ImageStardust is one of the few movie/book combos where I have watched the movie before reading the book. I am usually pretty good about sticking to my book before movie rule, and it has introduced me to some good series (i.e. Divergent), but Stardust was not one of those examples. I first saw the movie Stardust in college and I absolutely loved it. I was hesitant about not reading the book first, but I quickly got caught up in the story and that was the end of my worrying. I rewatched it a few years later, both times swearing that I would read the book, but as I said before I never got around to it.

The movies for Stardust, Eragon, The Golden Compass, and Inkheart all came out with in a few years of each other. And most of these titles are tagged as great books that made not so great movies. I haven’t seen Eragon or Inkheart; I enjoyed the Golden Compass movie, but I do agree the book (which I am currently reading) is much better. But Stardust doesn’t fall into that category. It makes an excellent movie. After reading the book I think the movie did a really good job of maintaining Gaiman’s sense of imagination and whimsy on the big screen. There were even a couple of scenes that I thought would be in the book that weren’t, but they still fit in with the feel of the story. So even there is some discrepancy between the book and the movie (which I am usually pretty picky about), it still has the same feel as the book, and that is what makes it a good movie.

Now, onto the book itself. Gaiman has really perfected the art of the adult fairytale in Stardust. While there is a whimsical feel to the story, and many of the typical characters one would find in a fairytale (a witch, a prince or two, etc.) there is a distinctly mature feel to the book as well. Tristan Thorne is a young man who lives in Wall, a town in England bordering a fantasy world (the two are divided by a wall, hence the name). He goes out on an adventure to retrieve a shooting star for his love back home, but the story quickly becomes more complicated than that as other characters want the star as well. There are many tropes Gaiman follows in this book, but he also does a good job of turning them on their heads which makes the story more unique and memorable.

Many fantasy authors create fantastic worlds through description, but Gaiman’s excellent use of language adds another element to the his fantasy world. It’s artistic but not overdone to the point where it becomes tired or draws the reader out of the story. Instead it draws the reader farther in. He is going on my list of authors who use great language along with Billy Collins and Markus Zusak. I should say that this list doesn’t actually exist on paper, although it probably should. I can tell that Stardust is a good book to reread as well, and I’m looking forward to coming back to it and seeing what jumps out at me the second time around.

It is also a graphic novel, and I am interested in reading that as well to see what changes, what stays the same, how pictures add to the story especially considering Gaiman’s use of language. So that’s something that I’m looking forward to. And it’s almost the weekend.

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