Monday, April 19, 2010

Musing Monday... Best Books/Big Screen

Let's go over to Just One More Page and check out the results of last weeks "Best Books" question and see how my five choices made out.
Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the ‘best’ books'.

Last week I had you all to suggest your top 5 books – and I was surprised by just how different all your choices were! There’s no real question this week, except to look over the list and consider it. Do you agree with the choices? Is it more worthy of a “Best Book” title?

To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee (6)
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen (3)
The Chronicles of Narnia- Lewis, C.S. (3)
The Time Traveler's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger (3)
Harry Potter (series)- J.K. Rowling (3)
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak (3)
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott (2)
Hunger Games (series)- Suzanne Collins (2)
The Shining- Stephen King (2)
Anne of Green Gables- L.M. Montgomery (2)
Lord of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkien (2)

These are the books that got more than one vote, followed by a very long list of books that got only one pick. As Rebecca says, a surprisingly long list. Many of which, I must say, I have never heard of. Which I also found surprising.

Well, I do agree in that 2 of my 5 picks made the multiple list, Mockingbird and LoTR. And I would agree that several of the others should be on any best list. Pride and Prejudice..Narnia...Little Women. But I must say I have my doubts about a few too. Harry Potter for example.

Now I know many of you love this series. I am very happy that this is a series that brought the joy of reading to many young people, hopefully a love that will continue on for their lifetime. But one of the best books of all time? I read the first one. I did not really think it was that great. Ok, not my cup of tea but more than that, I did not think it was that well written. Popular...without doubt. Best...I think not.

Then we have the Hunger Game series. Now, unlike the Potter books, I love these books. Very entertaining, yes, but best of all, I can't say they are. Granted, these are all subjective judgments, as I think all these list are. But I think to make the best category, a book have to be more than entertaining. It has to have a certain timeless quality that I am not sure some of these books have. And without question, it has to be very well written, a quality I think a few of these books lack. But I will not be more specific, for fear of stoning.
Fans can be vicious.

I had another thought while thinking about the 'best' books again and that is how these great books translate into movies. Can a movie every capture that "greatness"?
It is a fearful thing when I hear that a book I love will be made into a movie. Very often it will be screwed up. But...sometimes, just sometimes, it happens. A great book becomes a great movie.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a perfect example. A wonderful movie. So good that, in my mind, I can not think of the book without thinking of the characters as portrayed in the film. Lord of The Rings is another case where I think the movie did the book justice. Extreme fans of the book have a few issues with the movie, I know, but I think it was a great movie, very faithful to the books in large. No easy task with a book as big, in so many ways, as Lord of The Rings.

But it is not always so easy. To take one example for the list above, how many film and TV versions of Pride and Prejudice have there been? Some good, some not so good, but at least in my opinion, none definitive. Not that it keeps the movie folk from trying again...and again... and again...
But on the other hand, you have a book like one of my top five favorites, Death Comes For The Archbishop. For whatever reason, no one has ever attempted a film version, which I think is a terrible shame. Yes, they might screw it up, but I would love to see the attempt.

Do you have a favorite book, a book you consider one of the 'best' that has been make into a great..or not so Or one that is still waiting, crying out for the Big Screen?


  1. I agree with you - Harry Potter and the Hunger Games are fun, but not the best books of all time.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird should win best everything. What is not to love, with the book (also audio book!) or the movie? Now I must step in here and comment that the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice is to die for. Does that book every bit of justice (especially when he comes out of the river wet, with that white gauzy shirt!!!!!).

  3. I missed the vote but what a great idea! I would add 'Run with the Hunted' and 'Keep the Change' to this terrific list you've mentioned. :)

  4. Kathy, I am happy someone agrees with me on this. I was afraid to even say

    Sandy, I think that tells us you love Colin Firth...not necessarily P&P.

    Kate, those are two more I can add to my 'never heard of' list. I am starting to think I live under a rock. :-0

  5. I've never read most of them.

  6. I thought "The Grapes of Wrath" movie with Randy Quaid in it was quite good. It did the book justice.

  7. Read most of them, liked them all.

  8. I don't really see The Hunger Games as "great timeless literature." But I do see Harry Potter that way!

    And I love this line: "Yes, they might screw it up, but I would love to see the attempt." : )

  9. did I say that? why, yes, I


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