Misc.

A Year in Books 2012

This is my own wrap-up post of the past year, pointing out particular favourites, new authors and series, etc. To see all the books I have read this year, click here, or look at the graphic below (good ol’ Goodreads!)

 

I started off the year with reading all but the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, as I had read A Game of Thrones at the end of 2011. Definitely one of my new favourite series and authors! I don’t think I really need to explain what they’re about as I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of the series by now.
 
 
I started the Millennium series, by Stieg Larsson. My parents are fans, and were going to see the English language version of the film in the cinema, and I decided to go with them. I hadn’t read the books, so on the day we were going to watch it I started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and got about halfway through the book before seeing the film. But Blomkvist and Salander hadn’t even met by that point! I still haven’t read the third book of the series – I started it, but honestly found it rather dull, and from watching the film I know not much happens.
 
 
I won my first Goodreads giveaway – Antauge by Sarah Parker Morris, which I ended up giving a three star rating. You can read my review here. I won many other books after, some of which I still need to review!

 
Mass Effect 3 was released, and I played and finished it – and started reading the books because I just can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, the books are pretty bad… but that doesn’t stop me from reading them. I have reviewed Mass Effect: Ascension by Drew Karpyshyn and Mass Effect: Homeworlds by Mac Walters; and read but not reviewed Mass Effect: Deception by William C. Dietz and Mass Effect: Evolution by Mac Walters.
 
I also decided to read some more classic sci-fi, so read books such as I Am Legend by Robert Matheson and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I made sure to read it before I watched Blade Runner – which is one of my dad’s favourite films, and he’d been telling me to watch it for ages. I have to say, I definitely preferred the book! I also read some newer sci-fi, such as House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds (amazing) and Gradisil by Adam Roberts (had so much potential).

  

I read The Hunger Games series, all three books before seeing the film. I absolutely loved them, and this led to me reading more YA books that weren’t quite so good… 

But I also discovered some new favourite series – the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett, the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. I discovered some really enjoyable, underrated books such as The Silver Linings Playbook (which I’m sure is now more popular due to the film). I re-read some older favourites – Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses trilogy, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, some Bill Bryson.


I finally got round to reading (and really enjoying!) some of the more popular books that I’d been meaning to read – The Passage by Justin Cronin, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.


But I also read a couple of books that I really didn’t enjoy. Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Admitting to not enjoying either of those almost makes me feel blasphemous… but I just didn’t get along with them at all. I think The Scarlet Letter is the only book I’ve ever wanted to throw across the room. I really looked forward to reading Let The Right One In but spent the majority of it feeling rather queasy… I also read the infamously Goodreads-wide hated Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden, which made me feel rather sick for a completely different reason.


I founded this blog at the end of August, which is when I started reading ebooks – I’m still not sure what I think of them. I can see their uses, definitely, but I much, much prefer the feel of a real book in my hands. Since I started this blog, I have made 95 posts (not including this one), 29 of which are book reviews. I’ve gained 220 followers on Google Friend Connect, and over 500 on Twitter, as well as discovered some fantastic fellow book bloggers!


I’m actually finding it really hard to write this post, because there are so many books and aspects of blogging that  I want to write about, but I don’t want to turn this into an essay, and it would also take forever! Overall, I would say that I think it’s been a great year, reading wise. I read a wide range of genres, found some amazing new books/series/authors, and also found ones I know to steer clear of.


I think I’ll also just take the time to send a small shout out to some of my favourite book bloggers – Kelly, Kat, Ara, Aloi and Deneé – I visit your blogs regularly, and try to comment frequently. But there are so many others I love to visit, I would list my whole blogroll on here if I could…

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Top Ten Tuesday #2: Book To Film Adaptations

toptentuesday

I’m taking a break from my Community marathon to join in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a Top Ten Freebie, meaning each blogger can pick their own theme. I’ve looked through the past themes, and chosen:

Top Ten Book to Film Adaptations

1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Films directed by Peter Jackson – one of my favourite book and film series. I know there is plenty that was changed, added or left out, but I believe that Peter Jackson created the very best he could without making something that was days long, nor cutting out too much. I know Tom Bombadil would have been awesome but would he really have been necessary? Yes, it was Glorfindel, not Arwen, who took Frodo to Rivendell and over the Bruinen Ford, but Jackson and co worried that the lack of female characters would cause complaints – and as an avid lover of the books, I have no problem with the creative liberty taken.

2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Films directed by David Yates, Alfonso Cuaron, Chris Columbus and Mike Newell) – when the first one came out, I was 11 and a massive fan. I was so, so disappointed – and I hated the films until the fourth one. I think they slowly improved with time and now, even though the first few aren’t great, I enjoy them because they’re Harry Potter and they show the changes the series went through. And the cast makes me SO proud of my nationality.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Film directed by Gary Ross – I feel this adaptation was really faithful, and Ross did so well in making it violent but still appropriate for a younger audience. Plus some fantastic casting.

4. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Film directed by Steven Spielberg – although the book is a lot more technical (read it if you haven’t!), and the adaptation maybe isn’t as faithful as some, I absolutely love this film. When I was younger I wanted to study dinosaurs – but somehow I ended up as an archaeologist, rather than a palaeontologist!

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Film directed by David Fincher – I somehow feel bad for admitting that I preferred the American version to the original Swedish version, but I just did. Salander was more how I imagined her. Honourable mention to Niels Arden Oplev though!

6. Mrs Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Film directed by Chris Columbus, original book title ‘Madame Doubtfire’ – this is on my list because it’s one of my ‘comfort’ films (for when I’m feeling down), Robin Williams is my favourite actor ever, and this film turned a frankly quite depressing book into something really sweet and funny, but also touching.

7. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Film directed by Sharon Maguire – how did I nearly forget Bridget Jones?! I’ve read and watched it so many times, it’s like an old friend. I’m really not a chick lit/flick person, but I make an exception for these books/films.

8. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Film directed by Clive Donner (1982 version) – so I haven’t actually read the book yet… it’s on my list! But I just can’t ignore Anthony Andrews’ fantastic take on Sir Percival Blakeney (or should I say ‘Blakenehhh…), Baronet. It’s really hard to get hold of this film (at least in the UK), but it’s worth it!

9. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Film directed by Martin Scorsese – I think the film really caught the essence of the book – creepy and unsettling.

10. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Film directed by Lynne Ramsey) – as with Shutter Island, this is every bit as harrowing as the book. Ezra Miller is outstanding.

And one book to film adaptation I’m not sure about – maybe it was too hyped up – is Blade Runner. I really loved the book, by Philip K. Dick (published as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). It’s my dad’s favourite film and he kept telling me to watch it, which I finally did after reading the book, and it just wasn’t that great. It was good, but really didn’t live up to my expectations – and is very different from the source material.

How about you? What book to film adaptations have you enjoyed, or been let down by?