Book of the Month 2014 Summary

Basically, I’ve chosen a favourite book that I read in each month of 2014. Some I wrote posts for, most I really didn’t, but we’re going to let that slide.

JanuaryThe Help by Kathryn Stockett – Five stars and a lot of love from me. It’s about racism and justice and family and…just read it.

February: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak – Oh look another five stars. The author of The Book Thief, in case you didn’t pick up on it. It’s a contemporary and it’s fantastic.

March: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – The classic Dystopian about books and ‘firemen’. Beautifully written, and a real thought-provoker.

AprilGone Girl by Gillian Flynn – Five stars for creepy, twisted psychological thriller-iness. Read it before you watch it!

MayThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Another one of those classics that I felt pressured into reading. It’s okay though, because this one’s really good.

June: Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson – So much love for this book! It’s a children’s novel about a little British girl who’s sent to live in the Brazilian Amazon. Amazing.

July: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – Kind of a cross between The Help, The Secret Garden and The Thief Lord. I liked it.

August: The Protector by Danielle Lenee Davis – I wrote a review here! It’s a detective/crime/mystery novel and I think it’s great.

September: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – I freaking love this little fantasy novel. It’s a kind of prequel to the Lord of the Rings, and it’s just lovely. I wrote a little post about it here.

October: It Shouldn’t Happen to a Missionary by Alf Cooper – The humourous and really inspiring autobiography of a British Christian who ends up in Chile.

November: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer – The first non-fiction book on this list, it’s more of a Christian, theological thing. I really loved it!

December: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein – What a book to finish the year with! I love it all.

So these are my twelve favourite books of the year – what are some of your picks? Have you enjoyed any of the books I mentioned?

Happy Almost-New-Year, and thanks for reading!

~Dani

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My Top 5 Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations

A lot of film adaptations of books can be acutely disappointing (don’t even talk to me about Eragon), but it’s summer, so I wanted to take a more positive approach. Here are my top five favourite movies based on books:

  1. Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer) This movie had to make the top of my list because – strangely – I preferred the film to the book. I think it was a story better told with music and colours and actors than in the words of Foer. Don’t get me wrong: he’s a great writer, but I felt like the story needed more.
  2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (J R R Tolkein) I haven’t met many book lovers who didn’t also have a deep respect for these movies. Of course they aren’t flawless, but I’d say the fact that they are made by and for LoTR enthusiasts make them special.
  3. The Help (Kathryn Stockett) I love this film (and book) so much. I loved the acting choices in spite of minor aesthetic inaccuracies, and the sensitive balance of humour and heart-break is beyond perfection.
  4. The Prince Of Egypt (story of Moses – the Bible) I wasn’t sure if I could count this as a ‘book-to-film adaptation’, which explains the reason for such a fantastic film being so low on this list. The mind-shatteringly awesome grandeur of the animation, story-telling and scripting brings the ancient story to life (and that’s without mentioning the beautiful Hans Zimmer/Stephen Schwarz soundtrack)
  5. Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins) I think most of us can agree that this film surpassed ‘The Hunger Games’ by far – a really satisfying adaptation that was faithful to – and yet not limited by – the book.

What are your favourite book/movie adaptations?

If you’ve seen any of the films mentioned, let me know what you thought of them!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani

Month in Books: January 2014

I read a lot of books that don’t even get a passing mention here, despite my having potentially really enjoyed them. What I’ve decided to do is write a quick summary of my month in books: what I read, a very short summary, and my rating out of five stars. The plan is to have a list of books that will hopefully inspire you to pick one of them up. I’ll link you up to any reviews I’ve written, and also the Goodreads page for each book, so you can find out more about any that take your fancy.

  • Chocolat – Joanne Harris – 4 stars A beautifully written novel set in a little French town, depicting a passive-aggressive battle between the legalism of the local church and the tempting luxury of the new chocolatier.
  • Unwind – Neal Shusterman – 4 stars A creepy YA Dystopian that follows the stories of young teenagers who are donated by their parents to a company who will ‘unwind’ them and re-distribute their body parts to other people.
  • Le Petit Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery A short (and very weird) children’s book full of philosophical ‘thought-provokers’ (also available in English)
  • Burn – Ted Dekker, Erin Healy – 4 stars Another creepy read! After a fire in a gypsy camp wipes out nearly all of her family, Janeal faces the aftermath, rebuilding her life and ultimately having to make the choice between the good and evil forces at work.
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez – 5 stars The hard-hitting story of five very different women becoming unlikely friends in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan (I reviewed this here!)
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker – 4 stars The original vampire horror novel! A timelessly chilling account of the infamous Count Dracula faced by the only five men in England who actually believe in his existence.
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett – 5 stars The moving story of three women living in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi and their struggles against the poisonous racism. (This was my Book of the Month!)
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – 4 stars A particularly accessible Austen story that tells a pretty romance with a refreshing amount of humour and satire. Especially recommended for any first-time Jane Austen readers.
  • My Classy Life and Other Musings – Ron Burgundy – 4 stars The beloved character from comedy movie ‘Anchorman’ blesses the world with his hilarious and completely character-appropriate autobiography. (Did I mention this was hilarious?)

And that was January! If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you thought of them. Hopefully you were inspired by one or two of these titles – and if not, there’s always next month!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day.

~Dani

Book of the month: January 2014

I’ve decided to start writing ‘Book of the Month’! This basically means that every month I come across a book that I don’t think I could possibly say anything at all balanced or objective about due to an all-consuming love for it, it gets a little shout-out.

Given, it is a little late to be writing about January, but I couldn’t bear to pass this book by!

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

This book, though.

The plot centres around the lives of three women in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi. The author, through first person narrative, takes us by the hand and shows us, with raw candor and a tender writing style, the struggles, the giggles, and the pure strength of the profoundly lovable characters.

I went into this book having seen (and loved) the movie, expecting to be a little disappointed. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the story left me reeling. I felt the love and the hurt of all the characters so deeply, and Ms. Stockett’s writing from all three perspectives was – to my mind – flawless.

I think what was so special about this book was the way it was highlighting a troubled time in history, but avoided – as many other books fail to – manipulating readers’ emotions with an overly dramatic event. The poignancy was derived from a simple honesty that made the whole book not only fantastic, but a favourite of mine.

 

If you haven’t read this already…I think you need to!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani