11.11.2010

Thursday Book Questions: Part 9

Five questions a week. Eleven weeks. Post your answers in the comments (or on your own blog if you prefer, just link back in the comments) and I'll do the same thing.

Last week, we talked favorite fictional characters, and very few of us could pick just one. Austen, Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling created the majority of the ones listed, but we had several mentions of Anne of Green Gables and one resounding, unchallenged vote for Jean Valjean. Many of us talked of Snape in the "Favorite villain" category, though we had to debate somewhat over whether he counts as a villain; others noted Fagin, Fyodor Karamazov, and the president from Fr. Elijah. We also talked about our library habits and what sort of books we take on vacation (usually light ones—physically and mentally speaking.)

This week's questions:

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
(answer here)
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
(answer here)
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
(answer here)
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
(answer here)
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
(answer here)

Now we get to my favorite part: reading your answers. :)

17 comments:

  1. 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    Well, I didn't start reading till age four. Since then, I have no idea. A few hours?

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    Lolita. I know there's supposed to be some value to it, but I couldn't get past the revulsion.

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    If it's my first time through something suspenseful: Not much. Otherwise: television. That's probably in the top ten reasons I haven't found it worthwhile to have TV.

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Ooh. Probably the A&E Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Although I also loved Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility.

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    Disappointment implies expectations, which probably rules out the Harry Potter films. :)

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  2. 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    Minutes?

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    The one that comes to mind easily isn't so much a book as a series. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire & Ice series.

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    Television & cats, not necessarily in that order.

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    The 1978 Ralph Bakshi adaptation of The Lord of the Rings & the 1979 animated The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe.

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    I'll try to be polite. The abhominable Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson. Also the newest series of Chronicles of Narnia films.

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  3. 41. Three or four hours after an eye exam when my pupils are still too dilated to focus.

    42. The Message by Eugene Peterson. This may get me banned in emergent circles, but such it is. I can go along with it for several chapters at a time until I finally come to a spot where that's not what it means at all and across the room it goes.

    43. The apocalypse.

    44. Going to have to go with The Wind in the Willows in stop-motion animation by Cosgrove Hall. No other adaptation is worth a fig, but this one absolutely nails it.

    45. David Copperfield, 1969 TV version, which tells you a lot right there about hairstyles and cinematography. Sir Laurence Olivier receives top billing and gets all of two minutes screen time. At the end, David learns that the moral of the story is that he needs to stop being weak like his mother and Agnes and "Be Strong" like Mr. Murdstone. (Sole redeeming quality: An excellent score by Malcolm Arnold that thankfully is available entirely separately on CD.)

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  4. 41. Hmm, I went through a pretty bleak period in undergrad when all I was reading were assigned readings and stuff I thought would help me be a better Christian. So I was actually reading a lot, but when I finally actually sat down and just read a [edit] book because I wanted to (thank you, Tad Williams), it felt like I hadn't read for almost a year. I'm not sure if this is a real answer.

    42. Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb. Which is completely unfair, because I loved Assassin's Quest. But I was clinically depressed when I tried reading it, and it has a staggeringly depressing beginning. I had to put it aside and go on to discover Brian Jacques.

    43. Emails. Telephones. Babies.

    44. Silas Marner, directed by Giles Foster, with Ben Kingsley in the title role. This is one of the very few instances I know where the movie adaptation is actually a greater artistic achievement than the book. (The other is probably Ben Hur.) Although I was very tempted to just agree with Eric for this one.

    45. Almost agree with George. But probably either the new Prince Caspian (no, Adamson! Bad, bad!) or GoF.

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  5. 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

    Wow, ummmmm, not very, maybe a couple of hours. Oooh Oooh, except when I had West Nile, a couple of days.

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

    This rarely ever happens. Most of the time I will not be able to leave a book unread. However, I have been trying to make it through "Eat, Pray, Love" for several months now. I just can't make myself read it anymore. The book is an easy read and I made it through Italy, but, the woman is SUCH a WHINER and so self-absorbed! I can't stand it!

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

    The phone

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

    Princess Bride

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

    I don't remember why anymore, but I remember being really disappointed with "Girl of the Limberlost."

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  6. 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    Reading a book? Well... er... maybe several months (post-grad-school-burnout). Reading anything? Maybe a few hours.

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    War and Peace. I tried... kind of.

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    Other people :). Somehow "I'm reading" looks like, "I'm lonely and isolated; come talk to me." They don't quite know that I'm very content, but that's okay.

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Oh I'm so with you, Jenna! A&E's P&P!

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    For some reason I'm drawing a blank. If I'm disappointed with a film I usually try to block it out of my mind. But... um... I'd probably say any and every version of Jane Eyre, or any and every version of Persuasion. I've seen 5 or 6 of them (combined), and I didn't like any of them! Those books are too subtle and can't be carried over into film.

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  7. 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    Not very long, a couple of days and only for something big like having a baby or something.

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    I never used to but since having kids I don't waste time on a book that I'm not enjoying because I don't have a lot of extra time. Most recent one "Civil Disobedience" by Thoureau.

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    My kids.

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Jenna, I agree with you but I also really enjoyed Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood; terrible book though.

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    Hated the new Pride and Prejudice and all the Harry Potter movies.

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  8. It totally made my morning to read all of these. Excessively long comment in response:

    George, I knew you were going to mention Peter Jackson. Haha. Also, I'm kind of with you on the Chronicles of Narnia. LWW was all right in some places, but Caspian was two hours of dreadful.

    Eric, you made me laugh with your comments about The Message. As a Catholic who thinks the NAB (the official translation used for Mass in America) is on the awful side, I won't disagree with you. :) Also, I'm utterly appalled by the idea that anyone could make a movie version of David Copperfield and have Mr. Murdstone come out looking good.

    Mr. Pond, real answer or not, I love your response to question 41. In regards to #44, I should really watch Ben Hur properly. My family rented it when I was young--or we thought we did. Turns out we'd rented just the second half, which started around the chariot race. I hadn't read the book then, and it pretty much made no sense. Total fail.

    MissPhotographerB, despite crying over the part you read us on Dante, I don't think I'll read Eat Pray Love. I don't need any encouragement to be a self-focused whiner. :) Props on picking Princess Bride for #44--it never even crossed my mind. And the reason you were disappointed in Girl of the Limberlost is because it was AWFUL. It totally destroyed the book, it only covered the first half (no Philip Ammon? No Edith Carr and Hart Henderson? What?!), and it was boring. :P

    Farmer's City Wife, your #43 always happens to me on an airplane. It's almost enough to make me want to road trip. As for #44, I sometimes think you and I have just about everything in common. We should really hang out more often. :D And I hate every movie version of Jane Eyre ever made. I've seen at least two, maybe three. That book is one of my top ten favorites in the whole world, and it just doesn't seem to translate. I think you're right about the subtlety.

    Sarah, I've never even started anything by Thoreau. I have Walden, but I've just never been able to garner up the interest. Also, I really liked the movie Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood too--Sandra Bullock rocks. :) Thanks for warning me not to read the book. I also disliked the new Pride and Prejudice; maybe if I'd never read the book I would have liked it as a film, but I just couldn't stomach Keira Knightley's humorless portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet. Jennifer Ehle's range of emotion so closely matched the brilliant, laughing, poised but relaxed, fearless, sometimes depressed Elizabeth I knew from the book that she's who I picture when I read it now.

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  9. I just discovered your blog, hope you don't mind my joining in.

    41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    I can't imagine it's been long

    42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    (PLEASE tell me you're not serious about Lolita! Go back, try again! "whoever does not affirm at some time..the terribleness of life, never takes possession of the unutterable powers of our existence" (Rilke))
    I have never finished Mansfield Park, it wasn't interesting.

    43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    lines of thought that remind me of other books, which are then pulled out and stacked all around me and reread.

    44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Cold Comfort Farm - a nineties film, I think, or early 2000s. Amazing.

    45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    War and Peace. The book is one of God's gifts to the world, the movie, not so much.

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  10. Masha, welcome, and glad you joined in! I love your answer to #43.

    The other members of my classics book club said that after fifty pages or so Lolita got a little more readable. Never say never, I guess. :)

    War and Peace--there's a novel I should read one of these days. I've read and loved some Dostoyevsky works, but Tolstoy is still on my to-read list.

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  11. Jenna, just curious if you've seen the Jane Eyre mini-series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke (1983, 10 episodes)? Extremely effective as a film, even in the shortened form I've seen; Dalton was arguably born to play Rochester. It actually works as a movie. Unlike the versions with Orson Welles and George C. Scott, which were hideous (minus John Williams's astounding score for the latter).

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  12. Jenna,

    Thanks for the welcome. War and Peace took finding the right translation at first for me, that and some good vodka to get into the Russian spirit. He's different from Dostoyevsky in that, while they're both insane, they have the insanity of different stratas of Russian society, and Russian society is (or was)so very different at it's different levels. It might help to start out with some of Tolstoy's short stories - they give you a feel for the mindset. One collection: Divine and Human, is exceptional.
    Enjoy! :)

    Lolita requires you to read in complete distrust of the motives and honesty of your narrator, which is sometimes painful, because he's such a wretch, but there is beauty in the book, just a dark beauty and it gives us an intimate look at man-who-is-monster. If you've read Camus' The Stranger or The Fall, it's a similar read. Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground is also somewhat similar. Good luck!
    :)

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  13. Amen to Masha's comment on War & Peace: "The book is one of God's gifts to the world..."! It's in my top five of all time. Tolstoy is just so brilliant. Anna Karenina was also incredible but W&P is my first love. Also,

    Jenna, I couldn't agree more on the Keira Knightly adaptation of P&P. Anything she got right she copied directly from Jennifer Ehle's performance. And Mr. Darcy looked like he was on the verge of tears or an allergy attack for the entire duration of the film. The whole experience would have been completely forgettable if it hadn't made me so mad.

    Mr. Pond, I don't know if I can watch yet another version of Jane Eyre. I've been burned so many times that at this point it's become hard to trust.

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  14. No, Mr. Pond, I haven't. I saw a very old one--I don't remember who starred in it--and the one with Ciaran Hinds, which even though I normally like Hinds as an actor, I didn't enjoy. Maybe I'll have to look out for the Dalton miniseries.

    Guess I'm also going to have to read War and Peace. :D

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  15. Oh, p.s. Jenna, if you like Ciaran Hinds, you should borrow from your library the BBC's production of The Mayor of Casterbridge. I haven't read the novel, but the film was masterfully done. It's Hardy, so of course it's tragic, but WOW it was good. Ciaran Hinds is at his absolute best. Katie had read the novel in the recent past, and she said the film followed it pretty well as far as she could remember.

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  16. I do like Ciaran Hinds; I'll have to keep that in mind. Hopefully the story isn't as awful as Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, though. I'm pretty sure that was the most depressing book I've ever read. :)

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  17. Oh, lots of good discussion happened here while I was on my typical two-week hiatus from Thursday Book Questions (blasted busy days at work!). Here are my responses (2 weeks' worth):

    http://donnarosemary.blogspot.com/2010/11/thursday-book-questions-pts-9-10.html

    It seems as though George and Mr. Pond will shudder a bit at my answer to #44. :) I'd be curious to hear your reasons why you are not fans of Peter Jackson's treatment of the story?

    Also, Farmer's City Wife and I both tend to block out bad film adaptations, so I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this!

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