In honour of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival aka one of the biggest film festivals in the world, this month’s Re(ad)commendations will exclusively feature books who have (or have plans for) film adaptations. As the golden rule of life states: the book is better than the movie. Always. I am both a cinephile and a bibliophile, but whenever I internally host the Book VS Movie battle, the bibliophile wins each and every time. I’m not telling you to make books your sole form of entertainment for the rest of your life, because even the biggest bookworm (me) can still be irrationally excited for TIFF. Now go on, fellow readers, go do all your TIFF research and make note of all the film premiers you want to attend. After you finish reading this article, that is.
1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by: Jonathan Safran Foer
When to read it: When you feel like exploring the complex city of New York through the eyes of a distraught young boy
What it’s about: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is about a nine year-old by the name of Oskar Schell whose father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre. He finds a single key in his father’s closet, and because of his childhood spent solving puzzles and mystery-hunting with his dad, Oskar’s first instinct is to find the lock into which the key fits. He meticulously searches the five boroughs of NYC, worming his way into the lives of strangers and making friends along the way. The film adaptation directed by Stephen Daldry stars Tom Hanks as Oskar’s father, Sandra Bullock as Oskar’s mother, and Thomas Horn as the sensational Oskar Schell himself.
2. Paper Towns
by: John Green
When to read it: When you have fallen in love with John Green’s writing, but are not nearly emotionally stable enough to handle anything as tear-inducing as The Fault In Our Stars.
What it’s about: As with many, many other young adult books, Paper Towns is about an average guy named Quentin Jacobsen, an above average girl named Margo Roth Spiegelman, and their exciting misadventures. Maybe it’s because of John Green and his literary genius, or maybe it’s because- wait no it’s definitely because of John Green and his literary genius, but Paper Towns stands out amongst it’s inferior young adult counterparts with it’s quirky characters and sassy retorts.
In this novel, Green uses quotable lines to shed valuable insight on life, such as “That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals on colour instead of taste”. Who would’ve thought the gap between Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch would ever be so eloquently stated? The film adaptation is scheduled to premiere in the summer of 2015, starring the one and only Nat Wolff as Quentin.
When to read it: When you want to know what it’s like on the other side of the economic scale.
What it’s about: Precious Jones is a sixteen year-old resident of Harlem whose life has been difficult, to say the least. Not only is she illiterate, but she is regularly raped by her stepfather and beaten by her mother. To add to the lengthy list of horrors, she is kicked out of school after she is pregnant for the second time. Precious enrolls in an alternative school where she meets Ms.Rain, who manages to teach Precious how to read and write, as well as interest her in literature and composition.
A striking difference in this novel is the way it’s written. Since it’s from the point of view of Precious, the writing starts off as solely phonetic. For instance “chile” instead of “child” and “nuffin” instead of “nothing”. As Precious’ spelling ability expands, the writing in the book gradually improves as well. The film, titled “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire”, stars Gabourey Sidibe as Precious and Mo’Nique as her mother. Coincidentally fitting into our TIFF theme, the film won People’s Choice Award at TIFF in 2009, not to mention two Oscars (one of which was for Best Picture) won in the 82nd Academy Awards.