Films adaptations of books–an opinion of characterisation

This has been swirling around in my head for a while, and I currently have a stretch of time free and uninterrupted (in theory) to try to sort out some opinions.

The Lady of Shalott [of Tennyson’s poem] was of an indeterminate age and might once have been plain before the rigours of artistic interpretation got working on her. This was the annoying side of the Feedback Loops; irrespective of how she had once looked or even wanted to look, she was now a pre-Raphaelite beauty with long flaxen tresses, flowing white gowns and a silver forehead band. She wasn’t the only one to be physically morphed by Reader Expectation. Miss Havisham was now elderly whether she liked it or not, and Sherlock Holmes wore a deerstalker and smoked a ridiculously large pipe. The problem wasn’t just confined to the classics. Harry Potter was seriously pissed off that he’d have to spend the rest of his life looking like Daniel Radcliffe.

Jasper Fforde–One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing.

I suppose that’s a good place to start. Harry Potter will forever be Daniel Radcliffe. Hermione Granger will be Emma Watson. Ron Weasley will be Rupert Grint. And so on and so forth.


(The providence of that picture is unknown, but for sure it is not an original piece by 9Gag.)

Until movie adaptations are made, the reader has to use their imagination. I read the Harry Potter novels, and looked at the cover illustrations, and the descriptions within the books, and an amalgamation of memories pasted themselves together, and the characters formed where unique to me. No one else shares my past and my memories, and so the characters are unique to me. The same thing happens with Lord of the Rings, The Fault In Our Stars, Twilight even; every reader had a mental picture of the story, and they were more actively involved, because their imagination was providing part of the story.

And now? Frodo Baggins is Elijah Wood. Gandalf is Sir Ian Mackellen. The Fault In Our Stars have the same actors as Divergent (another book adaptation), and the story melt together a little once you’re aware of that! Even Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattison have filled the admittedly empty spaces that were Bella and Edward Cullen. (Interestingly, the character of Bella was deliberately left as blank as possible to allow the teenage female reader to more easily insert herself into the role.)

To me, this is something of a sad thing. Books are more of an interactive medium than a film. With a film, you are most definite a passive participant–the pacing is set for you, the characters are [i]shown[/i] to you, there is nothing that can be done by the viewer to alter the story. Sure, there is plenty that can be done afterwards with analysis, finding nuances, connections, dissecting meaning, intention, but the viewer is not a participant in the story. With a book? You can be Katniss Everdeen. You can be Scout Finch. You can shape the characters in your mind, because the author is giving the outline of the action, and you, the reader, are filling in the details with your memories and imagination.

On disliking a book; Full House (Janet Evanovich)

It is a terrible thing to me to not like a book. I can recognise bad writing most of the time (except when it’s my own, apparently), which is a definite reason to quit out on a book. But disliking the book in general? That’s something that bothers me on a much deeper level.

The book in question that has prompted this little bout of pontification is Full House, by Janet Evanovich. Originally written in 1989 when Evanovich was a romance writer rather than the action and crime novels that she is better known for, Full House was re-released, slightly updated, in collaboration with Charlotte Hughes.

I read two chapters, and couldn’t bear it any further. Romance isn’t my genre of choice; in fact, it’s a very long way for what I’d generally read, but I thought that I’d attempt to expand my horizons a little. Part of me is tempted to find some other examples of the genre for comparison and contrast to see whether it’s the genre or this specific novel, but at the moment, I really need some literature sorbet. My reading palate needs cleansing.

So, what do I do? Explore this nuance of my reading personality further? Poke and prod, push and plot, find the boundaries and limits of my tastes? Or do I return to what I know, what I find acceptable?

Considering those questions, I’ve left this post in Draft state for a few days to ponder. I haven’t reached a satisfactory conclusion, unfortunately, and shall push this out to Publish instead.

It’s not writer’s block

It’s late afternoon, post-work time, and it’s been a less-than productive day. I’ve got caught up with emails, I’ve dealt with annoyed people, and I’ve spent far too long tracking through references in papers trying to understand the /basics/ of … well, a mathematical concept.

I figured that it’d be good to put in a little bit of time here, maybe vent some of my frustrations by writing about books, cheering myself up by recalling what I liked about some of the stuff I’ve been reading recently.

But no.


Endless spam.

There were 59 comments to be moderated when I logged in. Fifty-nine. And universally, they’re spam. It’s not even good spam either (contradiction in terms, maybe?) By that, I mean that’s it’s not intelligent spam. It’s just a bunch of URLs with the no-follow tag, advertising stuff that has absolutely no relevance to books, literature, or anything at all! I’m sure that if people want handbags, they’ll go to a shop that sells handbags. Or if they want to buy cheap training shoes, they’ll got to a reputable website that sells running shoes. (My $15 end-of-line running shoes are doing fine at the moment. Well, I’ve not had a chance to go for a run in a while for, uh, reasons.)

See, my partner had some health issues that required some surgery. Now, straight-up, she’s fine. But for the past two weeks I’ve been spending most of my time-at-home caring for her, which means that I’ve been coming to work, doing the work that I need to do, and then going home. No time for running.

That was a little detour, wasn’t it? Ha! Anyhow, the absence of a post regarding books and what I’ve been reading is pretty much due to spam spam and moderating spam comments.

Exciting, no?

Want to know what the most ironic thing about this post is going to be? By the end of the week there will be a dozen or so comment on it awaiting moderation that are spam. sighs.

Upon procrastination

Well, another year has slid by, and to be perfectly honest, the new year doesn’t feel much different than the old year. I suppose that’s the way of things after a certain point. I find it a little sad–the passage of time. There used to be such excitement at a new year! (Admittedly for me the excitement was having to change part of the date when I wrote it at the top of each page in my school workbook.) (Oh c’mon, dear reader, you honestly can’t be that surprised! This is a blog ostensibly about dedicated to me pontificating about books.)

Speaking of! I haven’t been doing much pontificating about books. Real life…. uh. It just got in the road! I am still reading voraciously (I love that word), but I’m not getting to write about it. I start to write the post about the book in my head, but by the time I get near a computer, or some kind of recording device, it’s faded away. Sad, really.

So, in the spirit of the new year, I shall be more dedicated to this blog. That’s the resolution.

What does this have to do with procrastination, I hear you ask? (Why can I hear you reader? Why are you in my head?) Well, I should be doing work, rather than writing this. There is a mountain of paper strewn (another good word, I wonder about its derivation…) about the place that needs to be sorted and organised and prepared in the next hour or so. Perhaps I should focus on that?

Strew, transitive verb, \ˈstrü\.  Essentially, to strew is to spread by scattering. According to Merriam-Webster, the derivation is Middle English strewen, strowen, from Old English strewian, strēowian; akin to Old High German strewen to strew, Latin struere to heap up, sternere to spread out, Greek stornynai. The first known use was before the 12th century.