Wednesday, November 17, 2004

As you have probably noticed, Book vs. Movie returned last week with a look at The Polar Express. Next up will be Friday Night Lights, a book that has been dear to me for a number of years. If you love football, the movie is certainly for you, and the book is even more so.

Also, while I realize I mentioned an impending examination of The Motorcycle Diaries, I'd like to withdraw that one. I've both read Che Guevara's book and seen the film; however, I have been unenthusiastic about reading the Alberto Granado memoirs that also contributed to the film. I'll just note here that the movie is definitely preferable, but I only grudgingly give the film a positive review. It's very slow and is really only saved by strong performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo De la Serna. Of course, if the movie is slow, the book is nothing short of sleep-inducing. I can't recommend it at all unless you have a keen interest in Latin American geography and the development of Che Guevara himself. I tend to think that a few of the biographies available about the man are probably more worthwhile, though.

Other Book vs. Movie columns in the near future will include Enduring Love (based on a novel by Ian McEwan), the two Bridget Jones films, Sideways (from Rex Pickett's debut novel) and unfortunately, Christmas With the Kranks.

I've been trying to spend time reading more than just movie-based books, as I mentioned before, and as a result I've gotten through a second National Book Award finalist. After reading Pete Hautman's Godless, which I mentioned before, I moved on to a fiction finalist - Kate Walbert's Our Kind: A Novel in Stories. It's a somewhat grim book, in my eyes, as it examines empty-nester women who are nearing their golden years. The desperation and unhappiness of the characters is fairly depressing, but the characters themselves and the storytelling skills of the author are above reproach. Next up on the National Book Award list is a non-fiction entry - Jennifer Gonnerman's Life on the Outside. Or that's the one I plan to look at right now. I might change my mind when the actual winners are announced tonight. The depressing thought is that I still have 13 more books to go (I'm skipping the poetry category - there's just too many other books on my list).

I'm actually in the middle of a non-movie, non-National Book Award book as I have about 70 more pages in the children's book Peter and the Starcatchers. A collaborative effort from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, it's an imagining of what happened *before* the events of Peter Pan took place. We meet Captain Hook, Peter, and even the crocodile. A highly recommended good read.

T-minus five days until the Nintendo DS. I even have vacation that day.


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