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  • Brian Boone 2:00 pm on 2017/11/02 Permalink
    Tags: a thousand acres, ana of california, andi teran, , , , dorian an imitation, going bovine, , , , l.m. montgomery, , maya lang, , , page to page, , the sixteenth of june, , will self,   

    5 Books You Didn’t Know Were Remakes 

    Many standup comedians have made the amusing joke/observation that us creative humans in the Western world don’t hesitate to remake movies or songs but we never remake books. The most famous variation on the gag—after expressing that sentiment, the comedian mentions that they’re writing a word-for-word remake of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The thing is, authors remake other authors’ material all the time. It’s just that in the world of books they’re called “adaptations” or “re-imaginings.” Here are some books that offer a brand new take on pre-existing works.

    A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley is a remake of Shakespeare’s King Lear
    One of big reasons why Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest author, or playwright, of all time, is because his stories and characters continue to resonate through the centuries. The Bard wrote his stuff 400 years ago, and it’s still solid, because his themes are universal and his characters are relatable. Once in a while, an author will use one of Shakespeare’s plays as a jumping-off point—they just need to update the language. And the settings. And the plots. And into prose from dialogue. Perhaps the best example of Shakespeare 2.0 is Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres. Because a king deciding which daughter to bequeath his kingdom to is a little irrelevant to the modern United States, Smiley made it about three daughters up to inherit their aging father’s farm. Smiley won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel.

    Going Bovine by Libba Bray is a remake of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote
    Miguel de Cervantes’ epic comedy Don Quixote is about a man with both mental illness and delusions of grandeur—it’s pretty modern and sophisticated for having been published four centuries ago. But hey, funny is funny, and comedy is eternal. Libba Bray deftly reworked the vast, complicated classic into a digestible modern tale set in high school. A regular guy named Cameron contracts Mad Cow Disease, as one does, and suffers from all kinds of delightful hallucinations.

    The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang is a remake of James Joyce’s Ulysses
    James Joyce’s crowning achievement is Ulysses, an astonishingly detailed, hyper-realistic look at a single day in Dublin, Ireland—June 16, 1904. Commemorations of that day are now known as Bloomsday, after one the book’s many, many characters, Leo Bloom. Almost as real as Joyce’s physical descriptions are the richly rendered characters. “A day in the life” is a repeatable formula, but difficult to do well. Author Maya Lang pulls it off with The Sixteenth of June. It’s a cutting, insightful, emotional look at the good people of Philadelphia on June 16, 2004. A couple of people even throw a Bloomsday party! (Of course, if you want to get technical, Ulysses itself is a remake of the ancient Greek epic The Odyssey.)

    Ana of California by Andi Teran is a remake of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
    You can’t improve on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s moving story of plucky, idiosyncratic red-headed orphan Anne Shirley charming the once crusty townsfolk of Avonlea. You can only re-create it in another time and place. At its core, Anne of Green Gables is a story about how hard it is to a new place, and fit in while maintaining your identity and integrity, and Andi Teran maintains all of Montgomery’s themes in her Anne reimagining, Ana of California. And she does it quite well, telling the tale of a teenage orphan named Ana Cortez who leaves the foster care system and East L.A. for a farm work program in Northern California.

    Dorian by Will Self is a remake of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
    What if Oscar Wilde were Bret Easton Ellis? Then he’d write Dorian. Of course, Will Self already wrote this book in 2002. Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray story of a fresh-faced man and his grotesquely aging portrait called out and satirized the superficial. Self logically adapted the novel to take place in the equally hollow and image-conscious world of the 1980s London art scene.

    What are your favorite literary remakes?

    The post 5 Books You Didn’t Know Were Remakes appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jenny Kawecki 7:00 pm on 2015/09/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , l.m. montgomery, ,   

    8 Fictional Characters Who’d Make the Best Travel Companions 

    Picking a travel buddy is just as important as picking a roommate: you’re going to be stuck with them, probably one on one, for long periods of time, so you’d better make sure you choose someone you’re not going to regret. You’ve got to ask the big questions: will they be fun to be around? Do they have good taste in music? And, most importantly, can you trust them not to take weird photos of you while you’re sleeping? We’re not sure about your friends, but here are 8 fictional characters you wouldn’t regret bringing along on your cross-country road trip.

    Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
    Hermione has all the traits of a great travel companion: she’s fun to be around (as long as you don’t have any homework assignments to do), she’s reliable, and she’s a great packer. You know she’ll always have your back, no matter what crazy hijinks happen along the road. Plus, as we learned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she can fit pretty much anything into her magical beaded bag, which means you can buy all the souvenirs you want and not have to worry about fitting them into your suitcase. What could be better? Plus, if you ever get lost, just ask her to do a point-me spell and you’ll be back on your way again.

    Merry and Pippin (The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R. R. Tolkien)
    With Merry and Pippin on your trip, you’ll never get bored. In between pulling pranks on each other (and you) when things get a little slow, you know they’d be finding all of the best places to eat and drink along the way. And because they, like you, understand the importance of every meal (including elevensies), you’d never have to feel guilty about wanting to stop for a snack. Besides all that, with their cheerful dispositions, they’d never complain about the weather or the lines or the dingy motel rooms—and definitely not about the lack of legroom.

    Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery)
    Feisty, talkative, and fun, Anne would make sure that your trip was always exciting and full of adventure. One of the best parts about traveling is getting to try new things, and with Anne on board, you’d be trying every new thing you came across—and loving it. And though you might sometimes have to reign her in a bit (there’s a 99% chance that Anne would be laughing in the streets of Paris way too late at night), you’d never run out of things to do. And anyway, chasing down crazy friends is half the fun, right?

    Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
    This may not seem like an obvious choice at first—grumpy, silent Darcy on a road trip? No, thank you—but think about it. If Darcy liked you well enough to go on a trip with you, you know you could count on him to have your back at every turn, and to make hilarious snarky comments about the tour guide that only you can hear. And since he’s such a gentleman, he probably wouldn’t even consider snoring in the hotel room (way too unseemly). Extra bonus: he’s absolutely loaded, so you know you can count on him to pick up the tab on any emergency travel expenses that happen to come up.

    Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones)
    If you’re the type of person who enjoys a little friendly bickering, than Calcifer is the travel companion for you. He’s got the disagreeable-but-friendly thing down pat, and you know he’ll always follow through in the end. As a fire demon, he’s got loads of mysterious powers that cover everything from helping make a tasty breakfast (always important when you’re on the road) to moving entire castles when necessary. And anyway, a fire demon would make a great addition to your travel scrapbook.

    Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
    Watson is smart (without being completely obnoxious about it, unlike Sherlock) and resourceful, but most importantly, he’s just about the least selfish person in fiction. Always willing to sacrifice for the greater good, or even for the good of his friendships, Watson would make sure that you got to do everything you wanted to do on the trip, and he would always take the couch and let you have the bed. And, he’s used to all sorts of weird behavior from Sherlock, so he’d never judge you for any of your quirky habits. Bonus: it’s always a good idea to travel with a doctor.

    The Baudelaires (A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket)
    Imagine this: you’re on a road trip. You’ve been driving for eight hours already today, and it’s been fun so far, but then your car breaks down. And you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s right about then that you’ll be thinking back on your choices—why didn’t you get off at the last rest stop? Did you pack enough snacks to get you through this emergency?—but the one choice you absolutely would not question would be bringing the three Baudelaires along with you. Before you could even blink, Violet would be fixing the car, Klaus would have researched local places to stay, and Sunny would have prepared a delicious picnic. Plus, all their stuff was burnt in a fire, so they definitely wouldn’t pack heavy.

    Levi Stewart (Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell)
    If there’s one thing you need when you’re traveling, it’s coffee. Loads of coffee. Luckily, Levi is well aware of the importance of coffee, and you could absolutely trust him to keep you steadily supplied with it. Levi’s endless energy would also help him—and therefore you—make friends wherever you went, so you’d never have to worry about dealing with grumpy people. You can count on him to always be interested in whatever you want to talk about or whatever sights you want to see, and never complain about being bored. Plus, he’s nice to look at, which is definitely a bonus if you’re going to be spending lots of time in a plane/train/car with him.

    Which fictional character would you most like to travel as a travel companion?

     
  • Jenny Kawecki 7:00 pm on 2015/09/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , l.m. montgomery, ,   

    8 Fictional Characters Who’d Make the Best Travel Companions 

    Picking a travel buddy is just as important as picking a roommate: you’re going to be stuck with them, probably one on one, for long periods of time, so you’d better make sure you choose someone you’re not going to regret. You’ve got to ask the big questions: will they be fun to be around? Do they have good taste in music? And, most importantly, can you trust them not to take weird photos of you while you’re sleeping? We’re not sure about your friends, but here are 8 fictional characters you wouldn’t regret bringing along on your cross-country road trip.

    Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
    Hermione has all the traits of a great travel companion: she’s fun to be around (as long as you don’t have any homework assignments to do), she’s reliable, and she’s a great packer. You know she’ll always have your back, no matter what crazy hijinks happen along the road. Plus, as we learned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she can fit pretty much anything into her magical beaded bag, which means you can buy all the souvenirs you want and not have to worry about fitting them into your suitcase. What could be better? Plus, if you ever get lost, just ask her to do a point-me spell and you’ll be back on your way again.

    Merry and Pippin (The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R. R. Tolkien)
    With Merry and Pippin on your trip, you’ll never get bored. In between pulling pranks on each other (and you) when things get a little slow, you know they’d be finding all of the best places to eat and drink along the way. And because they, like you, understand the importance of every meal (including elevensies), you’d never have to feel guilty about wanting to stop for a snack. Besides all that, with their cheerful dispositions, they’d never complain about the weather or the lines or the dingy motel rooms—and definitely not about the lack of legroom.

    Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery)
    Feisty, talkative, and fun, Anne would make sure that your trip was always exciting and full of adventure. One of the best parts about traveling is getting to try new things, and with Anne on board, you’d be trying every new thing you came across—and loving it. And though you might sometimes have to reign her in a bit (there’s a 99% chance that Anne would be laughing in the streets of Paris way too late at night), you’d never run out of things to do. And anyway, chasing down crazy friends is half the fun, right?

    Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
    This may not seem like an obvious choice at first—grumpy, silent Darcy on a road trip? No, thank you—but think about it. If Darcy liked you well enough to go on a trip with you, you know you could count on him to have your back at every turn, and to make hilarious snarky comments about the tour guide that only you can hear. And since he’s such a gentleman, he probably wouldn’t even consider snoring in the hotel room (way too unseemly). Extra bonus: he’s absolutely loaded, so you know you can count on him to pick up the tab on any emergency travel expenses that happen to come up.

    Calcifer (Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones)
    If you’re the type of person who enjoys a little friendly bickering, than Calcifer is the travel companion for you. He’s got the disagreeable-but-friendly thing down pat, and you know he’ll always follow through in the end. As a fire demon, he’s got loads of mysterious powers that cover everything from helping make a tasty breakfast (always important when you’re on the road) to moving entire castles when necessary. And anyway, a fire demon would make a great addition to your travel scrapbook.

    Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
    Watson is smart (without being completely obnoxious about it, unlike Sherlock) and resourceful, but most importantly, he’s just about the least selfish person in fiction. Always willing to sacrifice for the greater good, or even for the good of his friendships, Watson would make sure that you got to do everything you wanted to do on the trip, and he would always take the couch and let you have the bed. And, he’s used to all sorts of weird behavior from Sherlock, so he’d never judge you for any of your quirky habits. Bonus: it’s always a good idea to travel with a doctor.

    The Baudelaires (A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket)
    Imagine this: you’re on a road trip. You’ve been driving for eight hours already today, and it’s been fun so far, but then your car breaks down. And you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s right about then that you’ll be thinking back on your choices—why didn’t you get off at the last rest stop? Did you pack enough snacks to get you through this emergency?—but the one choice you absolutely would not question would be bringing the three Baudelaires along with you. Before you could even blink, Violet would be fixing the car, Klaus would have researched local places to stay, and Sunny would have prepared a delicious picnic. Plus, all their stuff was burnt in a fire, so they definitely wouldn’t pack heavy.

    Levi Stewart (Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell)
    If there’s one thing you need when you’re traveling, it’s coffee. Loads of coffee. Luckily, Levi is well aware of the importance of coffee, and you could absolutely trust him to keep you steadily supplied with it. Levi’s endless energy would also help him—and therefore you—make friends wherever you went, so you’d never have to worry about dealing with grumpy people. You can count on him to always be interested in whatever you want to talk about or whatever sights you want to see, and never complain about being bored. Plus, he’s nice to look at, which is definitely a bonus if you’re going to be spending lots of time in a plane/train/car with him.

    Which fictional character would you most like to travel as a travel companion?

     
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