Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books to be made into movies…

An irregular foray into The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top 10 Tuesday.

There have been some cracking adaptations of books into films over the years.  Stardust.  The Thing (John Carpenter’s, not so much the new one and definitely not the original). Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  And then there have been some truly excremental adaptations.  Just about any Stephen King adaptation, The Golden Compass.  A lot depends on how faithfully you want a film to stick to a much-loved book.  Take Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I read it not long before watching the film and if they’d filmed the book straight it would have been a poorer film for it.  Likewise Stardust, taking the essence of the book and distilling it into a superb movie.  The Alan Moore adaptations, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta, are both excellent films in my opinion but they’re not shot-for-shot adaptations of the comics.  Watchmen is much closer to the comic and is a far poorer film for it.  I’m in 2 minds about Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as no 2 versions of that story were ever the same.  Alan Rickman did a great job as Marvin, though.

So.  10 books I’d love to see as films (with the caveat that they should take the essence of the story and make the movie from that, not do a direct scene-for-scene adaptation).

1, Good Omens, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

A recent interview with Terry Gilliam leads me to believe this one may actually be happening.  And he’s the right man for the job.

2, Sandman, Neil Gaiman.

I don’t actually know which of the Sandman stories I’d pick to adapt.  Perhaps it’s more big-budget-miniseries than blockbuster movie territory.  Perhaps the road trip, Dream and Delerium looking for Destruction…  Or “The Shadow of Her Wings”, which has one of my favourite Sandman quotes: “You got the same as everybody else.  You got a lifetime.”

3, Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler.

Why no-one has picked up on the Bryant and May books as TV/film fodder yet is beyond me.  Superb stories, a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters.  Works of brilliance.  Bits and pieces of the BBC series Luther came close, very close indeed, to capturing the feel of the Bryant and May stories.

4, The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross.

First of the “Laundry Files”, centering around poor Bob Howard and the surreal Civil Service department he works for.  Defending the UK from Lovecraftian Horrors Out of Time and Space with only a Civil Service pension to look forward to at the end of the day.

5, The Magician’s Nephew, C S Lewis.

Why does all the love go to the other Narnia books?  How wonderful would it be to see Charn on the big screen, Queen Jadis and the birth of Narnia itself?  Come on, people!  Let’s see this one.  But please, please, don’t film The Last Battle.  I finished reading that to my son last night and no film could ever do it justice.

6, Weaveworld, Clive Barker

Another one that would better fit the miniseries than the movie, perhaps.  I must re-read this one, especially since it’s having it’s 25th anniversary this year.  The Rake, the loom, the jacket of wishes…

7, The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly

Suitably strange.  There’s a fair bit of the Urban Fantasy about at the moment, with Once Upon a Time and Grimm on TV, this would tie in nicely with that genre.  Communist dwarves, werewolves, wishes granted, the lot.

8, The Second Book of the Tenth Kingdom

Okay, so technically I’m not sure if this book even exists.  But the ending of the first Tenth Kingdom is this:  “Here ends the first book of the Tenth Kingdom”.  So that means there’s a second, right?

9, Carpathia, Matt Forbeck

100 years on from the sinking of the Titanic and people can still write new stories about it.  In this horror masterpiece, surviving the wreck is just the beginning of their problems.

10, Every single adaptation of a book that I’ve hated, various authors.

I’ve hated some adaptations of stories that I love.  Stephen King’s IT, for instance:  Pennywise the Clown was spot on but the giant plastic spider at the end?  Come on!  Do it again, get it right.  There’s always room for improvement, a different take on the subject.  I’m not fond of the casting or the execution of the Terry Pratchetts that have been filmed – Death, for instance, was wrong in Hogfather, and David Jason as Rincewind?  Nope.  So come on, folks.  Get it right.

Top Ten Tuesday

10 Books I’d save from my house in the event of tsunami, earthquake, fire, flood, alien invasion, etc.

Over on The Broke and the Bookish this week, an interesting top 10 indeed.  Kimberly shared her top 10 and they’re a good lot to save, even if she does stretch “10” a lot little

  1. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.
    For me, this is where the Discworld found it’s feet.  It’s here that Sam Vimes makes his first appearance, along with the rest of the Night Watch.  It’s here that Ankh-Morpork crystallises into  more or less the form it has now.  In previous books, it was a little fluid, everything put where it was most (in)convenient for the story.  From here on, you get the impression that it’s a real city, that everything now has a place.  That if you started here at the main gates to Unseen University you could navigate a path quite well to the Shades.  Though why you’d want to is another question entirely.  It’s also the only signed Discworld book I’ve got and it was a present from my girlfriend – now my wife.
  2. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – A Trilogy in Four Parts by Douglas Adams.
    Not much of a fan of Mostly Harmless, and the less said about the new one the better, my battered copy of The Guide is perfect.  It even has You Are Here on the cover, though not the weird smiley-faced green guy.
  3. A Feast of Floyd, by Keith Floyd.
    Yes, it’s a cookbook.  But a cookbook by one of the greatest TV chefs the world has known.  Long before your Olivers, Fernley-Wassisnames and Ramseys, Keith Floyd was cooking and drinking his way around the world.  It was the cookbook I used for my first “proper” dessert and it’s got enough of my own recipes scribbled on blank pages, inside the covers and tucked inside the dustjacket to keep me busy for years.
  4. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
    A very British Apocalypse with the best Angel/Demon pairing I’ve come across in literature.  And the updated Four Horsemen (and the Four Other Horsemen) are wonderful.
  5. Winterdance, by Gary Paulsen.
    Describing the madness of training for and taking part in the Iditarod, a – if not the – dog sled race across the Arctic, this book is one of the most moving and entertaining books I’ve ever read.  Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny (like Bill Bryson, Paulsen’s not a man to read in the quiet coach of the train) and move-you-to-tears, it’s a truly magical book.  If you read only one book from this list, I’d urge you to make it this one.
  6. The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland & through the looking glass, by Lewis Carroll, with drawings by Philip Gough
    This edition was printed in 1955 and belonged to my mum.  I spent many a happy childhood hour lost in the pages of this book, captivated by the illustrations – both black and white and colour plates.  Like my copy of The Lord of the Rings, the colour plates stand alone on their pages and are as much anticipated as they are appreciated.  It might not be the finest illustrated Alice, or the best copy, but it’s mine now.  Mostly because mum doesn’t have that much bookshelf space any more!
  7. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
    Not the dry-as-dust text-only copy made to accompany the movie but a gorgeous A4, full-colour softback illustrated by Charles Vess.  Superb story, stunning illustrations, beautiful book.
  8. The Strand Magazine, Collected Volume 1, 1904.
    A hardbound volume my mum spotted in the £5 bin at a second-hand bookshop.  It’s got Sherlock Holmes stories, The Phoenix and the Carpet, magic tricks you can do with corks, pins and forks, and much more than I’ve ever had time to explore.  I’d save this one mostly because there’s so much of it left to do!
  9. Our photograph albums and holiday diaries
    They’re in the bookshelf.  While I was grabbing the above, I’d definitely rescue them.  The holiday diaries are the warts-and-all record of the big family holidays we’ve taken.  My wife and I each write up every day, from the day of packing through to the unpacking at the end and we’re encouraging the kids to do the same.  Everyone should do this, it’s how great travel books are born.
  10. Dungeons and Dragons – 1st Edition
    Not the first printing 1st editions, with the red demon on the Dungeon Master’s  Guide, but the 2nd printing with the wizard on the cover of the player’s handbook and the beckoning Dungeon Master on the DMG.  The Monster Manual is the 1st printing, tacky cover and all.  These books were my first window into the hobby that I’ve pursued, on and off, since I was 10.  The  Player’s Handbook was the first RPG book I owned.

Of course, I’d save more if I could.  One of the advantages of having a Kindle app on my phone is that many of my favourite books now exist electronically on there.

Now, I’ve shared mine.  I’d love it if you’d share yours.  And don’t forget to link up!

Top Ten Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday – Settings

Over at The Broke and the Bookish, they’ve got this Top Ten Tuesday thing going on.  You can read all about them here:

The one for June 7th 2011 was a corker – Favourite Book Settings.  Now I know this is a little late, but here’s mine:

Narnia – The Chronicles of Narnia

Anyone who’s read the books or seen the films must have dreamed of visiting Narnia, be it through the wardrobe (or grandfather clock), down the back of the sofa, that hold in the tree trunk…  The possibilities for getting to Narnia are as endless as the land itself and, having made it there, you’ll be a king (or queen), or at least someone very important indeed.

Fairy – from the Dresdenverse

Dangerous, full of rules and regulations, beautiful and deadly.  Land moulded to the thoughts and personalities that inhabit it.  The caveat to visiting there has got to be full immunity to anything that goes on around you!

The Other Side of the Wall – Stardust

Almost as bad as Fairy from the Dresdenverse but full of such wonderful locations! Who wouldn’t want to visit Stormhold?  Or the market at Wall? I’ve spent hours looking at Charles Vess’s illustrations for Stardust – the double-page spread of the market at Wall is one of my favourite book illustrations.

The Land – Thomas Covenant

From the Unbeliever’s first encounter at the top of a needle of rock through all the transformations in the books that follow, The Land never failed to draw me in to the story.  Despite the fact that the single good deed the Unbeliever did in the first 6 books was die.  Haven’t finished the final Chronicle yet, so his story is not yet complete and nor is that of The Land.

The Nightside – Simon R Green’s Nightside books

Any caveat applied to visiting Fairy applies double to the Nightside.  This hellish/heavenly otherly place below/around/within London is a place where anything and everything is possible – for the right price.  Predatory cards, somnambulist bodyguards, Merlin, they’re all here and they’re all deadly.  Because that’s how things are… in the Nightside (Don’t get me wrong, I love the books but you do quickly develop a mental filter to any sentence that ends with the phrase “…in the Nightside”).

London Below – Neverwhere

A very different other London to The Nightside.  This is where everything that’s been lost or forgotten goes.  Demons, gods, assassins, islands of time, London fogs and great beasts.  Mind the gap.

The Magical World – Harry Potter series

This one both amazes and confuses.  It’s a wonderful, truly magical, setting.  More internally consistent than most and full of the most beautiful throw-away people, places and things (that’s throw-away as in “just mentioned in passing but deserving of a story all to themselves”).  And yet it conflicts with the real world – some things would obviously be better with the application of a simple bit of technology – why use quills when you could use a fountain pen or a Biro, for example?

The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton’s books

A different land every time you visit?  Cakes, magical markets, clouds, and the inhabitants of the tree itself!  What’s not to like?

Oz – Frank L Baum’s books

Oz bears a lot of similarities with the assorted Fairy realms – beautiful, deadly, rule-bound.  The imagination run wild!

The Other Edinburghs – My own work-in-progress

Drawing on Neverwhere’s London, a little of the Nightside, a pinch of Fairy and some beautiful postcards, these Edinburghs are both real and not.  What if…?