Here’s hoping “The Fault in Our Stars” is the start of a new class of YA book film adaptations.
I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of TFIOS this week and I can definitely say it is one of the few film adaptations I’ve seen recently that is easily as good as the book, if not better.
Taking popular children and teen books and bringing them to the big screen is, well, a big business. YA film franchises have the power to launch the careers of their lead actors — whether the films are successful or not. And of course, they’ve all discovered that the rabid fanbases will wait with bated breath — even through splitting “final” books into multiple films.
So, I went into TFIOS with two things concerning me: (note, spoilers from here on out,friends!)
First, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort recently played opposite each other in another YA book film adaptation: Divergent. Only, in the dystopian future they played brother and sister — and there are at least 2 more sequels still to come.
Second, Ansel Elgort (having only ever seen him in Divergent) really was not “my” Gus when I had been reading.
Neither turned out to be an issue. In fact, it will probably be stranger now to go see the next Divergent film — all I’ll see is Hazel and Augustus.
What I loved about TFIOS was you could see the author’s hand in preserving the details of the book. The scene where they leave for the airport is changed, and a conversation as to whether Augustus should wear a polo shirt or a blue button up is dropped. And yet, in the film version, he arrives wearing that blue button up.
In true book-to-film fashion, a number of subplots were dropped and more complex plots were smoothed over — but to me, they all worked. Hazel’s somewhat obnoxious friend from before she left school, who was under the belief she was a middle-aged British woman, simply was not missed in the film. Neither was Augustus’ ex-girlfriend who had previously died from a brain tumor.
Bottom line for TFIOS? Bring your tissues. It’s every bit as heartbreaking on the big screen as it was on the page. But, be prepared to balance out the public crying with some laughs: Isaac, their blind friend with ocular cancer, is dry and sarcastic, there’s a scene where Augustus plainly sums up the trio as having “5 legs, 4 eyes, and 2 ½ sets of working lungs,” and Willem Dafoe dances quietly in a chair to Swedish hiphop.
It has been a mixed back over the last few years in terms of YA book-to-film adaptations. The Harry Potter franchise really set the bar for excellence over the years (while Twilight sort of settled in at the opposite end of the spectrum).
Recently, we’ve seen good adaptations: The Hunger Games is off to a great start, and the Perks of Being a Wallflower was well-done and long overdue.
We’ve seen middling ones: Divergent could have been better but thankfully wasn’t worse. It’s only the first offering of the series, so we can still hope it will get better with time.
And, of course, we’ve seen the ones that have been downright awful: Beautiful Creatures and Percy Jackson, to name a few. (both of which accompany book series that I really love, so these films were a huge disappointment — and maybe disproportionately so.)
I’d drop The Fault in Our Stars in that first bucket — well cast and true to the story while still making a good film for someone who didn’t read the books first. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate it (any more than you would need to be a kid to appreciate the book. Yes, I’m looking at you, Slate). If you follow author John Green on social media, you can see how much he not only was involved with the film, but really seemed to love the film.
Still to come this summer is the adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver — a classic book assigned to pretty much every school kid in the 90s. The film comes two decades after the novel was first written, but so far I’m not excited by what I’ve seen. The actors look way too old to be the 12-year-olds of the novel — and yet, the age of the characters is so key to the plot.
I’d love to hear from our BGC readers what they thought of The Fault in Our Stars! Let us know in the comments!
Post by Emma Carew Grovum. She is the web and social media editor for Foreign Policy magazine and uses her newsroom colleagues as taste testers. Emma has previously worked for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Webbmedia Group, The Cooking Club of America and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
So remember how I JUST put together my summer must have reading list? Well, time to amend it. I know, it’s only the first week of June, but when I got this giveaway opportunity, I knew it was worth it.
Let’s talk about the reasons why The Enemy series is completely addicting so many nerds. For starters, it’s set in the streets of London in a dystopian future. Kids are the only ones surviving a rampant human flesh eating virus - so that’s fun. Oh and did I mention they are living in the incredible Natural History Museum? Yeah, that too. And now Book 5 is out and everyone wants to know if these awesome, survivalist kids are going to find a cure.
So don’t you want to know?
We’re giving away ALL 5 BOOKS in The Emeny Book Series this week if you tweet:
Compiling an awesome summer reading list with @lizgiorgi over at beinggeekchic.com. Loving #TheFallen - what’s on your list?
HERE’S HOW YOU WIN:
2. Enter by Monday, June 9th, 2014!
*The fine print: Giveaway only open to US readers. All prizing is provided by Big Honcho Media and Being Geek Chic. The total value of the prize is $75 plus shipping and handling. The giveaway also includes the cost of shipping to one address in the continental United States. Please follow the rules and be kind to one another.
It’s 85 degrees today in my second home and it’s freaking summer. I can’t believe it. The grass is green, the birds singing in the morning and I literally found myself thinking, where the hell is my swim suit today? So of course I’m thinking about days in the hammock reading books. Here’s what I’m reading:
#GIRLBOSS - To be honest, I had no idea who Sophia Amoruso or Nasty Gal was until a friend recommended this book. Think Chelsea Handler, Suzi Orman and Beyonce having a weird sister. It’s great advice for lady’s with serious entrepreneurial instincts or just people who want to kick ass every day.
The Circle - Do you ever feel like Silicon Valley and the entire cult of cool tech is sometimes a little weird? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate ping pong tables, but why do bosses in the tech world feel the need to be so cool, instead of just getting shit done? This creepy tale takes that idea and just expounds and expounds until you’re all wrapped up in conspiracy theories about Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
Four: A Divergent Series - This book doesn’t come out until next month, but I have really high hopes. We’ve talked a lot about Divergent in these parts because the books are serious page turners. Don’t pick one up unless you have at least 2.5 to 3 hours to read. You’ve been warned.
So tell us, lady geeks, what are you reading this summer?
Who is excited for the new Divergent movie this weekend? We definitely can’t wait. In the Divergent series, future Chicago has divided the population into five factions, each with the emphasis on a personality trait: caring, honesty, intelligence, courage and kindness. The start of the second book opens with a number of the characters spending time in the Amity sector of the city.
Amity is the faction that values peace above all. They have no formal leader, as the other factions do. Their citizens work as counselors and caretakers, though the city’s farms and fresh food supply is also managed by the Amity.
In the second book, Tris passes off eating the bread served by the Amity because it “tastes strange.” They come to find later that the bread is infused with a “peace serum” to help keep the faction’s residents calm.
I envisioned this bread as being a simple bread, but somewhat more enriched than the plain bread Tris describes eating in Abgetnation. I opted to use honey as the “peace serum.” It won’t make you calm, but it should at least be delicious and make you happy.
Recipe: Amity Peace Serum Bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day)
Note: You will need to prep your dough the night before you are going to bake it. I use a stand mixer, but you can just as easily do without.
Ingredients for Amity’s Peace Serum Bread:
Let’s Make Some Bread!
1) In the bottom of your stand mixer, sift together the flour and salt using the paddle attachment. In a large measuring cup, dissolve the honey into the warm water, then whisk in the yeast and stir in the vegetable oil.
2) Turn the stand mixer on low and pour the liquids slowly. Keep the mixer at the lowest setting for at least one minute until the liquid is completely combined. Turn the mixer off, scrape any excess off the paddle attachment and allow to rest for 5 minutes to hydrate the flour.
3) Add the nuts and seeds and switch the mixer to using the dough hook. Mix on medium-low speed for six minutes to combine the nuts and seeds, then increase to a higher speed for the last minute. The dough should feel sticky but strong and have some elasticity.
4) Sprinkle some flour on your countertop and transfer the dough from the bowl. Spritz your hands with an oil spray and stretch as far as you can, then fold the dough genty back over itself. Place in a lightly oiled bowl for 10 minutes, repeat at least twice. (Watch Peter Reinhart’s technique here.)
5) Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight. Cling wrap and a large rubber band work to keep the dough from drying out in your fridge.
6) Remove the bread from the refrigerator about three hours before you want to bake it. Divide it into two equal pieces and shape into boules (rounded loaves).
7) Place each loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with about 1 TBS cornmeal. Mist the loaves lightly with spray oil and drape with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 2-3 hours.
8) Prep your oven by preheating to 500 F. Place one rack in the center and one at the bottom of your oven. If you own a pizza or baking stone, put it on higher of the two racks. If you do not own a stone, you can use a regular baking sheet (though, I would recommend choosing an older one, the high heat may warp it slightly). Place a large rectangular pan (like a lasagna pan) on the bottom rack. Preheat for at least 15 minutes.
9) Pull the bottom rack out and gently, slowly pour 1-2 cups of water into the pan, making sure it covers the bottom of the pan entirely. Pull the top rack out and slide the bread onto the heated baking stone or sheet.
10) Lower the heat to 425 F and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pans then bake an additional 25-30 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.
11) Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing, then serve with honey.
Recipe by Emma Carew Grovum. She is the web and social media editor for Foreign Policy magazine and uses her newsroom colleagues as taste testers. Emma has previously worked for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Webbmedia Group, The Cooking Club of America and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
I love my Kindle like a small pet companion who never leaves my side… like an adorable text filled hedgehog. But there’s one kind of book that my Kindle will never be able to complete with: the epic coffee table book.
It’s no wonder Kramer was so enamored. A great coffee table book is like a passport to eyeball drunken wonderment. Here’s five I love so much, I say screw the coffee table and would happily tuck them into bed at night.
This Is Mars: What? This is? Holy shit. NASA’s Rover images are printed in high resolution in what amounts to page after page of astonishing space themed joy. ($64.99)
London Underground Maps: Art, Design and Cartography: The tube is the best networked transportation system in the world, so it’s no wonder it has a rich and beautiful history. But really, it all comes down to maps, people. So many amazing, beautiful maps. ($51.64)
The Wes Anderson Collection: My love of the Wes way is not undocumented here, but this book is a joy because it’s got so many interviews with the master mixed with hand drawn storyboards and doodles which are basically in existence to function as some kind of low level Zoloft for film nerds. ($39.99)
The Art of Movie Storyboards: While we’re on the topic of film, why not spend another minute diving into the amazing artistry of storyboards. There’s nothing quite like seeing a favorite movie through a simple black and white sketch. If you don’t love it, well, I don’t get it. ($30.46)
The Flower Recipe Book: This might strike you as an odd choice. I have literally never spoken of flowers here before. But is there anything more enchanting than a wonderful bouqet? Who doesn’t feel more glamorous whilst in the presence of a lovely collection of blooms? Suddenly, this once foreign, but admirable, concept is a possible skill I can acquire all thanks to this gorgeous guide. ($16.63)
After visiting Dublin for the first time, I was struck with an odd sense that I missed something. That I didn’t get whatever seeped into the pores of thousands of men and women throughout history who seemingly stopped by the River Liffey for a visit and found themselves living alongside it for decades. Perhaps it was my impression that the advertised activities cater to two types of tourists: college kids and AARP members. Or my irritating jet lag. Whatever it was, I was confused by my feelings for it. But I have sorted it out since.
Dublin is not for tourists. Sure, outsiders are welcome. But don’t come with a map in hand and an agenda to follow. You won’t enjoy yourself. Instead, embrace the pace. Breathe deep. Stop for a pint. Skip the tour. And forget the schedule. Weekending in Dublin is about escape. It’s about being in Dublin more than seeing it.
As such, it seems almost foolish to follow the traditional Geek Travel Guide format. Instead, this guide will take the form of the city and its famous river. It will flow from my memory to your mind. Think of me as your friend in the pub, sharing a pint and entrusting you with my greatest secrets for enjoying Dublin.
Start your day in Dublin on the river. It’s an incredible guide for the city, as it arches through the most iconic parts of town, it literally can be your savior should you get lost. The Bakehouse is a suitable place to start with two locations on the river, one in the newly renovated CHQ Building and the other on 6 Bachelors Walk. This adorable and bright little shop serves up amazing pastries, breads and soups. Forget takeaway. Just take a minute. Grab a seat, enjoy the light flavor combos (a raspberry lemonade cupcake for breakfast? Yes, please. ) and the company.
After you’ve filled your gut, walk along the river to the Temple Bar neighborhood and keep your eyes open for the Dublin Castle. You really can’t miss it - its’ a freaking castle in the middle of the city. It’s a charming and I feel, quite representative piece of history for Ireland. In other cities across the globe, castles go through so much trouble to keep the properties separated from the people. Guards, fences, sheer acreage, moats. Not in Ireland. The Dublin Castle is just there. Open to the public and free of fussiness. Don’t pay for the guided tours, instead, walk the grounds, which are beautiful but unpretentious.
By the time you’ve found the castle, you’ll be ready for another break. Remember, this isn’t about crossing items off a tourist checklist. So, take a minute and get a pot of tea and a biscuit from the Castle Cafe at Dublin Castle. Sit on the terrace for lovely views of the grounds and a bit of rare quiet in the Temple Bar.
Once you’re rested, head to the other side of the river to the Dublin Writer’s Museum. It can be easy to miss, but don’t fret. The nearby Parnell Square is a nice rest stop for a quick moment to admire the scenery. It’s also ridiculously easy to spot this modest house from the park. The Writer’s Museum is not for everyone. If you don’t know who Oscar Wilde is, don’t care what James Joyce wrote and aren’t particularly interested in Yeats - well, then skip it. But seeing as you’re reading Being Geek Chic, well, I’m assuming you’ll be in good company. It’s a small and quiet gallery with original manuscripts, letters and diaries. It’s easy to spend an hour there - or three. Just don’t rush through or you’ll miss the scraps humor from Wilde.
After perusing the museum, make your way to really any pub on the river with music. I loved The Ferryman Pub, just across the Liffey from the Dublin Convention Center. It’s heritage and history are abundant, the food is pub food, but that’s what you are looking for anyway. And the decor is like a freaking museum. I spent hours wandering the halls, gazing at old newspaper headlines and admiring long-since-extinct products from Dublin’s past. Plus, the pints were affordable at about 3 quid.
On your second day, wake up and head over to the Science Gallery on the Trinity College Campus. While all the other tourists are off to check out the Book of Kells, you’ll be enjoying a hot latte with a croissant at the cafe within this nifty exhibit. After chowing, head into the free gallery space for the latest exhibit. The museum specializes in the combination of art and science - a field all to often relegated to Neil DeGrasse Tyson YouTube videos - but deserving of much more attention. The Illusion exhibit runs through the fall and is a stunning compilation of audio and visual experiences that are meant to draw the mind of the viewer in. This is active art, friends.
Since you’re now near The Trinity Library and the Book of Kells, saunter on over to this historic little spot.
While the book itself is really fascinating, nerds will have more fun walking through the 1500 year-old Old Library, which houses some of the oldest texts from the world’s most famous philosophers, poets and general geniuses. And yes, the name really is Old Library. In addition to being historic, it’s also just beautiful. The wood is warm, the busts are gorgeous and the lighting is lovely. It’s certainly no place to plop on a leather chair and read a book, but you’ll want to.
At this point, you’ll be so thoroughly filled with literary inspiration that you’ll be longing for some new texts. And since Oscar Wilde is a native son, it’s only fitting that you visit The Gutter Bookshop. Named after a famous quote from the author, it’s a quiet and lovely little stop for picking up a new adventure or two.
Some might say that no trip to Ireland would be complete without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. I can’t disagree. But for nerds, it’s not about the beer. It’s the incredible scientific process that combines water, hops, heat and time to create the famous beverage and the view you’ll get while drinking it that ultimately makes it worth the stop. And the hefty price tag. Every admission to the experience comes with entry to the rooftop bar and a pint of Guinness. I don’t love their beer, but I give them points for appealing to the scientist in my heart.
Don’t forget to check out all the Being Geek Chic Geek Travel Guides before you take your next trip!