Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

N- Book Vs. Movie – Northanger Abbey

Blogging from A-Z

I wasn’t sure I was going to compare the two because I listened to the book in 2014 and so many of the details alluded me, but after I watched the 2007 movie and re-read my book review I think I can manage a limited comparison.

The Story/Plot  Catherine, one of 10 children living in the country, was invited by her neighbors to visit Bath and attend some balls.  Catherine was young, read so many gothic novels that her imagination was vivid, and was drawn into a friendship under somewhat false pretenses.  She meets Henry and his sister and is invited back to their home.  There, with the death of their mother still lingering and an abrasive father present, she imagines the worst and her time at Northanger Abbey is cut short.   I felt like there were some differences at the end, but I may just be remembering the book wrong. Either way, both worked.  Thumbs up…tie.

The Visual  Hm.  Like with most stories that are set in a period long gone I think that the movie can bring to the story to life in a way that your imagination might not be able to accomplish.  So, the dresses, the complicated dances at balls, the old castles, all gave the movie the edge.  I even found Catherine’s bookish daydreams fun in the context of the movie, even of they felt a little cheesy.  Thumbs up…movie.

Characters vs. Actors  I LOVED the casting of this movie.  A young Felicity Jones was perfect as the wide-eyed Catherine and JJ Field, who I recognized from Austenland, had that twinkle in his eye that had me (and Catherine ) falling for him.  Carey Mulligan was fantastic as the gold digging friend.  The whole cast was amazing.  Thumbs up…movie

The Ending  As I said in the plot section, I don’t remember the end of the book in enough detail.  If I track down my book and find the time to re-read it I’ll come back and change this 🙂

And the winner is… the movie!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

April 17, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Books vs. Movie | 1 Comment

M – Book vs. Movie – Me Before You

Blogging from A-Z

This is a semi-regular feature where I talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  Most of the time I don’t know which will come out on top until I’ve worked my way through some of the criteria, but this one was an easy pick.

The Story/Plot  In a small English village dominated by a huge castle, Louisa lives with her family working dead end jobs to help her family make ends meet.  She is inexplicably hired by the Traynors of the castle to be a companion to their son, who is in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury.  Will is depressed, moody, and pushes everyone away because of the pain he’s in, both mentally and physically.  Louisa is chatty and energetic and it isn’t long before the two start to form a friendship.  When Louisa finds out why she was really hired she goes into overdrive trying to make Will feel like his life can be just as good as it was before the accident.

The movie left one very important plot piece out, why Louisa didn’t stay at school and why she was still living at home.  Did the movie have to have it? No.  But Louisa, and the book, were better off for it.   Thumbs up…book

The Visual  This is a tough one because I really don’t think there was much of an advantage seeing it onscreen.  Sure, it was nice to see the pretty castle scenes, but everything else was pretty much just as good in my head as I was reading it.   Thumbs up…tie

Characters vs. Actors  Here’s where I might hear from some of you.  I pretty much hated Emilia Clarke as Louisa.  She got some things right, yes, but her eyebrows took on the bulk of the acting and I spent more time watching them on screen than anything else.   She was not Louisa.  I thought Sam Clafin did a good job as Will and Louisa’s boyfriend, Matthew Lewis, was spot on as Patrick.  The parents of both were excellent.  So, it was really Louisa that was the problem for me and that was a pretty big problem.   Thumbs up…tie

The Ending  So, given my complaints about Louisa, imagine my surprise when I was crying at the end.  I knew the end.  It was not a surprise.  Yet, I cried quite a bit.  Jason watched it with me and didn’t know the end and he didn’t cry because he didn’t believe it.  He was still unsure about it and I can see that.  The last scene with Louis and Will felt rushed.     Thumbs up…book

And the easy winner is… the book!!!!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

April 15, 2017 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Books vs. Movie | 4 Comments

Book vs. Movie – Still Alice

Last year I watched the movie Still Alice and was drawn into the heartbreak of Alzheimers and last month I finally read the book. I mostly listened to the audio read by the author and would highly recommend it.  Having loved them both, which will come out on top?

The Story/Plot Alice is a highly esteemed linguistics professor at Harvard with a husband and three grown kids. In the movie they change the school to Columbia in New York for some reason but it didn’t really matter. She starts to experience strange symptoms that she wants to attribute to menopause but she can’t so she sees a doctor.  At 50 she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers.  What happens to her and those around her is the story and both movie and book walked the same path.  The book did provide more details about the (limited) options for treatment and more about the support group Alice formed..  Thumbs Up – book

The Visual  Since this is a very character based book there was no great onscreen must see. Just characters going through what no one should have to.  There was no real advantage onscreen so the book held a small advantage.  Thumbs Up- barely book

Characters vs Actors  Julianne Moore was fantastic as Alice and I couldn’t have asked for more. She totally deserved her Oscar.  I also thought Kristen Stewart was perfect as Lydia.  But, as much as I like Alec Baldwin, I much preferred (and disliked) book John.  Alec tried to save John by the twinkle in his eye, but John didn’t deserve to be saved.  Thumbs Up – barely movie

The Ending There were no real differences between them, but I thought the movie packed more of an emotional punch at the end and left me completely drained.  Thumbs Up – movie

And the winner is…the book.  That stats are a tie but my gut says the book though I totally loved the movie.

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)




October 14, 2016 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | 15 Comments

Book vs. Movie – The Blind Side

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game(2006)vs. Blind Side(2009)

I LOVED both the book and the movie but they were different in many aspects.  Here’s what they had in common…

Michael Oher came along at the perfect time in the evolution of the Left Tackle position in professional football.  His size alone made him appealing to college coaches and his athletic ability made him a top star recruit.  But to get there he needed help.  Born to a mother who had drug problems and too many kids to keep track of, Oher had nowhere to go until a friend’s father got him into the Christian high school on the privileged side of Memphis.  After a rocky, homeless start Oher finds a family and a career.

The Story/Plot  The book had a lot of football history and the movie skipped over it, but I don’t think the movie suffered in the least for not showing why the Left Tackle position became so important. The plot was similar but the movie skipped over some really interesting stuff, like how complicated it was that Oher didn’t know his real name, that he really lived with rotating families for quite awhile, and how he really got his GPA high enough for the NCAA (it was NOT just hiring a tutor!).  I also enjoyed getting to know more about the make up of Memphis in the book.     Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  I’ll be honest, for the most part, this category is really for the movie to lose.  I mean how often is the writing so beautiful and the screen so hideous that the book would be better?  But it happens.  Sometimes with movies like this, where there isn’t really anything special about the sets and the only thing that gives it a leg up is a favorite actor (Sandra Bullock).  I don’t know, I’m calling this a tie.  Thumbs Up- Tie

Characters vs. Actors  I love Sandra Bullock and thought her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy was fantastic as was Quinton Aaron’s as Michael. My biggest quibble is that Leigh Anne was a cast player in the book, often taking a back seat to husband Sean and, well, that’s not how the movie played it. Both were entertaining, only one was truly accurate.  I did LOVE seeing all of the real college coaches make an appearance in the movie, so for that reason alone I’ll call this one a draw.  Thumbs Up- Tie

The Ending  It’s hard to mess with the awesome story of Michael Oher since his is a true rags to riches story. The problem is that the movie wrapped it up with a nice little bow at the end, but it didn’t need it.  The movie could have accurately portrayed the book (leaving out the dry football parts) and been just as good.  The movie didn’t change the story, but it wasn’t really complete either.  Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is…the book!!!  This was my toughest one yet because I loved both so much.  I don’t think you can really go wrong.


Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

January 15, 2016 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | , | 13 Comments

Book vs. Movie – The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars(2012) VS The Fault in Our Stars(2014)

I was surprised to find out last week that so many of my blogger friends still haven’t read this book or seen the movie.  I thought I was all kinds of deficient in waiting as long as I did to read it.  But I listened to the excellent audio and then watched the movie with my ‘no, that’s just the sun in my eyes and that’s not me wiping tears away with my sleeve’ husband. (hmm, sometimes he actually reads this blog…)  We both had the same assessment.

The Story/Plot    They both told the cancer-ridden story of two teens who fall in love against all odds and they were both spot on in that aspect.  There were differences though.  In the book there was more of an understanding of Hazel than in the movie.  In the book we see her go to college classes, meet a friend at the mall, visit Isaac in the hospital, discover that Augustus had and ex-girlfriend (I will spoil no more about that), have more conversations with her parents.  As for Augustus we missed a lot of his struggle at the end of the book (no more spoilers).  The movie focused primarily on the love story, which it is at it’s heart, but it lacked the nuance and depth of the book. And I missed one of the more lighthearted scenes of the book about the swingset as it was left out of the movie.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  I’ll give the props to the movie on this one.  For one, I loved the visit to Amsterdam and want to visit someday. Also, in the book there was always Hazel with her oxygen tank and it was surprising how by the end of the movie I didn’t even notice it.  It became a permanent part of Hazel and it wasn’t distracting and that illustrated that the beauty within a person shines through even if physical ailments exist.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  I read the book well after the movie came out, so I was already picturing Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus.  I was more familiar with Shailene’s work and she felt right in this role. She was a great Hazel.  I loved the casting of Laura Dern and and Sam Trammell as the parents, I thought they were perfect.  As for Augustus, well Ansel came so close that I won’t hold it against him.  I think Augustus is such a difficult character because he was so everything, so perfect teen girl fantasy, so witty, so smart, so romantic.  That is a hard role to fill.  I think Ansel got about 80% of the way there for me and that’s saying a lot!    Thumbs Up- Book, but barely

The Ending  There were a few differences toward the end of the movie but the one that bothered me most was one I mentioned earlier, we missed some of Augustus and his struggle. I think the movie would have been better for showing it.  Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is…the book!!!!

Did you realize that John Green hasn’t written a book since? This article is from entertainment Weekly this month.

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

June 25, 2015 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | , , | 24 Comments

Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles

IMG_2446 vs. The Hound of the Baskervilles - 1939- Poster.png

This is a semi-regular feature where I talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the 1902 classic in February for the Classics Club and watched the 1939 movie in March.  Most of the time I don’t know which will come out on top until I’ve worked my way through some of the criteria, and this is one of those times.  Let’s see how it all pans out.

The Story/Plot There’s a mad hound on the prowl in the moors of England and he’s killing the renowned Baskerville family.  When a concerned friend seeks out Sherlock Holmes for help, the detective sends his trusted assistant, Dr. Watson, to the spooky manor on the moors with the latest Baskerville descendent.  It’s a lonely place with few people, so the cast of characters is made up of the odd ducks that would want to live in such a place.  While the movie stayed fairly true to the book by only changing the sequence of some scenes, there was one glaring plot point that was so much better in the book. I don’t know why they changed it, maybe it was too juicy for the 1939 screen?   Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual The movie was able to show the absolute desolate setting of the moors, but the hound they showed was no match for my imagination.  Since this was way before the ability to do it justice on film I won’t hold it against the movie.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  Most people are familiar with Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Dr. Watson and these days it is because of the Sherlock Holmes films featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  In the beginning, when this film and others were made, it was Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  As I was reading the book I was picturing my own versions of Downey and Law and it worked for me.  It’s hard for anyone to quite match Downey’s manic and genius as Holmes.  Bruce as Watson was not at all what I expected from reading the book, he seemed more like poor comic relief than an intelligent assistant.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Ending The ending, while mostly the same, was missing part of the great reveal I mentioned in the plot.  There was a scandalous revelation and a scene showing a severe beating of a woman and I don’t know if they decided that the movie goers at the time just didn’t want to see that or what.  The end suffered for it.    Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is…the Book!!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

April 14, 2015 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | , | 8 Comments

Book vs. Movie – Gone Girl

This is semi-regular feature where we can talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the book in January 2013 (post here) and watched the movie last Friday, the day it came out.  Let’s break down how they compare.

*This is as spoiler free as possible!!!

The Story/Plot  Nick and Amy meet in New York and fall in love.  When the money gets tight and Nick’s mom gets sick they move to Missouri.  One or both of them turns into a sociopath and the paparazzi cameras are rolling.  I think both the movie and book do an excellent job of telling the story of this couple and the crumbling facade of their marriage.     Thumbs Up-Tie

The Visual  The book is dark and the movie was also dark, really at times it felt like the X-Files and you needed a flashlight.  I don’t really feel that the movie added anything visually to the book.  There’s no real reason to see it on the big screen unless you just can’t wait to spent more time with Nick and Amy.  To me, the descriptions in the book were just as effective in creating a visual image.     Thumbs Up-Tie

Characters vs. Actors   I think Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike became Nick and Amy.  Excellent choices and great acting (at least I hope it was acting!).  I love Neil Patrick Harris but he was not exactly who I pictured as Desi.  Margo, Nick’s sister was played by a new actress to me, Carrie Coon and I thought she did a great job.  I know people are complaining about a character missing, but I really wasn’t bothered by the minor exclusion.   Thumbs Up-Tie

The Ending  Up until this point I think both book and movie were on equal footing.  In the book, the ending packed a punch for me.  I was upset.  In the movie, the ‘ending’ went on so long with so many scene cuts that I just wanted it to figure out what it wanted to say and to do it.  For me, it was a weak. It did change just enough to make the ending different while still being the same in spirit. If that makes any sense.     Thumbs Up-Book

And the winner is…the Book!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

October 9, 2014 Posted by | Books vs. Movie, movies | , | 18 Comments

U is for Uncommon Uma Under Unger

Blogging from A to Z

movieUnder the Tuscan Sun, 2003

Frances finds out her husband is cheating and to cheer her up her two friends offer her a 10 day vacation in Tuscany traveling with a gay bus tour.  Frances goes and falls in love with the house Bramosole which she impulsively buys and plans to restore, leaving her life in San Fransisco behind.  She throws herself into the renovation, making friends as a way to heal her broken heart.

Why I love it – This is a story one woman’s heartbreak and the strength that led her to healing.  I love Diane Lane, she can do little wrong in my eyes and this is one of my favorites.  She shows Frances’s emotions in a way that we can all recognize.  She was mad, hurt, sad, funny, endearing, and full of life.

Who hasn’t imagined (even just for a second) leaving everything behind to start over somewhere new?  And what better place to do this but in Italy?  I love the boldness of her decision, egged on by the exuberant Catherine who encouraged her growth at every turn.  It was the eagerness to live the life she always imagined that had me rooting for her happy ending.

bookThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Queen is out with her dogs one day when she discovers the bookmobile parked by the palace.  So begins her discovery of the joys of reading for pleasure.  Always one to take her duties seriously, reading somehow begins to creep into her schedule, making her mundane duties most unpleasant since she must leave her book behind.  And as the staff becomes more put-off by the reading, the Queen takes a hard look at her obsession.  She is a doer, and ultimately, a choice must be made.

This delightful story enticed me with its lightness, but captured me with its unabashed love of reading books.  As the Queen notes, reading is a generally solitary pursuit and many of her thoughts on this stuck with me, especially as I was passing out books to strangers for World Book Night.  Thankfully, we can and do find ways to connect through reading.  This will make you take a look at your own reading life, and most likely, you’ll identify with the Queen’s discovery of the new worlds books open and her eagerness to share what she’s read.  I don’t think the general public is as unread as this author seems to think, but maybe they are and I just don’t want to see it.

authorLisa Unger

I’ve only read three of Unger’s twelve books and especially enjoyed the two Ridley Jones books (Beautiful Lies & Sliver of Truth).

actorUma Thurman

I like her in the few movies I’ve seen her in (Kill Bill, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Dangerous Liaisons) and her name starts with U 🙂

April 24, 2014 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | 7 Comments

Book vs. Movie- Ender’s Game

In 2008, my first year blogging, I listened to the book (review here) and fell in love with it.  I forced my husband to listen too and he liked it so much that he went on to read a few more books in the series.  As much as I love Ender, one book was enough for me.

Orson Scott Card carries controversy around with him in the form on his 1st amendment right to free speech.  Many people chose to boycott the movie for that reason.  I admit there are some people I do not support (ie use my money to support them by buying what they’re selling) because of their extreme insults or harmful views, but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone I tend to live and let live.  But, I’d love to hear your opinion on this, maybe you’ll change my mind.

The Story/Plot – This science fiction story is set a few hundreds years from now and the Earth is at war with the buggers, an alien race who wants to colonize the planet. The military is using children to train to fight these buggers.  The story is about their training.

The movie stayed true to the book, but there was so much skipped that the characters onscreen fell a little flat.  So much of the story takes place in Ender’s head and that didn’t really translate to the film.  Thumbs up -Book

The Visual – I ‘m glad that they waited so long to make the movie so that technology could actually catch up with our imaginations in some ways.  My husband was worried about Battle School looking cheesy, but we were both impressed with the quality.  Thumbs up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors – I fell in love with Ender when I listened to the book.  He was only 6 when first sent to Battle School  and there was much more detail about his life between the ages of 6-12 than there was in the movie.  The extra  detail gave me a chance to really care about this vulnerable and genius and character, where the movie didn’t. Asa Butterfield did a fine job of portraying Ender on the big screen, but there wasn’t the same connection for me. Harrison Ford was fine too, but my favorite actor in the movie was Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham and he had a very small part.    Thumbs up- Book

(NO SPOILERS) The Ending – It’s been a while since I listened to the book and while the end was the same I thought there were some parts of the movie leading up to the end that might have been finessed.  I was completely surprised by the end of the book, but the movie wasn’t as shocking because of a few things that happened.  Or maybe it was just because I already knew what would happen, who knows?  Thumbs up- Tie

And the winner is…The Book.

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Carrie -the original) (The Secret Life of Bees) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Shining)

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | , | 16 Comments

2012 in review

The blog, while still having some of the same features-Tuesday Quizzes, Sundays with Gage and Monthly 5 Word Movie Reviews being the constants- also managed some book reviews 😉  I read 55 books, a new low since I began blogging 5 years ago.

Here are the books by the numbers-

43 Fiction, 12 Non-Fiction (that’s a high percentage of non-fiction for me!)

39 women, 15 men, 1 both (let’s hear it for the gals!)

9 from a continuing series, 7 from a new series.  (of those new series books I will continue on with 6!)

Most read author? Karen E Olson with 3 when I finished up her Tattoo Shop series.

The 3 Rounds of Quizzes this year were exciting!  Nise (Under the Boardwalk) took the first two rounds and Hannah (Word Lily) was the winner of the last round.  I hope that you all will jump in when the new season starts.  You don’t have to win to get a prize.  Marie (Boston Bibliophile), Staci (Life in the Thumb), and Carol M all won special prizes just for playing.  If you want to browse through old quizzes click here.

Gage has been a big part of the blog this year.  If you want to look through all his posts for what you may have missed click here.  Here are the first and last photos of 2012.


Think he’s changed this year?  The boy sure does keep me busy.









The year I’ve watched 49 new-to-me movies, reviewed 3 from my Top 100 list, wrote 3 book vs. movies posts, and even had a few Friday Movie Talks.  My monthly 5 word movie reviews are tied to money for charity.  You still have a few hours (until 7om EST) to get your reviews in to be counted for charity.  $1 for every 5 word review you contribute.  I already told you about my favorite movies, what about a few stats?

Surprisingly, I watched more movies released in 2012 (19) than in any other.  Surprising because I consider myself a classic movie lover!

The oldest movie I watched was War and Peace released in 1956.

My most viewed actor- Denzel Washington, 3 movies

Most viewed actress- Helena Bonham Carter, 4 movies (weird since this woman really bothers me)

2012 has been a good year and I’m happy the Mayans were wrong and there is the possibility of 2013 being better than all the other years before it.  I wish that for all of us.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, Books vs. Movie, Gage, movies, Quizzes | 15 Comments