The Book Thief

As is the case with so many books, I’m late to the party on this one. The Book Thief has been in my I’ve-been-meaning-to-read-this-for-a-while-but-haven’t-gotten-around-to-it pile since I first became a school librarian (way back in 2005 when the book came out). Like Ender’s Game, it was the desire to see the movie adaptation that really spurred me to finally read the book…and I’m so glad I did.

I finished reading The Book Thief less than an hour ago, and I was so moved by the book that I was sitting in my library crying my eyes out. My students and my clerk thought I’d lost my mind. (By the way, I have no problem taking some time to read at school every now and then. How can I expect my students to learn to love reading if they don’t see me modeling it?)

Anyhoo, back to The Book Thief. This book tore me apart, and I can only hope that the movie will, in some small way, live up to its source material. I’m going to see the movie this afternoon, and I fully expect my heart to be in shreds by the time I get home tonight. Here’s hoping…

The Book Thief takes place in Molching, a small town outside of Munich, Germany, during World War II. It is told from Death’s point of view, and the story follows the journey of a young girl, Liesel Meminger, the the lives she touches, and the books she steals during this turbulent period.

I’ve read quite a few fictional accounts of WWII, but most of those tend to focus on the experience of Holocaust victims and survivors. This may be one of the first books I’ve read that details the experience of a German teen who has to at least pretend to tow the party line while quietly protesting the world around her. Liesel finds power in words, and she does everything she can to gain access to as many words as possible…and share those words with those most important to her.

From her foster parents to her best friend to community members to the Jewish man hiding in her basement, Liesel, through both words and deeds, touches every life around her and demonstrates how much one girl–a book thief–can impact so many lives…and can make even Death stop to take notice.

I’m not going to say much more about this book other than it is at once heart-breaking and heart-warming. I was pulled in by the unique way this story was told, and I stayed because I truly grew to care about Liesel, her family, and her friends. The Book Thief has more than its share of tragedy, but there’s so much more to take in here. Even in the midst of a war, people find ways to experience joy, peace, laughter, friendship, and courage. Some of those things may reveal themselves in unexpected ways…perhaps in the form of a stolen book.

If the movie adaptation is even half as good as the book, I think I’ll be pretty happy.  I guess we’ll find out at 4:25 this afternoon!

For those who haven’t seen The Book Thief yet, here’s a movie trailer to whet your appetite. It worked for me!

The Hobbit

I first read The Hobbit when I was in the fourth grade. Over twenty years have passed since then, and I figured I needed to reread this epic novel before I saw the movie on December 14th. (As you can imagine, I’ve forgotten a bit in 20+ years. I didn’t, however, forget how freakin’ awesome this book was.) I remembered most of the major events of the novel, but I think my immature 10-year-old brain just didn’t grasp the importance of some of the details…or even how amazing Tolkien’s writing was. My 33-year-old brain had no such problems. I know I appreciate the book more now, but I’ll always be glad I read The Hobbit as a child because it was really my introduction to fantasy fiction. I’ve loved fantasy ever since.

Now, unlike most of the books I talk about here on Knight Reader, I’m not going to tell you much of anything about this book. I shouldn’t have to convince anyone to read The Hobbit. It is a classic piece of fantasy for a reason, and, if you consider yourself a fan of fantasy at all, you should have already read this book. If you are simply a literature buff, you need to read this book. J.R.R. Tolkien is a legend, and his work should be read by everyone. Just my opinion (but I’m usually right about these things.) 😉

Unless you live under a rock (or in a hobbit-hole or in a mountain with a fire-breathing dragon), you know that the movie adaptation of The Hobbit comes out in two weeks. I have no doubt that this film will be just as awesome as the movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After all, Peter Jackson is at the helm once again. I also can’t wait to see how Martin Freeman (who also plays Dr. Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock, one of the best shows on TV) portrays Bilbo Baggins. I’m fairly certain this role will make Mr. Freeman into even more of a nerd icon than he already is.

It will surprise no one that I have every intention of being present at the midnight premiere of The Hobbit. I will be watching it in an IMAX 3D theater, and I’ll enjoy every minute of it. As I was for all three Lord of the Rings movies, I’ll be joined by my dad. (Both of us have already taken the next day off work. It’s kind of a nerd holiday for us.) I can’t wait to share this experience with him, and I know this will be a memory we treasure forever. I just hope the movie lives up to our expectations. I have a feeling it will.

To whet your appetite for what is sure to be an awesome movie-going experience, check out one of the many trailers for The Hobbit. (I’ve included one below.) I will say, though, that I highly recommend reading or rereading the book before you see the movie. It adds so much depth to the entire experience. I think all avid readers would agree with me there.

City of Bones movie goodness!!!

Those who regularly follow this blog already know that I’m a little obsessed with anything written by Cassandra Clare, especially her Mortal Instruments series.  Well, unless you live under a rock, your probably already know that the movie adaptation of City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, will be released on August 23rd.  (Insert fangirl squeal here!)

Yesterday, TMI fans got to finally see the teaser poster and trailer for City of Bones, and both were everything I could have possibly hoped for.  I have insanely high hopes for this movie (though a big part of me doubts any movie could ever live up to the awesomeness of this series), but I’m already finding myself pleasantly surprised by everything I’ve seen about this highly anticipated film.  (Dear Hollywood, please don’t disappoint me!)

Without further ado, here is the teaser poster.  Due to copyright issues, I can’t post the teaser trailer here, but you may be able to view it on the MTV Movie blog.  For some reason, I can’t get it to work on my computer right now.  This makes me sad.  (I’ve heard that the trailer will be shown before Breaking Dawn 2, so I’ll hopefully see it on the big screen tonight.)

Thanks to Mundie Moms for the great pic of the teaser poster.

Beautiful Creatures movie trailer!!!!

I don’t know about you, but I am super-duper excited about the upcoming Beautiful Creatures movie!  For those who don’t know, this movie is based on the first book in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  There are currently three books (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos) and one ebook novella (Dream Dark) in this series, and the fourth book, Beautiful Redemption, is due to be released on October 23rd (just a few short weeks!).

Anyhoo, I saw the trailer for the Beautiful Creatures movie yesterday, and I almost squealed like a little girl.  (Actually, I may have.  My mom did look at me funny when I was watching it.)  I cannot wait until this movie comes out.  Why must February 13th be so blasted far away?!

New Hunger Games trailer!!!

For those who live under rocks and haven’t seen the new Hunger Games movie trailer, it’s available for viewing below.  I think I like this one better than the first.  I’m already getting a little weepy, and I have a feeling I’ll need my tissues when I finally get to see this movie.

March 23rd can’t get here soon enough!

The Hunger Games begin in two months!!!

Two months from today, Hunger Games fans the world over will finally be able to see the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the first book in this amazing series. If you haven’t already seen the official movie poster, here it is:

Pretty cool, no? (I do prefer the teaser poster, but I like this one, too.)  And if posters alone aren’t enough to whet your appetite, check out the official movie trailer below.  Only two months to wait!  Oh, I hope Hollywood doesn’t disappoint me again.

Movie poster for The Hunger Games!!!

If you’re a fan of young adult literature at all, I’m going to assume you’ve read all three books in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and that you know the movie adaptation of the first book will be released on March 23, 2012. (If you haven’t read these amazing books, I’m going to assume there is something seriously wrong with you.)  Anyway, the newest movie poster was just released, and I’m so pleased to share it with all of you now.

Clearly, this poster is made of awesome, and it only makes me anticipate this movie even more.  (I’m really hoping that the movie industry doesn’t let me down on this one…like it did with I Am Number Four, The Lightning Thief, and a few others.  I–and many other HG fans–need this movie to be very close to the book.  I have high hopes.)

If you’d like to see more about The Hunger Games movie, I urge you to visit  Watching the trailer alone is reason enough to visit this site.  Have fun, and “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Last night, I finished a truly captivating book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  I must admit that I may not have read this book had I not recently seen the trailer for the movie based on this book.  The movie, Hugo, looks entrancing, and I knew that I just had to read the book before I could allow myself to see the movie (which opens on November 23rd).  Even though the book is an intimidating 533 pages, I flew right through it.  (Of course, it helped that half of the pages were filled with illustrations that both moved the story along and made it come alive.)  It also didn’t hurt that this book has a kind of steampunk feel to it, and I am quickly becoming enamored of all things steampunk.

In The Invention of Hugo Cabret, we are introduced to Hugo, an orphan, timekeeper, thief, and wonderer.  Hugo spends his days and nights in a busy Paris train station, keeping the clocks in working order for his uncle, who has seemingly vanished.  No one notices Hugo, and he does his best to keep it that way so that he doesn’t end up in an orphanage or someplace even worse.  He simply keeps the clocks running, pilfers food where he can, and works on the mechanical man, or automaton, that provides a connection to his father.

In Hugo’s quest to get the automaton working, he steals parts from toys.  As is usually the case, Hugo gets caught in the act by the toymaker.  But the old toymaker doesn’t react to Hugo’s thievery the way one would expect.  In fact, he grows sad when he sees Hugo’s precious notebook, and, after a bit of drama, he even lets Hugo help in the toy shop.  Could the old toymaker be keeping secrets of his own?  Hugo and Isabella, the toymaker’s goddaughter, soon join forces on a quest to find out about the toymaker’s past and his mysterious connection to Hugo’s mechanical man.

Can Hugo and Isabella uncover the mystery of the mechanical man?  What will they discover about Isabella’s godfather?  Join them as they travel through walls, a train station, movie theaters, libraries, and the streets of Paris to unlock the truth.

I haven’t come close to describing how wonderful this book is.  The narrative is as enchanting as the illustrations.  It’s no wonder that The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott Medal.  I just hope the movie is just as awesome as the book.

If you’re interested in seeing the movie adaptation, Hugo, here is one of the theatrical trailers.  I’d love to hear from you about how the movie stacks up to the book.

Thoughts on the final Harry Potter movie

As many people know, I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, so it should come as no surprise that I was at last night’s midnight premiere of the final film in the series, part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I’ve been waiting a long time for this movie, and, let me tell you, it was totally worth the wait. I really think this is the best movie of the entire series. Were there some things different from the book? Yes. Did that take away from the awesomeness of the movie? Not a bit.

The movie was truly outstanding, and I think other people in the audience would agree with me. There was applause during several scenes, obvious crying at others, and cheering at the end.  I was especially moved by the scenes depicting Snape’s memories.  (I actually had to take off both my regular and 3D glasses so that I could wipe my eyes.  I cried a lot.)  I absolutely adored every scene with Neville, and I thought Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley just rocked.  I was heartbroken by the deaths of some favorite characters.  (Yes, I knew what was coming, but it still made me sad.)  In the end, though, this movie provided a very satisfying conclusion to the series I’ve loved for the past ten years, and I plan to see the film at least a few more times.

I am sorry to see this series come to an end, but I have the awesome job of sharing Harry Potter with young readers who have never experienced this magical world. I hope they enjoy the journey as much as I have.

Have you seen this movie yet?  What do you think?  How do you think it compares to the book?  Are you as sad about the end of Harry Potter as I am?

The Lightning Thief – Movie reaction

I had such high hopes for the movie adaptation of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. I knew that, if the powers that be stuck to the book, there would be a lot of happy book nerds out there who would love this movie. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

As I was in the theater watching this movie, I kept saying to myself, “That didn’t happen in the book,” or “Why did they leave this out?” or “Why was that changed?” It was almost like my Watchmen experience all over again. (If you didn’t already know, the movie adaptation of Watchmen is an absolute mockery of the wonderful graphic novel by Alan Moore.) Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but this still wasn’t what I’d call a happy movie-going experience.

If I hadn’t read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, I may have enjoyed the movie more, but true fans of the series will be upset that so much was changed. Were there some things that were true to the book? Yes. There were also some kick-butt special effects in this movie, but the negatives, in my opinion, outweighed the positives by a lot.

I don’t know if Hollywood has the sequels to The Lightning Thief in the works. If they do, I would highly recommend sticking to the amazing stories written by Rick Riordan. They don’t need to be changed.

Just my two cents…