The Great Gatsby

This week, I finally did something I probably should have done years ago. I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know many people may be shocked that I never got around to reading this American classic in high school, but I guess I just missed out on it. (When I was in high school, I didn’t read “classics” unless they were required in my literature classes. I gravitated toward cheesy teen romances, fantasy, and some science fiction. Not much has changed.) Anyway, I wanted to see the movie adaptation this weekend, so, of course, I had to read the book so that I could compare the two.

(For the record, I probably would have seen the movie even if I hadn’t read the book. I’ve been a Leonardo DiCaprio fan since he played Luke Brower on Growing Pains in the early 90s. That is one man who just gets better with age…and he’s a fantastic actor.)

So, I’m not going to tell too much about the book because I figure all of my readers either have read it or will read it the future. I will say, though, that I think The Great Gatsby paints a vivid picture of what life was like in New York in the Roaring Twenties. There were some lavish parties and, at least among the upper echelons of society, a rather casual disregard for propriety and self-control–when it came to wealth, sex, marriage, sobriety, etc. (Goes a long way in explaining how the whole concept of Prohibition came about.)

The Great Gatsby is both a tragic love story and a tale of people who bring out the worst in each other. Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, who is at once above the drama and a part of it, we delve into the mystery of Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan. It’s often difficult to sort out the truth from all the lies, but the lives of the people in this book intertwine in a beautiful mess, and, in the end, their lives unravel in the blink of an eye.

I enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby, and a big part of me is happy that I waited until I was an adult to experience this book. I honestly don’t think that I could have appreciated it as a teenager. Now, with some knowledge of the time period–I studied the 1920s extensively as an undergrad student–and more life experience myself, I can grasp just why this book is widely considered a must-read American classic.

I can’t wait to see what Baz Luhrmann does with Jay Gatsby’s story. I hope I enjoy it as much as I did Moulin Rouge, especially since The Great Gatsby has the same kind of decadence that was present in that wonderful musical. I have high hopes for this movie, and I am praying that my hopes are not dashed by Hollywood (as they have been so often in the past). So far, reviews are mixed, but I don’t really put too much stock in reviews. (The original Star Wars trilogy was widely panned by reviewers. Those people were made of stupid.) Either way, I’ll get to look at Leo DiCaprio on the big screen, and that’s always fun!

Speaking of fun, here’s a trailer for the movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby to whet our appetites for the movie…which is in theaters today!

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?!

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 http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com/index2.html.  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.