I started a hobby in 2014 to read books before they are made into movies. I continued working on that project this year. I made another goal that goes along with this project in January- read for at least 15 min. a day.
Last time I blogged about this hobby, I mentioned that I intended to read books based on the movie's year of release, but then decided that I didn't have to limit myself to that. For example, I read Veronica Roth's Divergent series this year though the first movie of the series was released last year. The last movie is expected to be released in 2017.
If you'd like to see the list of books I've read and movies I've watched so far, read my first post here.
In that post I mentioned that I was reading Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games series. I had read the first book The Hunger Games, and I was in the middle of reading the second book Catching Fire. I completed Catching Fire and also read the third and final book of the series Mockingjay. I mentioned that I watched The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and part 1 of Mockingjay. Part 2 is expected to be released this November (next month!).
If you're not familiar, The Hunger Games is about a dystopian society. In this society, the Capitol has political power over the people. One way they control the people is by forcing two teens from each district of twelve to battle publically (it's broadcasted) until there is 1 victor. They call that event The Hunger Games. The book is told from the perspective of Katniss, a sixteen year old. The Hunger Games was excellent. I loved Catching Fire and Mockingjay. To quote myself, the books are "extremely well-written with well-developed, realistic characters and an engrossing plot. Brilliant all around." I loved the series so much! I can't wait for the movie. Lani, my oldest daughter, read the books and watched the first movie. We'll have to watch Catching Fire and Mockingjay part 1 before part 2 is released. (Can you hear me squealing excitedly?)
I also recently read and watched Lois Lowry's The Giver. I had read The Giver in 7th grade, and remembered how challenging it was for me to read and grasp the concepts then though overall I walked away brighter for it. I appreciated the challenge. I reread it, and could understand the deeper meaning behind the book. The Giver is another dystopian novel set in the future. The book is about a boy named Jonas. Jonas is chosen by his community to be the community's receiver of memories as the entire society no longer remembers the pains or joys of the past. The community has been free from pain, fear, and other unpleasant human emotions due to a stringent structure, but the community can also not experience pleasant human emotions like love, deep joys, etc. due to the radical structure. Jonas, as the receiver of memories, begins to realize the community is devoid of these pleasant (and unpleasant emotions). The novel is about his plight.
The novel is compelling. It won the 1994 Newbery Medal, which signifies that the book is "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" for that year. The movie was okay. For me, it didn't capture the essence of the book very well. That kind of brilliance must be difficult to convey though.
The following 3 books I read are expected to be released as movies in 2016:
Jojo Moyes' Me Before You. This book was a page turner for me and I loved it. Me Before You is about Louisa Clark, a young woman living a very safe (boring) life. She gets a job working as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man named Will Traynor. The reader learns he is very frustrated with his condition as he had a zest for life prior to his injury resulting in his being quadriplegic. He will challenge Louisa's safe life and she will challenge his frustrations with his life (or lack of it from his point of view). I'm looking forward to the film adaptation.
Tom Drury's The Driftless Area. The Driftless Area is about Pierre, an unusual and somewhat ironic character. Pierre becomes romantically involved with Stella, a mysterious woman. Pierre seems to unwittingly find trouble wherever he goes. On a hitchhiking trip gone sour, he comes to possess stolen money from a criminal. Though it has an interesting plotline, I didn't really like this one. I thought the novel was bizarre overall with an absurdist theme (it reminded me of Albert Camus' The Stranger at times), but lacked depth. I will be watching the movie when it is released however. I'm curious to see how the novel will be portrayed. Maybe this will be a rare case of a movie I like more than the book.
Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train. This is another book that I really enjoyed. The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller about a woman named Rachel who is an alcoholic. In the beginning of the novel, the reader discovers that Rachel is recently divorced and appears to be obsessed with her ex husband and his new family. She watches them every day from the train. On her train ride, she has also become obsessed with a young couple that lives near her ex husband. She often fantasizes about the couple's relationship and even gives them names. She soon realizes that the young wife has disappeared and that she may be able to provide vital information about her disappearance. The novel is told from Rachel's perspective. She is a frustrating character making a series of terrible decisions, but I think that adds to the intrigue. This is another movie I am very interested to watch.
As far as reading books before they're made into movies, that's what I've read so far this year. I've read books that are not being made into movies, as well. I mentioned that I read The Stranger. My brother Joshua took an Albert Camus college course, and said this is one of his favorite novels. The Stranger is about a man named Meursault, who has an unusual and inappropriate reaction to life. He seems antisocial, I think. The reader follows his reaction to his mother's death, a romantic relationship, and his committing a murder. The novel is philosophical, thought-provoking, and challenging. I highly recommend it if you're looking to intellectually challenge yourself.
My most recent read is Jojo Moyes' After You. This book was released 2 weeks ago. I finished reading it last night. It is the sequel to Me Before You. I don't want to ruin anything about the first novel, so if you're interested, read that one first! It's not fair to compare the first one to the second, I think. I will say that After You was enjoyable, but not like Me Before You. What made it even more fun to read is that my friend Denise and I started a book club. (Yay!) It's just her and me right now. We read 10 chapters a week and discussed the chapters we read. I recently read the last 10 chapters. We still have to get together to discuss the last part.
Finally, I am going to continue reading The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. I was reading it before I paused to read After You. I read part 1. I'm going to begin reading part 2 today. (You think I'm a fan of Jojo Moyes? ;)
I'm hoping to share the rest of the books I plan to read before the year is up. Do share if you've read anything good lately or if you have anything to add about the books or movies I mentioned today.
Related: 10 Tips for Reading More Books
P.S. In a more recent blog post, I shared a picture of my "Read for 15 minutes a day" daily tracker. See my Goal-Setting 2016 post here.