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Books on Screen

Each month, our Books on Screen feature spotlights movies, television shows, miniseries and specials that are based on books of various genres --- including novels, memoirs, comics, children's books, short stories and poetry --- along with the latest DVD releases.

February 2016

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bestselling zombie novel must be in want of a silver screen adaptation. So it’s no surprise that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s Frankenstein of a novel, which plops hordes of the walking dead into the Austen classic, is now in theaters. More respectable reviewers are saying this one is as soulless as the Bennet sisters’ antagonists, but I say leave your braaaains at the door and enjoy some good February fun!

January 2016

Happy New Year, Books on Screen lovers! Hopefully, your resolutions include getting better at managing your expectations; considering the mediocre crop of movies this month, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to flex those fledgling cognitive muscles.

December 2015

Season’s greetings, Books on Screen lovers! If you’re at all worried about appearances when Santa comes to town, it might be best to avoid the dim and dismal movies that hit theaters this month. The entertainment itself is brilliant, but I bet there will be plenty of crying and pouting in theaters nationwide.

November 2015

Turns out, death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in the world: We can now count on an Amazon pilot dump every six months or so. Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity and penned an early draft of Celine Dion’s favorite idiom, but even he could not see this coming. Hang on to your bifocals; we're about to dive headfirst into November's Books on Screen!

October 2015

Welcome to our Pumpkin Spice edition™ of Books on Screen! You didn’t think we’d miss out on October’s bestselling rebrand, did you? This month, we’ll be evaluating the top books on screen based on their Pumpkin Spice Rating (PSR), which is just as silly and delicious as it sounds! Toss your regular old latte, because we’re about to go full fall!

September 2015

All you Books on Screen devotees who were hoping for a 3D Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing an iffy French accent, well, you fished your wish this month! Congratulations! And those of you who were holding out for Tom Hardy doing Russian, see: Child 44.

August 2015

We’re entering the dog days of summer, Books on Screen readers. What does that mean for us? I’m not sure! And judging from August’s batch of releases, I’d bet the studios aren’t either. Let’s talk about it!

The big disappointment this month is the un-fantastic Fantastic Four. And I don’t just mean star Miles Teller and his…um…unflattering profile in Esquire; the resounding consensus is that FF is kind of a mess, and not the hot kind (sorry, Human Torch). The good news is that if you’re looking for a bit of action, Insurgent is now available on DVD --- if you’re on the fence (or, er, wall) about it, check out this clip featuring author Veronica Roth and the cast discussing adapting the book into a movie. Plus, Ansel Elgort is basically Miles Teller-lite, so you won’t be missing out on any summer fun.

One movie that’s getting rave reviews (which we featured in our Books on Screen bookshelf) is The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s frank, heavily autobiographical novel, it’s the story of a precocious 15-year-old girl’s sexual awakening, set in 1970s San Francisco. The film got great early buzz when it debuted at Sundance, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in honest, avant-garde storytelling. And if you’re interested in the visually stunning, check out the gorgeously animated The Prophet, which intersperses Khalil Gibran's elegant poetry within breathtaking animated sequences, and tells the story of an exiled poet who must find his way home. I was sold on the trailer alone.

The big TV news this month is that David Simon, creator of the universally acclaimed “The Wire,” is returning to HBO with “Show Me a Hero,” a nine-part miniseries based on the true story of young mayor Nick Wasicsko’s fight for the desegregation of Yonkers’ public housing --- and the bitter battle fueled by fear, racism, murder and politics it incited. And if all you’re looking for from your summer watching is some entertaining escapism, be sure to catch “The Astronaut Wives Club” on ABC and “Pretty Little Liars” on ABC Family.

All in all, it’s been a pretty mediocre summer for Books on Screen! We may not have hit any high highs or low lows, but we did see thoughtful teen movies (and some less thoughtful), a small-scale yet surprisingly affable Marvel movie, dinosaurs! (and I don’t just mean Michael Douglas) and some uncharacteristically literary summer fare.

---Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig

July 2015

‘Tis the season…for sun-soaked blockbusters, sweet and sour superheroes, and thunderous sound effects. It’s also the time when we get those more somber summer movies, the kind that hum along gently and are as quietly refreshing as air conditioning on a mid-July day. Unless your unit is as loud as mine, in which case the metaphor is moot --- unlike my AC. Still with me? Here are this month’s books on screen!

June 2015

Hold on to your butts! June is here, and, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic World, movies this month are bigger, faster and full of strange sound effects. As it turns out --- in a plot twist so predictable it could be straight out of Jurassic Park III --- the rest of our books on screen happen to be a more genteel bunch. Cue the classical music, Spielberg!

May 2015

I have a serious question about April showers: Wouldn’t it make more sense to take showers in a hotter month, like July or August? Just a thought for 2016. Luckily, it’s still only May, and there are plenty of Books on Screen to watch in air-conditioned rooms!