This movie is a perfect example of one of the worst things that can be done when a book is turned into a movie. Basically, the only things that made it from the book to the movie are the title, the characters, and some of the initial set-up for the story. Major plot points were changed, such as the setting of the book in Romania instead of the US with Vivian not attending high school. Although the book isn’t purely high school drama, this was a large component of the book totally missing from the movie. Most importantly, the ending and Vivian’s character were both very different. Instead of a sensual being pursuing the boy she likes, she’s very nervous about starting a relationship with him. For me, that completely changed the feel of her character. And of course, changing the ending completely changed the point of the book. The casting of the characters and the beautiful Romanian scenery were really the only things it had going for it. It was ok as a movie, but it didn’t have anywhere near the impact it could have had if it had just stuck to the book.
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Title: Blood and Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klause
Review Summary: With unique social norms in place to govern sexual tension and a propensity for violence, these are werewolves done right.
This is primarily a coming-of-age story. As werewolf Vivian’s pack struggles with the loss of their leader, Vivian herself struggles to figure out who she and what she wants. Her confusion is only increased when she falls for a human who she desperately wants to accept her for who – and what – she is. When a murder puts both her pack and her human friends in danger, Vivian is stuck in the middle of the conflict between them.
If you have a book-ish friend and don’t know what to get them, this is the post for you! All of these books are books I gave 4 or 5 star reviews and the majority of them will make the list of Top 10 best books I’ve read this year. Hyperion, in particular, is one of my favorite books ever. So this it, the best of the best, and some recommendations for who to give them to… Read more »
Title: All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending
Author: Laura Vanderkam
Fun Fact: As of 2006, earning $60,000/year made you part of the top 10% highest earning people in the world.
All the Money in the World is a thoughtful series of essays on earning and using money to maximize your happiness. It’s full of interesting thought experiments, facts, and questions that will make you think about money in ways you never have before. The writing is great, reminding me of Malcolm Gladwell’s many books or Mirroring People, and definitely meeting my criteria that it be clear and concise. Although the chapters could be read as stand-alone essays, the interesting topic kept me reading one after another. My favorite parts were Read more »
Self-help books often get a bad rap. I think it’s sometimes viewed as a little desperate to read them and a lot of people don’t believe a book is likely to give advice that can help with your life. And with a lot of self-help books, that’s true. Sometimes they offer very vague advice or advice that is (in my opinion) just stupid. So are there good self-help books? And what are the important criteria for picking one? Read more »
Title: Dracula (All-Action Classics)
Author: Michael Mucci, Ben Caldwell, Bill Halliar, Bram Stoker
Review Summary: This was basically Dracula, with a few simplifications, a little enhanced drama, and some great pictures.
I would never consider a graphic novel adaptation a substitute for the book, but this was definitely a great supplement. The story was very close to the original. There were very few embellishments and I was happy with the events that were included. The order in which things happened was changed a little, but always in a way I felt preserved the heart of the original while streamlining the story. I liked this much better than my first experience with a graphic novel, perhaps because knowing the story already erased any difficulty I might have following a story in this format. Finally, the drawing. It was perfect! Just cartoony enough, but not over the top except for the occasionally resemblance of the Count to Cruella de Vil. The color was also fantastically well done. As long as you’re not going to be bothered by the occasional small change or embellishment, I would highly recommend this to any fans of the original novel.
Title: Dracula in Love
Author: Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
Review Summary: Very similar to Dracula: The Un-Dead in it’s up-dated, modern, sensationalist take on this classic, but I hated the ending of this one ever more because it was both depressing and our protagonists fault.
Dracula in Love is basically the sub-conscious story told by the original. Instead of Dracula “possibly representing a fear of independent and sexually liberated women”, he is exactly that. And Mina has to decide if she wants the life she has always imagined for herself or if she’d rather be with Dracula. This book is her story, setting the record straight for those of us who have only read the story told by the men. This is a bit of a coming of age story and a lot of that is her sexual experience, so thing get pretty explicit at times. Never anything I found offensive though, except of course for some of the male characters incredibly Victorian views of women and sex. Read more »
Title: Dracula: The Un-Dead
Author: Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
Review Summary: Much more sensationalist, gritty, gory, dark, and sensual than the original, with a terribly depressing ending.
This book wasn’t at all what I expected based on the fact that it’s written by Bram’s great grand-nephew and a Dracula historian. They make some changes in the way events from the first book “really” happened and the writing is very Dan Brown – passably well written, very exciting, and with more sex and violence in the chapter than in all of the original. I anticipated something a little more in the style of the first book. They do start with a letter, which is a bit of a homage to the first book, and there is also a very fun guest appearance by Bram Stoker. In fact, the inclusion of real events from Bram Stoker’s life and the inclusion of several other famous historical characters was one of my favorite parts of this book. They ended up being what I consider an acceptable justification for the changes they made in the events of the original. Read more »
Author: Bram Stoker
Review Summary: Awesome book and definitely still creepy, but the ending is slightly anti-climatic and the view of women is very Victorian.
Ah Dracula… I hope I don’t need to tell you about the plot for this one! The edition I read was a modern library classic and the introduction was extremely well done. As with most introductions to classics, it does carelessly share spoilers as though it’s at the end of the book. I still like to read the intro first though, because I think I get more out of a book when I’ve read a little of the literary analysis first. The literary analysis in this book was interesting and very well done, but on top of that the author was actually very funny. The tidbit that stuck with me the most was the observation that Dracula could represent a fear of independent and sexually liberated women. And oh the sexual undertones! It was all very Victorian era and while the views of women were quite archaic, it was still a fascinating glimpse of past social norms. Read more »