Death of a Literary Legend: RIP to Sir Terry Pratchett

Very sad news arrived in the fantasy/sci-fi community yesterday: Sir Terry Pratchett, prolific fantasy/sci-fi writer, has passed away after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s. He wrote over 70 novels, many of which are considered modern classics. His unique wit and imagination have inspired millions of readers all over the world. Fans are certainly grieving today, not least of whom is his friend and co-author, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman wrote a touching tribute to the man here, citing his own earlier article last fall when confronted with the thought of losing Pratchett:

I rage at the imminent loss of my friend. And I think, “What would Terry do with this anger?” Then I pick up my pen, and I start to write. –Neil Gaiman

Another tribute came in the form of a comic from webcomic xkcd, illustrating the feelings of so many:

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

“Thank you for teaching us how big the world is by sharing so many of your own.” –xkcd.com’s tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Thanks to Sir Terry Pratchett for his insight on humanity and life. I can’t believe I haven’t read his famous Discworld books yet, but they’ve been bumped up to the top of my to-be-read list now. Do you have a favorite Pratchett book, readers?

Advertisements

Dropping Temperature to Raise Money and Awareness: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Hello, dear readers! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I am happy to say that I did! I had the pleasure of visiting Jeremiah and his family’s farm, which was a nice way of re-orienting myself with being back home in the Midwest. Though we don’t have oceans (which I miss), there is lots to love here. 🙂

While I was there, we decided to participate in something fun, for a good cause.

If you’ve been on the internet at all for the past month, you have probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I think it’s wonderful that an effort to raise money and awareness for research on a fatal disease has gone viral like this! As someone who works in the healthcare industry, I’ve seen firsthand how devastating neurological diseases can be from the patients we treat, and I applaud the efforts of this campaign.

For those who are less plugged-in (probably getting more writing done! 😉 ), the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dares you to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and post the video online. The rules have evolved so that now, either way, you are supposed to donate: If you take the ice-water challenge, you have to donate a minimum of $10 to the ALS Association (or other ALS research foundations). If you do not do the ice-water challenge, you have to donate a minimum of $100. The movement was started by former baseball player Pete Frates, who has lived with ALS since 2012.

Believe it or not, the trend has sparked a bit of controversy. Some are saying that people are doing it just to gain popularity by posting videos of themselves. To that, I say–any attention that ALS research garners is good attention, no matter how it gets there! As of today, the campaign has raised $79.7 million, compared to its usual average of $2.5 million at this time of year. Although I was somewhat familiar with Lou Gehrig’s plight, I have learned more about the disease through this movement.

Some background info about ALS, from ALSA.org:

ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Other protesters cite the drought-burdened areas, where dumping any amount of water would exacerbate the drought problem. That–I get. However, people are coming up with creative alternatives. Leave it to Neil Gaiman to be one of them–his video is one of my favorites. Because he’s in California, he used ocean water–and he’s assisted by several people dressed as his character of Death. His wife, Amanda Palmer’s, video is also one of my favorites. And Gaiman challenged George R.R. Martin, who accepted.

So, while our version was less epic, we had a lot of fun doing it. We are also donating to the ALS Association, which you can do here:

Welcome, Ice Bucket Challengers

(Click image to donate)

Without further ado:

Play Video

Of those we challenged: Erin Lawless (author of The Best Thing I Never Had), poor thing, said she has a cold, but she will be donating. Rachel Hartman (author of Seraphina) said she will be completing the challenge; she’s just figuring out the logistics. Our friends Jessie and Marcy completed the challenge right away! Chris is waiting to be in a less drought-ridden area to complete his challenge. And Sarah will be doing it soon! So, yay to all of you lovely people for raising money and awareness for this great cause!
And, dear readers–I challenge YOU to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! If you cannot or would rather not dump the ice, please consider donating anyway–you will still be part of the movement. Every dollar helps. If you’d also like to donate to a hospital that treats patients with neurological afflictions like ALS, please consider ours at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.
If any of you have or will be participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, please post a link to your video below–I’d love to see it! 🙂

Chicago Public Library Ranked #1 in U.S.

Dear readers, despite the return of the polar vortex,

yesterday was an exciting day for Chicago! Yes, it’s cold, but we got some great news that warmed our hearts: our very own Chicago Public Library has been named the #1 library in the country and #3 in the world!

I’ve only actually been to this particular library once, when I waited in a line with thousands of fans to see Neil Gaiman for the “One Book, One Chicago” event celebrating the citywide reading of Neverwhere, in spring 2011. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually make it in to see him–fire codes or some such formality. (Someday, Neil…) I suppose it was good they followed safety rules, which I’m sure contributes to their high ranking, but I drowned my sorrows in buying a copy of all of the books he’d autographed. Plus, I got to explore the beautiful, historical library (est. in 1873).

(^Fangirling)

Please read on to see WGNtv.com’s coverage of the award. Stay warm and well-read, dear readers! ❤

WGN-TV

An international honor for the Chicago Public Library system.

A new study ranks CPL as the number one urban library in the United States, and number three in the world.

The rankings were released by the Heinrich Heine University in Germany.

Researchers studied the core services of libraries worldwide.

The CPL includes the Harold Washington Library Center two regional libraries and more than 70-neighborhood branches.

View original post

New Years’ Wishes from Neil Gaiman

Hello, dear readers! I hope 2014 is treating you well so far. 🙂 For us, it has snowed from the day before New Year’s Eve through today. The plows have finally caught up, and as much as I dislike the cold, I have to admit the landscape is beautiful. The trees are covered in snow, and they look like white lace against a periwinkle sky.

Have you figured out your New Year’s resolutions yet, dear readers? I’m still working on articulating mine–365 days hold a lot of possibilities. 😉 Today, I found something to help me–and maybe it will help you, too. On New Year’s Eve, Neil Gaiman posted on his Tumblr a compilation of his past “New Year’s Wishes.” You already know I love him (check out the Neil Gaiman tag for proof), and if you’re not also a fan, I bet you will be after reading his wishes for everyone. His words are profound, and they filled me with hope and purpose. I hope they will do the same for you. ❤

New Year’s Wishes Sequence
By: Neil Gaiman

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
In 2011, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.
And it’s this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

image

And last year, I wrote:

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. 
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. 
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was Forced to Read

Hello, readers! This installment of Top Ten Tuesday was actually suggested last week by The Broke and the Bookish; an extremely busy week has pushed it to this Tuesday instead. 😉 The prompt is:

Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read (either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, book club) — doesn’t necessarily have to be a BAD thing. Could be required reading, yes, but also book club, or just super enthusiastic friends “making” you read something!

I’ll admit, I’ve been rather stubborn in the past with my favorite book genres. Actually, for much of my life, I would only read classics (nothing written post-1900, preferably). That’s right; I used to be even more of a book snob than I am now (I figure I could only go on hiding it for so long, readers). To be fair, though, I was similarly discriminatory with my movie taste (nothing in color–especially black-and-white classics colored in later).

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid…wait a minute, you don’t look quite right.
(Casablanca image from forum.dvdtalk.com)

But gradually, through social and academic pressures against my will, I have expanded my reading repertoire. I’m glad, too, because I would have missed out on some great books. Below, I’ve listed ten memorable books I’ve been forced to read–some good experiences, some…not. All images are from www.barnesandnoble.com; click them to buy or read plot summaries.

1. The Winter’s Tale, by William Shakespeare

Winter's Tale

This one wasn’t too much of a stretch for me. I LOVE Shakespeare, but somehow, despite numerous classes on him and reading on my own, I hadn’t encountered this book until one of my advanced-level Shakespeare classes in undergrad at UIUC. This less–well-known play by the bard is actually a favorite among enthusiasts, and I think it would translate really well to a movie, especially given the popularity of period dramas nowadays. This is a tragicomedy, which, if memory serves, is the bard’s only (or one of the only) meld of the two genres (as opposed to dark tragedies like Hamlet and fun comedies like As You Like It). The best of both worlds! Plus, you get the usual memorable characters and sparkling language of Shakespeare’s work.

2. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

I probably don’t have to go into much detail with why I did not like this book, after last week’s list of book turn-offs, especially in regards to disturbing violence. Even the cover is breaking my heart. I was required to read this in middle school, and it was not a good experience. Actually, I’ve kind of blocked it out to the point where I remember the feelings I had about reading it more than the actual book itself. I wonder how I’d feel about this on a reread at an older age, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set

Strangely, as much as I disliked the last book, I loved this trilogy–extreme fangirl level. I was so afraid of it being exactly like the last book (#2) that Jennifer offered to screen it for me first…that’s right, my younger sister has more book courage than I do. She LOVED these books, and as soon as I got the green light from her, I began reading it, because I actually was required to read it for class, haha. (I just needed to know with what level of caution–at what arm-length–I needed to read this.) This was one of the books assigned in my Young-Adult Literature class with Alix Reid at DePaul, which you know was shelf–and, I dare say–life-changing. Although these books were indeed violent, it was all justified, and the message was powerful and important. The writing was great, too; quick and biting, it matched the plot perfectly.

4. “Debbieland,” by Aimee Bender

AimeeBender

I couldn’t find this story or a picture of it online. Instead, this is a picture of the author, and it links to her website.

This short story about bullying, told from the P.O.V. of the bullies, disturbed me so much that I asked my teacher, with a single tear rolling down my cheek (j.k.?), WHY she had assigned it to us. She responded that that was exactly the reason why she had. Touché, Professor Pittard. (Hannah Pittard was one of my favorite teachers from DePaul, in large part because her taste was so different than mine that she helped me to grow and think outside my own writing box.) As much as I was uncomfortable from being inside the heads of such horrible people in “Debbieland,” I learned an interesting writing technique from it. To be honest, though, I much preferred my professor’s own use of the group-P.O.V.; check out her critically acclaimed novel, The Fates Will Find Their WayPerfectly lovely and haunting for this time of year. 🙂

5. Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics)

I think Barnes & Noble described this book best on their website: “A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.” This book was on our Honors English summer reading list for incoming freshman year, and from this book alone, I knew high school was going to be awesome. (Perhaps a blanket judgement, but I was only 14…and I do have many fond memories of those four years. 🙂 ) Anyway, this was, hands-down, the best assigned summer reading I’ve ever had. This book was so inspiring that I chose to teach it as a student teacher in my undergrad program; I think it should be assigned reading to everyone in school. I was shocked, when I asked the class (all honors students), if they had read the book before. For some reason, it isn’t being assigned as much as I think it should be, with such timeless and important themes. This is Jeremiah’s favorite series ever; he’s read all of the books, as well as the companion books written by Herbert’s son based on the late Frank’s notes. It’s a favorite book of mine, though admittedly, I haven’t finished the series yet. As a teenager, it had changed so much after the first three books that I wasn’t sure I liked it anymore, but as an adult, I suspect I might like the bigger picture even more.

6. & 7.: As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner, & In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

As I Lay Dying: The Corrected TextIn Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

And on the flip side of assigned high school summer reading were these two books assigned for us to read the summer before my sophomore year of Honors English. Dear God, these books scarred me so badly that I can’t even look at them today. Part of me wonders if I was just too young to handle the dark subject content (15 years old), but given that I don’t like much graphic violence nowadays, either, I think I might have the same reaction reading these as an adult. Briefly: they both focus on gruesome aspects of death, as the titles suggest. I know these are classics, and I’m sure they’re well-written, but I was so disturbed by the content that I couldn’t even pay attention to the writing (unlike #4). Not only did they RUIN my summer, but I’ve stayed away from the authors’ other work as much as possible, too (though after other assigned Faulkner readings, I still am not a fan–too dark of humor for me to find it funny).

8. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

And back to the positives of assigned reading, The Graveyard Book was another assignment for that Young-Adult Literature class at DePaul (see #3). I love this book so much that I have two copies: a hardcover I read for class and a signed paperback from an author appearance when Neil Gaiman came to Chicago in 2011…the appearance where I almost got in to see him but didn’t, because the line was hundreds of people too long for the space the Chicago Public Library had available. 😥 I drowned my sorrows with a little retail therapy, that being his autographed books. Here’s a picture of me after the event (the event was specifically celebrating his book Neverwhere, another favorite of mine).

Mega-fangirl: My shirt is a sketch Neil Gaiman did, imagining a potential cover for The Graveyard Book. Jennifer bought it for me! ❤ You can buy it from Neverwear here. (Don’t you love the pun?)

Anyway, I’m really glad I was assigned this book, for several reasons: First of all, it was my gateway into Neil Gaiman, who, as you know, is one of my favorite authors (just search his name on my homepage search box and you’ll see tons of my entries pop up). Secondly, I might never have picked it up, as it is technically a “middle grade” book, i.e., targeted for an audience of ages 8-12. As you know from previous posts, I was surprised to learn how much I loved young-adult literature, and this book SHOCKED me with the discovery that I liked middle grade, too. So not only did this book introduce me to an author, but also to a whole bracket of books, too. If you’re looking for a spooky and amazing read for Halloween, I highly recommend this one! It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

9. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set, Books 1-7

I tried to hide my moments of snobbery from you before, dear readers, but I’ve officially given up as of the last Top 10 post. 😉 As a recovering pop culture connoisseur in 6th-7th grade, I tried to steer clear of anything popular after that, including books. It was to my detriment, as my older, wiser self now knows, because at least with books, they are usually popular for a reason. The first couple of books had already been out for awhile before my mom bought one and urged me to read it, and thank God she did. I read it because I wanted to figure out the “overblown hype,” but instead, I found compelling, complex, beautiful coming-of-age story as timeless as it was timely: my sister and I had the privilege of growing up with Harry Potter, as his age in each book release roughly matched ours. What a fantastic influence on a developing teenager–or for adults. I can’t see this book ever going out of popularity; it has something for everyone.

10. Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

TwilightThis book is in yellow, because I haven’t actually read it yet. I would say that it is the book I feel most pressured to read by society, both as a reader and a writer. This is such a polarizing novel series; it seems people either love it or hate it. I was somewhere in between with my opinion of the movies; I’ve seen them all. I could understand both the praise and the criticism this series receives, but I feel like until I (finally) read these, I have no right to an opinion either way on their content or writing. As a cultural phenomenon, my opinion of it is: Well-done, Stephanie Meyer. You’ve inspired millions of people to read, and you’ve made it a bit easier for authors to include more sentimentalism in their work. You know that it’s a balance I struggle with as a writer, but I do think there is a right balance out there somewhere. Maybe it’s in here. I actually requested this first book as a Christmas present a few years ago, and it’s still looking at me from the shelf, eyeing me from that big apple.

————————————————————————-

I hope you enjoyed my top-10 list this week, readers! What are some memorable books YOU’VE been assigned?

Join me later this week and next for some festive posts about autumn and Halloween. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Exciting New Book Releases

Today is Tuesday, and that means another installment of a top-ten list! Today’s list, prompted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List (you could do top ten fall releases you plan on reading or just your planned reading list).

Well, with that kind of freedom, I will do a meld of the two. I will list my top 10 want-to-read books that have been released recently/will be released soon. (As with last week’s list, all images are courtesy of Barnes & Noble. Click them to buy the books.)

1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

If you’ve read any other posts on this blog, you know that I am a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan. This is Neil Gaiman’s newest adult novel, and the first (adult novel) he’s written since 2006. I actually started listening to this audiobook, but as you can imagine, the waiting list for this at the library is pretty long, so I had to return it before I could finish it. Boo! I was really loving it so far, and I can’t wait to find out what happens. That’s why this is definitely #1 on my list, although technically, it’s only half. 😉

2. Allegiant/Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent Series #3) (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The final book in this trilogy will be out on October 22nd. I have no good reason why I haven’t read the 2nd one (Insurgent) in this trilogy yet. Honestly, my reason is that I know the book is buried in my tiny college bookshelf (different from my overstocked MAIN bookshelf, you see) in the basement under piles and piles of other books and other things. I’ll need to get a hard hat with a light to unearth it. And I have this thing about not listening to an audiobook version of a book I have a physical copy of, unless I’ve already read the physical copy. It’s weird, I know. But Divergent was an AMAZING book, a 9.5/10. It’s a thrilling, innovative dystopia that has great writing and engaging characters. And Veronica Roth is SO sweet and humble; I got the opportunity to meet her at her first book launch, before her popularity exploded (which it did a few days later, literally). She deserves all her success.

3. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

The Fault in Our Stars (B&N Exclusive Edition)

I’ve been hearing nothing but praise for this book. It’s earned top critical and everyday reader praise. From what I’ve seen, it’s an important book–and it will ultimately rip my heart out when I get around to it. I’m thinking of it like medicine–it will be good for me, but it might be a bit hard to bear on the way down. I’ve heard it’s beautiful, and I do love books that grab my heart, so I know I just HAVE to read this. It’ll be a race to read it before the movie comes out.

4. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception

I’ve been hearing about this YA author for years, but somehow, I haven’t read her work yet. She’s got several best-selling series out (and some new releases soon), so I’m not sure where to start. This one about faerie musicians looks right up my ally, though, so I think I’ll start here. 🙂

5. Ruin and Rising/Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

The last book of this acclaimed trilogy is on the 2014 release list. I have the first book, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’ve read that Russian fairy tales play into the story, and that the main character is a Strong Female Character. I don’t see how I couldn’t love it! (By the way, I love how my favorite authors are rooting for each other. Note Veronica Roth’s blurb on the front of this cover. Tamora Pierce also wrote a blurb for Lament, above, though it’s not pictured.)

6. The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (Iron Fey Series #1)

It looks like the last book of this series was out last year, but I started hearing lots of buzz about this only recently. Perhaps it’s because I only joined Twitter recently, and I get a lot of my publishing info from news sources on there…at any rate, I’ve been hearing great things about this series, and it looks really interesting.

7. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily

Until I recently read the classic J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, I never realized how heartbreaking and beautiful the story was. I’ve heard great things about this book, and I think it’d be so interesting to see the story through Tiger Lily’s eyes. She’s an often-forgotten secondary character, but I’d bet she’s an SFC.

8. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky

Several of my bookish friends have suggested this one, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I believe the last one in the trilogy hasn’t been released yet. I’ve just noticed how I’ve been letting the YA romances stack up in my to-read pile (#3, 4, 7, & 8, from what I can tell). In the pure YA romance genre (that is, YA books where the love story is the main story), I’ve been somewhat disappointed in what I’ve read. I think a good love story needs a lot of surrounding plot to make it whole, just like real life. I do have high hopes for these, though, so I should probably stop procrastinating. 😉

9. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child

I first read about this one in a Costco catalogue/newsletter, of all places. The title struck my eye as romantic (in the old-lore sense) and mystical, and the author’s name charmed me into reading the interview (my favorite LOTR character is a shieldmaiden AND an author?!). Then, the interview made me cry, but it also put this on my to-read list, where it’s been since 2012 when it came out. I need to stock up on tissues before I invest my emotions into this one. It will be another good-for-me-sobby one, I believe.

10. Shadowscale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina

Last but certainly not least is the sequel to my beloved Seraphina. There’s no cover image for it yet, so I’m putting in the prequel. If you saw last week’s list or read my audiobook postyou know I’m a big fan of the first Seraphina book. From last week: “This enchanting tale speaks volumes about human nature–and how better to do that than with dragons? The characters and the world completely pull you in, almost without your realizing it until you have to close the book/pause the CD. ;) Hartman’s innovative twist on classic elements is both familiar and refreshing at the same time.” The first book was satisfying in tying up loose ends–way more than I anticipated (YAY HARTMAN), but I still can’t wait to read about what will happen next for this lovable heroine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book-to-Movie Wish List

Yesterday was Tuesday, and that means another installment of a top-ten list! A busy day pushed it to today instead; I hope you’ll find it just as enjoyable with the added anticipation. 😉 I skipped last week due to my scheduled book review of Ken Floro III’s The Rising Wind, but you can see my first list here.

Echoing my first list (Top Ten Book-to-Movie Adaptations), today’s list, prompted by The Broke and the Bookish, is another fun one: “Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (set in a perfect world…in which movies don’t butcher the books we love.)”

I had to think about this one, because there have been so many great movies made already of many of my favorite books. But I was able to come up with 10 clear choices–some by the same authors. Here they are, in no particular order. (All images courtesy of Barnes & Noble; click them to buy.)

1. Tamora Pierce’s Tortall Universe

Immortals Quartet Box Set (Immortals Series)

The Immortals Quartet, a series set within Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe.

I fell in love with these books as a young girl. Talk about strong female characters! At the time of this posting, I believe she has 18 books out that are set in this universe (according to her website). I have a little catching up to do! This is a magnificent, vibrant universe with lovable characters and compelling plots–all of which would translate well to the screen. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Tamora Pierce in person, and she said that although she’s had movie offers, none have felt quite right. Kudos to her for being protective of her work. I’m hoping that someday, we’ll get to see these books done well on the big screen.

2. Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

“Wait, isn’t this already a movie?” Yes…yes it is. It’s the only book-to-movie I’ve been too afraid to watch, because if they changed just *one* thing about the book, I feel like it’d be destroyed. And from what I’ve read about the movie, they did make some pretty significant changes. So why is this on my wish list? I’d like to see a screenplay done verbatim from the book, or at least to be adapted as CLOSELY as possible. Who’s up for the task? I did take a screenwriting course with the award-winning Jay Bonansinga…so yes, I absolutely volunteer for this project. 😉

3. The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Rumors have been swirling for a movie adaptation of this book. I discovered this book in Alix Reid’s young-adult/children’s literature class, as one of the assigned books, and it quickly became one of my favorites of all time. It’s a special book to a lot of people, which has earned it several awards. It’s extremely visual, and even the most extraordinary settings are vivid. Initial rumors suggested this would be a stop-action movie (like The Nightmare Before Christmas), which seemed an appropriate style for this dark fantasy. As of January, however, Ron Howard took the helm and it looks like it may be live-action. No filming has actually started, and so many changes have happened already that the fate of this film is still uncertain, which earns it a place on my list. This is another AMAZING book that will require care and precision in adhering to Gaiman’s masterful diction and plot.

4. Neverwhere

Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Interestingly, this other novel by Gaiman actually started on the screen. Its original form was a BBC miniseries written by Gaiman, which he later adapted into a novel. I think this urban fantasy would be brilliant as a movie, especially with the right special effects. I’m not quite sure why no one’s completed a movie for this yet, especially with its timeless fanatical popularity (it’s a modern classic–the PENULTIMATE in fantasy, if you ask fans). Gaiman’s other movie adaptations, like Stardust and Coraline, have been well-received. It seems a sure-fire box-office hit. Fans of the recent BBC 4 radio production are rooting for its all-star cast (including Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer) to take it to the silver screen, too. I’m all for that!

5. Seraphina

Seraphina

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

This enchanting tale speaks volumes about human nature–and how better to do that than with dragons? The characters and the world completely pull you in, almost without your realizing it until you have to close the book/pause the CD. 😉 Hartman’s innovative twist on classic elements is both familiar and refreshing at the same time–something that movie-goers would love. And if I may be a fangirl for a moment, I NEED to see this love story onscreen. Please.

6. Wicked

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years Series #1)

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This book and musical will forever be special to me. The theme of “It’s not only OK to be different–it’s what makes you extraordinary” inspired me during my recovery from a traumatic brain injury. It taught me about courage to fight for what’s important to you, that you can make a difference against all odds. This twist on the classic The Wizard of Oz has great heart, great humor, and great quotes. Don’t you think that would be a great movie? I’m not the only fan who thinks so, and rumors have been flying for years about movie projects. So far, I haven’t found any specific information on a movie adaptation, though. Keep your fingers crossed, green or otherwise!

7. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

This other book by Maguire is my favorite retelling of the Cinderella story–and it’s not even starring her. It’s such a clever twist on this ever-popular fairy tale–so popular, in fact, that it needs a little zest added in to keep it fresh. It just so happens that zest is what Maguire does best. With the popularity of fairy tale remakes in Hollywood lately, I’m surprised this hasn’t been picked up yet.

8. Pathfinder

Pathfinder

Pathfinder, by Orson Scott Card

This is one of those books where my jaw dropped several times, and by the end, it was fully agape.

Something like this. (Image via Tumblr.)

It was also one of those books that was almost mind-bogglingly complex. The world and the concepts were fascinating, but packed with a bit more physics than I’d expect a 13-year-old to wade through (this is technically YA lit, i.e. 13 and up). For both of these reasons, Pathfinder is on my movie wish list. If done well, it might be one of those movies that makes the book even better by clarifying it. Then again, narrowing down the 800-page book into a movie might be its own challenge.

9. Libyrinth

Libyrinth (Libyrinth Series #1)

Libyrinth (Libyrinth Series #1) by Pearl North

This YA dystopia would strike fear into the hearts of bibliophiles everywhere. Like Fahrenheit 451, the world in this book questions the danger of books–a clash against the spoken and written word. The similarities to Fahrenheit end there, and we’re immersed in a foreign world that’s both futuristic and ancient at the same time. The characters are witty and clever, which makes for a fun read. I won’t spoil it, but the message is timeless and important, which is always good for movies. This movie would be popular with book-lovers and others (ARE there any other kinds of people??).

10. …My own.

So I have to admit that one of the reasons I took that fantastic class with Jay Bonansinga was because, as a reader, I get SO UPSET when a movie *ruins* a book. And as a writer, if my books ever got ruined in this way, I’d be devastated. (These books are still in development—I promise to keep you updated. :)) I wanted to have at least a basic understanding of screenplays and movie-making in my tool belt, and in Jay’s class, I got so much more. So, powers that be, if you’d like to adapt my books into a movie, I am ready to help. 😉