Based on the book

Janet Clapp
BOOKS CHECKED OUT

Pop some popcorn and settle in to read books that inspired movies. This year the nominees for the Academy Awards included several movies based on books, including “Mudbound” and “The Story of Ferdinand.” Through the years, many popular books have been turned into films. Here are a few to check out.

“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”

by Lisa See

“I am what they call in our village ‘one who has not yet died’ — a widow, eighty years old…Only the past interests me now. After all this time, I can finally say the things I couldn’t when I had to depend on my natal family to raise me or rely on my husband’s family to feed me. I have a whole life to tell; I have nothing left to lose and few to offend.” When preparations begin for Lily’s footbinding at age six, a matchmaker determines that she can arrange a laotong relationship, a lifelong friendship with another girl. Lily and Snow Flower become good friends, communicating through a secret language known only to women, as they grow up, marry, and raise children, bound by the strict rules of their culture. “But from here on out, I hoped Snow Flower and I would be able to write the truth of our lives, whether we were together or apart. I wanted to drop the set phrases that were so common among wives in their rice-and-salt days and express my real thoughts.” This fascinating story depicts the traditions and life of nineteenth-century China.

“The Road”

by Cormac McCarthy

“He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke.” In a post-apocalyptic America, an unnamed man and his son walk through a cold, desolate landscape to the coast. They struggle to stay alive when food is scarce, death is common, and violence is prevalent. On their trek, the father remembers the now-vanished world. “Lying there in the dark with the uncanny taste of a peach from some phantom orchard fading in his mouth. He thought if he lived long enough the world at last would all be lost. Like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowly fading from memory.” Describing a dark and ugly future, this novel centers on the strong bond between father and son.

“The Secret Life of Bees”

by Sue Monk Kidd

“At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin. I watched their wings shining like bits of chrome in the dark and felt the longing build in my chest.” In 1964 South Carolina, fourteen-year-old Lily’s mother is killed, leaving Lily in the care of Rosaleen. When Rosaleen is beaten up by racists, the two flee to another town in South Carolina where they are cared for by beekeeping sisters. Over time, Lily learns and comes to grips with the true story of her mother. “Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.” Set during the Civil Rights era, this is the story of family, friendship, and growing up.

“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”

by Laura Hillenbrand

“In 1938, near the end of a decade of monumental turmoil, the year’s number-one newsmaker was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler or Mussolini…The subject of the most newspaper column inches in 1938 wasn’t even a person. It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit.” Owner Charles Howard, a successful businessman, bought the colt in 1936. Trained by former mustang-breaker Tom Smith and ridden by prizefighter Red Pollard, Seabiscuit drew crowds to the tracks. “From 1936 to 1940, Seabiscuit endured a remarkable run of bad fortune, conspiracy and injury to establish himself as one of history’s most extraordinary athletes…. His epic, trouble-plagued four-year quest to conquer the world’s richest race became one of the most celebrated and widely followed struggles in sports.” This absorbing work of nonfiction is not just about a horse, but the people around him and the world in which they lived.

The Rutland Free Library has the titles above, in book and video format, as well as other books and movies.

Happy reading and watching!

Janet Clapp

Janet Clapp is an adult services librarian at Rutland Free Library.

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