Archive for July, 2014

Top 10 movies based on books

Now, it is very likely that anyone who is reading the Book People blog will already know that the best stories appear on page before they are adapted for the silver screen – that’s a given! Since the birth of cinema, producers, writers, directors and acting talent have been scouring the pages of the best and newest works of fiction for their next summer blockbuster or Oscar-winning adaptation. Whether the stories be classics (such as The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit), YA (like The Giver or The Fault in Our Stars), contemporary (such as Fight Club) or any other fantastic piece of literature including 2014’s Oscar Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave, Hollywood has been giving – on occasion – our favourite books a refreshing new take on proceedings, and has even surpassed the literary efforts of the author from time to time (certainly not every time though!).

In this post we would like to discuss the best films adapted from books, but what are the best movies adapted from books? Well, we have decided that our list will not necessarily contain the best books, stories and characters, but the best film adaptations of those books – where Hollywood has outdone itself and not made a mockery of the written source material that readers love.

10. Planet of the Apes

There have been mixed results when it comes to the film adaptations of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel. La Planète des Singes provides a social commentary that is still very relevant over 50 years later. The story: beloved. The film adaptations: not so much! That is, until now…

Starring Hollywood royalty Charlton Heston, 1968’s Planet of the Apes (which became a 5-film series) was a huge cinema success. In 2001, the franchise attempted an unsuccessful reboot courtesy of Tim Burton, off the back of his Sleepy Hollow and Mars Attacks! movie triumphs. Now, with cinema (and literature) in a new age of dystopia, the recent Andy Serkis-lead Planet of the Apes series re-reboot – including Rise of the Planet of the Apes starring James Franco and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes starring Gary Oldman – finally seems to provide a movie experience worthy of its namesake. Many will remember the Planet of the Apes twist; in the most-recent two movies this angle is long forgotten, instead choosing to build the story of Planet of the Apes book from the ground up to offer a rhetoric description of the society of our present, the mistakes we have made and those we continue to make.

Planet of the Apes Book | The Book People

9. The Godfather

A cinematic triumph winning three Academy Awards and five Golden Globes, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name and starring Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, centres on the story of Michael’s destiny to replace his father as the head of the Corleone crime family despite his determination to live a much more Americanised life with his girlfriend, Kay.

Not completely true to the content of the book (no film is really, let’s face it!) by missing out some quite key character back stories, The Godfather trilogy (well, The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II) streamlines the story for positive effect on the big screen: an Omertà all filmmakers should adhere to when creating film adaptations of books.

The Godfather Books | The Book People

8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Originally written in 1962 by Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered by many to be one of the top novels of the 20th century. Adapted for film in 1975, Miloš Forman’s movie tells the story of Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, an anti-authoritarian criminal serving a prison sentence for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old-girl.  In the film (and book, obviously), McMurphy finds himself transferred to a mental institution for evaluation, putting on mental illness to avoid hard labour in the hope of having a more-relaxed time whilst incarcerated. As we all know, things don’t quite go according to plan…

Winning five Academy Awards, six Golden Globes and six BAFTAs, the film reimagining of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest strays little from the Kesey’s source material and is considered by many to be one of America’s most-culturally important motion pictures.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Book | The Book People

7. Forrest Gump

Originally written by Winston Groom in 1986 and adapted into an Oscar-winning epic starring Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump is the story of a simple man who lives an extraordinary life. Ping pong champion, shrimp boat captain, Vietnam veteran, stunt man, professional wrestler: Forrest Gump is a lot of things, but he certainly is not boring.

Minus missing out a few minor plot points including his time working with NASA and his time spent with some cannibals, and having some of his rough edges shaved off for a more clean cut, simplistic on-screen appearance, the motion picture adaptation of the book is true to the book and has become one of the best-loved, quotable movies of the 90s.

Forrest Gump Book | The Book People

6. Schindler’s List

A Booker Prize-winning novel originally published in 1982, Schindler’s List (or Schindler’s Ark in literature) was translated to film by none other than Steven Spielberg in 1993 from Thomas Keneally’s novel. Starring Liam Neeson in the titular role, and featuring the acting talents of Sir Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes to name but a few, the Academy Award-winning film tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a dedicated industrialist Nazi who is credited with saving the lives of 1200 of his Jewish employees during the holocaust.

An uplifting demonstration of humanitarianism both on page and screen, Spielberg’s Schindler’s List is one of many films about the holocaust, but one of the few to present the difficult subject matter in a tone that is both highly viewable and respectful to those who lost their lives.

Schindler's List Book | Schindler's Ark Book | The Book People

5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and The Hobbit)

Quite possibly two of the most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are sword-swinging, orc-fighting, Middle Earth-travelling action at its best.

Obviously requiring to stray from the original text somewhat (The Hobbit – or There and Back Again – is stretched over three films despite being only 297 pages long when originally published), The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit embody much of what the fans of the stories love, and has opened up a new generation of fans to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Sensational special effects, an outstanding cast – including Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman and many, many more (did I mention Sean Bean?!) – and what a lot of fans would consider suitable meanderings through the narrative of the books, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are certainly top books that have been adapted into movies.

The Lord of the Rings Books | The Book People

4. The Silence of the Lambs

A sequel in literary terms, but a first outing for Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the big screen (if we all forget about the 1986 production of Manhunter featuring Brian Cox and William Petersen, based on the novel Red Dragon), The Silence of the Lambs must be considered one of the best book adaptations of all time. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the sophisticated, flesh-nibbling, psychopathic psychiatrist and Jodie Foster as FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling, the film follows Starling’s efforts to capture a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. She turns to Lecter to help her build a profile of the killer, but as time progresses the two become woven into a chess game of whit and deceit.

Winning what is known as the Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster) and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs lifts from the page and brings to life one of the best movie villains ever.

The Silence of the Lambs Book | The Book People

3. Jaws

dun-DUN, dun-DUN: two simple notes that evoke terror in everyone who has ever stepped foot in the ocean (way to go, John Williams!!!). Thanks to Spielberg’s Jaws, a retelling of Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name, generations of beachgoers now take a cautionary look around their surroundings, only stay in knee-deep water and even avoid the ocean altogether on occasion. Telling the story of a Great White Shark that is attacking swimmers off the coast of the fictional seaside resort of Amity, police chief Brody – with the help of shark expert Matt Hooper and Quint, a professional shark hunter – must catch the shark and kill it to prevent any more people coming to harm and ensure that the tourist-reliant community’s beaches can stay open.

Cutting out a few major plot points from the novel, including an affair that Mrs. Brody and Hooper have at a local motel and input from the local mafia as to whether the beaches stay open, Steven Spielberg’s three Academy Award-winning movie adaptation is one I am sure fans of the book will be able to appreciate. More a straight-up battle between good and evil than a political and social struggle, Jaws will keep viewers’ eyes scanning for dorsal fins for years to come.

Jaws Book | The Book People

2. The Shining

Heralded as one of the finest pieces of art-cinema ever to grace the screen, visual genius Stanley Kubrick brought Stephen King’s The Shining to a worldwide (albeit slightly confused at the time) audience and cemented Jack Nicholson’s name as a Hollywood great in the process. A film composed of intricate layers, subconscious manipulation and uneasy foreboding, the 2001: A Space Odyssey director’s film is one that has received respect and critical acclaim as the years have passed – aging like a fine wine.

Slated by Stephen King for significantly deviating from the narrative of his original story (do you remember the maze sequence?), Kubrick’s reimagining of the paranormal goings-on at the Overlook Hotel adds to the visual depth of the literary piece and avoids trapping the movie in a mess of cliché cobwebs and shadows. And with Kubrick’s confidence in his actors’ ability to improvise, many of the film’s iconic moments including “Here’s Johnny!” were devised on set.

A film that truly takes the novel to the next level.

The Shining Book | The Book People

1. Jurassic Park

Show me a child who was born in the 80s or 90s whose favourite film isn’t Jurassic Park and I’ll show you a liar! Dinosaurs: check! A dinosaur theme park: double check! A dinosaur theme park plagued with problems and destined for disaster: enter Steven Spielberg!

Easily the best movie to be adapted from a book, Jurassic Park is still a worldwide favourite. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel published in 1990, the three-time Academy Award-winning film tells the tale of a nature reserve off the coast of Costa Rica that through the use of genetic engineering has brought dinosaurs back from extinction. As you will know, the rest is history…

Cutting-edge special effects, plausible scientific grounding and never-before-seen, fear-inspiring sequences, Jurassic Park is, quite simply, the best monster movie to ever grace the screen. While the book itself is certainly noteworthy in its own right, Spielberg’s film adaptation of the book flattens the human characters in a way that creates space for the prehistoric creatures to spread their wings (dinosaurs evolved from birds, remember?!), much like his approach to Jaws.

A film every film-goer will be glad they (dino)saw!

Jurassic Park Book | The Book People

You can find a host more movie, film, TV, DVD and Blu-ray reviews at

The Great British Bake Off books

The nation’s favourite TV show, the Great British Bake Off, returns on a new channel and with a new timeslot next week and all of us at the Book People couldn’t be more excited. In fact, we even have some home-made brownies in the office today. Now due to be shown on BBC One in an unfamiliar Wednesday evening slot, we can’t wait to see the creations from the new contestants as they attempt to impress queen of baking Mary Berry and housewife’s favourite Paul Hollywood. As ever, Mel and Sue will be on hand to deliver their dulcet commentary throughout the series too.

If you’re in the mood to create your own showstoppers over the next few weeks, then the Book People has plenty of baking books in our Food & Drink category to help you on your way. Who knows, next year you might be cosying up with Mary and Paul? From the finest Baking & Desserts books to how-to guides and books from stars and contestants from the show, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to baked goods.

There is nothing better than the taste (and smell!) of freshly baked bread and who better to teach a novice how to make their own than Paul Hollywood? Bread is a book that does exactly what it says on the tin. It shows you how to make bread – and then transform it into an even greater meal. From using a bloomer as a base for a picnic to Eggs Benedict crumpets, this is a superb baking book for those who love bread. Another person who is handy when it comes to kneading dough is the ‘People’s Champion’ from 2012’s Great British Bake Off – James Morton. In Brilliant Bread, he showcases his love for bread making – and how easy it is to make your own using just supermarket flour and yeast. James will show you how to bake everything from basic loaves to sweet doughs, flatbreads and pretzels!

John Whaite was the winner of 2012’s Bake Off and we have two books from the very talented baker that will offer you ideas for every meal of the day. John Whaite Bakes – Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood has creations that will lift your mood, no matter how you’re feeling. With comfort food like Apple and Thyme Sausage Rolls alongside Passionfruit Tart, this is a book full of food to put a smile on your face. John Whaite Bakes at Home offers a glimpse of what he bakes for his nearest and dearest – whether they want lunch, brunch, something sweet or a savoury pizza treat.

2010’s winner Edd Kimber also offers up some surprising twists on old favourites alongside traditional treats in his The Boy Who Bakes cookbook. New in, and a book that will resonate with many of our customers is Recipes from a Normal Mum, a book full of recipes compiled by 2011 Great British Bake Off finalist Holly Bell. Covering far more than just baked goods, this is a cookbook packed to the brim with quick and mouth-watering recipes for the entire family!


Super books starring Comic Book Superheroes!

For many comic book fans, excitement is gathering around the next release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be in cinemas from 31 July. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Glenn Close in her first ever superhero movie and the voices of Vin Diesel as a sapling alien tree that can only speak three words – ‘I am Groot’ – and Bradley Cooper as the pyrotechnic loving Rocket Raccoon, it’s sure to be different and has already been touted as the true heir to Star Wars’ crown as the ultimate space opera – but with plenty of humour as well.

Ever since the Golden Age of Comics in the 1940s, when the ever-youthful Stan Lee first brought superheroes like Captain America, The Destroyer and Jack Frost to the pages of Marvel Comics, superheroes have been popular with all ages. At the Book People, we’re huge fans too and have books featuring all your favourite Marvel and DC characters – from the Avengers like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk to the world-renowned Superman and Batman. From the screenplays of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) to sticker and activity books, there really is something for every age.

Our eight-book Marvel Sticker Book Collection contains over 490 stickers to stick throughout the pages, with four of the books focusing on Thor, Hawkeye and friends, while four of them cover your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Fans of Superman and Batman need not worry either, the eight-book DC Comics Sticker Collection has lots of familiar faces and foes from Metropolis and Gotham City. We also have a two-book set dedicated solely to the Man of Steel, a character so memorably brought to life by Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill in big-screen outings.

Superheroes are the ideal characters to present awesome activities and keep your children happily busy and occupied over the summer holidays. The Marvel Activity Collection has scenes to colour in and plenty of stickers starring Spider-Man and various Avengers, while the Superfriends Bumper Action Activities book is aimed at a slightly younger audience who still love Batman, Superman, the Flash and the Green Lantern. Child-friendly illustrations accompany the fun mazes, puzzles, colouring-in activities and more, while the bold text is also appealing.

For those who want a more in-depth look at their heroes, Batman: The World of the Dark Knight is an informative hardback which follows the origins of Bruce Wayne as he developed his vigilante alter-ego. It even covers his enemies including the Joker, Two-Face and Bane. From the first time Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider to his development into Spider-Man and the friends, loves and foes he has met along the way, Spider-Man: Inside the World of your Friendly Neighbourhood Hero tells you everything you need to know about New York City’s most famous red-and-blue costumed superhero!

#SummerReads with the Book People: the books to read this summer (part VII)

“What books should I read?” we hear you cry! At the Book People we are passionate about reading and we want to help you find your perfect book for summer, so we’re back with part VII of our #SummerReads book reviews and recommendations. Whether you’re looking for the best books to take on holiday, the best books to take to the beach, the newest bestselling titles, classic fiction, summer cookery books, or even if you’re looking for children’s activity books for the summer, the staff at the Book People have picked out books to read for the sunny summer months so that you can create your own 2014 summer book list.

Summer Reads | The Book People

Claire, the Book People’s Online Acquisition Manager, has chosen the Book People’s Jo Nesbo Collection as her #SummerReads book recommendation. Read on to find out more about Claire’s reasons for choosing the Jo Nesbo Collection as one of her book recommendations for summer:

“Clever, thrilling and just the right side of terrifying, the Jo Nesbo Collection brings together some of his most fantastic titles. 
I read both Nemesis and The Snowman whilst on a holiday to Dubai earlier this year, and although I couldn’t have been further from the chilly Nordic backdrops of these crime novels I was completely engrossed from page one.

If you’re bored of the average crime-thriller protagonist, then Detective Harry Hole (pronounced Hoola) is a wonderfully maverick anti-hero whose personal life is just as captivating as the dark crimes he sets out to investigate. I cannot recommend this book collection enough!

There is nothing quite like an affirming book recommendation from someone who has read and fallen in love with a fantastic story, craft or recipe book. So, if you have any recommended recipe books which you would like to suggest as one of the best books to read this summer to fellow bookworms, why not take your own #BookShelfie and post it on InstagramTwitter or Facebook? Together we can create an online book club where people all over the world can share their own personal book reviews.

Or if you’re not into the whole social media thing, take a peak at the books our Summer Reads category on the Book People’s new website. You’re sure to find some fantastic books to read in summer 2014.

#SummerReads with the Book People: the books to read this summer (part VI)

At the Book People we are passionate about books and we want to help you find your perfect book for summer, so here we are with part VI of our summer book recommendations for you. Whether you’re looking for the best books to take on holiday, the best books to take to the beach, the newest bestselling titles, classic fiction, summer cookery books, or even if you’re looking for children’s activity books for the summer, the staff at the Book People have picked out books to read for the summer months that lie ahead so that you can create your own summer book list.

Summer Reads | The Book People

Oliver, the Book People’s Online Marketing Videographer, has chosen A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth L. Ozeki as his #SummerReads book recommendation. Read on to find out more about Oliver’s reasons for choosing A Tale for the Time Being as one of his book recommendations for summer:

“The book opens with a novelist discovering a collection of old letters from a teenage girl’s diary washed up on the beach. We learn about her cruel bullying at the hands of her classmates at a school in Tokyo. However, her great-grandmother (a Buddhist nun) offers her a great deal of help, advise and support. The novelist desperately attempts to solve the mystery of where the letters came from and whether she has the power to change the girl’s tragic fate. This book is so well written and completely original. The use of letters and diary entries gives you a highly personal insight into the life of this teenage girl. Definitely one for your suitcase!”

There is nothing quite like an affirming book recommendation from someone who has read and loved a fantastic story. So, if you have any recommended books which you would like to suggest as one of the best books to read this summer to fellow bookworms, why not take your own #BookShelfie and post it on InstagramTwitter or Facebook? Together we can create an online book club where people all over the world can share their own personal book reviews. “What books should I read?” we hear you cry – well, not any more!!!

Or if you’re not into the whole social media thing, take a peak at the books our Summer Reads category on the Book People’s new website. You’re sure to find some fantastic books to read in summer 2014.

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