Booking Through Thursday ~ Gimme a Gargoyle!

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is an interesting one:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Unfortunately, a lot of the books I think should never be made into a movie already ARE movies, The Kite Runner is the best example of this I can think of. The book spent so much time in the realms of the character’s mind, that when it was put on screen it was a pale, two-dimensional version of Hosseini’s brilliantly moving book. Eragon is another of the worst book-to-screen POS’s I know of. Where in the world did the screenwriter come up with the second half of the movie? I’m three books away from Brisingr on my “books on deck” list, and things are far from over, yet everything is tied up in a neat little book in the movie that shares a title with BOOK ONE of the Inheritance Cycle.

For the most part, though, I don’t think books-to-movies is a bad thing. Several books that are now on Mt. TBR, or that I’ve already read, were books I’d only found out about AFTER seeing the movie’s credits (Nim’s Island, V for Vendetta, and Dexter to name a few).

The real trouble in taking a well-loved book and making it into a movie lies in the fact that no two readers envision the same book in the same way. What is a beloved and favorite part for you, essential to the story and a deal-breaker in its retelling even, may not even stick in my memory. I can’t help but watch a movie, looking for my favorite scene from the book, only to be disappointed at the exclusion of what I thought were important points in the book. For instance, my favorite parts of Where the Red Fern Grows were Sammy the cat’s scenes, yet none of the books various movie renditions show, if even name, Sammy.

Books that I am dying to see on screen are already in the production process, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Lois Lowry’s The Giver being the two I’m most eager for.

I think I will take this opportunity for another shameless plug for one of the best books I read last year. I would LOVE-love-LOVE! to see a movie version of Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. The book should have really dominated the book market, but for some reason it fizzled, which is further proof the universe is NOT just. As to what recommendations I could have for producers? Meh… that’s their department, not mine… But I would have to say, “keep as much of the mystical/supernatural aspect as possible.” It’s a modern-gothic, urban and gritty with the shock and tragedy that causes people to watch houses burn and car crashes, but also offers the hope and encouragement people need to continue pressing forward and living another day.

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Don’t forget to check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday and share your favorite video clips!

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Viral Video Wednesday ~ Top Viewed Videos

Ach! After a couple months of sluggishly trying to get back into the habit of blogging, and an even longer diversion from SecondLife, I’m finally posting a new Viral Video Wednesday meme. Embarrassingly pathetic show on my part given I started VVW, but I’m back on task… finally.

And since it took me awhile to get back into the swing of reading, too, I’m struggling to catch up on books. With a goal of 75 books by December 31st (same as last year, but unmet), I figured out I need to finish 6 books a month which is an average of 1 and a half a week, and by the middle of February, when I committed to this goal, I had only finished 3 books. To be on track, I should have finished 14 books now, and I’m currently reading book 14, The Appeal by John Grisham, and expect to finish it this evening.

However, reading like a fiend and not taking a lot of time exploring the realms of the YouTube for VVW offerings. Alas, I am in the dark for what is popular videos at the moment. So I figured the best way to resolve this issue AND be able to post what has always been my favorite meme (I have so much fun planning the posts and finding the vids!) is my favorite vids of YouTube’s most-viewed.

So here we go!

I happened to catch this first one on the “Featured Video” section. With a little over 75,000 views, it’s not a “top viewed video” but it’s fun to watch. It’s midly obnoxious, but apparently the girl in it has done that on purpose, mocking an even more obnoxious video “kittens inspired kittens“. And now, Cats! inspired by Cats!:

With nearly 830,000 views, YouTube lists Dirty Hotel Stories with Nadine Velazquez as the most viewed video today. This vid brings you …what else? Truly dirty stories of real-life experiences of hotel stays. A sultry hostess in a black neglige and pearls relays these tales (relax, it’s brought to you by <a href=”http://www.tripadvisor.com/ target=”_blank” TripAdvisor.Com:

The following video proves that the “hot air” in government doesn’t just issue from politician’s mouths… With nearly 335,000 views, this clip is a gas:

Bo Burnham gives a brief tutorial with eight steps on how to be a YouTube star. With nearly 260,000 views today, it’s a funny look at the lengths some vloggers go to to become popular.

Aussie vlogger Natalie Tyler Tran of CommunityChannel has entertained nearly 144,000 viewers today exposing herself as that person in the house who puts back all-but-the-last-dribble empty container back in the fridge. Quite adorable, she’s fun to watch and with her accent she’s a pleasure to listen to:

Sheeba the Cat and her pet man play a game of Risk in the next video. Sheeba, a funnel-headed black cat, exhasperates her man (who alerts her to the fact that he called in sick to work to entertain her) by making illegal moves and trying to eat the game pieces. The clincher to this funny video is when he asks her if she’s ready to play TWISTER. With nearly 500,000 views this week, Cat Plays Risk by Daneboe:

As many of you know, I am a fan of FRED, and last month Fred was a guest star on Nickelodeon’s iCarly. I actually cancelled an appointment to be able to stay home and watch the episode… lol. I love the show anyway and watch it with my kids, but we definitely couldn’t miss the double… or, quadruple? pleasure of Fred in a faux-iFight with Freddie, iCarly’s director and producer, not to mention ardent-worshipper of Carly and antagonist to iCarly’s co-host Sam. With over 5 million views in a moth:

And now, one of YouTube’s most watched videos of all time, nearly 85 million views, Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Creator and comedian Jeff Dunham has been one of my favorite comedians since I first saw his act on HBO about twenty years ago, when he, Peanut (a woozle) and Jose Jalepeno… on a stick… made both my mother and I laugh, a rare teenage-parent event.

And NOW… it’s your turn! What are your favorite videos? Post links in the comments or, better yet, blog them and join the VVW meme!

The Appeal by John Grisham

campaignhTitle: The Appeal

Author: John Grisham

Hardback: 355 pages

Publisher: Doubleday

Publish Date: 2008

ISBN: 9780385515047

Mr. Trudeau slapped the table and barked, “What went wrong?!”

Well, Ratzlaff thought to himself and wanted to say aloud except that he very much treasured his job, let’s start with the fact that our company built a pesticide plant in Podunk, Mississippi, because the land and labor were dirt cheap, then we spent the next thirty years dumping chemicals and waste into the ground and into the rivers, quite illegally of course, and we contaminated the drinking water until it tasted like spoiled milk, which, as bad as it was, wasn’t the worst part, because then people started dying of cancer and leukemia.

Than, Mr. Boss and Mr. CEO and Mr. Corporate Raider, is exactly what went wrong.

“The lawyers feel good about the appeal,” Ratzlaff said instead, without much conviction… “We still have the money, Carl,” Ratzlaff said. “It’ll be years before a dime changes hands, if, in fact, that ever happens.”

Mr. Trudeau was pacing dramatically. “Forty-one million dollars. And there are how many other cases out there, Bobby? Did someone say two hundred, three hundred? Well, if there were three hundred this morning, there will be three thousand tomorrow morning. Every redneck in south Mississippi with a fever blister will now claim to have sipped the magic brew from Bowmore. Every two-bit ambulance chaser with a law degree is driving there now to sign up clients. This wasn’t supposed to happen, Bobby. You assured me.”

Ratzaff had a memo under lock and key. It was eight years old and had been prepared under his own supervision. It ran for a hundred pages and described in gruesome detail the company’s illegal dumping of toxic waste at the Bowmore plant. It summarized the company’s elaborate efforts to hide the dumping, to dupe the Environmental Protection Agency, and to buy off the politicians at the local, state, and federal level. It recommended a clandestine but effective cleanup of the waste site, at a cost of some $50 million. It begged anyone who read it to stop the dumping.

And, most important at this critical moment, it predicted a bad verdict someday in a courtroom.

Only luck and a flagrant disregard for the rules of civil procedure had allowed Ratzlaff to keep the memo a secret.

Mr. Trudeau had been given a copy of it eight years earlier, though he now denied he’d ever seen it. Ratzlaff was tempted to dust it off now and read a few select passages, but, again, he treasured his job.

Mr. Trudeau walked to the table, placed both palms flat on the Italian leather, glared at Bobby Ratzlaff, and said, “I swear to you, it will never happen. Not one dime of our hard-earned profits will ever get into the hands of those trailer park peasants…. If I have to bankrupt it or break it into fifteen pieces, I swear to you on my mother’s grave that not one dime of Krane’s money will ever be touched by those ignorant people.”

and with that promise, he walked across the Persian rug, lifted his jacket from a rack, and left the office.

The Appeal by John Grisham, pages 16-19

The Appeal by John Grisham is a compelling, at times frightening, look at the appeals process, big business, the new and growing trend of buying elections, and a grim outlook at where it is all taking us. The book begins where most legal fictions end, with the verdict and then follows the appeal through corporate maneuvering and the campaign to plant their man on the Mississippi Supreme Court who will rule in their favor.

While the company in this story is clearly liable for the injuries cause by their gross negligence, flagrant disregard for mandated disposal of their product and illegal dumping of class I carcinogens that eventually leeched into the towns water supply, claiming the lives of nearly 70 residents and another 140 on their way to the graves, it is important to remember that there area great number of frivolous personal injury lawsuits and stacked class action suits filed everyday in this country. Grisham does show this to some extent with Bintz, the Philadelphia (that’s Pennsylvania, not Mississippi), but the fact does seem to be glossed over with the book’s focus on the more sensational and legitimate cases being rendered by the stacked court.

One thing I have learned in my 30+ years of life is that nothing is simple, nothing is all of one and none of the other. Business, the legal system, and politics, like life, are a complex mix of facts and interested parties, and as many outcomes to factor into account as the causes that brought things to that point. Grisham well displays, though again somewhat slanted, how people with beliefs and causes can be whipped up into a frenzy with campaign rhetoric, half-truths, and sound-bytes. I generally try to defer discussing politics and religion in my blog and reviews, but I imagine regular readers have picked up on the fact that I am a Christian with a moderate-to-conservative Republican view on politics. To a degree, Grisham seems to hold up the liberal side of things as being the thinking side and the Christian conservative side as being the easily manipulated simpletons who are ushering in the ruination of the country.

To be fair to the author, Grisham doeshave Denny Ott, a non-denom pastor who thinks for himself and chastises a fellow church leader for his use of the pulpit as a campaign tool. Also, the protagonists of the book, married partners of the law firm Payton & Payton, are also practicing Christians who pray before going into court, donate legal advice through Ott’s church, and sacrifice everything for what they believe is right; Krane should be held accountable for their heinous conduct that has destroyed the lives and even the town of Bowmore.

The Appeal by John Grisham is the first Grisham novel I have read, though I have seen several of the author’s books-to-movies. I definitely enjoyed the easy to read writing style, and was captivated by the storyline. Grisham is an excellent storyteller, and The Appeal will not be my last of his books. I give it 4 stars out of 5, it’s a good, solid book that makes you think and consider the world around you.

Here is a clip of Border’s interview with John Grisham about The Appeal. Very interesting and eye-opening: