Monthly Archives: October 2012

Movie vs. Book: Nights in Rodanthe

In my mind, Nights in Rodanthe is one of the few Nicholas Sparks novels not about puppy love, but about second-chance love, the kind of love that comes later in life. This is the story of Adrienne and Paul, who meet while trying to both deal with and escape from their own lives by spending a weekend at an inn on a beach in Rodanthe.

It’s a story of love, loss, and hope for a future later in life. However, the general plotline is about the only thing that is accurately translated from book to movie. The storytelling and circumstances are different. In the book, Adrienne is retelling the story of she and Paul to her daughter years after the relationship ends. In the movie, we never see that fast-forwarded timeline.

But the biggest change is that in the book, Adrienne takes the weekend to get away from her children, sick father, and remarried ex-husband. In the movie, her father has already died, and what’s stranger, she is not divorced from her husband. In fact, in the opening scene of the movie, the two are estranged after her husband had an infidelity, and he (Law and Order: SVU‘s Christopher Meloni) is now pathetically begging her to take him back.

It sounds like a minor detail, but there are a number of issues with this change; this turns Adrienne’s romantic lovefest of a weekend with Paul into a full-on affair because, after all, she is still married. Of course her marriage is failing, and this relationship makes her realize why she shouldn’t get back together with her husband. But nonetheless, it makes her a cheater, and that does nothing to help her character.

The other problem is that it was so far from how the book was written, it felt forced — as though the directors were just trying to find a way to give Chris Meloni a more substantial role in the movie because he’s a familiar face.

Speaking of familiar faces, the casting in the film was excellent. Diane Lane plays a fun, awkward, and overwhelmed Adrienne. Richard Gere is perfect as the stoic Paul who then becomes a better man. Even James Franco gives a solid performance as Paul’s son, Mark — though the role is minor.

But like almost every other Nicholas Sparks book that becomes a movie, it just doesn’t feel quite right. The story is too rushed. There’s not enough background. Knowing what we know about the characters’ history and experiences in the book makes the rest of the story more believable. However, in the movie, there’s simply not enough time to give a clear telling of those back stories.

Instead of logical and steady, the relationship between Adrienne and Paul seems random and too much too soon. The passion comes across onscreen, but the story feels all kinds of unrealistic.

Watch the trailer here.
Get Nights in Rodanthe in paperback or on your Kindle for $7.99.

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‘Wimpy Kid’ Children’s Books Available Digitally Tomorrow

If you’re dealing with Hurricane Sandy right now and are without power, here’s some good news to keep your bored children amused. Tomorrow, books one through six of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will be available as e-books.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the books will be trademarked as Wimp-E-Books (so clever). This comes after the series’ author Jeff Kinney put off the e-book adaptation. The series includes illustrations, and Kinney was concerned the e-book format wouldn’t do them justice, as Erin Strecker explains.

“I’ve been working very closely with Amazon and Apple and Barnes & Noble to make sure the books look right for the format,” said Kinney, who has over 75 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books in print in 41 languages, in more than 44 countries. “It’s almost exactly like the hardcovers, if not exactly. We don’t want to distract from the humor of the books, which are very reliant on timing. If we ever do something supplemental, it will have to be something special.

A new seventh book in the series will be released November 13 in both hardcover and digital formats.


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Teen To Publish One Direction Fan Fiction Book

When you’re 16 years old, writing fanfiction about your favorite boy band on a web site, a few comments and “likes” is probably all you expect to get out of it. But that’s not the case for U.K. teen Emily Baker, who just got a book deal for her fan fiction about the band One Direction.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Penguin offered her the deal after reading her story about a teenage girl caught in a love triangle with two members of the British boy band One Direction. Baker had posted it on Because of the book deal, the story has since been removed from the Internet, and due to copyright infringment, the story has been generalized to be about a girl who gets involved with two guys from her favorite boy band.

The book, called Loving the Band, was one Penguin said fit perfectly into their niche for romantic YA novels because of its unique, but smart idea to incorporate pop culture.

It makes sense to me. I mean, who wouldn’t offer her a deal? After all, isn’t this every teenage girl’s dream?

The book will be available as an e-book on November 1.

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Amazon, B&N Notify Customers About E-Book Settlement Refunds

It’s been months since the e-book pricing lawsuit began. Now that some parties have reached a settlement agreement, people are starting to receive emails from Amazon and Barnes & Noble about receiving e-book refunds.

According to The Telegraph, Amazon was first to send out the emails, explaining that those who purchased e-books that appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List between April 2010 and May 2012 from the web site would receive $1.32 per book. Non-bestsellers would be worth 30 cents in refunds. The refunds aren’t expected to come in until early 2013.

I personally received a similar email from Barnes & Noble about the refunds. Here’s an excerpt:

Although we are required to notify you now of the settlements, there is nothing you need to do to receive the credits as you will receive them automatically in the form of an electronic gift certificate sent via email. Once the settlements’ claim period ends, the Attorneys General will calculate the amount of your credits. If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, we expect to be able to send you your gift certificate in the first half of 2013.

Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will be compensating for the refunds, since they agreed to the settlement. Penguin Group, Macmillan, and Apple will be taken to court.

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Review: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.

Recap: In 1950’s America, women were seen as one of two things in movies and television: either perfect housewives or bad-girl sluts. There was no in-between, and there wouldn’t be an in-between until Audrey Hepburn played Holly Golightly in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. tells the true story of the novel turned Academy Award-winning movie that not only changed the film industry, but changed women in America forever.

When Truman Capote wrote the novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the 1950’s, Audrey Hepburn had already gone from model to actress, starring in movies like Roman HolidaySabrina, and Funny Face. But she’d never had a serious acting role, one that would put her on the map and prove that she had the chops to be a character unlike herself. Until Tiffany’s.

In Fifth Avenue, author Sam Wasson writes in depth about how producers acquired the rights to turn Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s into a movie. He writes about the difficulty they had getting the script approved and casting the film. After all, the story is about a hooker. At that time, sex was not portrayed in movies, and if it was, it was portrayed by bad girls like Marilyn Monroe. Many actresses refused to play a woman who gets paid for sex, and Hepburn wasn’t the ideal girl for the job, initially. After all, she’s not sexy. She’s cute. But that turned out to be exactly the thing that made the movie work. Hepburn made Holly Golightly likable. Not only that, but Hepburn and Holly changed the way women dressed, the way they carried themselves, and the way they dealt with men.

Analysis: As someone who’s only seen the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s decades after it was made and pronounced one of the classics, I think Wasson did a fantastic job of explaining the role of women and the role of movies in America in the 1950’s and 1960’s. A world of sexless movies is foreign to me, but Wasson’s invites you into that universe, which explains why Tiffany’s was considered risque and forward-thinking for its time.

This also explains why it had such an impact on Hepburn’s career. Suddenly, she wasn’t some pretty girl anymore. She was an actress — one who convinced other actresses that it was okay to play a woman having sex, one who convinced women it was okay to enjoy sex, and one who convinced women it was also okay to forgo colored clothes for black.

Wasson’s other tidbits of background add to the intrigue of Tiffany’s as well; for instance, “Moon River” was almost turned down as Holly Golightly’s song. Or that Hepburn needed a lot of extra acting help from the film’s director. Or that actor George Peppard didn’t get along with most of the people who worked on the movie.

MVP: Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly. Thank you for what you’ve done for women, fashion, and movies.
Get Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. in paperback for $10.29.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $7.59.

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J.K. Rowling’s Next Book: ‘Likely To Be For Children’

Though Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s first adult book The Casual Vacancy is selling well, it has gotten some relatively underwhelming reviews. That may explain why the author recently told several media outlets that her next book would likely be a children’s book.

According to Huffington Post, Rowling revealed the news (below) in a web chat hosted by the publisher Scholastic:

The next thing I publish is likely to be a book for children. The reason I’m not committing myself wholeheartedly is because, after fifteen years of being a writer for Harry Potter, where you would say something and someone would seize on it and say, ‘You are definitely doing that now.’ And you kind of thought you weren’t allowed to change your mind. And it got a little intense, so I try not to commit myself with my plan. So I’m not 100 percent sure about doing it, but I think it will be a book slightly more for children.

Rowling also mentioned something similar in an interview with BBC. However, she hasn’t made clear if the book would have anything to do with the world of Harry Potter. Rowling has previously mentioned that she may not be done telling Hogwarts stories yet, even though she says her Harry Potter stories are finished for sure. What do you guys think? Will her next children’s book be Hogwarts related? Or something completely different?

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Lena Dunham Signs $3.5M Book Deal

It’s the book analysts are saying will be the next big comedic memoir/bestseller since Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Last week, Random House announced it had acquired a more than $3.5 million dollar book deal with writer, director, actress Lena Dunham. Dunham created, wrote, and starred in the hit TV comedy Girls, which aired its first season on HBO this summer.

According to The New York Times, Dunham’s book is a collection of essays entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She Learned. Dunham started shopping around a 66-page proposal, including illustrations and anecdotes to a number of different publishing companies. A bidding war is what led to the astronomical $3.5+ million deal. But Random House beat the others out in the end.

Random House is comparing Dunham’s work to writers like Nora Ephron and David Sedaris. The publisher says it will include stories about sex, food, traveling, and work. No word yet on when the book will be released.

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Review: Still Alice

Recap: Alice Howland is Harvard psychology professor, an author, a wife, and a mother of three. She’s brilliant, organized, and well put-together. But just a few months before her 50th birthday, she starts to notice some memory problems, forgetting a word here or there or certain sections of her syllabi. She doesn’t think anything of it until one day when she goes for a jog and can’t figure out how to get home from Harvard Square. Instantly, she knows something is wrong. After several doctor appointments and cognitive testing, Alice is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The diagnosis hits Alice and her family like a death sentence. Immediately, two of Alice’s three grown children get tested for the gene associated with the disease. When Alice’s daughter learns she has the gene, she and her husband have their doctors help medically ensure it won’t be passed on to their children. Alice’s son, Tom, doesn’t quite know how to deal with the news. Suddenly Lydia, Alice’s youngest with whom she doesn’t easily get along, is spending much more time with her mother.

As the months continue, Alice’s Alzheimer’s worsens. She’s forced to retire. She forgets names, referring to her daughters as “the mother” or “the actress.” She loses things. She becomes completely dependent on her Blackberry and her family members. She can’t even go running by herself. What’s worse is she knows what’s coming, and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

Analysis: Even though Still Alice is written in third-person, author Lisa Genova does a good job of letting Alice tell her story. Author Lisa Genova also brilliantly parallels her writing with Alice’s Alzheimer’s. As Alice’s Alzheimer’s worsens toward the end of the novel, the writing starts to jump between Alice’s dreams, hallucinations, and reality. The writing wanders as Alice’s mind does. As she becomes confused, so do we.

Perhaps the best and — at the same time — most painful part of the story is the newly budding relationship between Alice and her youngest daughter, Lydia. Lydia was the one who Alice never understood, but with the diagnosis comes a willingness from Lydia to get to know her mother better. The new bond they form is a stark contrast against the failing relationships between Alice and her husband and Alice and her other two children. Her husband and other kids become frustrated with Alice, and try to “test” her memory.

Still Alice is not only a story about an Alzheimer’s victim. It’s also the story of a family affected by the disease and how they all choose to deal with it differently.

MVP: Lydia. Lydia is the only one of Alice’s children who treats Alice as though she’s still Alice. She realizes that despite the memory-loss and confusion, Alice is still Alice and should be treated as such.

Get Still Alice in paperback for $10.20.

Or get it for your Kindle for $12.99.


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Two Nora Ephron Books Will Be Re-Released This Week

When producer, director, and writer Nora Ephron passed away this summer, fans fells in love with her work all over again. Unfortunately, some of Ephron’s best remembered books weren’t available, but they will be starting this week.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ephron’s Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women and Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media have been out of print since 1991 and 1984, respectively. Now Vintage is re-releasing the classics. They will be available as a single volume book, starting this Tuesday. They’ll also be available as e-books.

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Wal-Mart Stops Selling Amazon Kindle

As Amazon continues its reign as online retail powerhouse, Wal-Mart will no longer sell the Amazon Kindle in its stores.

According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart will sell what’s left of the Kindles with no plans to re-stock once they run out. Kindles will also be pulled from and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart will, however, continue to sell similar e-readers by other companies, including Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, and Samsung.

Wal-Mart did not give a reason for the drop, but analysts say it’s obvious. Amazon has become more of a competitor than companion. Experts say when people shop in stores like Wal-Mart and see the Kindle, it encourages them to go home and purchase the Kindle online along with books, games, and movies from, taking Wal-Mart’s business elsewhere.

Analysts also say the drop won’t affect business at Wal-Mart very much, as Stephanie Clifford and Julie Bosman explain.

Moreover, the Kindle line, and most tablets, are only marginally profitable for retailers, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.

“A lot of them have had it with tablets other than the iPad,” she said. “They’re not high-margin products, and other than Apple ones, no one is selling these devices in great volumes anyway. For Wal-Mart to drop Amazon is more of a symbolic blow rather than a substantive one.”

Wal-Mart’s not the first store to drop Amazon Kindle products. In May, Target also dropped Amazon products from its stores.

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