For an upcoming column in Public Libraries, (look for it in your March/April issue!) I decided to showcase some movies that most people probably were not aware were books first.  To get some ideas, I polled my trusty, ever-so-smart-and-helpful Facebook friends, who came up with nearly 75 of their favorites.


Many of them are well-known, but I thought I’d share the list here.  Enjoy!
The Question:  Your favorite book made into a movie. The less obvious, the better (ie, no Harry Potter, etc). Go!

The replies:


Lord of the Rings - I actually like the movies a lot better. After that Starship Troopers.

The Age of Innocence!

I have a few: All the President’s Men, Sarah Plain and Tall, Julie and Julia/My Life in France.

Dune was the worst.


The Color Purple. Great music, too.

The Namesake

Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate)

The Good Earth

Enchanted April

In the Time of Butterflies. Loved the book quite some time ago and just rewatched the movie. Powerful.

The Outsiders, The Secret Life of Bees

Prince of Tides

Revolutionary Road was pretty good. The Third Man, and Mother Night.

Pride & Prejudice

Memoirs of a Geisha was a great movie. Oh and The Devil Wears Prada- I know I don’t sound very deep with that one

John Dies at the End by David Wong

The Lovely Bones (loved the book, the movie didn’t do it justice at all…)

Sense & Sensibility, He’s Just not that Into You, Jaws

Although it is rare for me to enjoy the film version more than the book, In Her Shoes the film was better than In Her Shoes the book.

The best movie adaptation of a novel hands down is To Kill a Mockingbird

Master and Commander. Well cast, gorgeous to look at, captured the adventure and language and intellectual spirit of the books.

All the King’s Men

I liked The Help, but it wasn’t as good as the book (acting was great, script needed some improvement).

Or, This is obvious but I think the scriptwriters did a great job with The Help and universally it seems those who loved the book also loved the movie.

Responded to with, I loved both the book and the movie version of The Help, but thought that the movie lacked some of the depth of the book (hence my comment about the script). I’m thrilled to pieces that it swept the female feature and ensemble categories at the SAG Awards.

 Remains of the Day. Forgot it was a book first. Fabulous movie.

Babette’s Feast

 M*A*S*H, or Six (3) Days of the Condor.

Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, two of the best adaptations of Stephen King stories-mostly they tend to fall flat.

Blade Runner (from the story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)

Jacob’s Ladder (adapted from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge) was freaky cool

Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram made into Gods and Monsters.

Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn  

White Oleander

Naked Lunch


Smila’s Sense of Snow

The Princess Bride

Gone with the Wind

1993 version of The Secret Garden based on Frances Hogdson Burnett’s book.

Stephen King’s The Body made into Stand By Me.


Blindness, by Jose Saramago. Couldn’t bring myself to see it. (Sorry – pun fully intended.)

 The Commitments

No Country For Old Men

Mary Poppins

Oddly, Hotel New Hampshire

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I think they did a great job with that one. Conversely, I think one of the WORST movies from a book was The Other Boleyn Girl. So bad!.

I really liked Scrooged, but the best adaptation of A Christmas Carol was the made for tv movie with George C. Scott – would that count? Other people seemed to like The Polar Express, I found the movie just creepy.

Ordinary People. Great book, great movie. That’s rare.


I’m sure at the beginning of this month, you were all inundated with Best-this-Best-that lists of 2011, yes?  But those lists likely all covered new books that came out in 2011.


How to qualify the best of the backlist?  The folks at Better World Books  (who do GREAT things with library discards – I mention them in all of my weeding workshops), who sell mostly used books, have provided their Top 25 Best-Selling Books of 2011. A list like this tends to reveal the kind of titles that have “staying power” rather than those that are currently topping mainstream lists. Take a look:

Better World Book’s Top 25 Books of 2011

  1. The Shack
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  3. The Kite Runner
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Lord of the Flies
  6. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
  7. A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survives
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  9. The Secret Life of Bees
  10. StrengthsFinder 2.0
  11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)
  12. Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism
  13. Love You Forever
  14. The Help
  15. Holes
  16. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  18. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  19. Animal Farm
  20. Into the Wild
  21. Number the Stars
  22. Of Mice and Men
  23. The Pillars of the Earth
  24. The Hobbit
  25. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl


I’m sure that library circulation records would also be interesting to view,  just to see the most checked-out books of the year.  No surprises, of course, these titles all hit the “best of” lists in their respective years, I’m sure.  But interesting all the same.


Rebecca here -
Before I start my new gig at Booklist, I need to do one last thing for the competition! (hee hee) Register for Library Journal‘s webcast on weeding, “Out with the Old, In with the New: Transforming Libraries Through Weeding” and hear me wax poetic on one of my all time favorite library topics. Free registration, and don’t forget, even if you can’t make the live time, by registering in advance you’ll get notice of when the webinar is up and ready for viewing at your convenience.

Then, 2 weeks after that, I’ll be doing another webinar for Booklist. Head here to register for “What’s New in Reference: Fall 2011″, on October 18th. Again, registration is free and you should register even if you can’t make the live time.


A real press release, and everything!

Rebecca Vnuk joins Booklist as new editor, reference and collection management




Excuse the non-book related post, but I just had to spread this around.  As loyal ShelfRenewal readers may know, I (Rebecca) have a bit of an obsession with zombie fiction (um, as does quite a bit of the rest of the reading world, based on how many dang zombie books have been published these last couple of  years!)


What can I say, I’m pretty sure the world’s coming to a very unpretty end shortly, and I want to be fully prepared, so I’m reading all the post-Apocalyptic fiction that I can stomach.  When I came across this couple’s engagement photos... well, they speak for themselves.  Enjoy.


Last month, I found the topic of guys reading (or rather, not reading) coming up in both my online world and in real life.  Ted Balcom, a blogging colleague of mine over at Booklist’s Book Group Buzz, was discussing the lack of male participants in book discussion groups.  Earlier that week, a group of librarians and readers who attended an author interview I was moderating began a lively discussion during the Q&A portion, wondering why men don’t attend as many literary events as women do, what can librarians and teachers do to promote reading to males, etc.

Which led me to take a look around, and yep, almost all of the book blogs I follow and enjoy are written by women.  That’s not to say that Karen and I haven’t tried to profile boy blogs as well (we have, they just are not out there in the same numbers!). So this week, I’m bringing you a decidedly male book blog.

This week’s Web Crush is the aptly named Men Reading Books.  Their simple tag line is, “Book summaries and opinions written by guys about books that other guys might consider reading.”.   Short but interesting annotations of a wide variety of books, geared towards men.  Need I say more?

Men, are you out there reading?  What are you reading?  Where do you get your suggestions?  Tell us!  If you write a book blog for guys, we may even Crush on ya!  (we’re easy like that.)

Oh!  And for those of you who thought this site was going to be something different, um, you’re looking for this site.

2 com

Really America? Has Suze Orman taught us nothing? If you get another credit card you will be paying off interest with money that should be going into your retirement account (which you must NEVER touch.) Honestly, Congress. There’s plenty of recent nonfiction about the debt crisis in America. Why not sprinkle a couple of novels into your next “Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be” display?

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Folly Beach: a Lowcountry Tale by Dorothea Benton Frank
Model Home by Eric Puchner
The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
Welcome to My Planet: Where English is Sometimes Spoken by Shannon Olson


You like us, you really like us… now “like” us, on Facebook!  We’d be ever so grateful…


Geography’s a funny thing. In the Midwest, July means that  the corn’s as high as an elephant’s eye. In California it means that it’s time to bust out your Sith cape and roll down to San Diego for Comic-Con.  Neither one without its merits. But for your patrons who can’t get enough caped crusaders or CGI spectaculars, pull out these Geek Chic titles to reassure them that they’re in very good company.

Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share by Ken Denmead  

Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence by Paul Feig

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt

Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid by Simon Pegg

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins

Just a Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton



Nope, not the May 21, 2011 End of Days. I’m talking about the Los Angeles-leveling earthquake imagined in writer/director/actor Albert Brooks’ new bestseller 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America. It’s nearly two decades in the future, and America’s first Jewish president has to deal not only with a natural disaster that could cripple the country, but also with a well-organized generation of young people who have had it with the resource-hogging elderly. Patrons who’ve reserved the heavily-promoted title may enjoy re-watching Broadcast News or Lost in America. They could also probably be persuaded to take a chance on some other savvy speculations and revelations.

The Librarian by Larry Beinhart
David Goldberg, an academic librarian of all things, gets a side job as a conservative activist and soon attracts the attention of a powerful group of wealthy right-wingers who want him gone.

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley
How could 29-year-old blogger Cassandra Devine have known that people would have strong opinions about her suggestion that baby boomers should be given government incentives to commit suicide? What? Like old people vote?

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
In a world in which Alaska, rather than Israel, has become the homeland for the Jews following World War II, Detective Meyer Landsman and his half-Tlingit partner Berko investigate the death of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy.

I’m Losing You by Bruce Wagner
The giant cell phone excesses of the ’90s are deliciously skewered in screenwriter Wagner’s cameo-heavy send up of Tinseltown.


What’d we say?

when did we say it?