Table Talk: Harry Potter World!

I know, I know. It’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but that’s a mouthful isn’t it?

So, this world. I know it’s been done in Florida and has been rather successful for the past ten, going on eleven, years. Opening its doors June 1, 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando the park has seen about 13 million people. I have never been, but I have watched YouTube videos of others who did.

And now, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hollywood has finally opened. A park on the west coast and more accessible to tiny islanders in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, now being only a 5 hour flight instead of a 13 hour flight.

I am excited. Super excited. And I can’t wait until I save enough money to go.

But is it worth all the hype? The pomp?

I sure hope so. Heading over to London to visit film locations is farther away then a trip to California. More than that though is how often can a book worm experience an almost-real like atmosphere of their favorite fictional world? How about never, until now. Okay, thinking about it a little more, that’s not true. I love visiting Universal Studios (a scotch more than Disneyland) because of the movie magic you get to see. And that was close to a fictional reality as I’ve ever seen.

So, to think that Harry Potter’s world is captured into a theme park? How awesome is that?!

If you haven’t watched the documentaries on the making of the park you have to. It’s such an amazing process seeing how set directors translate the book and the movies into a theme park. The attention to detail and the scripts that were drafted for the rides, attractions, and shows must be amazing! Story board after story board. If only I could get a backstage pass to see the production of the park! That would make my day.

But, for now, I have to save up so I can just make my way there. And know that when I do get that chance, I’ll be writing about.

Until then, I’ll just watch clips like this:

 

 

 

Best of Orlando. “Universal Orlando Breaks Attendance Records.” 

Table Talk: Book Hangovers

So, I missed posting on Friday because I was hungover. Yep, talk about major book hangover. What book junkie hasn’t experienced this?

Last week I mentioned Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare and I’m still stuck on that one, but this past couple of weeks, for some reason, I’ve been revisiting books I haven’t read in a couple of years. I started with the Twilight Saga (Stephanie Meyers), then made my way to browsing Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell). I also browsed through Fifty Shades of Grey (EL James), The Infernal Devices Series (Cassandra Clare), The Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), I’ve Got Your Number (Sophi Kinsella), and Just One Day Duology (Gayle Forman). There have been others I’ve shifted through but the list is already long. I just don’t know why I’m revisiting these stories. I’m not reading them cover to cover, but browsing through my favorite parts and looking up quotes I loved from the book.

I suppose I’m trying to remember things or figure out things or I’m just feeling nostalgic. I have read a couple of new stories,  Just One Night, 2.5 of the Just One Day Series (I can’t believe I missed it! But I’m glad I found it, even if it’s been out for two years) and Love, Rosie (Cecelia Ahern) because it’s a library book that’s almost due. And I only found Just One Night because I was reminiscing about Willem and Allyson in Just One Day. sighs.

It never ceases to amaze me how books seem to hold you captive. Your mind feels stuck. Processing things. Turning things over and over. Reliving your favorite moments. Noting your favorite scenes and book quotes. At least, that’s what books do to me.

So, game plan for this week is to bank out reviews on those two, no three! (since Lady Midnight needs a proper introduction and review), books out this week to make up for my hangover this past weekend.

And when I do, perhaps I can finally become unstuck and read some of the four or five ebooks I have waiting for me to get through.

Wish me luck!

Table Talk: Random things I learned from books

While I was at work one day, one of my co-workers approached me and asked if I knew why the buttons on women’s button-up shirts were on the left side and on men’s button-up shirts they were on the right. It was such a random question and yet I knew the answer.

“Yes, I do,” I replied. “It’s because during the pioneer days, when a woman would drive the coach, shirts that were buttoned from right to left had the possibility of ‘peeking’ through spaces between the buttons to their breasts. In order to remedy that, they made women’s shirts button from left to right.”

My co-worker was silent for a bit, processing the information, and then said “Wow! That makes a whole lot of sense. I was wondering why that was and I didn’t think anyone knew.”

Turns out, she was going around the workplace, asking the question to anyone who would listen. I don’t know how much people she asked before she got to me, but I know she went around the room for the next five minutes reciting the information I just gave her to anyone who would listen.

I laughed a bit, then stopped and asked myself how I knew the answer to that question.

Encyclopedia Brown, that’s how.

A book. That’s what it boils down to.

For some odd reason, this experience popped into my mind and throughout the day I’ve been thinking about all the things I learned from books. We all know that reading takes you to worlds you could never discover otherwise, that reading expands your horizons, that reading gives you a wider perspective of things. But what have you truly learned from books?

Here’s a list of random things I learned all because of books and I try my best to name where I read them (and let me just say this is a list of things I learned from fictional reads. And also that this is not an all-inclusive list. There are probably tons of stuff I’ve learned that cannot traced back to a particular book):

I learned …

… that paramedics load the injured party head first because that’s where all the equipment is – Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol

… that vision therapy exists and it’s used to re/train the muscles around the eyes to do certain things – Keep Me Ghosted by Karen Cantwell

… that Disney’s version of fairy tales aren’t always the happily ever after we thought they were – Grimm’s Fairytales

… that a person’s “imprint” is left in a room and can be read by certain types of technology. – Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown Series (And even though this may not exist yet, I have no doubt we’re close.)

… that overpopulation is something we should give serious thought to, even though we ethically can’t do anything about it. – Inferno by Dan Brown

… the basic outline of Divine Comedy, particularly Inferno. –  Inferno by Dan Brown

… that “who will guard the guards is an excellent question to ask when its meaning is applies. – Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

… the basic hierarchy of the Vatican. – Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

What can I say? I love Dan Brown’s writing. And I’m trying to keep this list more practical than abstract. 

… some aspects of time-travel. – Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone and All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

… a lot of general history – Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes, All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, Relatively Dead Series by Sheila Connolly (and I know that’s cheating a little, generalizing like this, but if I go into all the minor things about history I learned from just these few books–let’s just say this will be a really, really long post)

And of course, many more things that my brain can’t seem to conjure up this late in the night. Not to mention that as I go through some of the things I’ve learned, they seem more abstract that I thought and that is for another list.

Books teach us so many things, from random things like why button’s on a shirt is a certain way to major and complex things like what is one way to live a happy life. If you’re not a reader, you’re limiting yourself to one perspective of the world–your perspective–and you owe it to yourself to explore other possibilities.

 

Table Talk: The Day before Christmas Eve, 2014

It was cold. It was windy. It was rainy. It was perfect.

Weather wise.

The day itself? Pretty darned good. What amazed me was the traffic. My goodness! Cars were inching along going into town as well as going out of town. Simply amazing. You’d think with Christmas Eve less than 24-hours away the shopping malls wouldn’t be that packed. And maybe I’m wrong, but I just feel that everyone would be busy wrapping their gifts already and not be shopping as much.

Of course this doesn’t apply to me 😉 . Because I was out shopping for my last minutes gifts and actually buying gift wrapping essentials so I can rush to wrap all my gifts tomorrow on my lunch break.

With at least 15 years of doing Christmas under my belt, you figure I’d have it down to an art form, and yet, ever Christmas I’m running around on the last day of Christmas shopping figuring out what still needs to be done. And not to mention the Christmas cards that are still sitting on my letter tables. Ah, Christmas.

Are you a planner and get things done before Christmas? Or are you like me, waiting up to the absolute last seconds to get things done?

Aside from this last minute rush, the evening was spent amongst family to welcome love ones who flew home for the holiday. Catching up with everyone was fun-filled and joyous so who can complain right?

Hopefully you’re de-stressing as you’re reading this post. Take a breather. Spend a few minutes of me-time to clear your head. I know I am … or will be. 😉

(Photo Credits: paintnight.com for feature image)

Table Talk: Fiction vs Reality

Wouldn’t it be cool if  the books we read were actually real life?

Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. As you can see, without hesitation I think it would be really cool if fiction were our reality (of course, this doesn’t apply to any of the horror genre or books like the Hunger Games. Yeah, those types of stories I do not wish were reality. Just want to get that straight). I know the person who asked me this question was just bringing up a questions for fun and I don’t think she would expect me to get all philosophical on her …

… but,

I don’t think I’d want that. Reality bites, sometimes. It can be harsh, it can be cruel, and it can … well, it can be rather depressing.

Which is why we have some awesome fiction!

If I think about it for a moment, I read books to take a break from reality because reality can be harsh, and cruel, and depressing. I read fiction to, theoretically, take a vacation. I let my brain take a break and let my imagination do the work for a an hour to two (or three or the whole darned night if I’m being honest). I’m not limiting this thought to books, either. This applies to movies and television as well. They are all forms of entertainment. And I’m not running away from reality (most times) or hiding from the world (most times), but I think, sometimes, we don’t let our minds ‘play’ enough. We’re constantly thinking what’s next, what’s happened, what are we going to do now and we never just … imagine. You know in grade school how they give us recess or during the summer and after school how we just played? I think sometimes our minds just need that. Please note that I do believe there is such a thing as too much television or too much reading where it distorts reality for the reader/watcher and that is an exception (see below).

Well, I sometimes wish fiction would be more realistic.

I’ve heard this one too. And I don’t think I wish that. I mean, it’s for the same reasons as above. Fiction is there to entertain us, to make life a bit more bearable, to give us an extra boost to handle reality. And if fiction isn’t entertaining we get bored. Tell me that’s not true. What movie did you fall asleep to (and not because you were tired either). And when we’re watching documentaries or similar it’s not about entertaining, per se, but more so along the lines of telling reality in an interesting way. Does that make any sense? For some reason it sounded more profound in my mind. Sorry.

Anyway. I think fiction and reality are the flip sides of the same coin. A yin and yang, so to speak.

And I feel as if I have to stress the point that I’m considering fiction and reality in its most literal sense and with the understanding that there are exceptions. For some reason I always think there are exceptions no matter how black and white things seem. I mean, take the theory on alternate timelines and parallel universes … okay, reigning that side of my geekiness in because that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, back to the main topic. I understand that there are exceptions to this train of thought, but for the most part, that’s how I see it.

Do you wish you could live out some of the books you read?

Do you wish that some fiction were a bit more realistic?

Table Talk: Book v.s. Movie v.s Book

booksvsmoviesI have put this conversation off as long as I could. Now that I’ve blogged steadily, I feel like I can confidently put this out there.

Do you prefer the book or the movie?

If I had a dime for every time I’ve been asked this question I could retire and happily write, read, and watch TV/Movies all day, every day, for the rest of my life. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems I get asked this question a lot because I’m an avid reader. I don’t see anyone who is strictly a movie-goer get asked this question. At least, not in my reality.

When I was younger, blinded by my arrogance, I immediately responded “the book will always be better.” And how can it not be better? There are so many arguments to be made pro-book that you almost can’t argue with it, unless of course you don’t like to read. And if that is the case, arguments for the book are pointless because the person you are pleading your case to, most likely, will never pick up that book. But let’s take a look at some of those arguments. Humor me, non-book lovers.

Since there are many arguments for the book-is-better campaign, I’m only going a few of the ones I hear the most. One argument I usually hear most for the pro-book side of the fence is that you have more narrative. With more narrative, you get more detail, more backstory, more information, period. Most times, when you read you really understand the story. You get the who, what, where, why, how, … and then some. Your mind then takes all this, processes it, and then gives you the full story. Another argument I hear is that since you’re reading, you get more intimate with the characters and as a result you gain a better sense of their character because of it. You really get to know them. I also hear that with reading the book, your imagination is supplying all the visuals so you’re not disappointed. You have the flexibility of adjust the world the book is providing as it suits you since it’s all in your head, versus the hard-and-fast creation the director provided for you on-screen.

As I mentioned earlier, arguments that the book is better are pointless if the opposing party doesn’t read the book. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that the book is better, but it won’t matter to someone who just doesn’t like to read. Sorry, guys. Fact of life.

Now, I mentioned that I was an avid “book is better” fan until I got a bit older (I’d say around my sophomore year in high school) and realized that I may have to reconsider my position, if only because of the fact that half of the world doesn’t read. I really started to think about this because I really got into movies. I made up my mind to work somewhere in the Film and Entertainment industry because I wanted to be a part of the magic.

My conclusion? You can’t compare them against each other because they are two different forms of art. Literature is its own art. Cinematography is its own art. To compare one to another is like comparing an apple to an orange (I hope I get that parallel right). With literature and cinematography, there are different rules to follow (does that make sense?) so the presentation will be different. Both entertain. Both bring joy. Both are creative. In their own right. It’s because of this I’ve given up on comparing these two to each other and instead judge them on their own turfs and consider book-to-movie adaptation as a separate category instead of using it as a guide.

Example. Mansfield Park. The book is written by the famous Jane Austen and is a beloved classic to avid readers. This book has been adapted for film a couple of times. There was the 1999 adaptation directed by Patricia Rozema, who also wrote the screenplay. There was also a 2007 TV movie adaptation directed by Iain MacDonald with the screenplay written by Maggie Wadey. I have yet to see the TV-movie, so let me focus on Patricia Rozema’s work. Simply stated, I loved it. I thought it was a great movie. In fact, it was because of this movie that I decided I needed to read the book. Needless to say, the book was a whole different experience. Book to movie adaptation? It sucked. The book and the movie shared some events, but the movie told the same story in a very different way and if you’re looking at it strictly as a book-to-movie adaptation, you’ll be sorely disappointed (as some fans were). But I really enjoyed the movie. And I love the book. I’d venture to say that it’s my favorite Austen, but I haven’t read all her works yet. So, as a movie adaptation it was poor, yet as a movie it was excellent.

Two different forms of art.

Other examples? Twilight. Beautiful Creatures. The Hunger Games. These were all movies that I watched before reading the book and I read the book because I watched the movie. Granted the movie adaptation of Twilight left me with a lot of questions, which is the main reason I picked up the book, however, I felt the movie was good as a movie.

So, in my humble opinion, one shouldn’t judge a book by its movie nor should a movie be judged by its book. Two different mediums so they should be judged accordingly, not against each other.

What are some of your favorite book-to-movie adaptations? Any experience where the book ruined the movie for you or vice versa? Feel free to share them below.

(Photo credits: thehpalliance.org (“never judge a book” image) & myclutterbox.com (“book vs movie” image)