Abby's Picks of the Week:
by Abby Flancher, Staff Writer
Everyone has always heard the phrase “the book is better than the movie.” Now I am not really the deciding factor when it comes to the quality of an adaptation or an original but what I can say is that sometimes movies come from books that are just as entertaining, thoughtful, and intriguing as their screen counterparts. Odds are, if you enjoyed the movie, it might be worth checking out the book to see if you can take in more from a world that you already enjoy.
Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka
“Tokyo Station is always packed. It’s been a while since Yuichi Kimura was here last, so he isn’t sure if it’s always this crowded.”
Bullet Train is the story of the unluckiest assassin in the world. Nannao, or “Ladybug” to his coworkers, has been sent on a mission to retrieve a suitcase full of money. A simple, easy job that should take relatively no real effort from professionals like Ladybug, right? Wrong. He is not the only shady figure occupying the train. A beautiful criminal, a vengeful father, and a duo of highly trained mercenaries are also passengers inside the high speed train. Somehow, all of them decide to take an interest in the very same case that Ladybug is after. Convenient, huh?
The hit action film Bullet Train released in mid-2022 and immediately became popular with audiences. With its fast paced action and continuous twists and turns, viewers couldn’t help but be utterly captivated by the sheer insanity of the movie. The book is no different. It is a larger looking novel but it is a fun read for anyone willing to delve into the craziness of its story.
Atonement by Ewan McIwan
“The play–for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper–was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.”
Tragedies have been popular since the beginning of literature and that has not changed in the hundreds of years since. Atonement is a modern novel that made me personally feel every bit of sadness that came with its tragedy. The story follows a young girl named Briony who witnesses a flirtatious moment between her sister Cecilia and the son of a servant named Robbie. Her witnessing this small moment between the two spirals out into years of betrayal, lies, and tragedy that seem to pile upon one another until it breaks the emotional spine of the reader.
This book’s film counterpart is no different. Never in my life have I left the viewing of what I thought was a romance film feeling as though I couldn’t smile for the rest of the day. I am aware that I am dramatic but this book is for those dramatic souls that allow themselves to become so utterly obsessed with the story in their hands that when it is over they are unable to shake the feelings it gave them. This story is one that will stick with its readers long after the final page is turned.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
“From his perch behind the clock, Hugo could see everything.”
Hugo is the name of the boy at the train station. The boy that lives alone inside the
walls of the Paris train station where no one truly knows who he is. However his lonesome existence is interrupted by the arrival of a grumpy old man that owns the toy booth inside of the train station and a book obsessed girl named Isabelle. Along with these new people comes the arrival of a mystery stemming from Hugo’s deceased father that threatens to upend Hugo’s life of solitude and anonymity.
This story is one of utter magic. Truth be told, I hadn’t truly enjoyed the film version of it until very recently. I watched it when I was younger and didn’t really feel as though I understood it very much, but now watching Hugo has become something that I truly enjoy, but the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” has been something I truly adored since I was very little. It is an intricate little mystery but it is one that is worth every page. The story is told half in words and half in illustrations. Brian Selznick wrote and illustrated every bit of his novels himself and it is marvelous to experience.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
“The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent.”
Jurassic Park is one of the most famous science fiction novels ever written. The world has
discovered a new and revolutionary technique specifically made for the task of cloning and recreating dinosaur species in the modern day. People would be able to come and see them for a set price at the remote island theme park called “Jurassic Park”. The novel follows paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, a man right at the discovery of dinosaurs in the wild, is summoned to Isla Nublar to look into a new technique in bioengineering. On the island he is one of the first to see the park full of living, breathing dinosaurs in action. However, as fantastical as this experience is, the amount of things that can and do go wrong is a terrifying thought. Dinosaurs have returned, along with all of the good and bad things about them. Dr. Alan Grant and the others invited to the island, begin to experience the true consequences of cheating nature in this way.
The film counterpart of Jurassic Park is one of the most popular films ever made. It was one of the biggest blockbuster films of all time, sitting in the ranks of Star Wars and Jaws. While the book has some pretty major differences, it is still a perfectly suitable read for all movie fans. It follows the same general story beat but the new additions make every twist feel new and every character feel more genuine and interesting.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
“I had just begun to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
Jacob Portman hasn’t seen a lot of things in all of his sixteen years. Now he can add to
the list his first strange thing: being present for his family’s latest tragedy. His grandfather was attacked by dogs in the woods outside his home. Or at least that's what the cops tell everyone. But Jake was there that night and that’s not what he saw. Instead of dogs, Jake remembers seeing a tall, pale monster with no eyes and a long body that stretched beyond normal human proportions. Jake knows that his Grandpa wasn’t killed by dogs. The creature resembles those from the stories his grandpa used to tell him when he was little. When Jake goes digging he finds evidence of people that could explain this monster to him on an island off the coast of Wales, but all he finds there is ruins. However secrets of magic and time hide inside of the ruins waiting to be discovered. Secrets that are strange enough that Jacob is the only one that could see them.
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children has two different versions of its story. While the movie and the books are both good in their own way, they are extremely different from one another. The book, however, is the original story. It is the one that built up all of the horror and suspense hiding on the island in a way that truly scared me as a kid. I vividly remember reading this in the middle of the night in my room with a flashlight so I wouldn’t be caught and being scared out of my mind by the descriptions and photos in the book. A lot of the book’s characters are based off of these vintage photos that just seem a bit off. Children with masks, a girl that looks like she is floating above the ground, a woman that looks like she's holding fire in her bare hands, and an invisible boy that you can only see because of his clothes. These, along with the creepy illustration of the monsters were enough to unnerve me as a kid in a way that the film never achieved. The book is also a part of a series, so there is more of a story to enjoy after the first book.