The Bell Jar defined my high school years. I’ve shared this before, but I used to make any guy who was interested in dating me read this book first. It was surprisingly effective in weeding out guys who had no genuine (as in appreciate my intellect) interest. Looking back, I’m impressed that any guy ever read it at all.
If The Bell Jar defined the literary portion of my teenage years, than the modern The Taming of the Shrew adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You defined the film portion of my teenage years (and Clueless and The Boondock Saints and Cube…). I loved it and I desperately wanted Julia Stiles’ hair. This was the first film I watched starring Heath Ledger. He was an actor I came to generally enjoy watching (save A Knight’s Tale). I now probably most closely associate him with Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (even though he played The Joker).
And while I am neither a Batman fan, nor a Superman fan, I recently read and enjoyed Red Son by Mark Millar, a comic set in an alternate world that asks the question “What if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?” and features possibly my favorite character so far this year – Soviet Batman.
Keeping with the Soviet theme, one of my favorite Bond novels – and certainly my favorite Bond novel featuring the Soviet Union and a Cold War plot (involving Nazism and rocket science, of course) – is Moonraker by Ian Fleming. It’s a good book, but for the love of all that’s holy don’t judge it by its adaptation. Not quite the worst Bond film ever made (not that that’s much of a distinction), but close…
On the other hand, one of my favorite Soviet-related films – based on a book I disliked – is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick. I was thrilled to discover that the film was based on the Cold War thriller Red Alert by Peter George. Let’s just say it takes the term “loosely based” to the extreme. I was disappointed in the book, but regardless, I was impressed with the film.
Another Kubrick film I was impressed with, though it was also a truly terrible adaptation, was The Shining. The Shining was based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
Recently, Joss Whedon wrote a film that is being described as “the rom-com version of The Shining”. More importantly, in this case, is Whedon’s charming and delightful work on his recent adaptation of my favorite Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing.
So there you have it, from The Bell Jar to Much Ado About Nothing in six easy steps. I should subtitle mine “the movie edition”. Please keep in mind that anyone can join in – and this means you should, whether you’ve read it or not – just follow the rules below. And thanks to Annabel and Emma for hosting.
Where would you go from The Bell Jar?