Monday, July 2, 2012

From One to Another


(Ha! Chance here, stepping in for the Bosun, who took two Fridays in row, one for me, one for the Assassin. So, I’m taking a Monday at her request… On with the blog!)

We all have books we enjoy and series/movies we take delight in. And sometimes, they are the same source material. Sometimes a good dramatization will point us to the book, sometimes the book points us to the series/movie.

When I worked in the bookstores, I would recommend movies for parents who despaired of getting their kids to read books. Having a face to put to a character can really help out with keeping a large cast straight. For example, Lord of the Rings. I imagine the same with Harry Potter…

And now and then…something comes along like Longmire. A new series on TNT, featuring a contemporary western sheriff in Wyoming. A basic crime drama based on books by Craig Johnson. It premiered a few weeks ago, has a nice actor as the lead, Robert Taylor and his sidekick, Lou Diamond Phillips, plus a female city cop as his deputy. I was enticed into reading the first books due to several things.

I was preparing to drive to Denver and would be crossing the state where the books were set. I’m already a fan of C.J. Box, whose Joe Pickett mystery series is set in the same area. But I’ve read them all. So…I opted to try the Longmire books.

Wow. In a week, I read all eight of the books. I drove Terri crazy by sending her excerpts that impressed the hell out of me…

How about this one…complex, trippy, thoughtful…

"Somewhere in the distance, the synchronic circles of our pasts had tripped a domino, and the steady whirr had grown till it now drowned with the roar of contingency."

Or…this, simple, concise…

"She was tall with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, with a face that had more character than pretty would allow."

I was totally blown away, and have continued to be blown away by the lyricism of Mr. Johnson’s prose. The stories fascinate me, he pulls me into the larger than life landscape with an ability to captivate. All in first person, all in the voice of a sheriff who is experienced, a widower near retirement age, romantic without being a romance character, and with a mystic connection to his world, his friends, his strength of purpose… I wish I could explain better, but I’m not Mr. Johnson!

Now, the television series. It’s good. But the books are ten times better. Maybe twenty times. Yet, it helps for me to have faces to put to the names. Though, to be truthful, I don’t see them anymore when I read.

The difficulty with movies/series is that they can’t get into the heads of the characters. A good actor can almost get there…but not to the depth a writer can dive.

When we pulled into a Wyoming Starbucks, I had just finished the fourth book on my Nook and was scrambling. I didn’t have the fifth one. Until we found that wifi connection. I sat at the counter, sipping my drink and bought two more volumes and continued on into Denver. I didn’t read at the con, too busy!

I finished the two from Wyoming on the drive home. Somewhere between Colorado and the Southern Californian desert, I finished the fifth and sixth book… Found another Starbucks and bought the last two. One I finished at home, hours after we got home. The last, my first day home.

I seldom pay $12 for an e-book. But I did with several of these books. The rest were around $10. I paused and considered…In a week, I bought over $100 worth of this man’s books. And count it well worth it.

If I had these books in print, I’d be underlining line after line. I wish I’d taken the time to figure out how to do it in my Nook. I find it inspiring to make notes of lines that make me catch my breath. They give me something to strive for, to consider as I write whether I’ve said what I want with sufficient power and magic.

It isn’t always about the vocabulary or how articulate I can be. It’s how stirring, how particularly sweetly I can put words together. I want to paint that image, make my reader catch their breath. Sometimes complex is the answer. Sometimes sublime simplicity.


I have a collection of phrases. Much as other authors put together a photographic collage, I like to collect book lines.



I started this blog, talking about images from a television series. I end talking about the writer I discovered because of something a bit shallow… I’m a big Lou Diamond Phillips fan. Yup, I tuned into the program because of him. And I discovered a phenomenal wordsmith. A cowboy poet.


How to wind this down… I have a few questions for the crew… How have books you’ve read stack up against the movies/series? Have you discovered a writer through the dramatic interpretation of their work? Does anyone else collect lines from books that inspire you? Or do you find the idea intimidating? Anyone else see this series yet?

42 comments:

MsHellion said...

Poor Terri, I was wondering if she'd have to pull another blog for Monday, but I'm glad we got to talk about newly discovered writers (or new to me writers) instead. :)

I got into Harry Potter strictly on the basis of watching the first movie. I wasn't remotely interested in what people had to tell me, and they told me a lot, all the time, up until the movie and I scoffed at them. But after the movie, as soon as Harry was placed on the doorstep, I wanted to read every word. Magic.

That said, I discovered the books were SO much better. And I find that is usually the case except where Nicholas Sparks is concerned, because I don't like his voice...and his story content is best left at 2 hours rather than the several hours it will take you to read the book and wonder why you wasted your time. But the movies are tolerable. I do have The Notebook; I've watched a WALK TO REMEMBER, et al. Oh, and though the book THE PRINCESS BRIDE is hilarious, the movie is quite excellent.

Marsha Moyer's books are lyrically inspiring (if I had to pick someone OTHER than J.K. Rowling, though I can pick many lines from hers too). I love her stuff. And I have a collection of YA novels where I found the lines lyrical or inspiring. I do find it intimidating, but mostly I just sigh and admire it. One should always enjoy beauty.

quantum said...

I used to collect quotes from famous people after reading their work. Bertrand Russell was one of my favourites.

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

Then google did the job for me! LOL

Dramatisation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries have left me with Joan Hickson as the true image of the village sleuth. It also lead me to read the books.

"She looks so harmless, doesn't she? But her camouflage is perfect because she is partly just what she seems - a gossipy old village lady, but her logic is ruthless and her powers of synthesis formidable. And above all she never lets go. "

Likewise with Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey

I think the only cases where I have preferred the film/video to the book are the James Bond stories, Jane Austen and Shakespeare. That probably reveals more than I would wish! LOL

Great blog Maureen.
AND $12 for e-book fiction is outrageous!

Marnee Bailey said...

I don't watch a lot of shows or movies, so I don't usually go from media to book. For me, it's usually the other way around, where I read a book and then want to see the movie.

But there are definitely books that have burned in my mind.

The English Patient. Lyrical and lovely. I moved my hardcopy to the garage last summer, but I have it still in case I'd like to revisit the language.

And Beloved, by Toni Morrison. Not sure if anyone else has read it but it's about an enslaved mother who runs from her master with her children. When she realizes that she and her children are about to be recaptured, she tries to kill all of them, thinking they would be better dead than left in captivity. She only succeeds in killing her baby, a two year old. The scene is chilling and haunting. Morrison is a master wordsmith.

Great blog, Mo! :)

Hells - I prefer Nicholas Sparks' movies to the books. Ugh, I can't deal with his storytelling.

TerriOsburn said...

And I thank you dearly for covering today. I was in revision brain last night and no way could I have written a coherent blog. (Though some might say that's always the case. *g*)

I ADORE the television show Longmire. Have no desire to read the books. Especially after all that frilly stuff up there. I don't even understand that first quoted line.

I don't read Jane Austen but I love the movies. I watched Portrait of a Lady (Nicole Kidman version) many years ago and hated how it ended. So I decided to read the book. Since Henry James seemed to abhor punctuation, that was no easy feat. But I was determined.

Took me a month because I could only absorb the words if I listened to classical music while reading. Strangest thing, but it worked. And I'm happy to report I liked the end of the book better than the movie. Why they changed it I do not know.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I'm a lot like Marn - It isn't often that I watch movies or TV shows until way after they come out, if at all.

Oh, and Beloved was such a powerful, powerful story. Amazing. There was no way the movie could match it. It was good, but no match for the book.

I'm having a hard time thinking of a movie or TV show that made me go read the books...I want to read Harry Potter now, but just haven't had time to start...

Sin said...

I actually ended up reading "I Am Number 4" simply based off seeing the movie. The movie blew me away. The book, however, was in first person present tense and I find that very hard to read.

Though, Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series was in first person present tense and I ate those books up. I had to duct tape the books together I read them so much. Alysa (Sita) was the first book character I ever fell in love with.

Anyone read those books or just me?

Maureen said...

Hellie - In general, I find the books are always better than the movie. My first experience with that was the very first Planet of the Apes! I bet few people realize it was a book first!

I find, even when the book isn't necessarily better, there is something an author can do that a cast of characters can't... Truly be inside the head. The book 'Cujo' for example... Yeah, yeah, Stephen King's rabid St. Bernard book...but! In the book you understood Cujo's innocence and descent into madness. It was sad and it was stirring. The movie was just a horror flick!

With Longmire, I'm not sure I would have picked up the books save for the trip. I like reading about a place I'm going to be visiting... And wow, that man can write!

You have any of the lines written down that struck you are perfect?

Maureen said...

Q - So many of the Christie books were brought to life by wonderful actor's. I agree, Joan Hickson was marvelous. Also David Suchet does Poirot perfectly...

Not sure I agree with you on Bond, but I devoured the books so long ago, I bet they would read terribly dated now. I think with Austen, it helps to have faces to all the Mr and Miss and Mrs that get tossed around. Even with the dramatizations, it gets confusing!

Yeah, $12 was hard to do...but yes, the books are that good!

Maureen said...

Marnee - You're a busy, busy lady! Hard to sit your ass down and watch the dramas! I, on the other hand, am a woman of infinate leisure. I've discovered many authors through the television.

I read the Inspector Morse books after the Mystery series. I read the books that Bones is inspired by - much better people! I have the Rizolli and Isles books on my list as well as Wallender.

I've never read Toni Morrison, though I did read Practical Magic, the book, before I saw the movie. Liked them both, about equally. Alice Hoffman is about as literary as my tastes run.

Beloved sounds haunting.

Maureen said...

Wow, Henry James...brave of you! Great writer, but...wow. I read him for an American Lit class, but only short stories.

The first line I quote is a bit hard out of context...he's in pursuit of a villain and on the edge of catching him. Hard pursuit, deep into the rugged mountains, near the edge of his stamina...it's perfect for the situation...

Glad to step in and help out considering my editing yesterday was a real flip/flop of success/failure/success...

My American Lit teacher considered Henry James the epitome of American Writers. Though I find myself wondering if Mr. Wylie would like Craig Johnson...he was a big cowboy fan...

I do enjoy the series, but Terri! There is so much more going on in the books!

Maureen said...

Sabrina, I imagine you're another who is so busy it's difficult to catch the dramatization and have the time to move to the written versions.

Being a mystery lover, those books can be the easier to tackle simply because they aren't door stops in their spare time. I've even read the books written by 'Castle' on which the series is based on, written by the character which came first! Almost anything the Brits take time to produce is worth the read, I find.

MsHellion said...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307351556/#reader_0307351556

This is about as close as I can get. I don't have them written down, no. I sometimes mark them with a post it, but don't have them written down--and I'm not at home with my books either.

Maureen said...

Sin! Hi! I have to say I've never read anything in that genre from a series. Well, I did read the Buffy books, but they were created from the show, not the other way around...

But I imagine all of the current vampire shows which came from books are better as books. It would be nice if Charlaine Harris sold more books because of the show and the same with the others. Books are so complex compared to shows!

TerriOsburn said...

I don't need so much more. That's the point. I need a hit of good hit of fiction in 40 to 60 minutes and then I can get on with my day. The last thing I need is something more to tax the few working brain cells I have left. LOL!

For lyrical prose, you can't beat Barbara O'Neal aka Barbara Samuel. But then I also love how Jenny Crusie turns a phrase. Intelligent and witty works for me. I'm easy (or shallow?) that way.

Sin said...

But I imagine all of the current vampire shows which came from books are better as books.

Agreed. Because Vampire Diaries was a much better book series than the TV series leads viewers to believe. Not a fan. And while the DH loves to watch True Blood only because of the T&A factor, I'm not much of a fan of the books. But like you, I hope having a TV series helps more people get into reading the book series.

Though, Blood Ties (And the book series by Tanya Huff) are both very well done. So upset it didn't last longer than it did. But the book series was short as well.

TerriOsburn said...

Didn't Harris decide not to write anymore Sookie books?

Maureen said...

I have a file on my computer with the lines that really just made me smile, or pause. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are just so lyrical I couldn't resist.

Is the Return of the Stardust Cowgirl a fav or yours?

Maureen said...

A good phrase, twisted to suit, works for me! Jenny does some wonderful things!

Maureen said...

I think the vampire television craze misses the real pathos of being undead. And the Sookie books started as mysteries. I read them, but then lost interest as they got too complicated and I've never watched the series.

Terri - Yup! Charlaine is calling it quits and finishing the series. I think this next book is the last!

TerriOsburn said...

Just read the first couple pages of that link Hellie posted. Wow. Just wow. And that's present tense but I was going along. I've never heard of that book before.

Maureen said...

Sounds like a good book! I like her voice...

TerriOsburn said...

BTW - I'm reading Three Weddings and a Murder, which is a fun anthology from Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, Leigh LaValle, and Carey Baldwin. I'm only on the first story which is from Tessa. Reminds me again that she's one of the most fun voices in Historical romance today. At least IMO anyway.

Maureen said...

Sounds like that would make a fun movie! Now, why I read what you wrote and though it was set in Las Vegas...I have no idea. I think my brain is having power short outs...

MsHellion said...

Terri, I wrote about this book a couple years ago. Hell, it might have been 4 years ago when the book came out. *LOL* I was in love with the metaphors...

Maureen said...

The excerpt sounds wonderful.

Maureen said...

In fact, it sounded so good, I just bought the book to read. I do love my Nook.

TerriOsburn said...

I can see why, Hellie.

Mo - Are you talking about the anthology I mentioned or the book Hellie posted? Either way, you should get both.

Maureen said...

Well, I got the book Hellie posted. I somehow read the anthology you posted as taking place in Vegas...

And I got enough sleep last night!

I thought...

TerriOsburn said...

Uhm...no. Actually, the story written by Baldwin is Contemporary, but I haven't gotten to it yet to know if it might be set in Vegas.

Maureen said...

Ah, you see...you mentioned historical, one of the names made me flash to Vegas...and now you tell me it's contemporary...

Is it any wonder I want a drink right now?

TerriOsburn said...

Sorry, it's THREE Weddings and a Murder and it's an anthology. That means four little stories. Three are Historicals and the fourth is Romantic Suspense set in Texas.

Maureen said...

That seems like an odd anthology to put together...three historical weddings and one murder in Texas. Sounds like a joke about what walked into a bar...

TerriOsburn said...

Don't be judgey. LOL! They're fun stories and proceeds to go Relay For Life, which these authors are supporting with both their words and their feet. So far I'm loving Tessa's story. (And two of these authors are my agent-mates. Which is just fun to point out. *g*)

Maureen said...

Braggart...fine, I'll see if my Nook has it available...

Maureen said...

Okay, crew...off to walk the dog...chatter among yourself and don't forget to drink. I also have a stash of raspberry M&Ms I really shouldn't be eating, so enjoy!

P. Kirby said...

The only times I recall reading a book after seeing the movie is with The Princess Bride and then Stardust. In both cases, I preferred the screen adaptation. I'm sort of curious about the book that the TV show Dexter is based on, but haven't gotten around to requesting it from the library. Reading time is very limited; I'm not likely to read book version of most TV shows or movies.

I did read the first five Sookie Stackhouse books before it became True Blood. I love the show, but find it very different in tone from the books. The first season of A Game of Thrones is a satisfying adaptation of G.R.R. Martin's sprawling universe. That's usually how it goes. I read the book, then see the show/movie.

TerriOsburn said...

I didn't know Dexter was based on books. And I've never read Princess Bride or Stardust, but I love both movies. I did read The Secret Life of Bees long before it was a movie. I think the film did a beautiful job of bringing that story to life. I also read Lovely Bones way back when it came out, which is why I've purposely not seen the movie. There are some things I'd rather read than actually see portrayed on screen. That's one of them.

Maureen said...

Loved the Princess Bride book and movie. Never seen Dexter but have beentempted. Y the books.

MsHellion said...

I haven't seen True Blood, but it seems to be more sex-sells-oriented than the books are. I read the first few books, and it's much more quirky Southern mentalities, a murder mystery, and humor--and this seems to be SEXSEXSEX. Not a problem, but not the same story.

P. Kirby said...

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay is the first book of several mysteries staring the ultimate anti-hero.

I read The Lovely Bones and later saw the movie. Both were okay. Somehow, the whole idea of the dead hanging out in heaven and watching EVERYTHING I do is rather...creepy. Talk about an invasion of privacy. :)

TerriOsburn said...

That thought never bothers me. I always imagine my loves ones are floating around me, but the creepy factor never enters my mind. Maybe being raised Catholic so believing there were always angels around? I've never thought any other way.

Maureen said...

The Sookie books were mysteries. It's why I enjoyed them. Then they got stupid involved. I do think the Dexter books sound interesting. And the Temperence Brennan books are so good!

I found myself pleased for Craig Johnson that his books were adapted. Might draw people to the books.