Friday, April 10, 2015

Read-alikes* for movie lovers

*That's librarian-ese for recommending books one might also like based upon their favorites. For another fine piece of reader's advisory I recommend this article from Bustle: "14 Books from Wes Anderson movies we wish were real", complete with real life read-alikes! I too wish I could read all the fake books from Wes Anderson movies.

Since I wrote recently about books I wished were movies, I thought I would take this week to mention movies I wish I could read as books. Have you ever experienced that? The feeling that a movie was so amazing that surely it must be a really great book, too? And then searching for the book only to discover that it was not inspired by one at all?
(You know, sometimes it's hard to come up with good blog themes week after week. Coming soon: "Novels about Ikea I read in the past year". There were several.)
Here's a list of books to keep you busy reading while you wait for the movie to start:

Speaking of Wes Anderson...

Fans of Wes Anderson's films will find a lot to love in Bellweather Rhapsody, a darkly funny charmer about a haunted old hotel, a music competition, thwarted promise, ambition, and young love. This is the kind of book you'll want to create a mix-tape soundtrack for. I think there might even be a role for Bill Murray in this murky, quirky tale of teenage musicians.

If the hilarious adventures of neurotic, hapless romantic male protagonists like those in Woody Allen's films appeal to you, you are sure to love the books of Jonathan Ames. Both writers understand well that there is humor to be found in pain.
How about The Babadook! This limited release Australian import about a boy and his mother getting wrapped up in a demented picture book was totally terrifying. As a lifelong devotee to the genre I can say that truly good, really scary horror films are rare. But when they do get to you with more than cheap startles and shaky cameras, or senseless splatter, when they really manage to get under your skin and follow you home, make you turn on every light in the house and look under the beds? That's what keeps horror fans coming back. A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans is a super creepy psychological thriller about a new father afraid to hold his newborn son that hits a lot of the same haunting notes as The Babadook. A Turn of the Screw by Henry James will also get your creepy kid thrill on, if in a more proper late-Victorian English nanny story gone horribly awry kind of way. Highly recommended for folks who get that sometimes kids can be creepy.

Haruki Murakami and David Lynch both have great taste in music and a fondness for showing us dreamlike, earnest young people caught up in the surreal and nightmarish underbellies of seemingly ordinary settings. Anybody with a healthy fear and suspicion of bucolic small towns and suburban landscapes will surely enjoy both.
This scene? With the beetles?! Totally Murakami.

More Bill Murray! In Broken Flowers, aging Don Johnston tracks down his former lovers after he gets an anonymous letter claiming that he has a son.  In F: a novel, Arthur Friedland suddenly abandons his three young sons after taking them to see a hypnotist. The boys each grow up to be frauds in their own ways and struggle with their father's attempts to reconnect. Both works focus on the relationship between fathers and sons. Lovingly translated from the original German by Carol Janeway, F is not to be missed.

Both are adventure tales involving archaeology and obsession; Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark fans will get completely sucked into the The Lost City of Z, "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century".

Careful with that, dude. It's cursed.

It Follows just opened and is getting some rave reviews probably because, as I mentioned above, excellent horror movies are surprising. Dire consequence is stalking teenagers in It Follows, and a nasty STD stalks teenagers in Black Hole, a graphic novel by Charles Burns, turning them into genetic mutants.

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