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TCM should do a book club. Which titles would you recommend?


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I don't know if it's been done before, but wouldn't it be cool if TCM coordinated a book club? One book per month, and it culminates in a discussion with a guest (academic, celebrity fan, etc.) followed by a screening of the movie. You could even sign up for a subscription and TCM would ship you the book a month in advance. Who says no?

What books do you think would be great to read and then watch? Some books are really true to the source material (The Maltese Falcon, for example) while many aren't. Just a thought. I think it'd be a lot of fun.

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Though not a book that was source material for a film, I would recommend, Charles Grodin's, IT WOULD BE SO NICE IF YOU WEREN'T HERE.

It's by far one of the best entertainment Autobiographies ever written and a must read for anyone who ever wanted to be an actor!

Grodin was born in 1935 in Pittsburgh, where he was part of a close-knit Jewish family and had good friends, despite his apparently nonstop arguing--with anybody on anything. In this ebullient, often rancorous autobiography, the stage, film and TV actor describes vividly hassles that cost him the plum role in The Graduate and numerous other setbacks before he starred in The Heartbreak Kid. Grodin learned the Hollywood maxim, ``You're as good as your last success,'' when his next picture flopped and he had to start over again, finally making a comeback in Midnight Run. Instructive and entertaining, his story includes tidbits on Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Roman Polanski, Ellen Burstyn, Simon & Garfunkel, and many other luminaries, none more intriguing than the unsinkable Grodin. - Publishers Weekly

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It is a fun idea but not very practical. Book discussion would involve the literary merits of a title while the movie discussion would involve screenplay adaptation and the changes and compromises the screenwriter was forced to make in translating the book for the screen, and how faithful the script is to the source. Heavyweight, scholarly stuff, but for those who have the inclination - and the time - kind of fun.

I don't see TCM allocating resources to coordinate with publishers on printing out-of-print titles, stocking them, then shipping them. 

Some titles that come to mind right away are Madame Bovary, Rebecca, The Postman Always Rings Twice, In Cold Blood, Lolita, Catch-22, Slaughterhouse 5, maybe A Clockwork Orange (though that one has triggers and such). Then there are the doorstops like Giant and Gone With the Wind. Then of course the Brontes, Shakespeare, Dickens .

Most of these titles can be located easily enough by those who don't already have them on their bookshelves, but some are also difficult reads, so the reading list would have to be popular and accessible (physically and intellectually) and, sad to say, innocuous, which is hard to be these days.

A kind of "compare and contrast" overview with an engaging host might be fun, but would probably have limited appeal, so probably not get much of the budget.

 

 

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Some of my favorites, great books turned into great movies:

Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck-the 1939 film is mostly faithful, minus a few curse words

Dracula by Bram Stoker-many characters are not in the 1931 film, Renfield is the one who first meets Dracula instead of Harker

From Here To Eternity by James Jones- the book was nearly a 1000 pages, 1953 movie successfully cut it down, took out the foul language and prostitutes

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin-one of the most faithful adaptations, nearly word for word, scene for scene 

The Collector by John Fowles-the book is interesting, it shows narration by both the victim and the kidnapper

True Grit by Charles Portis-the 2010 film is closer than the 1969 one, but the book is better than both

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks-the book is interesting as it is told in flashback, telling us what happened to all of the Brodie girls

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23 hours ago, Raindog89 said:

I don't know if it's been done before, but wouldn't it be cool if TCM coordinated a book club? One book per month, and it culminates in a discussion with a guest (academic, celebrity fan, etc.) followed by a screening of the movie. You could even sign up for a subscription and TCM would ship you the book a month in advance. Who says no?

What books do you think would be great to read and then watch? Some books are really true to the source material (The Maltese Falcon, for example) while many aren't. Just a thought. I think it'd be a lot of fun.

Sounds like a LOT more fun than a WINE CLUB does.  To me at least.  ;)  

My first suggestion would be Ken Kesey's SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION  maybe so people who haven't read it will see how horrible the movie adaptation was.

Sepiatone

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Some years ago I started reading novels that were later turned into classic movies, aside from the perennial classics by Dickens, Austen, Twain, etc., etc. Among other novels, I read W. R. Burnett's Little Caesar, James M. Cain's Mildred Pierce, and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. I came away from those readings with a deeper appreciation of what screen writers do in adapting a novel. The differences between book and movie are sometimes surprising. This was especially so in the cases of Little Caesar and Mildred Pierce. 

Rebecca, however, was something else. Reading the book was very much like watching the movie, the adaptation is so faithful. Right down to the scene where the girl's employer douses her cigarette in a jar of cold cream. I always thought that was a Hitchcockian touch, but it actually occurs in the novel.

I tried reading Conrad Richter's The Sea of Grass, which MGM adapted with Tracy and Hepburn with Elia Kazan directing. One of the most boring novels I've ever picked up, I finally gave up on it after about fifty pages. Maybe I'll try to tackle it again when I have more time--when I retire, maybe.

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On 5/6/2021 at 11:33 AM, LuckyDan said:

I don't see TCM allocating resources to coordinate with publishers on printing out-of-print titles, stocking them, then shipping them.

That may be true, but the TCM shop already stocks some titles that would be fun to start with. It may, like you suggest, require more heavy-lifting and budget than TCM or publishers care to invest.

I also think the compare and contrast part could be fun, but maybe I'm in the minority. If anything, it could put somewhat put us in the headspace of a screenwriter.

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On 5/12/2021 at 4:54 PM, Shank Asu said:

Would this be books adapted into films or books about films?

I imagined novels that were adapted into films. Although, films about literature could be fun, too.

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My favorite book about film is Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut.    Two cinematic masters have conversations about Hitchock's films in succession.

I love the idea of a TCM focus on film adaptations of classic/great books.  This could be discussed on TCM with guests and could also be a new forum topic for online discussion.  Right now, I am reading the classic book "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier which was made into an award winning film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O Selznick.  The film is very much like the book but there is one huge plot difference.  Rebecca isn't killed by accident.  Maxim murders Rebecca then covers it up with a staged boat accident.

Some film adaptations of great books that I love include:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

To Kill a Mockingbird

Anatomy of a Murder

The Yearling

Jane Eyre

The Grape of Wrath

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Two books I absolutely loved which had great film adaptation are Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting and Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It.

Trainspotting is written in Scottish dialect and it took me about 60 pages to get used to it and read more fluid.  There's actually 5 books in the Trainspotting series now.  The first is by far the best.

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