Quote of the Week

Welcome to today’s quote of the week. As I was looking up information about Andrew Lane for yesterday’s author profile post (which you can find here: https://concerningwriting.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/author-profile-andrew-lane/) I stumbled across a quote from him where he gives his #1 writing tip. So, in following yesterday’s theme, today’s quote comes from Andrew Lane, author of the young Sherlock Holmes series! 🙂

“Read lots of stuff. You need to do that for two reasons – firstly so that you can see what’s already been done (you don’t want to spend three years writing about a teenage wizard at a boarding school only to find out that J.K.Rowling got there first) and secondly because you’ll find some really badly written books out there and you’ll think to yourself ‘I can do better than that’ – which is the first step towards actually trying to do better than that.” – Andrew Lane

~ Kayla

 

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Author Profile – Andrew Lane

I’m sure all my readers know how much I love to write fanfiction. I write fanfiction for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, and even Owl City. Sometimes, I’d rather work on my newest fanfiction idea than work on my current novel. Alas, one can’t make a living from writing fanfiction. Well, at least that was what I used to think. One author, however, has made a career out of being a fan. Andrew Lane is the author of what could be called a Sherlock Holmes “fan” series, the Young Sherlock Holmes books. He’s also written some other fan works, such as several spin-off novels for BBC’s TV show Doctor Who and a collection of books on James Bond.

He first knew he wanted to be a writer when he was ten. In an interview I watched on YouTube from MyKindaBook (clip at the bottom of the post), Mr. Lane tells how he read a short story about the Daleks in Doctor Who. When he read that story, something clicked in his ten-year-old mind. It was that story that made him realize that “real people actually write books” and that “since I was a person, therefore, I could be a writer.” From that point onwards, Mr. Lane knew what he wanted to be: a writer.

It was another childhood experience that made Mr. Lane a life-long Sherlock Holmes fan. He said in an interview that the first book he bought “with his own pocket money” was the Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. He described the book saying that, “It didn’t look particularly exciting. It didn’t have a cover on it. It was just like a hardback, orange, battered, pages slightly torn.” Something about the story drew him in though, and Mr. Lane became a Holmes fan from that moment forward.

Years later, Mr. Lane was approached by his agent. Mr. Lane’s agent had been working with the Doyle family, and had mentioned the idea to them of having a young adult Sherlock Holmes series. It was an idea that the family approved of.  In an interview with The Book Zone (link at the bottom) Mr. Lane said that, “Having got their blessing, he then came to me because he knew I loved the originals and that I’d always wanted to write a ‘real’ Sherlock Holmes novel.” He spent the next three months creating the first couple chapters in order to pitch it to the family. They agreed and the series was born! Today, Mr. Lane currently has written six Young Sherlock Holmes books as well as releasing a series based on another Doyle work, The Lost World. He really has made a living being a fan! That might be one of the best jobs ever. 🙂

I’ve read two books in the Young Sherlock Holmes series, and I loved them! I wrote a review on book three in the Young Sherlock Holmes series, Black Ice. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: https://concerningwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/book-review-black-ice-by-andrew-lane/#comments

Andrew Lane’s website is here: http://youngsherlock.com/

Here is the written interview I quoted: http://bookzone4boys.blogspot.com/2010/06/interview-with-andrew-lane-author-of.html

Here is the interview I watched. It’s a bit long, but really enjoyable (especially getting to listen to his British accent! 🙂 ). I could relate to his characters doing things he never expected them to do!

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

What I’ve Read This Month – The “Y”s Have It

It took a lot of digging and reading of reviews but I finally managed to get past the vampires and werewolves populating the “Y” section. It wasn’t easy because I was faced with overwhelming odds (they have quite an invasion force!), but I have found some great “Y” books. So, this month, I’m sharing this batch of amazing books that are certified vampire free from the “Y” section that I’ve enjoyed reading (with some “J”s  and regular fiction mixed in!).

The books I've read this month.

The books I’ve read this month.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I ordered this book after reading a review of it on thestorysanctuary.com. And wow, I am glad I did! It’s on my favorite books of all time list now.  It’s a long book, and I finished it in two days. Cinder is the story of a sixteen year old girl who is a mechanic and a hated cyborg. When her stepsister falls ill with the plague, her evil stepmother drafts her for plague research. There, she learns a secret about herself that could kill her. I’ve already ordered the next two books in the series from my local library. Here’s to hoping they come in quickly before I go crazy wondering what happens to Cinder! 🙂

Red by Ted Dekker

As with Green and Black, Red was fantastic. In this book, Thomas tries to rescue Monique de Raison, the woman who created the vaccine that turned into the Raison Strain, a deadly virus that has infected the earth. In his dreams, however, he’s the general of the Forest Guard trying to protect the Forests from the Horde.

The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

Leo is playing a video game one day when a six-inch tall version of himself and a very pretty girl riding a time machine suddenly appear in his bedroom and tell him to read H.G. Well’s novel, The Time Machine. Now that he knows there’s a real time machine, he goes on a hunt to find it and ends up in the New-York Circulating Material Repository. This was a fantastic novel! I loved the characters, especially Jaya and her sense of humor. The book was humorous and had a touch of romance that made for a great wacky time-travelling adventure. I would say this is going on the favorite books of all time list as well.

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham

Last month, I read the first book in the series, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. I loved that book so much, I ordered the next three! In this story, Theo’s best friend April is abducted. Theo is determined to find her before it’s too late. Just like the first book, I loved this one. Theo was respectful and honest with his parents, and I really like that about the Theodore Boone books.

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham

Just like the other two Theo books I read, this one was another great mystery I couldn’t put down. When Theodore Boone is accused of robbing an electronics store, he can’t seem to persuade the detectives that he didn’t do it. Will he be able to clear his name in time?

The Fire of Ares, Birth of a Warrior, Legacy of Blood by Michael Ford

I first read this series when we studied ancient Greece in school a few years back. I read them again a year or two after that. Recently when I was ordering books from the library, I suddenly remembered this series and decided to reread it again. The Spartan Quest series is about a young man named Lysander. He starts life as Helot slave in ancient Sparta in The Fire of Ares and learns about his destiny as a Spartan warrior. In Birth of a Warrior, he goes through the Ordeal and fights his first battle. In Legacy of Blood, he discovers the truth about his family and earns back the Fire of Ares. The books are excellent. They are a little violent, but realistic to the time period of the Spartans. It’s such a cool way to look back in history and see what it took to be a Spartan warrior.

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

I wrote a book review on this one. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: https://concerningwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/book-review-black-ice-by-andrew-lane/

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

This is the first book in the teen Sherlock Holmes series. This one, I thought, was even better than Black Ice. While Sherlock is staying with his aunt and uncle over the summer holiday, two men in the town drop dead with boils on their skin. When Sherlock finds a clue to their deaths, he finds himself caught up in a mystery that could cost him his life.

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia lives in a society where everything is regulated – what you eat, where you work, even who you marry. On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia is Matched with a boy who she will one day marry, her best friend, Xander. Something is wrong, though, because when Cassia goes home, the microchip card she received that’s supposed to be about Xander shows another boy as her Match. This was an amazing book. I finished it in a day, it was so good. I loved it! I was quickly rooting for Cassia and wondering what was going to happen to Ky and Xander. I was thrilled to learn that there’s two more books in the series, and I ordered them from the library the night I finished Matched. This is definitely going on the beloved book list.

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

I read this book for school. It was excellent! I’ve only read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and while I enjoyed those, I was blown away at how good Till We Have Faces is. It is the retelling of the classic myth of Cupid and Psyche told from the perspective of Psyche’s older sister, Orual.

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This was another classic I read for school. This is the story of a reporter who travels with two scientists and a hunter to an unknown land in South America full of prehistoric creatures. I really enjoyed this one. I love Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and it was really neat to read a book by him that wasn’t about Holmes.

Have you ever read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do you have any book recommendations for me? Comment below! 🙂

~ Kayla

 

Book Review – Black Ice by Andrew Lane

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

“Why isn’t there someone who can investigate things that the police won’t or can’t investigate? Some kind of independent consulting force of detectives who can set things straight …” So questions a teenage Sherlock Holmes as he tries to free his brother from jail. With references like this and a solid mystery that can only be solved through deductive reasoning, it is apparent why Black Ice by Andrew Lane is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. Black Ice is impressive and enjoyable with a well-researched and well-developed young Sherlock Holmes.

In Black Ice, a teenage Sherlock Holmes travels to London with his friend and tutor, Amyus Crowe, to visit his brother. Unfortunately, instead of having lunch with Mycroft, they find him locked in a room with a dead body and holding a knife. Mycroft claims he’s innocent, and Sherlock knows his brother didn’t do anything wrong. Together with Crowe, Sherlock must solve the mystery to clear his brother’s name. Along the way Amyus Crowe teaches Sherlock how to make correct observations and deductions.

Bad things can happen to characters when people try to recreate them as children or teens. It can really detract from their future adult character. Anakin Skywalker is a good example, in my opinion. Darth Vader was a lot less impressive and scary to me after seeing whiny Anakin. So I was hesitant when I picked this book off the library shelf. Would this change the way I viewed the adult Sherlock? Well, it did but in a good way. It actually made me understand Doyle’s detective a bit more. I was very appreciative of Andrew Lane’s efforts to maintain the Sherlock Holmes canon and character.

I thought the book was slow in the beginning, and it took a bit for me to get into it. After Sherlock travelled to London and found the knife-wielding Mycroft, the book definitely picked up, and from then on, it was non-stop action. I really loved Mr. Lane’s teenage Sherlock. The Sherlock of this story wasn’t a genius at solving mysteries. While he obviously had a leaning towards the detailed observation and mystery solving skills of his adult self, he made mistakes in his deductions. He was also less logical and in control and more emotional than the adult Sherlock.  I could really see this character growing up to be the Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street.

This book is the third in Mr. Lane’s series, which I didn’t know at the time I chose it. Black Ice made a few references to previous adventures Sherlock had, leaving me rather confused since I hadn’t read the other books. I ordered them from the library, and now they’re waiting to be read. I suggest reading them in order: Death Cloud, Rebel Fire, Black Ice, Fire Storm 😉

Overall, Black Ice was a great mystery and story that allowed me to see what the world’s only consulting detective was like when he was my age. 🙂

~ Kayla

What I’ve Read This Month

Today I’m posting a list of the books I’ve read this month. I’ve made it a goal to read at least four books monthly to reach my bigger goal of reading more this year. I made and exceeded my goal this month by reading six books.

The books I've read this month

The books I’ve read this month

Green by Ted Dekker

Green is both the first and last book in the four book Circle series. How does that work? Well, you can read them in this order: Green, Black, Red, White or read them in this order: Black, Red, White, Green. Any way you read them, they are terrific. Green was an absolutely fantastic story, and, truthfully, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it. The characters were incredibly well-done, likeable, and made great heroes to cheer for and villains to hate.

Black by Ted Dekker

Black is the official first book of the Circle Trilogy (Green is considered book 0). In this book, we meet Thomas Hunter and learn that he has the ability to travel between two worlds through his dreams. Just like Green, this book was absolutely fantastic!

The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen by Geraldine McCaughrean

This is the unique story of a group of children, Cissy, Kookie, and Tibbie, with their school teacher, Miss May March, who must leave their town for fear of diphtheria. They travel with an acting company aboard a steamship called the Sunshine Queen. This is a strange, entertaining, wonderful book that I picked up randomly off the shelf at my library, and I’m sure glad I did! The characters are wacky and lovable, and the plot is unbelievable in the best kind of crazy way. I actually laughed out loud while reading this one, and it’s a definite favorite!

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Theodore Boone is the son of two great lawyers, and dreams of becoming a lawyer himself one day. Theodore has a chance to help out in a murder trial when he becomes the only person who knows of a secret witness that would prove the right man guilty. Unfortunately, the witness doesn’t want to tell his story, and it’s up to Theodore to figure out what to do so that justice can prevail. The book is for a slightly younger audience, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying it! The mystery was great, and I sped through the book really quickly. I especially liked the fact that Theodore actually worked together with his parents instead of disobeying them. Definitely a good book and well-worth the read!

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels is the classic novel about a man named Lemuel Gulliver who travels to distant, unknown lands populated with strange inhabitants like men only six inches high, horses who are rational, giants, and people who live on floating islands. We read this one for school. I must say, this is one classic that is not going on my list of favorites. I finished it today, and I was glad to be done reading it.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

I wrote a book review on this book last week. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: https://concerningwriting.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/book-review-sherlock-holmes-and-the-baker-street-irregulars-the-fall-of-the-amazing-zalindas/

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Book Review – Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

They are like a magnet to me. I see the words “Sherlock Holmes” on the spine of a book, and I’m instantly doing a Gollum impression. “My preciousssss…” Okay, maybe I’m not that bad, but since finishing Doyle’s works about Holmes, I’ve been deprived of my favorite mysteries! I have so missed my favorite characters! So, when I was browsing at my local library trying to find interesting, new reading material, and I viewed those magnetic words, I grabbed the book up. I was so excited that, despite the fact that this book is meant for a slightly younger age group, I had to give it a try.

Sherlock Holmes and The Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin is a Sherlock Holmes mystery using some minor characters, the Baker Street Irregulars, from the original Doyle mysteries as the main characters. The Irregulars are a group of street boys hired by Holmes to be his “eyes and ears” on the street. The mystery is told from the boys’ perspectives, as Holmes utilizes their talents to help solve an important mystery. The story starts out with the mysterious deaths of three circus performers, the Zalindas. Holmes sends the Irregulars to check out the circus and gather as much information as they can. Wiggins, the gang’s leader, discovers that Holmes is also working for the Crown and there is more to the mystery than just the Zalinda’s deaths. To add to the fun, the reader has to figure out a secret message hidden in the text. Really, who doesn’t like secret codes and messages? 😉

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Even though it was meant for a younger audience, the book offered an opportunity to read about Sherlock Holmes from another perspective, that of the street urchins. When I started reading the book, I was afraid I was going to find the boys annoying and whiny (I can’t stand whiny characters). Thankfully, they weren’t! I thought the authors did a great job portraying Wiggins, the only boy specifically named in Doyle’s books, in a canonical way, while still adding to his character. The rest of the boys were likable, and I definitely cared what happened to them! The mystery was easy to solve, and I’m sure any Holmes fan would be able to figure out who the main bad guy was from the clues given. Since the book was meant for a younger audience, I can understand why the authors chose to create a more simplistic mystery rather than copy Doyle’s complicated plot lines. Still, the mystery wasn’t overly mysterious. I also didn’t like the fact that Holmes’s dialogue didn’t have that Holmesian flair to it and that Watson was portrayed as a grumpy idiot to an extreme that was never found in Doyle’s books. Still, it was an entertaining read that gives a younger reader a taste of Sherlock Holmes. It was also a great way for this older reader to experience the world of 221B Baker Street through other characters’ eyes.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Monthly Link Share – You Know You’re a Writer…GIF Edition

Today is February’s monthly link share. I recently signed up for a Pinterest account (my username is the same as my WordPress one, anstermonster14). I’ve been looking through the various writer boards there and found several cool articles to share!

I’ll admit it, I have a bit of a thing for GIFs. For some reason, when things are stuck in an endless loop, they are so much funnier. 😉  So, when I found this article on Pinterest about How to Know You’re a Writer in GIF Form, I was sure it was going to be good, and it was. The blog also has “The Publishing Process in GIF Form” which is just as good, and I included a link to that one, too.

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2013/06/how-to-know-youre-writer-in-gif-form.html

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2012/08/the-publishing-process-in-gif-form.html

The second article is about how to write a good first line in a novel. First lines are always where I trip up in the first draft. Either I can’t start because I’m terrified my first line isn’t good enough, or I can’t think of any first line, good or bad, so I’m always looking for articles and blog posts on how to write better first lines. This article is one of my favorites, as it has lots of examples to demonstrate how famous writers wrote good first lines.

http://thewritepractice.com/first-line/

The English language is forever changing, and luckily, there’s a website to keep up with all the new words. According to their webpage, World Wide Words is there to try “to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.” You can find some really obscure, interesting words on their website, so check them out!

http://www.worldwidewords.org/index.htm

Keeping with the Pinterest theme, I’m also sharing a board I recently followed. It’s a guide to deduction – Sherlock Holmes style. It’s really cool and really useful, especially if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fanfiction writer or plan on becoming the world’s second consulting detective. 😉

http://www.pinterest.com/mda2894/a-guide-to-deduction-for-consulting-detectives/

~ Kayla

NaNo Character Interview – Tessa

I’ve been working on my NaNo novel for three days now! Before the month of NaNo began, I had started planning out my novel. One of the things I was working on was character development and personality. I used character interviews to help me flesh out my characters and learn a bit more about them. I had a great time writing them, and they were incredibly helpful to me to discover who each of my main characters were. I wanted to post one of the interviews today, and I chose Tessa’s. She is my protagonist. I had something in mind for Tessa before I wrote the interview, but after writing it, she changed into a slightly different character.

What is your name? Any nicknames?

My name is Tessa. My brother calls me Tess sometimes.

How old are you?

I’m 17. I’ll be 18 on December 15th.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Before the war, when I was young, I always wanted to be a dancer. I don’t do much dancing any more, though. Now, I think I’d want to be a doctor if the war ever ends, like my mother was.

You mentioned a war?

You don’t know about the war? I wish I didn’t know about the war. The war has been going on since the Primarins arrived. Earth’s citizens have been trying to keep the invaders at bay for about 9 years now.

You live on Earth?

Yes, I do. Earth is truly beautiful – when not covered in rubble.

What year are you from?

What year? If you mean what the year is right now, it’s 2215.

Where are you from on Earth?

My brother, Jace, and I come from a little town on what was once the West Coast. After the war started, our parents sent us to the East where it was supposed to be safe, but shortly after, the city we were sent to was bombed and taken over. We live in what we jokingly call a POT – Primarin Occupied Territory. We say that our world has gone to POT. Sorry – a little inside Homeland Defender joke. We live in a small apartment on the 5th floor of an old building. It’s a little dusty and crumbly, but it serves its purpose.

What is it like living in occupied territory?

Horrible, really, although I guess I’m kind of used to it since I’ve been living this way since I was 11. Most buildings are half-destroyed and the streets are always covered with rubble. The city was completely taken over 6 years ago, and as a result, the city is now the property of the Primarins. The Primarins have done a good job of annexing it, too. You can barely walk out of your home without seeing an alien soldier. Also, because we’re living in occupied territory, we don’t have many freedoms, like being out after dark.

Do you have any siblings?

Yes, I do. My brother Jace is three years older than I am, so that makes him 20. He’s always been there for me, and definitely is my best friend. Jace is usually pretty serious and logical. He likes to think about things for a while before he does them. He never gets a joke, either. I’m the more impulsive one. I hate waiting for anything.

Who are your parents?

My parents are missing. When they sent us east, the West Coast had already been under attack. My parents stayed behind because my Dad was a Homeland Guard, a captain in our military force. My mom was a doctor, and she was supposed to join us a week after we left. We never heard from them again. Jace says they must have been killed. I hope they weren’t, but I know he’s probably right. Their names were Sophia and Kayden.

Do you go to school?

A school teacher from before the war ran a small school for all the kids living in the POT. The Primarins shut it down, though. I try to learn at home with textbooks Jace finds me, but it just isn’t the same.

What was your favorite subject in school?

I really loved history, hearing about the earth before the war. I wish I could remember it more. I like science a lot, too.

So, can you tell me anything about this war? Who are you fighting? Why are you fighting them?

I better start at the beginning. In 2032, Earth was invaded by aliens. We defeated the aliens, and all of them limped back to space where they belonged. We never thought they would return, but they did, 176 years later. The Defenders always talk about how we should never have let any of them live. We’re paying for our mistake now. At this point they’ve taken over several whole countries on Earth, including the North American Union. That’s where we live.

What is your biggest fear?

I think it would be losing my brother, Jace. I’ve already lost my parents, and I don’t want to lose my brother, too. Without Jace, I never could have survived here in the city.

Do you have any interests or anything you like to do in your free time?

I don’t usually get a lot of free time, but if I can get my hands on a book, I will devour it. If there were no war and no Primarins, I’d probably just spend my time reading.

Do you have any pets?

I used to feed a stray dog that hung around our apartment, but he hasn’t shown up for a while. He was super cute though, big brown eyes and creamy fur.  I named him Dr. Watson, after the doctor in Sherlock Holmes. Jace managed to find that book a few years ago, just when the doctor (that was the dog’s nickname) started coming around. That was a good book.

What is your favorite book?

All of them!

What is your favorite food?

When we can find some sweets, that’s always exciting. Like chocolate.

Do you like to listen to music?

I remember when I was little, my mother used to play The Nutcracker Suite for me to dance around to. I haven’t heard music in a long time. One of the rules in the POTs is no technology. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen a computer, either. Another memory I have of my mother is of her using one in her office, when she took me there when I was young.

~ Kayla

5 of the Best and 5 of the Worst

For most works of classic literature, a movie has been made. Whether it follows the book or not, well, that’s a different story. In almost every book-to-film adaptation, parts end up being changed or altogether cut from the original novel, and, of course, some movies adapt a book better than others. What makes a good adaptation? A good adaptation doesn’t have to quote the entire book to be faithful, although it is important that it include portions of the original text. But just as importantly, it should capture the spirit and feel of the book, and the cast needs to capture the personality and essence of the characters. Here, listed below, are the top 5 best film adaptations I’ve seen followed by 5 of the worst.

Best:

5. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1985 and 1987, starring Megan Follows)

These two were terrific. They followed the books very closely (especially the first book), and the casting was absolutely perfect. Megan Follows made such a great Anne. The second one is my personal favorite, but they are both faithful adaptations.

4. Sense and Sensibility (1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet)  

While this movie didn’t follow the book exactly, and some characters were missing, it certainly did a fantastic job. It really captured the spirit of Austen’s novel, and the added scenes were ones that you could imagine actually happening in the book.

3. Sherlock Holmes (TV series, 1984, starring Jeremy Brett)

This was the absolute best Sherlock Holmes adaptation. There were moments when I was quoting the book as Mr. Brett was speaking his lines. There were a few episodes where I was like, “What? This never happened!” but 99% of the time, it stuck super-close to the book. And you can’t beat Jeremy Brett’s Holmes. He was Holmes. Absolutely fantastic.

2. My Fair Lady (1964, starring Audrey Hepburn)

I adore My Fair Lady. It stuck to the play, Pygmalion (the play it was based on), faithfully, added some great songs, and even a satisfying ending, making it a wonderful adaptation. Hepburn perfectly captured the main character, Eliza Doolittle. Here’s one of my favorite songs from the movie:

1. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (2001-2003 and 2012-2014, starring Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings and Martin Freeman in The Hobbit)

I know, I know. I know what the Tolkien purists are saying now, “What? Peter Jackson … he ruined the books! He changed so much!” Yeah, he changed stuff, but the changes he made, made sense. He created a fantastic series of movies, and without them, I doubt there would be as many Tolkienites as there are now. Even though there were changes, I still believe the movies did a great job of presenting and adapting the books for screen. And just in case there’s someone who hasn’t seen it yet (and because I want to share it!) here’s trailer number 2 for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.

Worst:

5. Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000, starring Megan Follows)

What happened?! How could the people who made the first two wonderful Anne of Green Gables movies make this bomb of a third. Did they lose their minds? It was as if they took the characters of Anne and Gilbert and ran with them off to Europe and a World War and forgot there was ever a book.

4. Treasure Planet (2002, starring Joseph Gordon-Levett)

One time when I was sick with a cold and bored, I decided to try this animated movie. It couldn’t be horrible, right? Oh, yes, it could. I didn’t even finish it, it was so bad. It’s based around Treasure Island, and boy, did they ruin it. They stuck everyone in space, for one. For two, Jim Hawkins was a whiny, troubled teen, and I couldn’t stand him. Lastly, they ruined Captain Smollett. They turned him into a her, named Captain Amelia. The worst part was … Amelia was a cat. Yes, a cat. Now, I like cats, I just don’t like cats to be Smollett. Right now for school I am reading the book, and every time I read about Smollett, I just picture Amelia. I’m forever confused because of this bad movie. XD

3. The Jungle Book (1967, starring Phil Harris)

The reason it made my worst list is because it barely followed the book. You can disagree, but in this case, I think it was a good thing. I didn’t particularly enjoy the novel The Jungle Book (except for Rikki Tikki Tavi), but I loved the movie. So, in a way, this could be considered a great adaptation because it took a book I disliked and turned it into a great movie.

2. Frankenstein (1931, starring Colin Clive)

In my post called “Going Where No Book Has Gone Before,” I related that the novel Frankenstein was mentioned in Star Trek: Enterprise. Well, in the episode, Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker told Sub-Commander T’Pol that the film selected for that night’s movie night was Frankenstein. Now, Trip is my favorite character from Enterprise, but he has no taste in movies. In Frankenstein no one could act, and the movie didn’t follow the book at all. They changed Victor Frankenstein’s name to Henry. Elizabeth wasn’t killed by the monster either. The monster was laughable, at best. I guess the public liked it though, because the filmmakers went on to make the movies The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and The House of Frankenstein. Here’s the trailer:

1. Heidi (1937, starring Shirley Temple)

It’s been years since I’ve seen this, but the very first movie that came to mind for the worst category was this one. The movie had very little of the original book in it. It was really just a showcase for Shirley Temple who made a terrible Heidi. The scene I can still picture is Grandfather running through the streets of a city, screaming for Heidi because she was kidnapped by gypsies, which, of course, never happened in the book. Actually, after some digging, I managed to find the clip on YouTube. It’s as horrible as I remember.

From Heidi to The Lord of the Rings, I hoped you’ve enjoyed my list of the best and worst film adaptations. Do you agree with my choices or disagree? Which ones are your favorites?

~ Kayla

Going Where No Book has Gone Before

“Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise …” Star Trek is my favorite TV show. I’ve watched 3 of the 5 Star Trek series, and my very favorite is The Next Generation. (Kirk fans, don’t hate me.) One thing that really impressed me was the writers’ use of classic literature. Works by greats like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain are found in episode after episode. Here are nine classic authors and works referenced in Star Trek:

1. Gilgamesh (TNG: “Darmok”)

In the episode “Darmok,” Captain Picard is transported to the surface of an alien planet with the captain of a Tamarian ship.  Captain Picard and the alien captain, although unable to communicate, must still work together to defeat a beast that lives on the planet. In one scene, the alien captain communicates to Picard that he wants a story. Picard tells him a version of the epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Babylonian legend about a cruel king. Here’s the scene:

2. Mark Twain (TNG: “Time’s Arrow, Parts 1 & 2”)

Mark Twain actually makes a guest appearance on Star Trek! In the episode “Time’s Arrow,” Data is sent back in time to the 19th century, and he runs into Mark Twain. Twain makes several references to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, believing that Data has come back in time to tamper with his century, just like his protagonist, Hank Morgan, did in 6th century Camelot. Twain even visits the Enterprise, before deciding to return to his century. Jack London also makes an appearance in the episode, as a helpful bellboy. Twain talks to London, encouraging him to live his dream of going to Alaska and writing a book about it. Before leaving the room, London tells Twain to look for his name in print.

3. Cyrano De Bergerac (TNG: “The Nth Degree”)

One of my favorite “guest” characters in The Next Generation is Barclay (Or Broccoli, depending which pronunciation you choose. ;)). In the very beginning of “The Nth Degree,” Barclay is playing the character Cyrano De Bergerac from the play, and at first, Barclay is a terrible actor. Doctor Crusher plays Roxane, the woman Cyrano loves.  I can’t wait to re-watch the episode after reading the play this year in school.

4. Shakespeare (TNG: “The Defector,” “Time’s Arrow Part 2,” and “Hide and Q”)

Shakespeare is quoted and performed many times on the starship Enterprise. In “The Defector,” the episode opens with Data and Picard performing one of the scenes from Henry V. In “Time’s Arrow Part 2,” the crew tells the landlady they are performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and even has the landlady rehearse with them, reading off a passage from Act 2. Q borrows a quote from As You Like, in “Hide and Q,” when he says, “All the galaxy’s a stage.” Several episodes in the series had names taken from Shakespearian works, such as Remember Me, which is from Hamlet. A really good article about Shakespeare references in Star Trek is found here: http://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/shakespeare/star.trek.html

5. William Butler Yeats (ENT: “Rogue Planet”)

I recently starting watching Star Trek: Enterprise with my mom, and it’s been really good so far, despite how much it was hated. (Yes, I even like the beginning song. :)) In this episode, Captain Archer and several of his crew travel down to a planet where it is always night. Archer continually sees a beautiful woman in the forest, who’s actually a shape shifter trying to convince Archer to help her. At the end of the episode, Archer finally figures out why the creature revealed itself to him as a blonde-haired woman with apple blossoms in her hair. When he was a child, he enjoyed a poem by William Butler Yeats called The Song of the Wandering Aengus. The poem depicts the story of a man who caught a trout that turned into a beautiful woman with apple blossoms in her hair.

6. Sherlock Holmes (TNG: “The Lonely Among Us,” “Elementary, Dear Data,” and “Ship in a Bottle”)

I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and somehow, the writers of The Next Generation combined two of my favorite fandoms into some great episodes. Throughout the series, Data is continually fascinated with Holmes, and in “Elementary, Dear Data,” and “Ship in a Bottle,” La Forge and Data dress up as Watson and Holmes and enjoy adventures on the holodeck. Moriarty even joins the party, showing up in a few episodes as a hologram who has gained consciousness.

7. Robin Hood (TNG: “Qpid”)

Episodes with Q were always my favorite. Qpid is no exception to the “Rule of Q!” The entire episode is based off the classic tale of Robin Hood, who is portrayed by Captain Picard. Maid Marian is Captain Picard’s love interest, Vash. The rest of the crew play Robin Hood’s Merry Men, in the little fantasy world that Q has built for them. Here’s one of the best lines from the episode:

8. Frankenstein (ENT: “Horizon”)

Frankenstein even has its moment on Star Trek. In “Horizon,” Trip Tucker attempts to convince Vulcan Science Officer T’Pol to join the crew for movie night to see Frankenstein, by mentioning the movie is from a famous novel by Mary Shelley. Archer decides he’ll take her, and a skeptical T’Pol watches the movie. She seems to enjoy it for she quotes it on the bridge and says she’ll recommend the movie to Ambassador Soval, the Vulcan ambassador to Earth, to help him understand humans better. T’Pol even draws parallels between the way the humans treated the Vulcans when they first arrived on Earth and the way the characters treated Frankenstein’s creation, though Archer points out that the humans didn’t exactly chase the Vulcans with pitchforks.

9. A Christmas Carol (TNG: “Devil’s Due”)

When the episode opens, Data is acting on the holodeck as Ebenezer Scrooge. The scene is from the beginning of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old friend, Jacob Marley. The holographic scene is paused as Captain Picard is shown, critiquing Data’s acting techniques.

Star Trek is not only entertaining, but also educational. 😉 Thanks for reading, and live long and prosper! *holds up hand in Vulcan salute*

~ Kayla