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The Dog Ear: Books made into movies

By Alyssa McDonagh
On November 26, 2012

As we approach the month of December, we are entering not only the holiday season but the winter movie season. This movie season is unique in that it features many adaptations of famous novels. Here are the books to read this month to prepare to watch them on the big screen.
"Life of Pi" kicked off the holiday movie season last week. Based off of the novel written by Yann Martel, "Life of Pi" is heralded to be the next "Avatar" because of the extensive 3D effects. The story tells the tale of Pi, an Indian boy whose family owns a zoo. Pi's family decides to sell the animals and move to Canada. They begin their journey on a boat with some of the family's creatures on board. Hit by a storm, Pi is left in the middle of the ocean on a lifeboat with a few of the animals. All of the animals soon die except for one, Richard Parker the tiger. Pi and Richard Parker fight for survival and a way back home. If you're looking for an adventure story about survival to help motivate you through finals, this is the book for you.
On Dec. 14, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" enters theaters. Just in time for finals to end, this is the first installment in the new trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. For those who have already read "The Hobbit," you will know the novel isn't as big as "The Lord of the Rings" novels at all so how will three movies be made? In interviews, Jackson has said that the additional information is coming from Tolkien's notes published in the appendices of "The Lord of the Rings" novels. This will provide fans with new information about Middle Early. For example, in "The Hobbit" Gandalf isn't present very often. He is helping Bilbo but we don't see him in action. However, the specifics of Gandalf's life during "The Hobbit" was described in Tolkien's other writings. Jackson is taking information like this and adding it to the films. In my opinion, reading "The Hobbit" is a much easier task than reading "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. If you skipped reading the trilogy because of its size, I recommend reading "The Hobbit" to experience the writing of one of the most famous fantasy writers ever who has helped shape the world of fantasy writing and today's pop culture.
"Les Miserables" is the film adaptation of the famous musical, which was adapted from Victor Hugo's novel written in 1862. Hugh Jackman plays the protagonist Jean Valjean, an ex-convict. The story follows him as he tries to avoid the police inspector who is incessantly pursuing him. The tale also follows the people who become a part of his life as he helps them, showing that he isn't a bad person. Set in 19th century France during political uprising, Hugo's novel is not for those looking for a quick read. Depending on which version you read, the book can be more than 1000 pages. Considered one of the greatest novels ever written, it will be worth the time. If it sounds like something you would be interested in reading, I recommend seeing the film first, released on Dec. 25, to give you a greater idea of what Hugo's writing is about.
I always believe that the book is better than its movie companion. However, it is always extremely interesting to see how the creators of the movie are able to take the author's words and turn them into a visual representation. Movies are the only chance for readers to see the world of the novel outside of what they envisioned in their head. Enjoy this season of bringing books to life.

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