In a past post I have gone through what film adaptions of books that I like more than their books, what were on par and what movies to avoid completely. How did I come to these conclusions? Well, I also have an appreciation movies as a separate art medium, so like most other people, I can enjoy a good film as it is. So when it comes to adaptions of books I tend to look at the movies objectively. This way if the story is different to the books I can still enjoy the film, taking note on what I thought they could have added to improve it. If the film happens to be true to the book, then I’ll be just as happy. However, if the movie is just plain terrible then I no qualms about pulling that movies apart, minute by terrible minute.
So now, dear reader, I want to ask you how you judge film adaptions of books….
Another way of looking at film adaptions is that they get people interested in books. There have been a few titles that I have read due to the release to the film adaptions. Usually I try to read the book before the movie is out but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me and I have to read the book after the movie just to see how it differs.
One of the most ignorant
things that I’ve ever heard is “Picture Books should only be for
children.” Sadly, the person who sad this was a librarian. At the
time I kept my explosion of protest to myself but it is finally
time to voice my excellent opinion (publicly over the internet no
less). I can understand how some people have this mentality that
when we first start reading we begin with picture books, gradually
moving to ones with more text and less pictures until we eventually
reach the level of the adult novel where our imagination is
supposed to take over and the only visual we get is from the cover.
Of course I can appreciate this point of view; I, myself,
love creating my own image of characters and scenery, stretching my
imagination to its full extent. But sometimes its nice to not have
to use so much brain power and look at some pretty pictures. I’ll
admit that I am a fan of the Graphic Novel. I have been thoroughly
enjoying the Walking Dead Comics. I also enjoy Graphic Novel
versions of novels, not just because I’m too lazy to read the
entire novel again but to see the characters portrayed visually as
the author want you to see them. and to see if it matched with how
you imagined it. Some picture books are meant for adults. If you
are familiar with Shaun Tan you might think that his books contain
a fair amount of adult themes. My favourite of his is a
collaboration with John Marsden called The Rabbits, a retelling of
the colonisation of Australia. And I think the beauty of his
artwork can be lost on a a younger audience. And sometimes we just
need a little humour in our lives to keep us going. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xtcB457jqQ” target=”_blank”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xtcB457jqQ
- My Library- I was actually told about this by one of my customers and when she told be I couldn’t believe I didn’t already have it. It is a database for your books. You can scan the barcode, mark it as read, make note of who you have lent a book to, put the price of the books so you can see how much your library is worth. And its is not just for books. You can also use it to catalogue your DVDs and CDs.
- Goodreads- Of course this was a social network before it was an app but it is still very handy to have on the go to keep up with what your friends are reading, recommendations, and sharing what you are reading. You can also get news about your favourite authors and upcoming events.
- Any ebook app- there are several good apps that you can get that support different file types. The ones that I use are iBooks (yes I am an apple user), Kindle to link with my amazon account and supports MOBI files, Bluefire that supports epub and eReader for PDF (although you can put PDFs on iBooks I find it easier to adjust font size with this app). Its probably a little bit overkill but you never know when you are going to be stuck without a book on you.
Although going on overseas adventures are fun and exciting there are always a few thing that bring you back home. For me it was my extremely comfortable bed, the promise of summer (some might say it is already here) and my personal library.Even though technology has allowed us to carry electronic libraries around with us I still think there is no substitute for the physical thing.
Having finished the novel I had taken away with me ( if you were wondering it was The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, a must-read for all fantasy lovers) it was nice to come home and finding something new on my shelf.
Also I have started a new job at another bookstore and I am hoping that it will become my home away from home, with new people to share my love of reading with. And I can keep an eye out for some great new reads and maybe even discover some old ones.
I mostly wanted to have a relaxing week before I had to return home and to reality so allow me to summarise the event of that happen in my final week.
The day we got back the London I was supposed to go see a musical with my friend but that didn’t pan out so instead I went in to Windsor. First I went to McDonald’s and had a fast food binge (sad yes but I couldn’t remember the last time I had had a cheeseburger and I was over having pasta and pizza). But i decided to do the Long Walk (only partially out of fast food guilt). The walk is 2.6 miles (close to 4km) from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse. It is a very peaceful walk and I even saw some deer in Deer Park. But there is a fantastic view from the top of snow hill.
It is the resting place for a lot a past monarchs and famous historical figures such as Isaac Newton. But my favourite place in the Abbey was Poets Corner were there are memorials for Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, DH Lawrence and Mary Shelley just to name a few.
We then crossed the Thames to do some really touristy things. We first went to the London Dungeon which is pretty much a London History themed haunted house ride where they have little scenarios about Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Sweeny Todd and Jack The Ripper. It was fun and I’ll admit that I jumped a few times. We then went on the London Eye for the spectacular view.
Another day we spent in Camden. This was my big shopping day and I bought a lot of stuff that made packing very difficult. But the best purchase of the day was my new Doc Martins which i bought from the original Doc Martin shop.
One of our last activities was the Jack the Ripper Tour in Whitechapel at night where you visit all the sights of the murders and learn about the victims and all the crazy conspiracy theories about who the Ripper was. I thought the tour was amazing.
So all in all I had an amazing trip. I did most of what I wanted to do and left was some fantastic memories.
As you might be able to guess from the title of this post we were not so lucky with the weather in Venice. It was cold and rainy for our entire stay. But we would not let that dampen our spirits (pun totally intended).Well… At least for the most part. I have been to Venice before so I will be completely honest with you: you are most definitely able to do this city in a day. There are only a few attractions that I think are worth doing when visiting Venice. One of them is going on a gondola ride in the canals. We didn’t do it this trip because it is ridiculously expensive, but went on one last time so I didn’t mind that we missed out. Also, it was raining so it would’t have been a very pleasant experience.
The first sight that we did, and the second I will recommend is the Ponte Rialto or the Bridge of Sighs. It is the most famous bridge in Venice and crosses the Grand Canal.
Just a quick tip: if you ever get lost in Venice all you have to do is follow the signs. This may seem like a spiritual comment but there are literally signs all over that will lead you to this bridge or to the other most popular tourist attraction in the city: St Marcs Square and Cathedral.
For those who have seen movies featuring St Marcs Square it is usually shown filled with pigeons and people running through it, scattering the birds into flight. I will tell you now that that is a Hollywood fallacy. True, the square is dominated by pigeons but they are now so tame from tourist feeding them that they no longer take off when you run towards them. I know because I actually did try this and all they did was hop out of the way. Very disappointing reaction.
Basically, our first day was just exploring and seeing the sights that were worth seeing. We also did a bit of shopping and getting info on the Biennale which is what we did the next day…….
I have to say that the weather was a lot worse that the day before, the rain showing no signs of letting up. And I was not wearing the right shoes for the weather. Within about 10 minutes were soaked through as we made our way to the first exhibit of the Biennale. Thankfully it was inside but the damage was already done and I already looked like a drowned rat.
So we looked at some art. Some was good and some was just weird. I am really not an art person (if you haven’t guessed already) but my friend who I was with is. So picture this: my friend all enthusiastic about seeing an artist she know and liking all that the she’s and me cold, wet and pretty unhappy. I was also starting to get hungry. So when we finished that exhibit I pretty much demanded that we go find food, particularly a place I knew that sold calamari, since that was what I needed to cure my bad mood.
So since daylight was a wasting, my friend led the way at a fast pace to the next exhibit. But we got lost trying to find a shortcut so we ended up trying to find our way back. And yes, we followed the signs. So we did that garden exhibit and thankfully the rain had finally stopped.
We had a cheap dinner of calzones and pizza and stopped to have a drink to celebrate our last day in Italy while we waited for the shuttle bus to come pick us up. I have to say this was probably my favourite part of the day.
It was hard to say goodbye to the Amalfi coast but considering that our next destination was Florence it was hard not to be excited.I have been to this city before but only briefly so I was looking forward to ticking a few things off my list of activities that I didn’t do last time I was there. The bibliophile in me was also very excited to see some of the landmarks featured in Dan Brown’s latest novel. My previous visit did help with finding our way there so I could show my friends where to go and what to see.
Day one began with a brisk walk to find breakfast as I was very hungover from the previous nights drinking when we first arrived in the city. I’ll be completely honest, I am not a happy traveller when I’m sick, hungry or cold so you can imagine my mood when I was suffering from 2 out of 3 that morning. I did start to feel better when we made our way along the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio slowly came into view. It is the most famous bridge in Florence as it has been around since the 14th century. Couples have taken to putting locks on the bridge and throwing the keys in the river ( a tradition that I’m pretty sure originated from a bridge in Paris. It is supposed to bring eternal love for you and your partner if you put your initials on the lock, attach in to the bridge and throw away the key) but now you can get a heavy fine if you are caught in this act of vandalism.
My other favourite statue in this plaza is Perseus with the head of medusa, a bronze and marble creation that also has an image of the artist Cellini in the back of Perseus’ head.
I then lead my friends through the winding streets to find Il Duomo. I had expressed my excitement to them about going to see it again and I told them how amazing it was but I could tell by the looks on their faces when it came into view that they hadn’t expected the shear size and elaborate marble work that makes Il Duomo.
Our ultimate goal was to climb to the top of the cupola. First we went inside and had a look around. It was definitely a much grander church than St. Paul’s which we visited in London and the artwork on the dome was very impressive. A little bit demonic but impressive. We then went searching for a ticket office. Sadly it took us a while to figure it out but we did find one at the museum. This was another place I really wanted to visit but my dream of seeing the Dante death mask were not fulfilled due to renovations on the museum building. It was still interesting to look around though and I did get to see the original baptistery doors.
We then made our way to line up to climb to the cupola. I would just like to remind you that I was still suffering from a terrible hangover but with a little encouragement and a lot of peer pressure from my friends we began the 416 step assent to the dome. I was disappointed to find out that there wasn’t anywhere to sit down in the whispering gallery. I can understand that they want to keep people moving but sometimes it’s nice to stop, admire the art and even catch your breath. But no, we had to keep moving, especially with people close behind us. Se we kept going up to the dome. It was pretty awesome to see the domes artwork up close, especially the famous 3-headed satan. But in our rush to keep moving to get to the top we somehow took a wrong turn and ended up going down instead of up. My friends were determined to climb it again so we could go to the very top but I flat out refused until we had lunch. But I did insist we visit the baptistry before we ate. There isn’t much inside except an alter and an awesome ceiling. It was nice just to sit in there and stare up at the roof.
After we found a restaurant, where I had the best lasagne of my life, we went to see if we could finally make it to to top of the cupola. But to our disappoint ( and a little bit of relief on my part) our ticket wouldn’t let us back in. So what did we do? We climbed the bell tower instead, which, by my guess, is only a few less steps then getting to the top of the dome. Safe to say, it was another long, exhausting, claustrophobic climb to the top. But the view was pretty amazing.
Having had enough of steps we went in search on Dante’s house. First, we found his church which is close by. We did find his house but unfortunately didn’t get to explore it since it was too late. So we went and bought some gelato and made our way back to the hostel to rest up for our next big day.
Day 2 began early so that we could beat the crowd to the Uffizi gallery. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long to get in. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed. But let me some it up for you: it was mostly your typical renaissance art full of pictures of the Mother & Child, Jesus on the cross and some of the apostles. But there was also some cool stuff like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and some works by Rafael, Vesari and Da Vinci (so all Dan Brown fans should visit Florence if you haven’t already done so). It took us a few hours but by that time I was all arted out.
So we crossed the Arno, via the Ponte Vecchio of course, and made our way to the Bobolli gardens.
We spent a good few hours wandering around, enjoying the scenery and the artwork placed around the place. It was very relaxing. After that we made our way to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best view of Florence and another replica of David. I will tell you now that is a bit of a hill to get up there (something you would want to avoid if you had climbed a lot of stairs the previous day) but the view is definitely worth it.
You probably figured out from my excitement for Vesuvius in my last post that I was even more excited to see Pompeii. And that is what we did on our second day in Italy, between our peaceful days on the coast.
From Maiori it is about an hour drive over the mountains and back down to get to the ruins. Since we started late it made sense to have a lunch stop before we started looking around. The good thing was that getting lunch also covered our parking.
Fed and watered, we made our way to the gate, fully expecting to have to stand in a line to buy our ticket. To our surprise we got in for free.
We started our exploration at the main theatre which consisted of a main stage and a smaller one. We then made our way into the street where we discovered the famous stepping stone of the main streets. We had a lot of fun with those.
Basically we just wandered around snooping in the houses and looking to find which ones belonged to the prostitutes. It was cool to see some of the more affluent houses restored so that you could get an idea of what they would have looked like over 2000 years ago.
Another highlight for me was the bath houses. Just to see the great marble tubs, the beautiful mosaic tiles and the hollow floors which they used to heat the rooms. This was also the first place where we encountered some remains of the people caught in the pyro clastic cloud. It was quite amazing to see how preserved they were. You could just make out the sandals that they were wearing.
One of of the other things that I was particularly looking for in our exploration was the plaster cast of the dog that but after several hours we still hadn’t found it. It was until we stopped at the main plaza for gelato that we discovered that the dog had in fact been taken to the British museum for the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. But at least we still got to see the painting of the man with the big penis. If you ever go to Pompeii I highly recommend seeking this out for yourselves.
Other highlights included bakers lane with all the flour grinders, the temples and, strangely enough, the wheel ruts in the road ( I fully blame my history for making me so excited for something so benign as wheel ruts).
We didn’t leave until about 7pm, after getting lost trying to find our exit. We were hot, sweaty and exhausted but completely thrilled by the experience.
Let’s just say that our trip to Italy began with a rough
start. Not only did we have to get up a 3.30am, but our 6.45am
flight was delayed by an hour because someone passed out on the
plane before we started taxiing. Thankful they got the guy of they
plane to take care of him so we could take off. They flight itself
wasn’t too bad. I did try and get some sleep but when I was
conscious I couldn’t help notice all the couples around me. Safe to
say the Amalfi coast is an ideal romantic getaway. Landing in
Naples I was happily greeted by beautiful Mediterranean sunshine,
making me desperately want to go swimming. But first we had to trek to the car rental place, weighed down by our heavy backpacks. Let’s just say we rocked the pregnant turtle look.
Once we got on the road it was all about the sight
seeing. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Vesuvius for the
first time. It definitely brought my history-buff side back to
life. Once we made the excite for Salerno it was time for some
seriously windy roads.
For those who don’t know the Amalfi coast is famous for the cliffs that hug the coast line so the are not many beaches. This means that a lot of the townships are built into the cliffs and mountains. Not really ideal for building nice wide roads but it sure makes a good view.
I think it easier to summarise our time spent on the coast. We stayed in a little town called Maiori, about 20 min away from Amalfi, which is the main tourist attraction. We mostly wandered the coast checking out the sights, stopping every now and then for a coffee or gelato or a bit of shopping. But mostly it was a few peaceful and relaxing few days soaking up the sun and enjoying where we were.
I even contemplated moving there and opening up a little bar and bookshop. One can dream.
Being the nerd that I am I could not pass up the opportunity to journey out to Cardiff and visit some of the sights from some of my favourite Doctor Who episodes. It was pretty exciting seeing the Millennium Centre ( supposedly where the Torchwood HQ and the giant rift in time and space is) and the rest of Cardiff bay.
But the main reason we were there was because of the Doctor Who Experience. It is basically what it sounds like: a mini adventure where you go through the TARDIS and face some of the Doctor’s foe in order to help him escape the pandorica ( if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you obviously need to watch some Doctor Who). It was a lot of fun, a little lame, but still lots of fun. Once we were through with our mini-adventure we came out at the museum part of the tour where we found sets, props, costumes and creatures from the series.
All in all, a great day and again I didn’t leave empty handed.
After a lovely refreshment at a cute pub we did a bit of a tour of the city on the bus and then made our way home, tried from all the excitement of the day.