A Must for Book and Library Lovers

I’m here today to tell you about a fantastic extension for Chrome and Firefox that will not only help utilise your libraries but might help you save money on buying books. Late in 2017 I discovered Library Extension, a brilliant little addition to your browser that allows you to see books held in your local libraries while you browse the internet.

When I first found this extension my library wasn’t supported but they are always looking for new libraries to add so I filled out the feedback form, provided the details for my library then all I had to do was sit back and wait. To be honest I had to wait 17 months but I received an email a few months ago saying it had now been included. Now, I’m not saying it will take a year to include your own library if you are not one of the 4000 included, whether it took longer because I’m in Australia or some other reason I don’t know. According to their FAQ most libraries can be added in a few days.

With the extension it will show me if a book I am looking up is held in my library, it will also tell me how many copies they have and how many of those are available (this also covers music and audiobooks as well). If something is on the catalogue all I have to do is click View and I’m sent straight to my library’s online catalogue. Also, if your library has Overdrive as an ebook service you can also connect it to that and see what ebooks are available through your library.

I love this extension so much. I can browse Goodreads and see if the book I want is actually sitting on my library shelf. One extra advantage is if you are a member of multiple libraries, you can connect all of them and the extension will show you which branches have what. The websites I have seen it work for are Goodreads, Booktopia, Book Depository, and Amazon (both US and Australian). There is a list of full sites I believe it will work on on the website.

The site boasts that this will save you time and money and I cannot agree more. Getting a chance to read a book for free before deciding whether to buy it is wonderful, not to mention it gets you out there supporting your local library (as a librarian I have to add that in). Practicality-wise, there is also the benefit of having the information right on my browser which saves me opening up my library catalogue or remembering to look it up later. Plus, you do not have to register, sign in, join, or pay. You simply add the extension like you would any other and bam! Results.

My own experience is one of having my library added into the system so once I got the email telling me they’d included it, I had to wait about 12 hours for the full catalogue to come across and for my results to work correctly. I don’t know if this is for each installation but even so, it’s incredibly quick. The extension also updates every few hours so you’re being presented with the most up to date information.

The success rate is fairly high in my limited experience. A few times it has said there are no copies of a book despite me knowing for a fact there is but I’m not sure if that is connected to some issue with metadata, or normal glitches that comes from being still relatively new for my library. The extension itself is a few years old, but having only found it a couple years ago and only gotten a chance to use it this year I am keen to reap the benefits from having that happy little box on my screen that tells me all the great books I can borrow with a click of a button.

Everyone should download this if they’re able. It is a great way to utilise your local library (again, job requirement to add that in there) and it still blows my mind that I can so easily see what my library holds.

Upcoming Movie Adaptations I’m Excited About

Movies have always used books as inspiration and some of the great movie classics that exist have come from books. There are so many books being adapted into movies and miniseries this year but these are the ones I am most excited by. Some have been a long time coming with one thing or another delaying it as rumours went unconfirmed and support fell through and rights disappeared, but some are new stories based on some wonderful books. Either way I am very much looking forward to seeing these brilliant books play out on the screen.

All the Bright Places (Book: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven)

All the Bright PlacesI don’t know if I am ready to see this on the big screen because the book was so wonderful and it crushes your soul. I’ve followed Jennifer Niven get excited over the past months as casting was announced and shooting happened so I am keen to see what comes of it.

Artemis Fowl – Movie (Book: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer)

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)This was first announced a very long time ago, then it went quiet, then there were rumours of actors who’d play Artemis, then it disappeared again. Now it’s back and it actually snuck under the radar for quite a while. I am very excited about this story. It is combining the first three books into one which I am actually ok with. I just hope they do the story justice. I need cunning, unapologetic Artemis and anything else won’t be good enough.

Little Women – Movie (Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

Little WomenThere has only ever been one Little Women for me and that is the 1994 movie with Susan Sarandon that I owned on video and rewatched numerous times over the years. I have given the 2017 miniseries a go and while I enjoyed it but it was also a bit forgettable. I am looking forward to the new movie because the cast looks amazing and this is a story I’ve always loved so it will be exciting to see how it is retold.

His Dark Materials – Miniseries (Book: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman)

Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)After That Movie which I will never forgive them for, when I heard there was going to be a miniseries done by the BBC it was as if all my dreams had come true. Miniseries and TV shows generally pan better than a movie because there is time to work through the events in the book and establish things better. Each book will be getting a series and with 8 episodes I think there is a fantastic chance of getting a great exploration of the plot. Now, as long as the ending stays the same and they don’t do whatever it was that they did to that poor movie, then we should be right!

The Secret Garden – Movie (Book: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

The Secret GardenThe only version I have ever seen of this is the 1993 film. While I own the book I don’t think I ever finished reading it so I might have to rectify that one day. I love this story a lot and seeing it in a new way sounds exciting. Remakes of classic stories like this I am more open to than remaking movies for no reason. Highly illogical no doubt, but I don’t mind.

Looking For Alaska – Miniseries (Book: Looking For Alaska by John Green)

Looking for AlaskaI’m adding Looking for Alaska because while there is no air date, it has started shooting and I am so excited for this series that I need to talk about it at every opportunity. I have no idea who any of the people in the cast are, their names and faces mean nothing to me, but I am instantly willing to love them all for helping bring Alaska to life. I am in constant fear it will be terrible, but this is a risk all book lovers face when they make movies of their favourite books. We’ve been teased for over ten years this book will be a movie and now it is a miniseries which is even better. I cannot wait to have my emotions and my soul crushed into a thousand pieces.

Are there any movie adaptations this year you are looking forward to? Or are there any you wish were being made?

Best Book-to-Movie Adaptations

There is a fine line between a good book adaptation and a poor one. The smallest thing can tip the scales: changing the ending, removing a character, inventing a character, or changing the character roles which alter their onscreen personality (looking at your Ron Weasley, you deserved better).

Booklovers crave and desire to see their favourite books come to the big screen, but at the same time there is a deep trepidation that there will be a great injustice and disservice to the characters and the overall story. I could write page after page of bad book to film adaptations and while that is tempting, it is negative and a bit mean so instead I want to focus on the few I have found which were truly wonderful movies that stay true to the original story.

If a book becomes a movie and I see a runtime of 2.5 hours I have a good feeling because so often it means a great adaptation with a lot true to the book. Not always the case, there will always be exceptions, but it gives me hope.

The Lord of The Rings Series (Extended editions) – Anyone who is out there thinking that 3 hours is enough time to swoon over Aragorn and his wonderful hair is greatly mistaken. I sat through the extended editions of all three films because if I was going to watch them I was going to do it right. No doubt unimportant plot points were included in those extra 30 minutes but it was a great representation of the books. All the little moments and extended scenes, the minor things that became big. The only issue is Merry and Pippin don’t get the serious portrayal they deserve, there’s cheeky but then there’s foolish which Jackson did a bit too much.

The Martian – I was curious how the greatest book of all time was going to be portrayed in film but I had nothing to worry about. There is so much to love about this movie and every minute was a delight. The only downside is the best part of the book was not included re: Aquaman and whales. Other than that, it was a marvellous film from start to finish and felt like a true depiction of the book, minor addition to the end aside.

Gone Girl – For all the hate I had for the book, the movie is actually an accurate representation of the story. I was curious how they would show the flashbacks and the ‘diary’ component but David Fincher has done a great job. It might have been a better movie to see without reading the book because I didn’t hate Nick quite as much in the movie.

Paper Towns – This one I was surprised by my own reaction to. There are changes to the story, a few character moments tweaked and swapped, but the overall theme and feeling of the book has been translated to the screen really well. It felt the same as the book, even though there were a few changes it didn’t matter. It stayed true to the message even with the required movie changes and I was impressed.

The Hunger Games – One of the best adaptations I have seen of a book. It had everything that made the books amazing and it felt as strong and powerful watching it as when I was reading it. I felt the books were playing out in front of me and I loved every minute of it.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – I remember this being the first movie adaptation of a book I’d really paid attention to. I have a vivid memory as it began thinking it was word for word of the book and I loved everything about it. Sure Peeves is missing, but there’s so much else true to that first book that brought that magical experience to life.

Honourable mentions

The Book Thief – I missed a few of the nuances and scenes from the book but it was still an emotional kick in the guts. Not quite as powerful as the book, but still excellent nonetheless.

The Princess Bride – I actually fell in love with the movie before I read the book many years later and I was surprised at their similarities. It’s not an unlikeable movie, quite wonderful in fact, but there are a few changes but the spirit remains and what was left in was delightful.

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I also hated Girl on the Train, and was yes, was surprised I hated the movie as well. Funny that…

These are only the adaptations I have seen, if there are some excellent movie adaptations out there of books please let me know so I can check them out.

Seasons Greetings, Everyone!

It’s ticked over to Christmas here in Australia and the day is looking to be hot and lazy.

As the Christmas lunch is being prepared and the presents await to be opened I hope all of your celebrations whatever they may be are wonderful!

My plans include eating cheese, drinking wine, listening to carols about snow and cold weather, and eating more cheese.

I hope your Christmas Day is filled with all things jolly and I encourage everyone if they can, to sneak off and read a book in a quiet corner.

Staunch Book Prize

I discovered something truly wonderful the other day. There is a new book prize which I think is long overdue and one I think readers will celebrate. Staunch Book Prize is in its inaugural year and its aim is to award the prize to the author of a thriller where no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

Based in England and founded by writer Bridget Lawless, the prize aims to reward writers who tell a thrilling story without resorting to well-worn clichés, “particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).”

When I heard about this I cheered because so often these women in these books are treated so poorly, and while there is argument for storytelling, more often than not the treatment of these women have nothing to do with the storyline, or these characters offer nothing more than playing victim to the often male lead allowing him to be clever and solving the case.

The Staunch Book prize is here to make space for the books that don’t include violence towards women as part of their narrative. As the website states:

While women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, being disbelieved when they report rape or assault, or being murdered because they’re women, the casual and endless depiction of women as victims or prey sits uneasily alongside their fight. While real rape survivors struggle to be heard and counted, fictional rape victims take the stage – usually as two-dimensional characters – in stories that celebrate the cunning (often, charming sexiness/astonishing brutality) of serial rapists and the dogged brilliance of detectives.

The judges include Bridget Lawless, actor, writer and comedian Doon Mackichon, and literary agent Piers Blofeld. The shortlist is to be announced 1st November and hopefully this list will be a great starting point for readers who are looking for entertaining books with thrilling plots and captivating characters, without resorting to the same old stories. The winner will be announced 26th November, a day chosen to honour the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

For further details check out the website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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