Books2Movies Blog

Since I learned to read letters, and that was quite long time ago, I fell in love with movies and books. Not a day passes without a page of some book read -- a day without a movie is possible though, I haven't so much time at hand as I used to have when I was student.


I like immensely to travel too, but as that passion of mine is hardly possible to fulfill every year, I satisfy myself with those at hand, and those are well, you know, books and movies. A combination of both would be perfect and here I'll try to reflect on those - books and their adaptations, never mind the time, the form and the language in which they were made.

Midaq Alley

Midaq Alley - Naguib Mahfouz

Thanks to good translation by Trevor Le Gassick, I could really enjoy this extraordinary piece of Mahfouz's work. It was enchanting and quite surprising view into the domestic lives of modern Egyptians, although pretty dark one.
The Egyptian culture differs from ours (I am European catholic), I've witnessed their way of living myself, but not so much. Despite some differences in the religious points of view, the depravity and the tragic lives of almost all Mahfouz's characters would be observed with the same (maybe not so intense) disapproval in my country, and would be the temporary subject of malicious street gossip too.
What I admired the most in the novel, was the decency of pious Radwain Hussainy who was the main moral authority for the whole Alley. People of Midaq Alley would very often turn to him to hear his wise words - it is entirely different matter the fact that they weren't always obeyed. Abbas Hilu was good young man too, worth every praise and with bright prospects, if only he wasn't so unfortunate and imprudent in love.
The only issue I had with the novel was its darkness - the main characters weren't likable, they all were in some way corrupted. We all have some character flaws, but here they were accentuated at the expense of any possible virtues so much it was impossible to identify with them. However, they were regarded with such respect, I could follow their stories objectively.
Midaq Alley perfectly captured the atmosphere and state of mind of lower-class Cairo at the end of the Second World War. I deem it worth the attention, if you do look for the thoughtful character study, and especially if you wish to learn something constructive about the Arab culture from their perspective.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - William Goldman

Before an actual (short) review, here's my own Instruction Manual for reading this 30th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride:

1. An original introduction to The Princess Bride

2. The Princess Bride itself

3. An Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition

4. An Introduction (Explanation) to The Buttercup's Baby

5. The Buttercup's Baby6. An Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition


The above mentioned Reading Sequence is important if you wish to maximize your reading pleasure. Otherwise you will minimize it, as all those introductions are basically follow-ups to the original story (as in what happened after...), and first-time readers should definitely skip them in order to avoid any confusion and possible annoyance.


The Princess Bride (the story, no introductions) was delightful, very entertaining fairy tale turned upside down. I believe that if I had read it as a child, I would enjoy it even more. Who knew? I so gladly chuckled on all the witty remarks and notes Goldman had put in the story. Introductions were also very amusing, as they were stories for themselves, about author's life with The Princess Bride - imaginary (now, I am certain you know that, but better safe than sorry) struggles, researches and achievements. Very very amusing - but only if you read The Princess Bride first! So please follow the Instruction Manual :)

In the Dark: A Life and Times in a Movie Theater

In the Dark: A Life and Times in a Movie Theater (Special Edition) - Scott Cherney

If you are a frequent moviegoer, or at least fond of memories of going frequently to the movies, this is a book for you. My country isn't familiar with drive-ins nor movie theathers as those kindly described by Cherney, but I've seen enough movies to know about what is he talking. I liked very much his remembrances of old times and the movies he liked. The only problem I had with him was a pretty high level of egotism he didn't try to tame - this is after all a story of his life - not really ill-mannered but enervated me anyway.

Translating Hollywood

Translating Hollywood: The World of Movie Posters - Sam Sarowitz, Christopher D. Salyers, Eliane Lazzaris

Not much of substance, but interesting if you care to learn (more visually than verbally) how movie posters are designed and with what intentions. Some ideas might even surprise you. In any case, it is neat coffee-table book for random browsing through pages.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale

Total Recall - Philip K Dick

I love this story - in just a few pages it is a prime example of Philip K. Dick's inexhaustible inventiveness and wittiness. Here especially I was delighted by the story twist(s). Although paranoia as an omnipresent theme of his stories sometimes enervates, in this story that didn't bother me an iota :)

The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity  - Robert Ludlum

Really thrilling and amazing thriller. However, I can't consider it a masterpiece, because of the whirlwind of schemes and plots that were sometimes hard to untangle. It was at times so fast-paced and so confusing, I really didn't have any desire to contemplate about what the heck I've just read, because I deemed it to be too exhausting even to try. I just wanted to keep going, wanted to know what would happen next. If some book can keep me that much on the edge of the seat till the end, I think it's worth reading.

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories - Elmore Leonard

Western stories aren't so common nowadays - or at least I haven't read many - mostly Zane Grey's romantic novels in the high school, and italian comic books (Tex Willer, Kit Teller, Commandant Mark, even Zagor, Gil, Blek le Roc, any familiar?) with an older brother. So I was honestly suspicious about what to expect here. Well, what I got were six short stories and a novelette, all easy and exciting to read, all covering very maturely and realistically very different topics. The cowardice and heroism, the greed and cruelty versus honesty and kindness, the integrity and honour at the both sides of the law, the willingness to survive, to protect your own home and loved ones, to outsmart your adversary.


My favourite stories were Three-Ten to Yuma and The Kid. The first one perfectly depicted both sides of the laws as human beings, both prone to mistakes as well as to good and bad deeds. I found second one the most interesting, not reading such things quite often - about a wild orphan boy kidnapped and mistreated in the outpost in the middle of nowhere. No need to tell that the brave solution of his grave problem was found soon.In short, pretty cool collection, of quite well chosen stories.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson

I was really impressed by the structure, the pace and the level of suspense of this novella. The images story provided were so vivid, provoking and convincing, that time could not do any harm to its timeless theme, that inspired so many theatrical adaptations. Stevenson really invested a lot of effort in building the story. The only thing I was unsatisfied with was a stereotype of evil equaling ugly exterior, although the ugly impression Hyde gave was more of a hunch people had of him than of his looks. Also, if we exclude two obvious, hideous deeds described earlier in the story, Hyde's character and mischief was only alluded, hidden on purpose to force us to interpret it by ourselves. After having heard and seen so many interpretations, I wasn't really inclined to make my own. Regardless, the story itself was superb, definitely worth reading.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

Extraordinary novel which every sentence and word was food for my mind and soul. Hardy's witty, shrewd and merciless remarks about his heroes and heroines of various backgrounds and beautiful descriptions of Wessex landscapes left me awestruck. Read it I guess ten years ago and now again – I really deem it worth your time and effort, especially if your book edition (as mine) has footnotes regarding (in today's modern world) obscure terminology and references. Very valuable source of otherwise unknown information about rural England of that time, but also of Hardy's vast knowledge and education.

My favourite quote from the book, which seems to reflect the state of mind in every Hardy's novel and character:
There is always an inertia to be overcome in striking out a new line of conduct – not more in ourselves, it seems, than in circumscribing events, which appear as if leagued together to allow no novelties in the way of amelioration.

Into the Wild

Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer This is really not a kind of book you would wish to devour at once, but rather to read it slowly, to ponder about every chapter you've read for itself, because every of them gives something unique to think about.This is a story about McCandless, true, but it is also about all those dreamers all over the world that share(d) his thoughts if not determination. It is also about us - because through all that reflection about McCandless and his short-lived dream, it is simply unavoidable to have some thoughts about ourselves, about our priorities and our dreams.It doesn't really matter what we think of McCandless - was he really an awesome man you would like to have known personally, or some self-absorbed, overconfident boy whose limitless stubborness costed him at last dearly - because, as Krakauer says from his own experience, he is just one of those boys who tried to literally pursue their dreams, but just didn't have enough luck to outlive them. What really matters is -- I believe -- what are we going to learn from McCandless's (and Krakauer's) experience? How his principles, his ideas and his mistakes are going to reflect on us?I am what some people tend to say to me down-to-earth dreamer - I pursue those I can realistically achieve without much loss to anybody but to myself. So, I approved McCandless's want to follow his wanderlust, but didn't approve his selfishness regarding his family, lack of common sense and prudence, and insatiable will to listen and learn only what was convenient to him to know. I am ready to adapt to the situation I am in, he wasn't really. I tend sometimes to do something rush and foolish, but he was what I would say really impulsive. But - that is also something about me I wouldn't otherwise give some valuable thought over, hadn't I read the book. Didn't expect that the book about someone else would lead to so much self-interrogation and introspective.


Dubliners - James Joyce Awesome collection of short stories I wouldn't ever expect from the author of such a troublesome book as is Ulysses. I know Joyce wrote Dubliners much before Ulysses, but I felt anyway pleasingly surprised by what I've read. Stories do not seem anyhow connected but with the general setting in Dublin. Each present different characters, from different walks of life, and they all were very interesting. My favourites are "Araby", "A Mother" and "The Dead". They seemed to me the most stirring, the most powerful of all, although every of them had something disturbing in, that made me feel uneasy. Every story looked larger than life. There was nothing unusual about the characters in these stories, to be honest, but Joyce made me feel like I knew every each of them like they were my neighbours. Maybe they were really his – whatever is true, I doubt there are many writers that can boast themselves with such an extraordinary achievement as Joyce did with Dubliners. That somehow makes me regret for his being stranded onto those artistic experimental waters. They might be highly appreciated by critics, but aren't really enticing for second reading.

Et si c'était vrai...

Et si c'était vrai... - Marc Levy

Très joli et amusant livre de la romance au quelle est impossible de croire mais on veux juste parce qu'est si belle, innocente et drôle. Tous les characteres sont si sympathiques et on a envie de les connaître, vraiment connaître. Les paysages décrits, les déscriptions en général, étaient très charmant et captivant. En bref, c'est un livre à recommander pour la lecture de loisir, vous sera certainement faire sentir mieux. Moi, je voudrais immediatement lire la suite aussi :)

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities (Illustrated) (Top Five Classics) - Hablot Knight Browne, Charles Dickens, Barnard,  Frederick

What follows might be considered a heresy – but this is what I think of A Tale of Two Cities. I do not consider it a masterpiece. Too many repetitions, far too intensive sentiments and excessive use of symbols which we know they are but hardly care to unravel their meaning after a while. At the beginning the ambiguity and wish to remain enigmatic was interesting, but maintaining the same mysterious shroud throughout the whole book, has no other purpose but the tormenting of the reader. And must I remind you, the contemporary reader of A Tale of Two Cities had to read it in series. However, that also surely means that they had a plenty of time to dwell over the meaning of the paragraphs read before moving on to the next... the privilege of which we as modern 21st century readers unfortunately do not have.But, despite of all above said, it is quite an extraordinary book. Its antagonists were very intriguing. The world of Dickens in this book and elsewhere is mostly black and white, so I was disturbingly pleased by the greyishness of the French revolutionaries. Some were lunatics, of course, just in Dickens's fashion, but Dickens gives justice to the roots of the Revolution, so that the reader cannot unilaterally denounce the actions of the revolutionaries. Most were unreasonable, certainly, but how do you reason with the mother whose child the aristocrat ran over with his carriage and went freely away without a single speck of remorse? Do you actually dare to reason with her? I myself do not think that we should be the judges of other people's lives, and taking away one life won't do the justice to the already lost one, so the revenge isn't quite a remedy for ending one's emotional anguish, but I cannot guarantee for other people's opinion about the same subject. So I was sincerely worried till the very end about all the protagonists' fate, because the way Dickens described the position they were in, I wasn't certain about the means of their escape – was that possible in such an hostile environment where innocence itself meant nothing? No need to say further, all the concerns were dispelled in quite a Dickensian way. But the message left was a strong one. And I believe it left a big mark in his contemporary readers too.

A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs

The days of innocence in thoughts, words and deeds, are long gone – but remain in the written word, such as that of Edgar Rice Burroughs. No review can give him enough merit. I haven't felt so long so much admiration and genuine child-like interest marked by eyes and mouth wide agape in amazement. I held the book every night, till very deep into the night, without skipping a single word, and went to sleep with radiant smile on my face. I knew that Mars described here never existed, but I honestly didn't care, for a world Burroughs created is so enchanting, that I regret it being just an imaginary one. Not that I personally desire to live among those strange yet intriguing Martians he describes (I am too much of a loner and a peevish one too, for so drastically changing my ways) but gosh how I would enjoy listening to the tales of my beloved about it. I always deeply admired the tales other people told me, whether they were true or not, because I like the glimmer in their eyes and the excited voice with which they narrate their stories. That's the way Burroughs writes, with passionate glow emanating from his eyes, just like Howard and Stevenson and many other old masters of adventure storytelling, with a dash of genuine innocence from his very heart, as he speaks in the first person with a reassuring, comforting voice only to you, allowing you to feel just the same joy and excitement.

Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire--And Both Lost

Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire--And Both Lost - Dan Raviv Scary saga about the clash of business tycoons, who hadn't basically ever read a single page of a comic book, but found Marvel anyway interesting pick because of its peculiar numbers. In this book you will discover what brought Marvel to bankruptcy and what kind of powers struggled to gain the control over it by paperwork, just to make more profit by exploiting its weaknesses and assets, without exhibiting a bit of interest to the creative and real value adding aspect of the company. What kind of life is this these stock and bond market businessmen lead? They live for a work almost 24 hours a day, think only about numbers and zeros they might add (or subtract, given the case) to their bank accounts (without really harming their financial positions and lifestyles) and casually chat with their potential business partners or enemies (again, given the case...) about everything (but comics) over the lunch break while at the same time pondering how to outsmart and beat them, without basically having a clue about the actual companies they are fighting over. I define that really scary. Playing such a persistent game with people's lives and dreams (depending on the perspective, whether you're insider or outsider in the entire story) because of the egos, and of how much fortune they personally might yield of it? Do not talk to me about the pocket money they give for their philanthropic causes, please - that would be quite a hypocrisy.

The Road

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

It took me a while to reflect upon the stars I should give to this book - four or five - four point five would be neat but here not possible option... The book totally shattered me in a way it made me cry and ponder too much over many observations, but I was at the beginning really puzzled by the grammar and scant use of complex sentences.
After a while I got used to it and realised the purpose of such writing style - it perfectly matched the down-hearted state of protagonists' minds. The Earth in which they live dies, slowly but consistenly and inevitably, and in such world without hope and future, where everything material if not edible is completely worthless and pointless, the remarks and thoughts are scarce and restricted to the current state of awareness, basically to their survival insticts and values as human beings at the brink of extinction, which they in this story really are.
The father sees the only fire worth living for in his own boy - that boy is his light, his hope and his purpose... The cause of the apocalypse is in this story irrelevant - it might be super-volcano, an extra-large comet, a nuclear catastrophe, whatever - that would be interesting question for a debate though, as such scary scenario might really happen, not in the near future, I hope. The real essence of the story lies in what makes our life valuable, worth living for, when we are left without absolutely anything but our own kin and the values we honour from our ancestors and the close loved ones... Shall we descend to the lowest levels of savagery or retain some dignity, honour, selflessness and love in the life that offers nothing but despair.

Currently reading

Les Misérables
Victor Hugo