The Paperback Book Club: February 2015 meetup

Are you a bibliophile who enjoys intense book discussions? If you live in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor, check out The Paperback Book Club.

The book chosen for December is ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling. A summary of the story is written below:

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling

Here are details of the next book discussion:

Date:  28th of February 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 3 – 5 pm
Location: Nook Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Who is invited? Any readers aged 18 years and older
What will be discussed? Themes, characters, plot, style, takeaway points from the book, etc.

RSVP at the website or Facebook page if you are keen to join the discussion.

For latest news on the meetups, check out their official website and Facebook page.

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‘Casual Vacancy’ is now a BBC mini series

Fans of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Casual Vacancy’, beware! The book is being adapted into a tv series by BBC One, in association with HBO.

The cast includes Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie, and introduces Abigail Lawrie.

The miniseries comprises three one-hour episodes. It is scheduled to debut on HBO on 29th of April with two back-to-back episodes. The third episode will be screened on 30th of April.

Watch the trailer here:

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling

Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner. This post contains spoilers so kindly skim it to avoid too much information.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week there is a specific bookish topic, which will be discussed and shared among bloggers. Today’s topic excites me because my friends & I initiated a book club for a youth organisation close to our hearts. We have wonderful discussion on a particular book every month. I always look forward to our book discussion.

My choice of Ten Books I’d Love to Read with My Book Club are…

‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion

Cover by Simon & Schuster; published in 2013

I noticed this novel a couple of months ago when Sony Pictures bought the rights to adapt the novel. My interest piqued when Bill Gates posted about the book on his Facebook. I got a copy at a book sale and am looking forward to reading it next year.

Possible topics of discussion:

  • Is there any difference of writing styles between male and female romance author?
  • Can true love be found using a formula? What about matchmaking websites?
  • Don Tillman’s peculiarity

 

 

‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Cover by Scholastic; published in 2011

I enjoy reading novels with dystopia theme and ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy is one of my favourites. I believe the books need to be discussed individually. ‘Mockingjay’ is my favourite book because of its darker themes. Therefore I would love to hear other people’s views on:

  • Reality tv shows – compare them to ‘The Hunger Games’
  • Propaganda & tokenism – Katniss as a “symbol” to unite other districts
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after winning the Hunger Games – I’d love to read more about Haymitch’s point of view

 

‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell

Cover by Penguin; published in 2008

 

George Orwell’s books are popular for book club discussions and some consider this as a children’s book. So why not use this book to lure more members to come to a book discussion?

Possible topics of discussion:

  • Propaganda against communism / Russia
  • If George Orwell had used human characters instead of animals, would the novel still be influential?
  • How do young readers comprehend the political aspects of the novel? (I’m intrigued that this novel is marketed as a children’s book)

 

 

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult

Cover by Washington Square Press; published in 2005

This novel provokes a lot of after-thoughts, such as:

  • The novel is told from many different viewpoints. What do you think if it was written in just single (Anna’s) or double viewpoints (Anna’s & Sarah’s)?
  • What do you think of designer baby? In this case, a baby was conceived to save an older sibling.
  • What do you think of the parenting style?

 

 

 

Cover by Harper Perennial, published in 2006

 

‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver

I was emotionally exhausted when I finished reading this book. Nevertheless, I would love to spend 1-2 hours talking about this book. Questions that still linger in my mind:

  • Did Kevin respect and love Eva at all?
  • Who do you blame for Kevin’s atrocious behaviour? Himself or the parents?
  • Contrast the parenting styles of Franklin and those of Eva.

 

 

‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green

Cover by Speak; published in 2006

I have only read ‘Looking for Alaska’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I really enjoyed the former than the latter even though ‘Looking for Alaska’ is a much older work and less popular work (this might change once the movie goes into production). I like how human existence is dealt in this book. Some questions I would ask in a book discussion are:

  • John Green divided the story into two parts: ‘before’ and ‘after’. What do you think of this structure of storytelling?
  • What happened the night Alaska died? Did she kill herself or was it an accident?
  • What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and then examine how Islam, Buddhism and Christianity attempt to answer it.

 

‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote

Cover by Penguin; published in 2012

I watched ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ a couple of years ago when I was in a ‘Hepburn’ phase. After watching the movie, I assumed he wrote fluff pieces. Whoa, I was so wrong. This book was compelling – I couldn’t believe that ‘In Cold Blood’ is a true crime! There are many questions that I’d like to explore:

  • What kind of men were Richard Hickock and Perry Smith? Compare and contrast their backgrounds.
  • Do you think Mr Capote give a just/unbiased representation of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith?
  • If the murder victims weren’t as white, prosperous, or well-liked as the Clutter family, do you think this book would be well-received and adapted into a movie?

 

‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman

Cover by Headline Publishing Group; published in 2014

 

I have only read one of the author’s work – ‘Neverwhere’. I enjoyed the depictions of London but I dislike Richard Mayhew and the pacing of the story. Nevertheless, I am keen to give Mr Gaiman another go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness 

Cover by Candlewick Press; published in 2013

 

This is another book in my ‘to-be-read’ list. I have never read Patrick Ness’s work before but I purchased this novel after reading about its book-to-movie adaptation. I’d like to recommend this book to my reading group because of (1) the adaptation and (2) the genre – we don’t have a horror book in our list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Cover by Harcourt, Inc. Published in 2000

 

My former housemate gave me a Spanish copy of ‘The Little Prince’ as a parting gift (hablo un poco español :)). I was curious about the book so I searched for it via Google. The book seems to be a favourite choice amongst book lovers. By adding this book to my book club’s reading list, I hope more members will attend the monthly discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Are you part of a book club/reading group? What questions should I ask during a discussion? I would love to read your book suggestions as well as discussion questions. Please share them in the comment box below.

The Mortdecai Trilogy: In cinemas starting 23rd January 2015

Mortdecai is adapted from ‘The Mortdecai Trilogy’ by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Charlie Mortdecai is an art dealer with some distinctly dubious friends in the London underworld and some great connections to the British upper classes.

The trilogy is a collection of his misadventures. ‘Don’t Point that Thing at Me’ finds Charlie momentarily distracted by a police charge accusing him of stealing a priceless Goya; a nuisance that he overcomes without passing up a single glass of fine wine or plate of foie gras. In ‘After You with a Pistol’ Mortdecai is roped into a marriage with a beautiful Viennese heiress, who is willing to blissfully accompany him on his life of taste and intrigue as long as he can help her with one little errand: assassinate the Queen of England. ‘Something Nasty in the Woodshed’ features Charlie, exiled in London due to his growing unpopularity fueled by the aforementioned shady art deal, taking refuge on the island of Jersey. What begins as a epicurean interlude morphs into a macabre manhunt as Charlie seeks to expose a local rapist.

The movie version stars Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor. ‘Mortdecai’ will be released today in the United States of America. Malaysia cinema-goers get an earlier release date, 22nd of January 2015.

Watch this trailer here:

Top Ten Most Eagerly-awaited Book-inspired Movies

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner. This post contains spoilers so kindly skim it if you don’t want too know in detail.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme started by The Broke and the Bookish in an effort to encourage bloggers to discuss about books. There is a new topic every Tuesday.

Today, bloggers can choose any topics that they’d like to write about. There are many book-inspired movies that will be released in 2015. Here is a list of ten book adaptations that I look forward to this year.

In the Heart of the Sea

Based on: ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ by Nathaniel Philbrick
Movie release date: 13th of March 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Cast and/or crew – This Ron Howard-directed movie stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson & Ben Whishaw
2. Fascinating storyline – it’s a sea adventure that involves a whale!

Watch the trailer below.

Paper Towns

Based on: ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green
Movie release date: 19th of June 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Cast and/or crew – The script is written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (the duo who wrote ‘(500) Days of Summer’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’). I also like Nat Wolff’s acting in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’.
2. John Green – I have read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Looking for Alaska but not this (yet). I’d like to explore more of his writing so I shall borrow from a friend.

There is no trailer yet but click here to read my blog post on the movie.

Me Before You

Based on: ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes
Movie release date: 21st of August 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Fascinating storyline – a romance story involving a paralysed man. I haven’t read any of Ms Moyes’s work but this movie prompts me to put this book in my to-be-read pile.
2. Cast and/or crew – In an interview for ‘Love, Rosie’ (another book-turned-movie), Sam Claflin mentioned that he’d like to play a physically and emotionally challenged character. I look forward to seeing him in that role.

There is no trailer yet but click here to read my blog post on the movie.

Black Mass

Based on: ‘Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob’ by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’neill
Movie release date: 18th of September 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Fascinating storyline – it’s based on a true story about 2 childhood friends who end up on opposite sides of the law – one is a FBI agent while the other is a part of an Irish mob.
2. Cast and/or crew – Benedict Cumberbatch.

Victor Frankenstein

Inspired by: ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley
Movie release date: 2nd of October 2015
Reasons to watch: 
1. Fascinating storyline – Told from Igor’s perspective, movie goers will get to see how Victor Frankenstein transforms from a medical student to the man who created The Monster.
2. Cast and/or crew – Igor is played by Daniel Radcliffe while James McAvoy takes on the role of Victor Frankenstein.

Mockingjay Part 2

Based on: ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins
Movie release date: 20th of November 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Fascinating storyline – It’s my favourite book out of the trilogy. I enjoyed reading the book because of its darker themes (war, post-traumatic stress disorder, displacement, tokenism etc.).
2. Cast and/or crew – Francis Lawrence did a great job directing ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘Mockingjay: Part 1’ – I dislike Gary Ross’s direction in ‘The Hunger Games’. As for the cast, I’d love to see more of Haymitch because he’s my favourite character in the book.

Macbeth

Based on: ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare
Movie release date: 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Cast and/or crew – Michael Fassbender. In my humble opinion, he’s the best actor in his generation.

Michael Fassbender as Macbeth

Dark Places

Based on: ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn
Movie release date: 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Fascinating storyline – It’s about a woman who survived brutal killing of her parents. She meets crime enthusiasts, revisits the murder case and starts to see the case from a different angle. After reading the synopsis of the book, I am compelled to read the book. Book is now in my to-be-read list.

High-Rise

Based on: ‘High Rise’ by J.G. Ballard
Movie release date: 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. Fascinating storyline – The book has been described as ‘Lord of the Flies inside an apartment’. I’m going to read the book!
2. Cast and/or crew – Tom Hiddleston. As much as I enjoy watching him as Loki, I’d love to watch him in a meatier role.

The Secret Scripture

Based on: ‘The Secret Scripture’ by Sebastian Barry
Movie release date: 2015
Reasons to watch:
1. The book – I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago but put it on hold to start reading another book (for my monthly book club meets). I found out about the movie when I conducted research for this blog post.
2. Cast and/or crew – I haven’t watched Jim Sheridan’s works but I know he has an impressive portfolio. Now that I know about the casting of Vanessa Redgrave (as older Roseanne) Eric Bana (as Dr William Greene), it would be much easier to be immersed in the story.


Do you have any of these movies in your watchlist? What are your book-inspired movies that you look forward to this year? Check out the links for ideas and then let me know in the comment box below.

Paperback Book Club: Meetup on 24th January 2015

If you live in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor and enjoy book discussions, why not join of the few book clubs in the area? The Paperback Book Club is a Kuala Lumpur-based book group that has discussed more than 40 books since it was founded in October 2011.

The book chosen for the first discussion of the year is ‘The Namesake’ by Jhumpa Lahiri. If you haven’t read the book nor watched the movie version, here is a synopsis:

‘The Namesake’ takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves.

One of the many covers for ‘The Namesake’

Here are details of the book discussion:

Date: 24th of January 2015
Time: 3 – 5 pm
Location: The Local
D-7-G Jaya One, 72A Jalan Universiti,
46200 Petaling Jaya

Kindly RSVP by 17th of January 2015 so event organiser would be able to book enough seats and tables for attendees.

For latest news on the meetups, check out their official website and Facebook page.

‘Me Before You’: An adaptation in the works!

Fans of Jojo Moyes, get excited!

‘Me Before You’ is being adapted into a movie!!! The movie will be directed by Thea Sharrock – who seems very passionate about this project. Writers Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter are said to be working on Ms Moyes’s draft of the script. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin are set to play Louisa Clark and Will Traynor respectively. The tentative release date of ‘Me Before You’ is August 2015.

If you don’t know much about ‘Me Before You’, here is a synopsis:

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Now who’s excited about this book-to-movie adaptation?

One of the many covers for ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes