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Monday, July 2, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
(Ha! Chance here, stepping in for the Bosun, who took two Fridays in row, one for me, one for the Assassin. So, I’m taking a Monday at her request… On with the blog!)
We all have books we enjoy and series/movies we take delight in. And sometimes, they are the same source material. Sometimes a good dramatization will point us to the book, sometimes the book points us to the series/movie.
When I worked in the bookstores, I would recommend movies for parents who despaired of getting their kids to read books. Having a face to put to a character can really help out with keeping a large cast straight. For example, Lord of the Rings. I imagine the same with Harry Potter…
I was preparing to drive to Denver and would be crossing the state where the books were set. I’m already a fan of C.J. Box, whose Joe Pickett mystery series is set in the same area. But I’ve read them all. So…I opted to try the Longmire books.
Wow. In a week, I read all eight of the books. I drove Terri crazy by sending her excerpts that impressed the hell out of me…
How about this one…complex, trippy, thoughtful…
"Somewhere in the distance, the synchronic circles of our pasts had tripped a domino, and the steady whirr had grown till it now drowned with the roar of contingency."
Or…this, simple, concise…
"She was tall with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, with a face that had more character than pretty would allow."
I was totally blown away, and have continued to be blown away by the lyricism of Mr. Johnson’s prose. The stories fascinate me, he pulls me into the larger than life landscape with an ability to captivate. All in first person, all in the voice of a sheriff who is experienced, a widower near retirement age, romantic without being a romance character, and with a mystic connection to his world, his friends, his strength of purpose… I wish I could explain better, but I’m not Mr. Johnson!
Now, the television series. It’s good. But the books are ten times better. Maybe twenty times. Yet, it helps for me to have faces to put to the names. Though, to be truthful, I don’t see them anymore when I read.
The difficulty with movies/series is that they can’t get into the heads of the characters. A good actor can almost get there…but not to the depth a writer can dive.
When we pulled into a Wyoming Starbucks, I had just finished the fourth book on my Nook and was scrambling. I didn’t have the fifth one. Until we found that wifi connection. I sat at the counter, sipping my drink and bought two more volumes and continued on into Denver. I didn’t read at the con, too busy!
I finished the two from Wyoming on the drive home. Somewhere between Colorado and the Southern Californian desert, I finished the fifth and sixth book… Found another Starbucks and bought the last two. One I finished at home, hours after we got home. The last, my first day home.
I seldom pay $12 for an e-book. But I did with several of these books. The rest were around $10. I paused and considered…In a week, I bought over $100 worth of this man’s books. And count it well worth it.
If I had these books in print, I’d be underlining line after line. I wish I’d taken the time to figure out how to do it in my Nook. I find it inspiring to make notes of lines that make me catch my breath. They give me something to strive for, to consider as I write whether I’ve said what I want with sufficient power and magic.
It isn’t always about the vocabulary or how articulate I can be. It’s how stirring, how particularly sweetly I can put words together. I want to paint that image, make my reader catch their breath. Sometimes complex is the answer. Sometimes sublime simplicity.
I have a collection of phrases. Much as other authors put together a photographic collage, I like to collect book lines.
How to wind this down… I have a few questions for the crew… How have books you’ve read stack up against the movies/series? Have you discovered a writer through the dramatic interpretation of their work? Does anyone else collect lines from books that inspire you? Or do you find the idea intimidating? Anyone else see this series yet?