Reel Good Reads: From Print to Film

Great books spawn great movies and there's something sure to please everyone here! With new videos and DVDs arriving regularly and our new one-week check out policy there's no reason to spend money at the video store! Just search our catalog by "Video Title Browse" for more great movies!

The African Queen

By C. S. Forester

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First published in 1935, The African Queen is the story of Charlie Allnut & Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader & an English spinster missionary, who are thrown together when World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle. Fighting time, heat, malaria, & bullets, they escape on a rickety steamboat, where they fall in love & hatch an outrageous military plan of their own. The story was immortalized in the 1951 film starring Katharine Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart.

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Mosquito Coast

By Paul Theroux

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Rebelling against the horrors of modern American existence, a father moves his family to the remote jungle of Honduras to make a better life. Things start to go wrong, and the father, unable to admit he is wrong or that he might need help, brings tragedy upon his family.
Also available as a downloadable audio book and as a film, starring Harrison Ford.

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She: A History of Adventure

By H. Rider Haggard

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"A runaway bestseller on its publication in 1887, H. Rider Haggard’s She is a Victorian thrill ride of a novel, featuring a lost African kingdom ruled by a mysterious, implacable queen; ferocious wildlife and yawning abysses; and an eerie love story that spans two thousand years. She has bewitched readers from Freud and Jung to C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien... ."
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The Jewel in the Crown

By Paul Scott

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The first volume in Paul Scott's historical tour-de-force, the Raj Quartet, opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for self-rule. In the Mayapore gardens, Daphne Manners, daughter of the provincial governor, leaves her Indian lover, who will soon be arrested for her alleged rape.
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Black Narcissus

By Rumer Godden

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"In this 1939 psychological drama, English and Irish nuns work to establish a convent in a unused palace, high in the Himalayas. The nuns are to doomed to failure because their own repressed memories and desires make them unable to connect with the Indian people and their culture. They seem to be overwhelmed by the sensuality of their surroundings. The novel was made into an excellent film in 1947 starring Deborah Kerr as the Mother Superior. The nuns leaving the mountaintop palace seemed to many film-goers of the time to be an allegory for the failure of the British Raj."

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The House of Eliott

By Jean Marsh

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Two genteel sisters in 1920s London, finding that they are suddenly destitute, defy societal norms by seeking work. They build a fashionable dressmaking business against the backdrop of a ritzy, jazzy, high society London.  Also available as a BBC production.

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Mrs. Dalloway

By Virginia Woolf

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"Mrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway–-a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and significance–-infusing it with the elemental conflict between death and life–-Virginia Woolf triumphantly discovers her distinctive style as a novelist. Originally published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf’s first complete rendering of what she described as the 'luminous envelope' of consciousness: a dazzling display of the mind’s inside as it plays over the brilliant surface and darker depths of reality."

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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

By Sebastian Junger

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It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high--a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm."  When it struck in October 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong", radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia, and soon afterward the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace. In a narrative taut with the fury of the elements, Sebastian Junger takes us deep into the heart of the storm, depicting with vivid detail the courage, terror, and awe that surface in such a gale. Also available on audio.

On Film:
The Andrea Gail's struggle with a ferocious Northeastern storm is brought to life in the 2000 movie adaptation of Junger's book, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane.

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The Joy Luck Club

By Amy Tan

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In 1949 four Chinese women drawn together by the shadow of their past begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks, eat dim sum, and 'say' stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club.

On Film:
Originally released in 1993,this film adaptation is full of vibrant characters.

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The Hours

By Michael Cunningham

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On a gray suburban London morning in 1923, Virginia Woolf awakens from a dream that will soon lead to Mrs. Dalloway. In the present, on a beautiful June day in Greenwich Village, 52-year-old Clarissa Vaughan is planning a party for her oldest love, a poet dying of AIDS. And in Los Angeles in 1949, Laura Brown, pregnant and unsettled, does her best to prepare for her husband's birthday, but can't seem to stop reading Woolf. In 1999, Cunningham was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this novel.

On Film:
Nicole Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in the 2002 film adaptation of Cunningham's novel. Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore also star in this movie.

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