What it’s about: Illustrator Satrapi’s childhood in and out of Iran during and just after the revolution.
What made me pick it up: I had read Persepolis and Persepolis 2, graphic novels by Satrapi, and was curious to see how they had been turned into a film.
My favorite parts: This was a very faithful retelling of Satrapi’s graphic novels, with pieces moved around in just the right way to tell it visually without it being dryly chronological. I actually think her illustrations work better as animations so I highly enjoyed the movie. It is in French as well (with English subtitles), so Francophiles can rejoice!
Who it’s great for: Readers of Satrapi’s books. Anyone interested in Iran, especially during the revolution and its aftermath.
As we all begin to move forward after the horrendous Charlottesville violence of August 12, Abby and I thought we would share some books that might make for good reading to further inform on issues of racial and social justice.
Enjoy these books and pursue other reading that opens you up to new ideas and the experience of people different than you. Most importantly going forward, treat each other with understanding, kindness, and love.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman because I like his other stuff. Whereas by Layli Long Soldier because Native American poetry. White Working Class by Joan C. Williams because I read White Trash and am just on a jaunt on that subject.
What it’s about: A brand new podcast featuring LeVar Burton reading short fiction.
What made me tune in: This is basically Reading Rainbow for the adults who grew up with it.
My favorite things: Primarily featuring science fiction and fantasy, Burton’s enthusiasm for the stories he reads is contagious. The voices and sound effects used in each episode are engaging and fit the stories so well that they almost go unnoticed. I love the way he takes the time to explain why he chose each story and what aspects of it he likes the best. So far, each episode has been under an hour and fits nicely into a day’s commute.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who grew up on Reading Rainbow. Fans of audiobooks looking for something shorter to try.
Find it for free wherever you access your podcasts.
What it’s about: A previously unpublished collection of stories by the multitalented late writer Kathleen Collins on love, family, and relationships.
What made me pick it up: I’d heard good things about the collection and it was nice and short so I knew I could get through it quickly and easily.
My favorite things: Collins seamlessly moves through different voices and perspectives, lending each an air of honesty and authenticity. Her stories sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes mundane, but always moving
Who it’s great for: Readers looking for stories about love and relationships that don’t ignore the complexities of race, gender, class, and sexuality.
What it’s about: Notable female scientists throughout history.
What made me pick it up: I think I saw it on Twitter. It was about women scientists and I placed a hold immediately because I immensely enjoyed Lab Girl and Headstrong.
My favorite things: This book is like a good mixed drink: smooth, flavorful, and designed to be sipped slowly. I only read a few pages a day so I could savor the unique illustrations and layouts as well as the mostly new-to-me knowledge of these amazing scientists. The message is empowering for girls of any age and the colors are fabulous. It’d make a great gift for any young devotee of STEM in your life.
Who it’s great for: Those interested in women’s contributions to science. Readers of all ages. Fans of great illustrations. Graphic novel readers who want a nonfiction book. Girls, girls, girls.
What it’s about: A curmudgeonly old man tries to move on after losing his wife and his job in quick succession.
What made me watch it: A woman in my book club mentioned it was as good as any huge fan of the book could hope (and I am one!). When the library got a copy I checked it out.
How it stacks up to the book: This was nicely done. It was missing some of the humor that comes from the ability to hear(read) a character’s inner monologue, but still had its moments. Some plot points were rearranged and timelines were condensed, which is to be expected. Overall the characters and relationships are as crisp and powerful as they are in the book and the tugs on your heartstrings just as pronounced. I could watch it over again.
Who it’s great for: Fans of the book. Lovers of foreign films (it’s in Swedish). Viewers looking for a heartfelt story and a sincere and masterful translation from page to screen.
Get the film or the book from Amazon (affiliate links) or check for them in your local library.
Thanks for the nomination, Reads & Reels. We had a lot of fun talking this out and coming up with our answers!
Thank the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.
Nominate 11 people and give them 11 different questions to answer.
Reads & Reels’ Questions:
Favourite literary character, living or dead? Erica: Lizzie Bennett. Although Jo March is a strong runner up. I like a sassy female lead who can’t help herself and sort of doesn’t fit into society of her time. But with a happy ending. Abby: Okay, starting off with a tough one. There are a ton of great characters I want to list who are well written and strong and witty and that I’d definitely want on my team in the post-apocalypse. But if I’m totally honest I think there’s only one real answer: Neville Longbottom.
What is your favourite book to film adaptation? Erica: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Abby: The first Hunger Games movie.
Which one do you consider the worst? Erica: Jack Reacher. Listen, it didn’t matter who you cast, that dude needed to be 6’5” and built like a Mack Truck. They are perfectly acceptable action movies that shouldn’t have branded themselves with such a distinctive character name. I’m looking at you Tom Cruise. Abby: Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. Look, this book was short and mostly fun. The movies were not. Related: I loved his Lord of the Rings adaptation.
Any celebrity crushes? Can be a celebrity or a role or character. Erica: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (in either role) is my go-to for character. If you make me pick a celebrity it’s honestly a split between Matt Damon and Stephen Colbert. Abby: John Oliver as himself. Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins and Michael B. Jordan as Vince Howard. Also Connie Britton as Tami Taylor. Actually, the entire Friday Night Lights cast.
Favourite animated feature? Erica: Shrek. There are so many good ones. I especially enjoy them now that they’re adding adult humor. Abby: Up was so good.
If you could turn any book into a videogame which one would you pick? Erica: Jack Reacher series or Jason Bourne series Abby: Maybe the Martian? It would be like those annoying farming games on Facebook a few years ago but in space and with higher stakes.
Is there a film that wasn’t nominated for an oscar that you feel should have been? Erica: Nope. Abby: Nope. But I didn’t actually see any movies in theaters last year, so I’m kind of out of touch.
Favourite author and/or director? Erica: For author, I’d have to say my favorite fiction writer is Jane Austen. For nonfiction I’d go with Malcolm Gladwell. For director I’d say Paul Greengrass. Abby: Margaret Atwood is probably my top pick for a favorite author. But I love Isabel Greenberg for her graphic novels. I’m not sure that I have a favorite director.
Do you read entirely on an electronic device or are you a purist and love that new or old book smell? Erica: A little of both. I listen to books and read them on my computer (oh hey, browser streaming), have them on my phone, and also read print versions. Occasionally I’ll put them on my tablet. Abby: I like to mix it up. I try to keep an ebook and an audiobook on my phone at all times in case I need something to read STAT, but I definitely read more in print. I have to say, the smell of an old library book is not always the most pleasant.
If you could be any member of the Justice League, who would you pick? Erica: Wonder Woman Abby: Element Girl. Full disclosure: I didn’t know who she was until Erica read the Justice League wikipedia page out loud to me. Something about using faces as ashtrays really sealed the deal.
Is blogging/ writing your full-time gig or do you have a day job?
We are both librarians full-time and blog on the side.
What is your favorite classic book?
What is a book you started and never finished?
Which book do you think should be made into a movie but hasn’t been yet?
Which book did you read as a child and still list among your favorites today?
Favorite book with an animal in it?
What is your favorite genre and which book would you recommend from it?
Is there a book that you consider required reading but haven’t read yet?
Be honest, do you ever judge (or choose) a book by its cover?
What is your favorite book to give as a gift or your favorite book that you’ve received as a gift?