From Page to Screen in 2019

Check out these novels before their movie adaptations hit theaters this year:

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron – Traces the story of Bella, a dog who is drawn to Lucas Ray, only to be separated from him by rules that disallow pitbulls in their community, a situation that compels the puppy to travel back to the person she loves.
Movie release date: January 11, 2019
Starring: Ashley Judd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edward James Olmos

How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell – When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World,” a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.
Adapted movie title: The Hidden World
Movie release date: February 22, 2019
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrara

The Rhythm Section by Mark Burnell – When Stephanie Patrick learns that a terrorist bomb was responsible for the plane crash that killed her family, she embarks on a plan for revenge that includes training to become a terrorist herself.
Movie release date: February 22, 2019
Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – Todd and Viola are pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron as they set out across New World, searching for answers about their colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing settlers from Old World.
Movie release date: March 1, 2019
Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Nick Jonas

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook – Assigned to oversee the reconstruction of Hamburg in the tumultuous year following World War II, Colonel Lewis Morgan grieves the loss of his son while living with his family in the home of a German widower, an arrangement that forces both families to confront their passions and true selves.
Movie release date: March 15, 2019
Starring: Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgård, Jason Clarke Continue reading

“I don’t understand all the fuss. If any creature is in danger, you save it, human or animal.”

zookeeperswifeThe Brown Baggers met at Central on July 19th to discuss The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. This is the true story of how the Zabinski family in Poland survived WWII, and helped save the lives of over 300 Jews by hiding them in the Warsaw Zoo. Ackerman read through the unpublished diary of Antonina Zabinski to uncover the story.

The Warsaw Zoo was modern for its time, with enclosures that aimed to mimic the animal’s natural habitats. Jan Zabinski was the director of the zoo, but his wife Antonina spent much of her time caring for the sick and orphaned animals. Most of the zoo’s animals and structures were destroyed in the bombings and siege of the city. The Germans closed the zoo when they occupied Poland, but they allowed the Zabinskis to live in the villa and to convert the zoo into a pig farm, then a fur farm.

The Zabinskis became active with the Polish underground resistance and secretly sheltered Jews in various parts of the zoo, as well as their own house, throughout the war. Antonina continued to care for animals, even allowing her young son to keep some as pets in the house throughout the war. Jan fought in the Warsaw uprising and was interred in a POW camp toward the end of the war. The Zabinski family survived the war and the zoo reopened in 1949, with Jan as the director.

The Brown Baggers liked the book. Many mentioned that they enjoyed the author’s writing style and how the book blended two stories – those of the animals of the zoo with the horrors of WWII. However, some did not find all of the naturalist details that were included necessary. They felt like it distracted from the plot line of the story and they would rather have learned more about the members of the resistance and their activities. Many also mentioned the parallels with how the Nazis treated the zoo animals and how they treated humans. While all of the details of the zoo may have been too much for some readers, others felt the animal stories lightened up the otherwise heavy subjects of the book. Continue reading

From Page to Screen in 2018

Check out these novels before their movie adaptations hit theaters this year:

Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton – Describes the secret mission of a small band of U.S. soldiers who battled against Taliban forces on horseback and captured the Afghan city of Mazåar-i Sharåif, a critical location for further campaigns.
Adapted title: 12 Strong
Movie release date: January 19, 2018
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky, Michael Shannon

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian – Recognizing that the final stage of their lives is upon them, John and Ella Robina, the former an Alzheimer’s patient, the latter succumbing to cancer, sneak away from their over-protective children and doctors to embark on an RV vacation along Route 66.
Movie release date: January 19, 2018
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Kirsty Mitchell

Ophelia by Lisa Klein – In this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting.
Movie release date: January 22, 2018 (Sundance)
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Tom Felton

Maze Runner: The Death Cure by James Dashner – A conclusion to the best-selling trilogy that began with The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials finds Thomas placing the success of their mission into the hands of the Gladers, who must complete a blueprint for the cure to the Flare, an effort that is compromised by undisclosed memories.
Movie release date: January 26, 2018
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. Grey – Even though Christian and Anastasia are now a proper couple, they still have many obstacles to overcome, including Christian’s past coming back to haunt Anastasia. This book is intended for mature audiences.
Movie release date: February 9, 2018
Starring: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Arielle Kebbel

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – Adventurous Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother and wanders into Mr. McGregor’s garden.
Adapted title: Peter Rabbit
Movie release date: February 9, 2018
Starring (voices): Rose Byrne, James Corden, Daisy Ridley

Black Panther by Marvel Comics – When a violent uprising is sparked in the land of Wakanda, a African nation famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions, can its king, the Black Panther, save it from this fate?
Movie release date: February 16, 2018
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – Describes the 12th expedition to “Area X,” a region cut off from the continent for decades, by a group of intrepid women scientists who try to ignore the high mortality rates of those on the previous 11 missions.
Movie release date: February 23, 2018
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson Continue reading