Hi friends! My first post-college summer is in full swing and amidst weekly (or daily) freakouts about life, I’ve finally emerged from a rough slump where I really wasn’t in the mood to take in any kind of cultural stuff. I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving lately that have made this transition into real life a little smoother.
Jill Mansell books
I read my first Jill Mansell book years ago and remember thinking it was just okay. Last month, I found myself in the mood for some of my beloved British contemporary fiction (the mood strikes whenever I’m particularly homesick for London, and what with everything going on in the UK in June, I guess it hit me hard). Having come across Mansell’s section on my library OverDrive, I downloaded one at random, Three Amazing Things About You, and quickly fell in love with Mansell’s style. It’s lighthearted, funny chick lit, but still so satisfying – I call her books the written equivalent of films like Love Actually.
Welcome back to my blog, friends! I’ve had a crazy month and a half or so of schoolwork, internship projects, and freak-outs about life that kept me from blogging regularly, but with summer on the horizon, I’m trying to get back into a nice writing routine!
Recently, I purposely made a post about my Tony nomination predictions so it was out before award announcements, and am planning on a reaction post to seeing the Broadway musical Bandstand. For now, as a nice catch-up to get the blog back in order, I wanted to do a News Worthy-esque post about recent cultural news or events that excited me!
Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry are starring in a Broadway revival of Carousel next year. The sound that came out of my mouth when I saw this headline was not human. I love Jessie Mueller, and recently fell in love with my birthday buddy Joshua Henry through his HamJams on Instagram. I love how this is a pairing no one would have really considered in casting speculation but now that it’s happening, everyone loves it! The fact that a black man was cast as Billy in Carousel is also huge and amazing. With a My Fair Lady revival already announced for next season as well, the 2018 musical revival category is looking pretty strong.
Sanne, one of my favorite YouTubers, made a video over the summer about which female book characters she’d pick for her own “bookish girl squad.” She came up with certain characteristics to follow when picking girls, which I decided to list below and use to build my own bookish squad!
Honestly, the idea behind squads kind of intimidates me (blame Taylor Swift’s ever-growing posse), but because imagining book characters were real is the best thing ever, I had no issue putting together this fun group!
Someone who will force you to go out when you want to stay in – Louisa Clark (Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes)
I seriously need a friend like this, but anyone who tries can never manage to break my very tough aversion to the “going out” scene. Lou would be the ideal person for the job because, as seen with persuading Will to do things, she can make things happen when she really wants them to. She’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure you’re having a good time, even if it creates some awkward moments at the horse races, as the book shows.
I haven’t written a post for my weekly News Worthy feature since the beginning of September, but I’d like to try and get back into it – a semi New Year’s resolution, if you will. I had a pretty busy semester in the fall, and while there are definitely more gaps in my schedule this semester (my last of college – uhh…), I feel like they’ll fill up quickly, so committing to News Worthy is a good way to write at least one post every week. Let’s see how this goes!
I finished reading Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter last week and checked out McCoy’s website afterwards. She has a page for all of the essays she’s written over the years and this one, “Author Epiphany: I Film-Track My Novels” was great. McCoy explains that, instead of listening to music when she writes, she’s often typing with old black-and-white movies playing in the background.
Is it too early to start getting excited about all of the new releases / premieres / openings of 2017? As far as I can remember, I’ve never really known of so much stuff that excites me this ahead of the new year. Most of my list relates to the first half of the year, meaning that time should fly leading up to these dates!
1) After Anatevka
I first mentioned this in my post about seeing Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and after seeing the cast’s emotions online after the production closed on Dec. 31, I’m even more excited for this book to come out. Written by the revival’s Tzeitel, Alexandra Silber (who also played Hodel in the last London production), After Anatevka explores what happens to Hodel and Perchik when they’re together in Siberia. I love historical fiction, and although it is one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof has a pretty sad second act, ending with all of the characters’ fates up in the air. Even if this book does have a grim ending, I think this is such a cool and personal project for someone like Silber to take on. The book comes out on the Fourth of July, and I’ll definitely be trying it out!
This year felt like a light reading year for me. Funnily enough, three of my four favorite books I read in 2016 were assigned for school reading, and my overall schedule actually allowed me to really read them when I needed to. I definitely had a lot of reading slumps this year, even happening as early as January, but I’ve gotten a lot better about only finishing a book if I’m really invested in the story. The online book community can go a little crazy about reading as much as possible in a year, and while I may not have read as much this year as I have before, a lot of books read in 2016 just stuck with me in that very rare, special way.
You can check out this year’s favorites below, and I also have posts on past years’ standouts as well (2014 and 2015). Remember, these books weren’t necessarily published in 2016; I just read them for the first time this year.
It was so fun sharing some of my own book-to-movie casting choices here and here that I couldn’t help but write about even more of the actors I pictured as certain characters when reading their stories!
1. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo as Ifemelu and Obinze (Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
“Ifemelu was not sure when something happened, but in those moments, as Kayode talked, something strange happened. A quickening inside her, a dawning. She realized, quite suddenly, that she wanted to breathe the same air as Obinze.”
There’s a line Meg Ryan says in You’ve Got Mail that warms my heart every time. She plays a bookstore owner (can I run a bookstore when I’m retired someday?) and says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
Nothing rings truer to me than this line. Obviously books from early childhood always stay with you no matter how old you are, but even more important to me are the books I chose to read from about fourth through eighth grade. At this point, you’re developing your taste in books and figuring out what you like, and if you’re anything like me, the books from this period are the ones you reread constantly.
I had so much fun writing my first “If These Books Were Movies, They’d Star…” piece that I had to come back for a second one!
1. Bradley Whitford and Chloe Grace Moretz as Jim and Sylvia (The Vacationers, by Emma Straub)
“Families were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best.”
I love sharing what books I think would translate well into films or mini-series, and part of those visions stem from how clearly I can see a certain actor as a character. Ever since I was little, I remember running a book’s story through my head as if I was directing a movie, picturing people I saw on TV as those in the story. Even now, some of these visions are so strong that I view any movie adaptation of a book I love warily, because it’s almost as if my own movie already exists.
I wanted to share some of my favorite “casting choices” – the actors I quickly adopted as characters when reading – from books that haven’t had any kind of adaptation yet. That being said, I think all of these stories would be brilliant as films (it may be a secret desire of mine to write a Millicent Min screenplay).