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Books into Celluloid: A Christmas Carol

Written by Kelly Cozy Monday, 05 January 2009 20:51

A Christmas Carol
Written by Charles Dickens
Published in 1843

A Christmas Carol
Directed by Clive Donner

Not ready to let the holiday season go? Then pour yourself a glass of mulled wine, get a plate full of your favorite holiday nibbles, and settle in for this ghostly Christmas tale.

The story

Bitter, cynical, and miserly, Ebenezer Scrooge only cares for money. Of the many things he dislikes, what he loathes most is Christmas. But all that changes one Christmas eve when he's visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge's kindred spirit in life, in death Marley is a pitiful figure, tormented and bound by chains. Marley offers Scrooge a chance to escape this damnation — Scrooge will be visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come, and perhaps get a chance to change his ways.

Read more: Books into Celluloid: A Christmas Carol


Shelf Life: Packing

Written by Terry Weyna Saturday, 13 December 2008 20:32

If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo CalvinoThe most momentous decision I make each time I travel is not where I will go: if I am vacationing, that is usually obvious (a spa, a beach or an isolated bed and breakfast if I'm really tired; a foreign country if I can afford it; a readerly science fiction convention if I'm feeling intellectually inclined; New York if I need a heavy dose of culture). If I am visiting family, it will be Chicago, New York or Florida; if it's on business, it will be wherever is dictated by the deposition, court hearing or document production (and usually something glamorous like a warehouse in Montgomery, Alabama or Stockton, California). It isn't what I'll wear: I have an entire wardrobe of travel knits, and I tend to build around one or two pairs of slacks and a wardrobe of sweaters varying in materials depending on climate. It isn't even what to do with the cat: she goes to her own spa and pouts for the entire duration of my travel.

No, the big decision is always: What books do I bring? The choice must be made very carefully, because I don't know what mood I'll be in when I reach my destination. Mysteries or science fiction? Better pack both. Classics? Nonfiction? Better have a variety. Hardcover or exclusively paperback? Trade paper or mass market? Library books? Books for review? Books IÂ need to read? Books I've already begun reading? Magazines? Ach, my aching head!

Read more: Shelf Life: Packing


Books into Celluloid: Watership Down

Written by Kelly Cozy Sunday, 07 December 2008 16:09

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Watership Down
Written by Richard Adams
Published in 1972
Watership Down
Watership Down
Directed by Martin Rosen
For my inaugural Books into Celluloid column here at BookBalloon, I thought I'd tackle what was not only a favorite book and film from my childhood, but one of my first experiences with the art of film adaptation.

Read more: Books into Celluloid: Watership Down


Shelf Life: Getting Older

Written by Terry Weyna Saturday, 06 December 2008 22:16

I'm 52 years old. That doesn't seem ancient; in fact, I might only be halfway through life, given modern medicine and the state of my health. There is virtually no cancer in my family history, my parents are still living, and my good cholesterol is so high that my doctor tells me heart disease, which is usually what kills us Weynas, is unlikely to hit me anytime soon. So I don't need to worry about my gray hair, and can concentrate on my lack of wrinkles (another lovely family trait) instead.

Except for one thing. No matter how I look at it, it still seems certain to me that I will die with books I really want to read still unread. In fact, I'll probably die with books I already own still unread.

Our library contains something like 12,000 books, more or less. I'm only estimating, based upon having catalogued more than half our stuffed bookcases and closets on LibraryThing and reached a grand total of almost 7,100 books.

Read more: Shelf Life: Getting Older


Shelf Life: Dedicated to the One I Love

Written by Terry Weyna Monday, 03 November 2008 16:44

It's happened again, for the fourth time: my husband has published a book and dedicated it to me. Isn't that the coolest thing in the entire world?

I've been accused of having a marriage that "sounds like the Brady Bunch" (though we have no children), and of "rubbing people's noses" in having a good one. My youngest sister mocks my joy in my Fred by saying things like, "Oh, he breathed! Didn't he breathe beautifully?!" I suppose I am a bit over the top about the guy. It probably comes from our having been married late in life, after we both suffered through unhappy first marriages.

More than that, though, I think it's that we're so very much aligned in what's important to us. What is that? Books and writing. I've alluded to that here before, but I haven't mentioned how very much those things are really the basis of our relationship. We met in the first place because I could compose a sentence, my husband tells me.

Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos by Dennis Overbye I ran an ad entitled "Do You Like to Read?" on — of all places — AOL, and he answered it. I almost didn't respond to his ad because he lived relatively far away from me (about 120 miles), but was ultimately seduced by his statement that he was a college professor and writer. I sent him what I called my "scare-away" email, the one I'd composed to send to everyone I answered.

Read more: Shelf Life: Dedicated to the One I Love


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Speedboat by Renata Adler


"When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Reading it was a pleasure of a new, unexpected kind." -- New York Review Books

John Leonard said, "Nobody writes better prose than Renata Adler." What do you think? The discussion begins May 15 in the Forum.

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