American writer and outdoorsman Jon Krakauer was born April 12, 1954. He was raised in Corvallis, Oregon and was first acquainted with mountain climbing when he was eight years old. He attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts where he graduated in 1976 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Following his time at university, Krakauer moved around the States, living in Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. He worked as a commercial fisherman and a carpenter to support himself while he pursued his love for nature and rock climbing.
Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961) is universally considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century and certainly one of the most influential writers of the American literary canon. Hemingway's career stretched over three decades of war. He wrote travel journalism, seven novels, numerous novellas, short story collections, and works of nonfiction. His novels For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises are considered to be some of the most important works of literature written in the English language.
Hemingway's style has served as an influence to generations of writers and has helped form the landscape of modern American literature. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, two of the highest honors a writer can receive. His work has been adapted numerous times for both television and film. One of the most notable adaptations of a beloved Hemingway novel is the 1958 film adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea starring Spencer Tracy.
For years now, film and television producers have been battling each other to create the one piece of fantasy media that will dominate all others. There was New Line’s Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) adaptions, HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011-2019) series, New Line’s subsequent Hobbit (2012-2014) trilogy, and now, as of a blockbuster 2017 deal, Amazon Studios will be producing at least five seasons worth of television based on Tolkien’s iconic mythos and characters—a show that they, like those that have gone before them, hope will be the one series to rule them all. In this regard, it sometimes feels like these studios missed the point of Tolkien’s story entirely.
"What interests me about novelists as a species is the obsessiveness of the activity, the fact that novelists have to go on writing. I think that probably must come from a sense of the irrecoverable. In every novelist's life there is some more acute sense of loss than with other people, and I suppose I must have felt that. I didn't realize it, I suppose, till the last ten or fifteen years. In fact you have to write novels to begin to understand this. There's a kind of backwardness in the novel…an attempt to get back to a lost world." ~John Fowles, 1977 BBC interview
This week we celebrate author John Fowles, named by The Times as one of Britain's greatest writers. Best known for his novels The Collector (1963), The Magus (1966), and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), Fowles' work is most often categorized between modernism and postmodernism.
The 91st Academy Awards are set to take place on February 24, 2019. Of course, this got us thinking about book-to-movie adaptations. Here's a look at some of our favorites, in no particular order. What would you add to the list?
In Germany, to this day, there are so-called Donaldists: men and women who apply rigorous scientific and anthropological methods to understanding the world of Donald Duck and Duckburg, his hometown. That’s right, in Germany, Donald Duck—not Mickey Mouse—is the star. He’s the reason that Micky Maus, the German-language Disney comic magazine, is the fourth best-selling comic magazine of all time, surpassing a billion sales over the course of its 60+ year run. Considering that no other Disney comics rank so highly in their respective formats, the tremendous ongoing success of Micky Maus warrants some explanation. How did these magazines become best-sellers—and how did Donald Duck surpass the world’s most iconic small rodent in popularity?
German writer Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten in what was formerly West Germany. She studied pedagogy at the University of Hamburg and after graduation, worked for three years as a social worker. She married book printer Rolf Frahme in 1979 and shortly after, left social work to briefly pursue illustration. However, she quickly turned to writing her own books, and her efforts have been supremely successful. Her first books, which in English were titled Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost and C.H.I.X., were published in 1993, and each were the the first book in a series for elementary-aged readers. She published her first novel, The Thief Lord, in 2000 and has gone on to write many successful novels for young adults, including Dragon Rider and the Inkheart trilogy, and most recently the MirrorWorld novel The Golden Yarn and picture book The Book No One Ever Read.
Walt Disney and his successors have a long tradition of retelling famous stories. Their history of changing the original work is usually rationalized as making the content more suitable for children, but, in some cases, the changes go past small edits. As with most books changed into movies, in order to condense a long work into only 90 minutes, certain more unnecessary plot points must be cut. When remaking The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, however, Disney did more than simplify and streamline. Some elements were removed by necessity, such as much of the violence and many attempted seductions of Esmeralda, to make it appropriate for children, but some of the changes drastically altered characters and plot elements present in Victor Hugo’s original novel.
Though the James Bond films were originally based on the novels by Ian Fleming, more recent movies are written in the spirit of Fleming's work. After Fleming's death, other writers have been invited to take up the James Bond mantle. First was Kingsley Amis, who wrote one Bond novel under the pseudonym Robert Markham. John Gardner penned the next 14 novels, along with two film novelizations. Raymond Benson was the next author to continue the Bond legacy, writing from 1996 to 2003.