Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Adams making being witty and humorous look effortless. Just read anyone who’s tried and failed to imitate him, and you’ll appreciate just how great he is at this.
Terry Pratchett, The DiscWorld series. Like Adams, Pratchett makes it look easy. He seems to find the right combination of words to be witty, amusing, laugh out loud funny and more.
Garrison Keillor, The Lake Wobegon stories Yes, I love Keillor’s writing, but I’d argue that his Lake Wobegon stories are best experienced in their original monologue format. Still doesn’t mean that the story about the Lutheran ministers and the pontoon boat isn’t hysterically funny on the printed page, mind you. I did an entire class project on Keillor and his humorous writing in college.
Peter David, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Strike Zone. David has a gift for finding the funny in Star Trek — especially in areas where the franchise can or does take itself too seriously. His first Trek novel includes a scene that had me laughing out loud when I read it three decades ago. Set in season two of TNG, the scene has Riker and Picard meeting in a turbolift and Riker noting that it must really get Picard that he’s got more hair on his newly bearded face than Picard has on his whole head. I’m not doing a great job relating it here, but it was and still is awesome.
Gary Larson, the Far Side collections. Seems that 2021 is similar to 1999 when it comes to laying out a page-a-day calendar. So, it is that I’m spending this year getting reacquainted with genius that is Gary Larson thanks to my page-a-day calendar. And with news that he’s publishing new cartoons again, the world has become a bit funnier.
Dave Barry. Barry’s written a few good novels, but his old collections of newspaper columns or non-fiction humor books that examine one or two subjects are where he really shines.
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Twain is always going to make my list when it comes to humorous writers — and A Connecticut Yankee is one of my favorites
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss. For years, this fan-favorite by Douglas Adams went unadapted for the Target range of books. Then, in the last decade, they’ve begun to slowly fill in the gaps with adaptations that weren’t limited by the page count of the original Target run. This may be the best of the lot, simply because Goss does what many have tried to do and come up short — imitate the great Douglas Adams. One sequence in particular as the Doctor imagines his greatest enemies unable to believe he’s been killed in a seemingly mundane way was a pure delight — part of that could be chalked up to listening to this as an audiobook and the performance.
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. One of my earliest — and still favorite — reads. Ramona goes to kindergarten and on the first day, she misunderstands that when the teacher asks her to sit in a chair “for the present” it means for right now and not that a gift is coming later. We picked up a full set of the Cleary books to share with Shortcake and I hope she loves that moment and this book as much as I do.
John Scalzi, Redshirts. Like Peter David, Scalzi is able to find the funny in things by pointing out some of the absurdities of them all. He has serious concepts and ideas in his novel, but he populates his books with characters who can take the mickey out of things. No where is this more true than Redshirts, a homage to classic Star Trek that will have you laughing out loud one moment and thinking the next. I’m not sure it’s my favorite Scalzi (that is probably his Heads-On series) but it won him a well-deserved Hugo.
Today’s prompt for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is our choices for books or series that should be adapted for television. Of course, if these were all to be adapted, I’d probably immediately be behind on watching all of them.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Yes, I know SciFi did a version of this one a decade or so ago and it had its moments. But as I was finishing up “Peace Talks” earlier this week I couldn’t help but think a well-done urban fantasy like this one could be a great idea.
The Robot Series by Issac Asimov. We’re finally get a Foundation series and while I’m intrigued by that, I can’t help but think the Asimov’s robot mystery novels might not be just as fertile a ground for adaptation. Maybe if Foundation is a success, we can get these for when these novels eventually tie-in.
Spider-Man. I love the Marvel movies as much as the next person. But to really capture the essential angst that is Peter Parker, I can’t help but think a live-action series would be a great way to go. And the idea of a season-long build-up to a huge showdown with a big bad ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer is something that intrigues my inner comic book reading self.
Villains series by V.E. Schwab. Seems like we’re awash in anti-heroes these days on various shows, so why not go for the ultimate anti-hero in a supervillain? Schawab’s novels seem perfect for adaptation and would be a ton of fun to see unfold over the course of a season or five.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King. The shared universe series of movies and limited run series never got off the ground and it appears the latest attempt to bring this series to screens won’t happen at Amazon. Which is a doggone shame because this is a rich universe just ripe for adaptation. I do think it would require a good sized budget though.
Golden Arrow series by Megan Scott Molin. If you’re looking for a great blend of geek-references, romantic triangles, opposites attractions, and suspenseful mysteries, this two book series is definitely one to pick up and give a try. And that’s all reason why I think this might work well as a series in the right hands.
Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence. A kick-ass heroine, a fascinating world and three books packed with epic fantasy action that often gets completely turned on its head. This could be better than a certain big name fantasy series that didn’t end well.
I’m sure I’ll think of a few more within five minutes of posting this. But I think this would be a great start!
This week, we have an adaptation from novel to screen freebie. It’s easy to say the book is better and in many cases it is. But there are times when the screen adaptation ends up being more enjoyable than the source material. Here are a few:
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Given the iconic status of the movie version, it’d be easy to assume the book is awesome too. After all, Puzo did adapt his novel for the silver screen. And yet, reading the book, I wasn’t overly impressed with it in quite the same way as I was with the movie.
Jaws by Peter Benchley. Another iconic film that you’d assume the source material is awesome. The screen versions hones the book down to its essentials and it’s much better for it. The book has so many unlikeable characters that by about halfway through it, I was rooting for the shark to just eat everyone already and be done with it.
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. If you love the movie, avoid this book at all costs. Forrest goes to outer space, is lost on a deserted island, and becomes good friends with a space chimp. Oh, and the reason Jenny loves him in the book has less to do with the size of his heart and more the size of something else…
The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming. Even Fleming knew this was a terrible book. When he sold the screen rights to the Bond books, one of his demands was that while they could use the title from this book, the book itself couldn’t be adapted. And it’s a good thing since this one is a first-person narrated story by a woman, trapped in a hotel with some killers until Bond shows up in the last few pages to save the day.
Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. The movie takes the basic premise and runs with it in an entirely different direction. Thank heavens. This one tries hard to have a twist, but it’s so silly.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R..R. Tolkien. Before Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters, I joined a Barnes and Nobel on-line read-a-long of the books, hoping this was the time I could slog through them all. I left the group when some participants were posting long diatribes that the movies were leaving out small details from the books and, thus, ruining them. Again, this was BEFORE the movies came out. I’ve tried hard to enjoy the books but find them a bit of a slog. The movies eliminate page upon page of walking around and simply get us there.
Trying to get back into the swing of book blogging and I thought I’d participate in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s topic is inspiring quotes from books. I may not get to to ten, but here are a few I like.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” –Neil Gaiman, Coraline
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. — Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
“IT IS IMPORTANT, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.” — Mark Lawrence, Red Sister
“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Only children tell the whole truth, you know. That’s what makes them children.” — Stephen King, Pet Sematary
“Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.” — Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us which television series we consider binge worthy. I’m going to break this up into two lists — shows I want to binge and shows that I’d recommend you watch (whether or not you binge, is entirely up to you).
Shows I Want to Watch/Binge
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Man in the High Castle
Bosch (seasons 2 onward)
Lost in Space (new version)
Supergirl (season two onward)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (season two onward)
Arrow (seasons five and six)
Game of Thrones (season four to present)
Shows I Recommend For Watching/Binging
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Better Call Saul
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Needless to say, my list of shows I’d like to binge/watch is as long as my TBR pile. Part of why I don’t get as much time to binge as I’d like when it comes to the series offered on streaming services is that I’m not sure if or how much adult content is in there. With Shortcake repeating a lot of what she hears said, I don’t necessarily want her to learn certain words from Daddy watching something. So, I tend to wait until she’s asleep to try and consider watching them, but then end up watching other things instead or sleeping while she sleeps.