With all the amazing books out there, sometimes it’s hard to justify re-reading a book. Unless that book is Pride & Prejudice, a novel that demands re-reading at least once a year (once a month if you’re a slight obsessive like myself.) But why? What makes P&P so worthy of this kind of loyalty? Here are 10 of the best reasons I can think of:
10. The overall story – it’s the quintessential story of opposites falling in love. It’s funny, clever and warm – it pretty much leaves you feeling all warm and tingly inside.
9. The wit. Jane Austen has to be one of the funniest writers ever which is saying something because making people laugh isn’t easy. Her prose is witty, sharp and astute. It’s flowery but with purpose, and easy to read. You get lost in it, but in a good way.
8. The social commentary. Along with all that witty prose are brilliant observations of the inequalities of the times, the absurdity of the expectations placed on young women in the Victorian era (that still hold true today) and the always complicated aspects of class relations. Basically ‘Mo money, ‘Mo problems.
7. Sisterly love. Who didn’t envy the bond between Elizabeth and Jane? As someone drowning in brothers with no sister in sight, every time I read P&P I can’t help but imagine what life must be like when you have a sister like Jane.
6. That opening line.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
It’s famous for a reason. It’s also one of the best lines to mutilate for your own personal needs.
5. The cult of Austen. Once you read P&P you’ve unwittingly joined the plethora of Austen committees in existence. Because let’s not lie, you finish Pride & Prejudice and you go on to read Emma followed swiftly by Sense and Sensibility, than Mansfield Park and before you know it you’re walking around with a frilly umbrella saying things like “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.”
4. Mr. Collins, Wickham, Caroline, Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. They’re all terrible in their own way. Some (Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet) have good intentions but are also clueless, others (Wickham, Caroline, Lady Catherine) are plotting, manipulative and self-serving. But all are vital to the story’s success. Each one, in their attempts to thwart Darcy or Elizabeth for their own reasons, inadvertently draws them closer together. For that we say salute them.
3. Mr. Bennet. Irreverent, sly, and totally unconcerned with his wife and her nerves Mr. Bennet is any daughters dream for a dad. He recognizes the shortcomings of his wife and children, and even those he, himself possesses yet laughs them away. His love for Elizabeth saves her from a life with Mr. Collins and really that’s reason enough to love him.
2. Elizabeth Bennet. She’s the ideal heroine. Smart, funny, whimsical but knowledgeable. Elizabeth is a thoroughly modern women in un-modern times. She wins Darcy’s heart not by batting her eyes and showing off her womanly wiles but by simply staying true to herself. She demonstrates a fearlessness in the face of the intimidating Lady Catherine de Bourgh and loyalty to her beloved sister by putting Darcy in his place when he confesses his love. Simply put Elizabeth Bennett is kind of badass.
1. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. If this wasn’t an obvious first choice I don’t know what is. He’s just about the dreamiest, most swoon-worthy character ever (maybe tied with Augustus Waters…maybe?) Sure at first he comes off as the world’s biggest jerk, a snob of the most epic proportions – going so far as to demean poor Elizabeth, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” Burn!
Regardless, the beauty of Mr. Darcy is that he, much like Elizabeth Bennet, is ahead of his time. Really Darcy’s a bit of a feminist, he loves Elizabeth because she is unafraid of what others think of her, she’s unwilling to compromise her morals to satisfy others and she’s certainly not afraid to speak her mind. Plus he knows that she loves him not because of his money or his position but in spite of these things. The man pays off the guy who tried to steal his beloved sisters virtue in order to save the Bennet’s the shame of Lydia’s behaviour! If that’s not love I don’t know what is.
“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”
“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising…”
Pride and Prejudice (Chap. 31)
Recently while perusing various book blogs and such I’ve come across a lot of lists of the best book to film adaptations and it got me thinking. What about films that could potentially make great books? Am I the only person who thinks about this? Because quite frankly, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
For instance there’s so much speculation over the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s incredible juggernaut Gone Girl– David Fincher’s name has been thrown around as a possible director (which makes sense to me because only someone as raw as the guy who gave us Fight Club – another book to film adaptation by the by – could potentially do the story of Amy and Nick Dunne justice. Ben Affleck’s been confirmed as Nick (although this could still be a rumor, and I’m kind of hoping it is, because really, isn’t he a little old to be playing a 30 y/o? No? Just me?) But why hasn’t anyone become incredibly excited at the possibility of Spring Breakers being made into a novel? I mean the movie was well received, the story line is very Gossip Girl meets Natural Born Killers meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – it would make a great book.
So I’ve compiled a list of movies that I think should be made into books. And I’ve even taken it upon myself to suggest the perfect author. So in no particular order I present: The List of Movies that Should Be Books
*I have decided to ignore the fact that some of the authors I’ve suggested are dead, therefore you should too.
10. The Usual Suspects, written by Chuck Palahniuk
Social outcasts? Check. Incredible, cult-like figure? Check. Dark, moody, beyond exhilarating, The Usual Suspects has to be one of my favourite films of all time. The first time I watched it I was about 15, in the basement, all by myself – let’s just say after that ending I had nightmares of Keyser Soze for weeks. True one could argue Fight Club had more social grit what with all the anti-capitalism, damn the man undertones but regardless, Palahniuk is known for creating intense characters who feel and are marginalized, they are constantly on the outside looking in, they tread the line between civility and the outrageous. How could this not work? Palahniuk is also one of the best when it comes to first person narration, his Verbal Kint would have all the desperation, wit and sarcasm so beautifully executed by Kevin Spacey. I’d read it.
9. Amelie, written by Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor author of the amazing, unearthly and poetic Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (two books down, one more to go) is the perfect choice to bring this whimsical, colourful and effervescent fantasy film to life. Sure Amelie is a lot lighter in tone than DOSMB but Taylor’s knack for creating strong, charismatic heroines who’s best strength is their vulnerability coupled with her amazing creativity – I mean the woman humanized crazy monster-like “Chimaera”, made us look past their exteriors and sympathize with their plight for freedom over the really, really attractive Seraphim rulers. That can’t be easy. Taylor’s poetic prose and great attention to detail would be the right touch for recreating Amelie’s story.
Other possible contenders: Audrey Niffenegger, John Green
8. In Bruges, written by J.D. Salinger
If you haven’t seen this little British gem of a film starring Irish actors Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody) and Colin Farrell (whom I may or may not have had an ongoing schoolgirl crush on since I was a wee lass…) and written by Martin McDonagh you should finish reading this post and then go and watch it.
The tale of two Irish hit men hiding out in – you guessed it – Bruges, is everything you could possibly hope for in a dark comedy produced by the British. Witty, dry and even a little insightful, it’s ultimately a morality tale overflowing with dramatic irony. I can’t think of anyone more suited to writing this into a novel than J.D. Salinger – if for no other reason than Farrell’s character Ray and his unbelievable hatred for Bruges continuously reminded me of Holden Caulfield and his indignant teenage angst, sense of alienation and detachment.
7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, written by Tim Tharp
It’s quite conceivable that the guy who gave us teenage alcoholic but all around loveable ne’er-do-well Sutter Keely could vividly and colourfully translate the awesomeness of Ferris Bueller (forever immortalized by the incomparable Matthew Broderick) on paper. In fact in many ways Ferris Bueller is almost a precursor to Sutter Keely. Intelligent, charming with a limited concern for authority Ferris was all about Carpe Diem – seizing the day, alongside his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane. From convincing the straight edged Cameron to steal his father’s 1961 Ferrari GT California, to worming his way into an upscale restaurant for lunch and commandeering a parade float whilst lip synching to Wayne Newton’s Danke Shoen Ferris’s shenanigans are the stuff dreams are made of and how legends begin. Who better to immortalize this celebrated character than Tharp? And while recreating the genius of Ferris Bueller on paper Tharp would also be able to infuse a little more depth and emotion in to an amusing but fairly one-dimensional character.
6. Love Actually, written by Jane Austen
One of my favourite movies, it was actually a co-worker who suggested this as the possibility of a great book. Funny, heart-warming, sad and romantic – Love Actually has a bit of everything for everyone. It’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill chick flick. Exploring love of all kinds – romantic, friendship, unrequited, and the different relationships where love can bloom (brother and sister, father and son etc.) Who better than the Queen of light-hearted Victorian romance to weave the films many tales of love onto paper? Having helmed some of the most clever and enduring love stories and endearing characters of all time only an author of Austen’s caliber could truly do justice to a film that is literally all about love.
5. This is Spinal Tap, written by Christopher Moore
The Gran-Daddy of all mockumentary’s Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap not only gave us Nigel Tufnel but it also gave us classic lines like this gem from David St. Hubbins: *I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.* (Classic.) Considering most of the dialogue was actually improvised – to all kinds of hysterical new heights – I really can’t think of anyone more capable of transferring this definitive comedy into prose more so than Christopher Moore. The guy knows how to write humour, which really isn’t easy. In fact making people laugh is really, really hard. Making people laugh while reading a book on the subway so that all the other passengers quietly shuffle away from you because they think you’re nuts is even harder. And he does it exceptionally well.
Other possible contenders: Douglas Adams – because 42.
4. Dogma written by George Orwell
The second best Kevin Smith film of all time – Dogma is funny, insightful, scandalous, the bane of Catholics everywhere and strangely enough incredibly religious. The story of two fallen angels who find a loophole that will get them back into heaven – while destroying the universe at the same time is both charming and clever. It’s also an incredible indictment on organized religion. It also has the main staple of an Orwellian classic – conspiracy. No doubt Orwell’s take would be slightly darker, much grimmer and mostly likely ending with the bad guys winning, it would still be an awesome read.
3. Pan’s Labyrinth written by J.K. Rowling
Do I really need to explain this one?
2. Willow written by Neil Gaiman
Okay you might be scratching your head on this one but one word: Stardust. Seriously. If that’s not enough to make you understand there’s really nothing I can say that will prove me right. Even though I am. Right that is. Totally.
Other possible contenders: J.R.R. Tolkien
#1. Easy Rider written by Jack Kerouac
It seems only fitting that the man who defined a generation would be the perfect choice to write the book for a film that did the same thing. The film as much an ode to the counterculture of the 1960s as it was a commentary of the social landscape of a changing America helped give rise to independent film much like Kerouac’s On the Road helped usher in the Beat Generation.
Not to mention Kerouac has the whole road trip thing down to a tee.
Some honourable mentions (well most, some are just questionable) – mostly thrown out by friends:
Event Horizon, Nicholas Christopher – yeah, this one had me scratching my head so I’m going to go ahead and allow my friend Linds to explain this choice:
Explain what? Event Horizon is a sweet ass space horror film, I love it! It would make a wicked book.
Heat , Michael Crichton
The Place Beyond the Pines, Cormac McCarthy (Though according to the friend who made this suggestion and I quote “McCarthy would never lower himself thus”)
Dr. Strangelove, Lewis Carroll
The Matrix, Kurt Vonnegut
Donnie Darko, Gillian Flynn (Not her normal genre but she’s so good at writing awful, bleak and intense characters, if she ever decides to go the Syfy route I imagine something like this.)
What do you think?
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.