Sunday, January 22, 2006

Where did January go?

I haven't read much in the way of children's books lately, as I began the year fully engrossed in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), and have moved on to The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas). The Count of Monte Cristo is an undertaking I am probably making a bigger deal about than is deserved, simply because I have been wanting to read it for years but was intimidated by the sheer volume of the thing. So far, so good.

However, I did find the time to read Roald Dahl's Matilda a couple of weeks ago, and for the very first time.

We rented the (1996) movie version some months ago and loved it, but I always like to compare Hollywood's version of a story to the author's. Now that I've read the book, I can say that the film was fairly faithful to the original source, although I think the movie gave Matilda's unique powers a more "magical" touch (and explanation) than did Roald Dahl. The movie was well cast, well played, enjoyable. But the mean-spirited adults in poor Matilda's life were more shocking, and Matilda's resourcefulness more humorous, when read. In fact, the indifference of Matilda's parents and the brutal hostility that was the dreadful Miss Trunchbull were downright alarming, especially as each horrible episode was told in such a matter-of-fact manner. The movie was good, but the book was better. No surprise there.

Next on my list is I, Coriander. Maybe I'll read it before I finish Monte Cristo, but I generally enjoy immersing myself in one plot and one set of characters at a time, so it may just have to wait. Beside that, Mr. Husband and I are reading aloud the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. (That is to say, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--what in the world is this ridiculous new ordering of the series about, anyway?! Yes, I know he wrote something about reading the series chronologically in some letter to a young fan a number of years ago, but really!)

Meantime, we do have a stack of new picture books to look through, so if any prove worthwhile, I'll be sure to share them.


Jen Robinson said...

Hi Jamie,
I love Matilda, in both book and video formats! Even though the book is almost always better, I love movies made from kids books, too. I haven't seen the Narnia movie yet, but I have started re-reading the series. And I, Coriander is on my "to read" list, too. So many books, so little time... Thanks for linking to my webpage!! Have a great week.

storymom said...

I haven't seen Narnia yet either (hubby and I rarely go to the theaters, we are renters), but I'm curious to see if it stands up to the high praise. We are just about finished re-reading book one (Lion/Witch/Wardrobe)--it is a completely different experience to read it as an adult, but not at all disappointing.

Anyway, we'll have to compare notes on the books we have on both of our reading lists. :)

Cay said...

I read "I, Coriander"; or got halfway through it.

It begaan as an enchanted read and I was loving it! Then the stepmother did some things of ill-repute to make money and I haven't been able to pick up the book and finish it since.

Why do we need (no---why do we HAVE---we certainly don't NEED) this type stuff included in children's literature????

storymom said...

I gave up on it too, but I didn't get as far as you did. Nothing against the book; I just wasn't up for the darker (or at least more serious) tone after having finished the Count of Monte Cristo. So I'm not sure what the stepmother did in I, Coriander specifically, but I do agree that there are things in some children's books that aren't always appropriate or necessary.

I'm reading The Penderwicks now, and so far I've really enjoyed it. Fun, light, wholesome. :)