Books to Film: Gift it, Read it, Watch it!

4 years ago

After spending Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family, we sometimes spent Christmas day at home as a family of four. Many of those days I curled up with a new book, alternating between devouring the new words and snacking on my mom's pumpkin bread. My books weren't always at the top of my gift list, like my coveted bottle of 273 perfume or the Madonna True Blue tape, but they were the ones I held close to my heart that day, falling into another world.

Not everyone is like that, and even book lovers sometimes want a little variety in their entertainment. These six gift suggestions give you the chance to pair a book and movie together. Let the gift recipient decide how to spend his or her day off.

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood details a quadruple murder and is considered a pioneering effort (and possibly the most well-written book) in the true crime genre. Almost 40 years after the book was written, Philip Seymour Hoffman brings the author to life in Capote.

For the thrill-seeker on your holiday shopping list, consider the combination gift of the book and movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The combination of Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp simply can't be beat for a quirky, surreal experience.

If the acid tripping world of Thompson is a little over the top, think about giving the gift of the 1800s with a collection of Jane Austen novels. Pride and Prejudice is currently holding tight on my favorite of her marriage plots. I'm partial to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the Pride and Prejudice mini-series instead of the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley.

Keira Knightley fans shouldn't feel slighted, though. She shines along with Carey Mulligan in the movie version of Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro's tale of children raised in an unusual orphanage raises questions about medical ethics in sparse, haunting prose that will dig into your mind for a long while after you've closed the pages of the novel.

Once you've seen Jack Nicholson as the charismatic Daryl Van Horne, it's impossible to read John Updike's Witches of Eastwick without picturing Van Horne in a pair of dark sunglasses. The novel uses the idea of witchcraft to question society's expectations of women. Written in 1984, the questions are surprisingly relevant, which actually makes them all the more pressing.

My gift guide wouldn't be complete without recommending one of my all-time favorite books. Set in Michigan, The Virgin Suicides weaves the story of the Lisbon sisters and their deaths into an almost dream-like legend. Directed by Sofia Coppola, the movie stars Kirsten Dunst as a wistfully sensual Lux, the epitome of what the neighborhood boys envision all the sisters to be. Both the book and the movie unfold in a beautiful haze, leaving the reader (and viewer) to determine what lesson, if any, can be found in Eugenides' words.

What's your favorite book/movie pairing?

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