BBCP Pages to Pictures: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

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This summer I decided to take part in Nori @ ReadWriteLove28‘s Book Blogger Creativity Project! For this project teams of book bloggers were created that had to work together to create a series of book related posts. I was on the Magenta Team and we created ‘Pages to Pictures,’ a series of posts where each one of us has “adapted” a book into a movie form: cast the actors for each character, said where it should be filmed, listed what scenes need to be included in the movie, and so on.

For the movie adaptation I created I decided to take a slightly different approach by putting together an animated movie. I choose for my book one of my absolute favorites, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson. I have long considered how this crazy middle grade book could be adapted for the screen so I thought it only right that it be the one I write about. I believe animation is the only way to do this one because while special effects are super amazing now, a lot of what appears in this book is absurd (knights! hidden kingdoms in the middle of the ocean! dinosaurs! monsters made out of shredded paper!) and trying to pair it with the realism of live actors would frankly just make it look a bit like a b-list horror film.

Animation Style

This is an aspect I’ve waffled around with a lot because there are just so many possibilities, but in the end I’ve figured it would be best created in the style that most animated feature films have been lately: kind of false and bubbly with a slightly 3D effect.

Though I also think that the flat style commonly seen in many cartoon shows would also work really well in this book. Then again, if the animation looked exactly like the covers or the illustrations from the new Tor Teen editions of this book series, I would have no complaints.

Characters + Voice Actors

I love movies and tv shows, but if I’m honest I know next to nothing about actors. There are a few of them (*ahem* the entire cast of The Newsroom) that I can recognize instantly but… that’s about it. So, for the characters I’ve decided to suggest what I think their voices could/should sound like, and an actor or two that would make a good voice for them.

(admittedly some of these characters don’t show up until book two, but I’ve written about those that I have the clearest picture of)

Alcatraz: If I’m entirely honest I have no idea how the voice of our snarky, nerdy, cynical protagonist should sound. The problem with Alcatraz is no voice I’ve ever heard seems right because I’ve never heard any role try to be Alcatraz. I do believe that this role would maybe need two Alcatraz’s: whether it’s the same voice ‘aged up’ or two different ones so that the older Alcatraz (who is supposedly writing these stories) can speak in the monologues and such… I feel like I wouldn’t know what or who is right for this role until I would see it.

Bastille: While she is really much more than that, from a movie stand point Bastille is the perfect example of a “tough girl” role. She talks smart and fast, most of the time she is serious and curt, and she definitely has the best deadpan of the group. Honestly, I love Bastille so much that I would take the role (joking, I can’t act) but the first actor I think of is Beth Riesgraf based on her role in Leverage as the thief Parker.

Leavenworth (Grandpa Smedry): Leavenworth is really the only character whose voice actor I had picked long before I started writing this post. Grandpa Smedry is a kind, fun, completely nuts old man, and I see him as a slightly more jovial version of Charlie Skinner in The Newsroom. Therefore, the only voice I can think of for him is Sam Waterston.

Kazan: Kaz is the main traveller of the group, and is mostly pretty gruff, though he (like all of them) has his own shade of ridiculous. For example, one of his hobbies is keeping a list of why short people are better than tall people. For some reason Don Cheadle comes to mind for this role, but I don’t have any true preference in a voice for Kaz.

Australia: My favorite description that is ever given within the book for Australia is that “[she] is smart, but she forgets it sometimes.” (or something like that, I’m paraphrasing) Australia is bright, optimistic, and a little bit oblivious. I feel like Rowan Blanchard gives off that sort of ‘innocent and ridiculous but still very smart/competent’ when she plays Riley Mathews in Girl Meets World, so I think she could be a good choice.

Scenes to Include

Because these books are so short, and because about half of each one is made up of Alcatraz’s monologues, theoretically I believe a movie of this book could contain every scene. But, if not, here’s a short list of what needs to be included:

  • Showing Alcatraz in foster care… And maybe burning down a house or two
  • Leavenworth and Al’s first meeting (even just because it’s hilarious)
  • Bastille beating up Alcatraz with her purse (ditto)
  • The paper monster
  • The jail scene (I figured this could actually be cut but the character development is actually really crucial)

What could be cut:

  • Everything at the gas station
  • The dinosaurs (even though I love them)
  • The hook at the beginning… (probably shouldn’t put it there in case it’s never resolved in movie form)

As for the monologue portions of the books… A lot of those do need to be included for most things to make sense. I think it could be done in voice overs, freeze frames, or some sort of combination of those kind of things but there is crucial info that doesn’t happen within the outward plot that I think this story shouldn’t lose.

What do you think of the feature that my group came up with? What book(s) would you love to see a well done movie of?

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Booktubeathon TBR!

Booktubeathon, the annual book Youtube read-along, stars tomorrow and runs for the entire week! This year I will be participating in it for my first time and so over the week I formulated and filmed a video of my to-be-read list based on the event’s reading challenges. You are welcome to watch the video (I would love if you did!) though I have also added the list of the books below.

  1. (read a book with yellow on the cover) The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
  2. (read a book only after sunset) Saga Vol 1
  3. (read a book you discovered through booktube) The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
  4. (read a book by one of your favorite authors) Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  5. (read a book that’s older than you) Jason and the Argonauts
  6. (read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation) The Odyssey

My personal goal this booktubeathon is to complete all the video and instagram challenges. I hope that you will subscribe to my youtube channel and follow my instagram to keep up with my progress, and I’ll be back here at the end of the week with a full wrapup.

♥, Tamara

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5 Ways Gemina is like Illuminae (and 4 Ways it Isn’t)

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If you’ve been around on here for any length of time than you probably know that when I read Illuminae for the first time last spring it entirely rocked my world. More recently I re-read Illuminae and than had the opportunity to read the upcoming sequel, Gemina… And I can tell you that it was likewise amaaaaazing. So much so, that I haven’t been able to talk about it much beyond keysmashes and long strings of capital letters. To spare you from a review filled with just that (seriously you should thank me for saving you) today I decided to talk a little bit about what make Gemina similar to it’s predecessor, and what makes it different… But in entirely the best way, trust me.

Similarities

Totally Unique Format

Illuminae was fantastically created with all it’s pictures and documents and transcriptions. Gemina has all of that and even takes it a step further with illustrations and even more super cool things that totally wow-ed me.

Characters You Will Root For

Hanna and Nik are extremely different from Kady and Ezra, but their stories will still suck you in and make you root so hard for them to win.

So Many Censored Swear Words

It might just be me, but there sometimes large blocks of text in these books that slow me down because for some reason I have to take the time to fill in what each of the blacked out swear words would be. (what’s with that, brain?) Never fear, just like in Illuminae, everyone in Gemina swears like sailors and it’s all censored. Leaving you to wonder: if this is far in the future, are their swear words even the same ones we use?

Countdowns and Tension

You remember all those countdown clocks in Illuminae leading to all those bad things? Yeah, there are more of those and they are scary. 

Lots of Death

… With Illuminae’s death toll did you really expect anything different?

Differences

Intensity That Creeps Up On You

Illuminae started at a super intense moment, and through the book the hits just didn’t stop. In Gemina I found that the beginning didn’t seem very high stakes, but as the story went on all the elements from the beginning of the book slowly came together to create a lot of intensity. You just gotta wait for it a little bit.

Plot Points That Mess With Your Mind

I didn’t find Illuminae at all hard to understand, but Gemina… There is a moment that will make your head spin a little bit. Not in a bad way, but… Wow.

Creepy Aliens

In book one we had a creepy disease, and a creepy Artificial Intelligence. In Gemina we get some very chilling alien creatures thrown into the mix. I recommend reading parts of this one in daylight.

An Unlikely Character Team Up

Illuminae featured two main characters who had fought right before the book started, but who already knew each other very well and had done many things together before. Gemina, in contrast, features two main characters who seem like complete opposites and who never work together… Until they have to.

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June 2016 Wrap-Up + July TBR

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I really thought that I would have some great things to share about my summer so far right here… But with synchronized swimming nationals June is always a bit of a lost month of long practices for me. As you read this I am actually at nationals right now. Afterward I’ll probably be writing a little post about the whole experience (it’s legit my last junior level competition EVER) so you can look forward to that if you want to see how it all goes!

Other things… Well, I saw the movie Zootopia twice this month and really loved it, and spent way too much time watching the live stream from Vidcon. Just putting that out there. I also drove to my college to tour stuff again and register for classes. I even saw the dorm room I’m going to be in next year AND met my roommate so that’s pretty significant.

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What I’ve Been Reading

  • Illuminae (Illuminae #1) by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff (reread) ★ I love Illuminae so much and it basically was as intense the second time. I was super nervous even though I already knew what was about to happen… Serious props to this one.
  • Gemina (Illuminae #2) by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff SO GOOD. I may have enjoyed this one slightly less than Illuminae but it was good for so many different reasons than Illuminae was and I really loved it. I want the third book sooo much right now it’s a little sad.
  • Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire ☆ This was an odd little book. Interesting enough… But nothing really happened. And all the teased details of all the character’s different worlds really leaves me wanting more of each of their stories. Either way, this was a quick and different sort of read.
  • Vicious by VE Schwab ☆ I really LIKED this book but I found it a bit slow and the ending didn’t do a lot of what I’d hoped. My favorite parts were all the flashbacks in the beginning with Eli and Victor at college so when the “current time” stuff took over the whole plot I lost a little interest. The concept of the powers was really cool but not amazing. I liked the characters but didn’t feel a huge connection with them. Since I love both Schwab and super-villain stories I kind of thought this could be a new favorite but I guess it just feel a little flat for me.
  • You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan ★ So beautiful. I just want to read it again and again and again.

Quote of the Month

“I think you have to gamble in order to win.” – Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well

On the Blog

July TBR

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June ’16 Book Haul

As I recently wrote about in my post about my feelings on owning books, in May I decided I wasn’t going to be buying any books this summer. So, here I present to you my not-at-all-paid-for June book haul! Well, one of them was actually a preordered book acquired in March. But preorders don’t count.

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In March I was lucky enough to meet Marie Rutkoski at her local tour event for The Winner’s Kiss, so I of course had to buy this (absolutely gorgeous) book. The Winner’s Trilogy is actually one of the few complete series I own and I love it so much.

winnerskisstabssmallNear the end of May was one of my personal favorite holidays: Independent Bookstore Day. For the occasion Tor put together A Pocket Companion for The Stormlight Archive by my favorite Brandon Sanderson so I of course had to pick up one of those. My parents were also kind enough to offer to buy me a book that day, so I choose the illustrated reprint for The Knights of Crystallia (Alcatraz #3), also by Sanderson. This is my favorite book of this middle grade series and I absolutely adore the illustrations. My favorite scene was illustrated so perfectly. I’m so ready to cry over the pictures in the fourth book when that reprint is published…

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from the author for an ARC of The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid. Kincaid’s first trilogy (Insignia) is probably my favorite science fiction series ever so I am so pumped to dive into this book. I haven’t even fully read the summary but I know it’s going to be great. I’ve already heard many great reviews! I really hope people who love this book end up discovering Insignia, too.

Maggie Steifvater had a local event for The Raven King while I was unfortunately busy with synchronized swimming. I have not started the Raven Cycle series yet, (I know, I know, soon I promise) however an unknown someone from my store’s book club was kind enough to buy me a copy of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and have it signed to me by Maggie. I think I know who it was, but whoever did it thank you so so much! I really appreciate it.

The ARCs of The Sun is Also A Star, History Is All You Left Me, and The Secret Keepers were the first review copies I picked up from my new internship at Subtext Books here in downtown Saint Paul. Can’t wait to read and review these! (and gaaah they all have such pretty covers fall is gonna be beautiful)

Lastly, I found Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson in a box of used books the other day. I cleaned off a bunch of gross sticker-y stuff from the back and now it’s basically good as new! I have loved Matson’s other books, especially her most recent The Unexpected Everything so I know I’ll surely enjoy this read, and that it’ll be a perfectly summery read.

♥, Tamara

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