All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Thirteen book-to-movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge has meant I’ve been writing a lot about Mental Health over the last few weeks. Although it’s not something I’m ashamed of, for the sake of my own sanity I’ve decided that today’s Thursday Thirteen needed to be about something non-mental health related! :)

After watching a movie, how many of you have ever proclaimed ‘well, it wasn’t as good as the book’?

I’m willing to bet a fair few of you because, let’s be honest, most adaptations are pretty appalling. However, as with everything in life, there are always exceptions.

Thirteen book to movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

Movie Posters

13. Secretary
Book by: Mary Gaitskill
Film by: Steven Shainberg
A stereotype busting story and a tour-de-force performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal elevates this heart (and bottom) warming film onto the list of great book-to-movie adaptations.

12. Clueless
Book by: Jane Austen (Emma)
Film by: Amy Heckerling
This film, a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, is one of the brightest, breeziest and enjoyable of the 90s rom-com selection. Clueless is a master class on how to contemporize a classic work of literature.

11. To Kill a Mockingbird
Book by: Harper Lee
Film by: Robert Mulligan
I first watched this adaptation of Lee’s only published work of fiction whilst studying the book during High School. At the time I wasn’t impressed, but re-watching it years later revealed the nuances, power and intensity of this superb adaptation.

10. Jurassic Park
Book by: Michael Crichton
Film by: Steven Spielberg
Like most book-to-movie adaptations, the film does deviate from the novel in several key areas, but the sheer childish fun of seeing dinosaurs come to life make this film a must watch for any adaptation aficionado.

9. Life of Pi
Book by: Yann Martel
Film by: Ang Lee
Long considered un-filmable, Ang Lee proved all doubters wrong by creating not only one of the best book-to-movie adaptations of recent times but one of the finest (and most beautiful) films of the year.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Book by: C.S. Lewis
Film by: Andrew Adamson
Although it pales in comparison to the BBC adaptation (ineligible for this list given its television origins), this film version was a beautiful adaptation of the book and introduced (the perfectly cast) Georgie Henley to the world.

7. Trainspotting
Book by: Irvine Welsh
Film by: Danny Boyle
The film that launched Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle into the national consciousness. This striking adaptation of Boyle’s novel about the heroin subculture in Edinburgh is a film you truly must see before you die.

6. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Graphic Novel: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Film by: Edgar Wright
I cherish and adore this film more than any other made in the last ten years. Initially watched when I was homeless on the streets of Melbourne, this film inspired me to keep pushing on in my efforts to escape that most vicious of lifestyles. As such, it will always be a film I’ll hold close to my heart.

5. Fight Club
Book by: Chuck Palahniuk
Film by: David Fincher
This is one of my favourite films of all time. A devastating look at identity and consumerism, David Fincher has crafted one of the most consistently stunning, shocking and empowering films ever made and should be considered essential viewing for anyone, least of all those interested in book-to-movie adaptations.

4. Red Riding Trilogy
Books by:  David Peace
Films by: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker
David Peace’s quartet of books 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1984 are some of the bleakest, most intensely visceral series of books I’ve read in a long time. The film trilogy adaptation is just as intense, just as dark and equally as captivating. If you’re weak of heart, this may not be the film series for you, but you will be missing out on some of the finest British film-making, ever.

3. Alice in Wonderland
Books by: Lewis Carroll
Film by: Tim Burton

I will admit to hating this film the first time I watched it. I hated Mia Wasikowska as Alice, I hated Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter and I hated what Tim Burton had done to one of my favourite books. However, I recently decided to revisit this movie after having it recommended by several people, and I’m glad I did, for I found it to be one of the most inventive, inspiring, enjoyable and engaging films I’ve seen in a long time.

2. The Lord of the Rings (Extended Editions)
Books by: J.R.R Tolkien
Films by: Peter Jackson

What can be said about this movie trilogy that hasn’t already been said? It is an exceptional masterwork that will be loved and admired for generations to come. A quintessential entry on any great book-to-movie adaptations list.

1. Young Adam
Book by: Alexander Trocchi
Film by: David Mackenzie

I have been an ardent fan of Trocchi’s work for the better part of the last fifteen years and his novel Young Adam is one of my personal favourites. So when I discovered it had been turned into a movie I will admit to approaching it with trepidation. I needn’t have feared, for David Mackenzie has crafted a truly superb book-to-movie adaptation that cannot be missed.

Over to you…what are some of your favourite book-to-movie adaptations?


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Day 19: My (not very high) opinion of self-help books

The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge continues:
Day 19: Have you ever read a self-help book or a book related to psychology?
What is your opinion on them?  If you have read them do you have a favorite?

selfhelpbooks

Following my breakdown in 2007, my abuser decided that all I needed to do to ‘get better’ was to read any of the hundreds of self-help books she had decided were the saviors of humankind.

Whether it be Roads Less Travelled or the endless Chicken Soup series, she believed that my entire life – that my entire soul – would have been fixed by simply reading one of these books.

I didn’t believe such nonsense.

In fact, the only self-help book I’ve ever loved is called Happiness (Will Ferguson); a fictional satire on the self-help book industry. For that is what it is, an industry established to make people feel bad about themselves for not being able to fix their lives with a single platitude or simple belief.

The “self-help” books I like are those grounded in reality. They are those that come with substantiated evidence from the medical field and are written by professionals who have practiced what they have preached with quantifiable results.

Books such as: The Happiness Trap (Russ Harris), 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery (Babette Rothschild), Getting Past Your Past (Francine Shapiro) or Living with Voices: Fifty Stories of Recovery (Marius Romme/Sandra Escher); all of which look at areas of recovery without resorting to the level of emotional manipulation that many self-help books do.

Many self-help books (and the ones my abuser believed held the key to my salvation) teach you that all you have to do to change your life is to believe your life will change and it will magically do so.

This is bollocks!

The only thing that will change your life is a hell of a lot of goddamned hard work, so if I do turn to the written word to help me, I will always turn to books that will assist me in my battle, rather than those that manipulate my fragile sense of mind with hope, faerie dust and bullshit.


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Friday Finds (February 22)

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list. Whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Eyes Like Leaves (Charles De Lint) Leonardo - The Artist and The Man (Serge Bramly) Madness (Kate Richards)The Secret Cure (Sue Woolfe) The Hour I First Believed (Wally Lamb) The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Charles De Lint)The Book of Ballads (Charles Vess)

What books have you added to your TBR list this week?


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Friday Finds (February 22)

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list. Whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Lost in the Barrens (Farlay Mowat)

Spotted in an op-shop a few days ago. I was drawn to it by the fact the author is Canadian :-) (Price $1)

The Map of Time (Felix J. Palma)

Being a lover of all things timey-wimey it’s not surprising I’d like to read this acclaimed book.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd)

I spotted this in the library earlier in the week. It looks beautiful and the premise intruiges me :)

The Teleportation Accident (Ned Beaman)

Another book I spotted in the library. Who wouldn’t want to read this after that synopsis? :p

A Stew or a Story (MFK Fisher)

Another op-shop purchase.The cover is what predominantly caught my attention. (Price 50 cents)

Under Wild Wood (Colin Meloy)

I read (and enjoyed) the first book earlier this year so this sequel warrants a read.

Triburbia (Karl Taro Greenfeld)

Another book I saw in the library. Never heard of it before but it sounded interesting :)

What books have you added to your TBR list this week?


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Friday Finds (February 15)

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased). Find out more on the blog Should be Reading.

Given I’ve been abnormally busy this week I haven’t been able to spend as much time in libraries and op-shops as I would have liked. However, I did squeeze in a visit to an op-shop that’s currently having a 50% off book sale. Courtesy of this sale I present my Friday Finds for this week:

Praise

Praise was the very first book I read on Australian soil. I have many wonderful memories of sitting on Elwood beach relishing this marvellous book and am looking forward to revisiting it in the near future. (Price 25 cents)

The Devil's Garden

Although I’m a fan of Richard Montanari, I think the main reason I picked up this book was the ridiculous blurb. I thought *every* man was a man with a past…or is that just me? (Price: 25 cents)

The Long Earth

Although I’ve never been the biggest Pratchett fan (the only book of his I’ve read is Good Omens), I couldn’t pass up this brand spanking new release. Plus, it sounds rather intriguing. (Price: $1)

The Penguin Book of Australian Short Stories

Short story collections can be a bit hit-and-miss so I tend to approach them with trepidation. However I love Patrick White, Peter Carey and Henry Lawson, so hopefully this will be more hit than miss. (Price: 25 cents)

Wild Minds - Stories of Outsiders and Dreamers

I’m an outsider, a dreamer, a misfit AND an eccentric. I am absolutely hopelessly heroic and you can bet your ass the love I follow is absolutely vital. Why else would I follow it? I *had* to get this book! (Price: 25 cents)

What books have you added to your TBR list this week?

 


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Teaser Tuesday: The Face of Death (Smokey Barrett #2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along with Teaser Tuesdays! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser comes from The Face of Death, the second in Cody McFadyen’s series of crime thrillers starring Agent Smoky Barrett.

The Face of Death


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Teaser Tuesday: Special & Shirley

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along with Teaser Tuesdays! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser One

My first teaser comes from a novel I’ve had sitting on my reading list for many a long year. Most people, especially those with an interest in literature, will know of the greatness of Charlotte Bronte but few have read beyond her most famous novel, Jane Eyre. Shirley is set in the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15) and is deliberately designed as a social novel which acts as a counter point to her great dramatic romance.

Shirley (Charlotte Bronte)

Teaser Two

The following teaser contains reference to self-harm.
Please exercise caution if you find such content triggering.

My second teaser comes from the book Special by Bella Bathurst. This was another book I found at the library sale I mentioned last week and is a novel written with merciless clarity and startling insight. Special is a chilling and revealing novel about the world of adolescent girls, a hall of mirrors where the shape of the everyday can, without warning, become suddenly monstrous.

Special (Bella Bathurst)