Words

Oscar Buzz

Reading versus viewing

Get It

More:

HOW: You can borrow DVDs of dozens of Academy Award-nominated films from your library by visiting http://www.wcls.org. Click on the Explore tab, then click on Awards and scroll down to the tab for See Award Winners in… Movies & TV. The link for Academy Awards has 473 items for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Every January, buzz about the Academy Awards starts to build in anticipation of the big event in March. And every year, I make a resolution to see more of the nominated films before the winners are announced. 

For me, there’s always a dilemma; if the movie is based on a book, should I wait to read the book first, then see the film? Here are four of last year’s Oscar contenders, all based on books, with time-saving suggestions about reading vs. viewing. 

Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove centers around a cranky Swedish widower so lonely and lost without his wife that he’s intent on ending his life. When a boisterous young family moves in to the house next door, Ove finds unexpected friendship and purpose. Though the book starts slowly and takes awhile to build, it delivers a story that is heartwarming, but not saccharine. The movie has a similar effect, with the added bonus of subtitles and hearing how to pronounce Ove’s name. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. 

In the Best Picture category, Lion is an adaptation of Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home. It chronicles Saroo’s amazing experience as a five-year-old boy from a rural Indian village who gets trapped on a decommissioned train and wakes up in Calcutta, more than 1,500 miles from home. Too young to know his last name or the name of his village, Saroo is truly lost, and eventually lands in an orphanage. Despite a comfortable upbringing and a loving adoptive family who raise him in Tasmania, Saroo becomes obsessed with finding the mother and siblings he lost. Although the memoir is in itself a gripping and inspirational story, the edge here goes to the film version, with its gorgeous, lush filmography and charismatic actors. Sunny Pawar plays young Saroo and Dev Patel is the adult version. Both have soulful eyes that show their pain as well as their unquenchable hope. 

If you only have time for one version of Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, stick with the film, which wisely focuses on the experiences of three of the African-American female mathematicians who played key roles in NASA’s quest to put a man on the moon. The book delivers extensive historical detail, but jumps back and forth in time and from character to character in a way that becomes confusing and repetitious. The movie adaptation is more successful, building a narrative arc and showing what it was like for these trailblazing women during an oppressive but exhilarating time in history.

Another of last year’s Best Picture contenders, Arrival, is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life.” In this case, both the story and the film are excellent in their own way, with twists and a nonlinear approach to time. Louise Banks is a linguistics professor charged with learning how to communicate with extraterrestrial creatures who have landed at 12 locations on Earth. Why are they here? Are they friends or foes? The short story is able to get into more detail about the linguistics, while the movie adds a side plot involving the Chinese military. Both leave plenty of unanswered questions and much for discussion.

For those who’d like to get a jump on the 2018 Oscar contenders, Whatcom County Library System is already circulating copies of Dunkirk and Get Out, and will add other nominated films as they are released on DVD. WCLS also offers the book versions of Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, and The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.

Christine Perkins is the executive director of the Whatcom County Library System.

March Silver Reef
More Words...
Full Deck
Books that suit you

It can be challenging to find your next great read, but the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) has stacked the deck in your favor. To celebrate our 75th anniversary and our love of sharing stories, we’ve created a full deck of reading recommendations, one for each week of 2019. 

These…

more »
Deep Creek
A love letter to home

Pam Houston was 31 years old when her first book, a collection of short stories titled Cowboys are My Weakness (1992), was published to some acclaim, earning her a check for $21,000—a lot of money for someone who was living in a tent and could fit all her belongings in her Toyota…

more »
Fiction 101
Our readers write

“Flash fiction has to bring a whole story into a moment,” creative writing instructor and author Kathryn Trueblood says.

This statement was solidified for her last week, when we culled approximately 20 selections from the more than 100 wildly creative submissions of 101 words that came…

more »
Events
Today
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Artist Workshop

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Dig Into Spring

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Avian Research

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Poetry Trio

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books and Brews

7:00pm|Village Books

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Nonprofit Brown Bag

11:30am|St. Luke's Health Education Center

Hidden in Plain Sight

4:00pm|Mt. Baker High School

Dahlias Discussion

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Fellowship of Fire

6:30pm|Everson Library

Art Talk with Wade Marlow

7:00pm|Dakota Gallery

Jared Hall Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Foghorn Stringband

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 The Hunts
Thursday
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Smart Business Summit

12:00pm|Pioneer Park Pavilion

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Exploring Equity

2:00pm|Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

Happy Hour Thursdays

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Walk on the Wild Side Series

5:30pm|Firehouse Arts & Events Center

Monthly Wine Tasting

5:30pm|Old World Deli

Time Capsule Reception

6:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Pub Run

6:00pm|BBay Running

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Check out WA Discover Pass Backpack Program

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

House Concert with Carolyn Cruso

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center

Dyo Festival Finale

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

The Hunts Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web Bos2