In this Unabridged Podcast episode, we have so much fun talking with Morgan Hoit, @NYCBookGirl, about book-to-screen adaptations. We talk about our latest reads, book-to-screen adaptations we have loved, and books that we would love to see adapted.
Bookish Check In
Ashley - Sally Rooney’s Normal People
Sara - Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park
Our Book-to-Screen Adaptations
Ashley - Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible
Jen - Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society
Sara - Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On
Morgan - Adrienne Brodeur's Wild Game
Give Me One - Game Night Recommendations
Ashley - Exploding Kittens
Jen - Beyond Balderdash
Sara - Apples to Apples
Morgan - Anomia
Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Lorrie Moore's Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?
Garrett M. Graff's The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11
Lisa Taddeo's Three Women
Lev Grossman's The Magicians book series and adaptation
Mikel Jollett's Hollywood Park
R. O. Kwan's The Incendiaries
Lauren Groff's Arcadia
Laurence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief
Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle
Waco on Netflix
Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before - book and film adaptation
Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give - book and film adaptation
Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley
André Aciman's Call Me By Your Name
Lady Bird and Greta Gerwig
Screen adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People
Hannibal series, based on Thomas Harris's book Hannibal
Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and the film version
The Twilight series and film adaptations
Cards Against Humanity (game)
The Oatmeal comic (by Matthew Inman, illustrator of Exploding Kittens)
What Do You Meme? (game)
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Hello, welcome to Unabridged. This is Episode 135: Books You'd Love to See Turned into Film. Before we get started, we wanted to remind you that we are adding tons of great content on our Patreon page. We are working on several -- actually on the same topic -- several recaps of books that have actually been turned into movies. So if you like this episode, we encourage you to check out our Patreon page. Today, we are so excited to have Morgan Hoyt from the from the Bookstagram account @NYCBookGirl, and also she is an associate marketing manager for Avid Reader Press. We are going to give Morgan a chance to introduce herself right after our bookish check in.
But let's get started the way we always get started with our bookish check in. Ashley, what are you reading right now?
Yeah, so I guess this is appropriate for the books that have been adapted conversation but I am currently reading Sally Rooney's Normal People. I had not read any... I hadn't read her books yet. And so I borrowed this one a while ago and had been meaning to get to it but like so many books that are on my shelf, I often don't get to them until there is an external need. And in this case, Jen and Sara will have talked already about the adaptation, the pilot, that is on Hulu. And I am excited to watch that, so I wanted to read first, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm interested in the way the characters are building. It is funny. I am loving the conversations. And I really like the commentary about private life and public life, and how those can be very different, and how navigating those can be really complicated. I think all of that is really interesting. It's funny, we talked a while ago in an episode about bookish turn offs, and multiple people said in the comments and thoughts about their bookish turn offs that they didn't like when there are not quotation marks. And I was not particularly... I was like, huh, yeah, I've never really thought a whole lot about that, like in other languages a lot of times, they look different, you know, so anyway, I was like, um, I don't know, not that big of a deal. And then this one does not have any quotation marks, and it is driving me crazy. It's funny. It's funny, because I don't know if I would have necessarily noticed, but when other people commented on that as a bookish turn off, I was like, yeah, that is actually a thing that is happening here that I am like, are you talking or you're not talking? I'm not sure. Yeah, but overall, I'm really enjoying it.
That is really funny. So when I used to teach The Road, that was one thing students often commented on was the lack of quotation marks. And I was always just like, it's just a style thing. It's fine. Don't worry about it.
Have you read that one, Morgan?
Exactly! I think that normally, it doesn't bother me. And even with The Road, I don't remember it bothering me. But here, there are several times... and again, I don't know if I would have noticed if somebody hadn't recently mentioned it. But I was thinking like a lot of times in translation, there'll be a dash instead of quotation marks or something like that. But there's nothing at all to indicate it. And there are several times where I've had to pause and reread, because I'm not sure if they were talking or thinking and that has just yeah, been interesting. So interesting observation, but...
I have, and I finished the TV show last night, and it had me like so in my feelings. I barely slept last night. I was thinking about it so much. I think it has a totally perfect ending, and I think the TV show is really brilliant, and that was when my favorite novels of 2019, and I was saying to my boyfriend last night that I'm so sad because I feel like I read it a few months before it came out. So I like had something to look forward to in everyone else getting to read it. And then when it came out, the TV show is announced, so I had something to look forward to in the TV show coming, and now I feel like I'm like, done with Normal People and I don't know what to do with myself.
Honestly, it's about time! It'll have been about a year and a half. So...
I'm really excited to start. I've been waiting to start so it's very fresh in my mind before we talk about it, but I have heard nothing but good things, so I'm so excited to watch. I mean, yeah,
It's so beautiful. You guys are... I think you'll love it!
I love that book. So it wasn't what I expected, but I just love the book, so I'm excited to start the series. I'm waiting like you, Jen, because I want it to be fresh when we talk about it, but I'm excited to start it. Jen, what are you reading?
So I am reading... I'm alternating between an e-library check out, an e-book check out, and the audio on this one. It's a memoir by Phuc Tran, and it's called Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit in. And so Tran is part of a family who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1975. And in the 1980s, he is in school and trying to fit in, and he becomes involved in the punk rock clique basically at his school, and that's where I am now. So, oh my gosh, it's so good. And I'm glad I'm alternating with the audio because I love his narration of it. Of course, with memoirs, I always think that's really powerful. But he also has... he loves literature. And so sprinkled through the book are all of these connections he's making between his own life and classic literature, which he's also reading in an attempt to find a way to fit into American culture. It is just brilliant so far; I'm really loving.
That sounds interesting.
Morgan's nodding. Have you read that?
No, but it's been on my list of things I've been interested in but kind of like Ashley it's like I'm needing that kick to like actually start it. So that might have been the kick.
I really like it so far. And it's funny. It's that perfect balance, as I think a lot of members are, of funny, but also just really poignant, and you can see his parents really trying to do the best thing for their kids. But sometimes they don't handle things in the best way, and because he is speaking, looking back on his childhood, he understands now why his parents did some of the things they did. But when he was a kid, it was really hard for him to understand. Yeah, it's just all the good things. I really love it.
That sounds really good. Morgan, what are you reading?
Um, so I'm reading three books because I can't not be. I am about to finish God Shot by Chelsea... I want to say Bieker. I'm not sure how she says her last name, but I'm loving this book. It's a coming of age story about a girl in a cult. So it's, you know, fascinating and dark and she's kooky, and I've just absolutely loved it. It also takes place during a drought. So it's like very hot. So it feels right to be reading for this time of year. But I love a cult book. So this is this is a great one. And then I'm reading a collection of short stories by Lorrie Moore. I read... she's like one of those authors. She's always floated around in my periphery. And then I read her novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? on Saturday and loved it. And I have a short story collection. And so even though it's already in the middle of two books yesterday, I just picked it up and I'm four stories in, and they're funny and witty, and very, very cool. And she writes music in a beautiful way. So like all of them are friends, music, and I'm so interested in Sigh, Gone because I love music story. So I think that that's wonderful. And then I'm listening to All Adults Here by Emma Straub, which is so fun, and I'm just like having the best time. I'm almost done with it. But it feels you know, like, kind of whimsical, in it's family nature of it, and being in quarantine and like coming back to live with my parents during this time period... I'm like, really feeling that vibe of this family that All Lives in this small town, or is all like ending up in the same place at once. So that one's been really fun, and I'm very eager to find out what's going to happen in the end.
I've seen that everywhere.
It's like just as fun as I wanted it to be. I like picked it up when I was like, I need something that's like gonna just like kind of zip along and like be happy, and it's great, and I've never read any of Emma's work before, though I'm really a fan of her as person, so I am happy to dive in.
And I love Lorrie Moore. I haven't read her novel, but I love her short stories. She's just a really brilliant writer.
Yeah, it's amazing what she can fit into like a 20-page experience. So, I like have already added to my cart on bookshop like all of our other books. So, we'll see.
Did you read Mikel Jollett's Hollywood Park. You said you love a cult book?
No, I need to read that one.
Oh, it is it's a memoir, and I listened to that one. I was able to get that from Libro FM, and oh my gosh, it is just astounding the way he portrays... like he starts when he's quite young. And he writes from the voice of a child who is hearing all these words floating around, but doesn't totally understand them. And then as he comes to understand his parents were both in a cult, and he was separated from them until I think he was like four or five, because the cult didn't believe that parents should raise their children, and then they leave, and they try to get him back in the family, and it's just about what growing up and sort of the aftermath is like... I've talked about on the podcast before. I'm a major advocate for that book.
I'm immediately writing the name of that down. I feel like I've been into like cult stories since like 17 magazine used to have those dark portions in the back where they would be like, I escaped from a cult and here's my story and Seventeen got like way more boring later on in time. So definitely that calls my name. But I also love Arcadia by Lauren Groff and The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon.
I loved The Incendiaries. Yeah, I felt like that was a really powerful story.
And it's fun to be like, in that age bracket of a cult where like the people have kind of chosen to be there as opposed to like the other stories of kids like, which God Shot is one of, like someone being born into it.
Another great one -- sorry, I'll do one more -- is Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. I thought it was brilliant. And I was really intrigued to see he has a book out this year, a fiction book. And I didn't know he wrote fiction, but his nonfiction is amazing. And that book... I was, like, pressing it into people's hands after I read it because it was so fascinating. And that was another one where he had chosen to join but then had left and yeah... Morgan, you're nodding. Did you read that one?
No, I haven't. But I'm always interested in memoirists who then later write fiction. I think that that's such an interesting transition and one that's so hard to do super successfully, but like I discovered the other day that Jeannette Walls has some novels, and I was like all I know of you is The Glass Castle. And I was like what? So, I think it's always amazing when... I wish him the best with this transition.
I'm not reading anything about a cult, but my husband and I recently watched Waco on Netflix because I'd heard all about it but it was on the Paramount network, and we didn't get that, so it just came to Netflix. And that was a really good book... I mean NOT book... a really good show! But it's also like one of the guys who was in Waco was the consultant for the show, and he did write a memoir about it, so we'll put that in the show notes but it was really good. So anyway,
What I am reading... I'm finishing up because our buddy read for this month is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, and I read this before, and so I'm doing a reread, which I don't get to reread very many books because I am a super slow reader. So rereading this has been great; it has taken me back to when I taught eighth grade English and just reading it for the first time and sharing it with my students. It's a coming of age love story, and I think Rainbow Rowell writes teenagers really well, and I just I love, love, love, love this book. And the reread has held up magnificently, so I'm really enjoying it.
Yeah, that's been a really fun one to reread, and like you said, it's so nice to get to go back into that space of a book that you really loved and enjoy it again. So good.
It is so good. Okay, before we get started with our main discussion, we wanted to give Morgan an opportunity just to talk about her blog, how she came to love books so much, and working in the book industry, and we just wanted to give you an opportunity to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Yeah, cool. Okay, I'll do the the like bookish highlight version of it. Yeah, so I've been a reader for like, literally as long as I can possibly remember. I feel like there's like actually no better feeling than that moment when you can first read a chapter book all on your own and like you have that ability to unlock those worlds and to pick what you're going to read, and like, my parents were, like, pretty critical of us like when we -- not critical, but like stricter when we watched TV and things like that about we were allowed to watch -- but I was really allowed to read absolutely anything. So that was always like, just my escape. And then I went to college and I studied theater and English, my two great loves, and I like did my thesis on adaptation from books to theater; I really just melded the world in every way possible. And when I graduated from school, I came to New York to work in the theatre industry. And I worked for a Broadway producer for almost three years. And her name is Jill Furman. She's one of the producers of Hamilton, and she is like the coolest. I love her so much. So I had a great time working in her office, and I was her assistant and then promoted to her associate, but it was just the two of us in the office, and I really felt within the first day like eight or ten months, like I needed a project that was all my own outside of what we were working on at work. And I had been reading a ton. I'm the kind of student who can't go to class not having done the reading, so I didn't do much reading for pleasure in school because I was like, just so diligent about reading everything that was assigned, which was wonderful. I found amazing books that way. But once I graduated, and I saw how many books were being released every week, I was like, how do you ever get this done? I'm just like reading like a mad person, all these current releases, and I started to kind of dig into the Bookstagram community. And I was like other people on here who are posting about books and talking about books and like, I love photography. I love reading. I feel like I could do something like this. So actually, almost three years ago, like, within a few days, I was up here for Memorial Day weekend, and I was talking to my brother and my best friends and I was like, I kind of feel like I want to like start an Instagram account, and I have this handle in mind, and it's available, and it's the first one I looked for, so it kind of feels like fate. And they were like go for it, do it. So I started NYCBookGirl. And it was really just like me and my iPhone and like taking photos of the books that I bought for myself at the time. And then it kind of quickly grew into this whole other thing. And now it feels, you know, as much as it's my passion project, it's become also like a business that I run, and a brand that I've cultivated. And I've just absolutely adored doing it. And I've made amazing friends both virtually and in person because of it. Being in New York, I was kind of, you know, like, centered between like, the PRH office was five blocks north of us and the SNS office was like a few blocks east and all the people behind the corporate Instagram accounts were like, honestly in particular, like women my age who were reading and living in the city, and so I just like started this, this group of friends from it. So it brought all these wonderful things into my life, and then as I started to talk about myself more on the platform, my Instagram grew, like my numbers grew pretty quickly.
And then I was in this position where I was like, I knew I didn't want to be a Broadway producer within the first year of like seeing my boss do that job. I was like, "This is amazing. And the work she does is incredible, but it's not where I see myself going." So, I was kind of like feelers out looking for the next thing, but it takes a really long time to develop shows. So the projects we've been working on, we're like, kind of finally moving into the next stage and I was really loving being there as well, when my now boss approached me. And so I worked for Avid Reader Press, which is an imprint of Simon and Schuster. And Simon and Schuster has five imprints and Avid is the newest one. So, when they were starting Avid last summer, also almost exactly a year ago, my boss sent me an email and I'd read an advanced copy of the first book they were going to publish which was Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I loved it. And she had like written to me and she was like, "Hey, we're starting this new imprint this is our first book. It's nonfiction. I know you don't really read nonfiction, but I promise this one reads like fiction and like, it's all about like women. And you know, you talk so much about female empowerment and you should read it." That's great. Sounds good. Read it, loved it. And then so she and I had been in touch about that. And then she wrote, and she was like, "I don't know if this is like totally out of left wing, or if you're not looking for anything, but I'm hiring for this position. And it's going to be title marketing and consulting with our authors on their social and running all of our social channels. Like, would you want to have coffee?" And I was like, I don't know. I guess I do want to have coffee. So we had this like, great coffee date. We were together for an hour and a half. And I knew my friend Kelsey, who now works at Penguin Random House had worked with Meredith, my boss. And so I just like, knew Meredith was the coolest and so I already had a sense that going in, but we just immediately clicked and I was really interested, what they're doing. And then she was like, we'd love to have you come in to meet the team.
And so I met our publisher Josie and our editor-in-chief, Ben, and within like, 10 minutes, that first meeting, I was like, these are the people. This is the thing. They want to do like exactly what I want to do. They have a vision for what social media...what role social media will play in this imprint and which is exactly the kind of social media I like execute like, one that really feels like a community of readers and not just about you know, pushing our books upon you, but like, creating a place for people to come and like, laugh and share their like bookish traits and things like that. And just like within the name, Avid Reader, it's like built right in there. That's awesome. And so I just like kind of went for it. I knew. I had this night..this is like a Monday morning and my roommate and I met up that night and we like poured wine and water bottles and walked through the city and just talked about it for like two hours and at the end of this conversation that was like I get offered this job, I am taking this job. And then the next morning I got offered the job so it was just like yeah, so wonderful. And so I've been there for about a year now. I really jumped in with surface level knowledge of the publishing industry I had from running an Instagram account which is honestly nothing compared to like the layers and layers there are within the industry itself, but I've learned so much in the last year and it's been so fun. And we work on this incredibly small but tight and creative team where like, everyone has an attitude of like, if we can make it happen, why wouldn't we make it happen? So let's just like go out there and get it. And we've worked on some books that have been like absolutely incredible experiences. We redid this oral history of 911 called The Only Plane in the Sky that came out last September, and it's coming out in paperback this summer. And that was like, just absolutely the best and I loved working with Garrett Graff the, author of that, working with him...still working with him currently. And so yeah, it's just it's been great. And I really, like spent the last year trying to figure out how to balance the work I'm doing with @nycbookgirl and the work I do with Avid. The social media channels are like so different from one another that I never feel like I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's more about like, the hours in the day it takes to inhabit those spaces. That was not the briefest version, but that's my journey so far.
Awesome. So cool.
That's amazing. I'm fangirling so hard because you said Hamilton.
You mentioned Three Women, which I thought was just...it is an absolutely phenomenal book. And so yeah, I'm just like in awe right now.
Three Women has been so fun to work on like to come out into the world in such a bang and in that way and I think Lisa is, you know, such an incredibly talented writer and we have some more of her books I'll get to work on in the future, which has been so fun, but Three Women, is one of those books meant to spark conversation and so it's been really cool to see that conversation unfold over the past year in book clubs and online and with Lisa and these like cool virtual events we've been doing recently things like that. And but both with Hamilton and with Three Women and with both of my jobs I've been told, like don't get used to this. This is not how it normally is. Hamilton is like the gold standard for that industry. There's nothing that can touch it in that same way, which was really fun to work on. It was very, like, interesting to get to have such a like close perspective to it and great to have a boss who was so willing to teach and I could be like, what does this number mean? And she could be here's everything. And then with Three Women, like, I don't know... like not many books make a splash like that with a debut author in that first way. So it was a crazy summer like the publication day for Three Women was nuts. We were all just like sprinting around the city, but in like the best way possible. So I feel very, like a nice light has shined down on me so far.
That is amazing. So cool. Well, thank you, Morgan. That was very interesting. And so like we're all fangirling because we love books and Jen, I know she was losing it when you mentioned Hamilton because she's our resident Hamilton fan and guru.
Well, I mean Also, it's going to be released to be streamed in all of our living rooms on July 3.
I know, I'm so excited.
I'm so excited. It was a big anniversary present for my husband--we got to go to New York and see Hamilton on Broadway. And then we took my boys. They became obsessed with it as well to see it at the Kennedy Center. And we saw that it was going to be released early. And so my whole house was just freaking out. So
It's like one of those things where it's like, no matter how familiar you are with it, it's like seeing your favorite band live. It's better on stage than you could possibly imagine. I think that like, I know, like, how they shot the movie. And it was an incredible like week-long experience of like, cameras of every angle, with the full original Broadway cast. It's going to be like the best thing like the nest musical you've ever seen on your TV screen. But still, when Broadway reopens, like that's not even going to compare to that experience of seeing it live. So like, everyone's just going to get all of the chances. It'll be great.
I have goosebumps right now. So much.
Main Discussion - Book-to-Screen Adaptations
Well, speaking of books and adaptations to film or theater, or whatever medium. We are talking again today about book-to-movie or book-to-film adaptations. Each of us has chosen a pick and we're just going to talk about it. And I'm going to let Ashley start us off.
Yeah, yeah. That was fascinating, Morgan, to hear your thoughts about...I mean, the publishing industry is such an interesting...like you said, like seeing the Instagram side and then moving into publishing that's really fascinating and I am very excited to see Hamilton. So I wanted to talk about a book that I have been rereading. And so it's funny, Sara, that you were talking about Eleanor and Park. I don't normally reread and then this past month, I have reread two of my favorites. I loved Eleanor and Park and I also loved Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. And we talked before...we've been rereading along with Instagram's @readwithtoni for her buddy read this past month. And it has just been such a joy to reread that book. It is one that came along at a time in my life that it was really impactful for me to read it. It helped me see things in a very different way than I had seen them before. And I think it was really enlightening in a lot of ways. But I think that why it came to my mind now for an adaptation is just that in the rereading of it, I am amazed at how richly drawn each of the characters are and how well you know each of their voices. And I think that that is what would make it work so well as a movie.
So just quick summary for people who haven't read it. It is the story of a family, four daughters and mother and father who move to the Congo from Georgia. And they go there so that their father can be a missionary and establish and work in a church that is there, to take the place of somebody who's there. And spend time there. And things go awry for a lot of reasons for them. But a big part of it is that the dad is completely unable or unwilling to understand how cultures are different and to take those considerations into the choices that he makes. And because of his unwillingness to bend, there's some pretty disastrous consequences for the family and for the children who are, you know, stuck there with their parents, and for his wife, who feels disenfranchised. She doesn't have the agency to make choices that are safer and better for her family, even though she has a much better understanding of the culture of the Congolese people than he does. You know, there's just a lot to work through there. And I just think it's such a rich story because it shows both how those things can happen on a personal level, but there's also this amazing commentary about colonization. And the impact that that has and that residue of believing that you know, something that another culture does not know, and that you need to impart that wisdom upon them. I think there's a lot of that, that is spoken to, from a kid's perspective. And so I think that's really powerful too, like we see some of the attitudes, the cultural attitudes, the superiority, the belief that one culture is better than another. And we see that playing out and the young kids and then as they get older, you're seeing them question those ideas, and realize that the world is not as it seemed. And I just think that all of that is so rich. I thought of it because I love the book. And in the rereading, I think, you know, it's always amazing. I've read this more than once prior, but it's been quite a while since I read it and it's amazing to read it again after hundreds and hundreds, hundreds of other books, to read it again and for it to stand up against all these other books in the rereading. It's so rich that I'm in enjoying it on a deeper level than I did in the past. I think that really speaks to how great of a book it is. But I also think it'd be a great adaptation because of that multi perspective, voices and the way that we understand each person's perspective so well. And then I also think the other thing that makes it powerful as far as a movie is concerned is that Orleana, the mom doesn't talk a whole lot. We don't hear her voice a whole lot in the book, but she frames the story from present, looking back on all the things that happened and all the mistakes that were made. And I just think that that would be really rich in a film also.
I can't believe that hasn't already been made into a movie. Like if you'd asked me, I would have said 100% it is a film.
It's funny because I was thinking of all these like fantasy books and other you know, very plot driven stories that I love. But then I thought this one would be such a great movie because I just think it speaks to so many things in our society that are continuing to be impactful but also it is a historical novel, like, you know, it's speaking to Zaire and the political instability at the time and all of that. And so I think it's like really fascinating in that way, too. Yeah, yeah, I think it'd be a great, great, great film.
I really liked the idea that it could be adapted now too, because I feel like with prestige TV and being able to tell a story over a longer period of time, like having more time than two hours to tell the story. And having a limited series would be fantastic for that book, because the storytellers could take a longer time to develop the story and stay truer to the source material.
I do wonder if that's one reason it hasn't been adapted to a film is that covers such a wide span of time. So I think if you really tried to cover not just the initial storyline, but then the play out as the girls become adults. If you tried to cover all of that, that would be really tough in a film, but you're right, Sara, that a limited series would be perfect, and I would love to see that.
I think the episodic nature of a TV series would be great for those different voices and just honoring...Yeah, I mean, I think you could even have a totally different style depending on which girl's perspective you were seeing. I think that could be really appealing to a director or multiple directors, maybe.
And I think that's what she does so well is letting each style be so distinctive I mean, again the rereading after such a period of time I just can't remember the last time I've read a book that had multiple perspectives that were so unique and equally valid. Just so authentic and I love that.
Morgan what is one that you would like to see adapted?
Um, okay, so I have so many ideas for this category. I will limit myself to one, but I was thinking about you know, like, at first I started thinking about what book-to-film adaptations I think do it really right. Like I love The Hate U Give. I love To All the Boys I Loved Before. I think that YA is like one where you really lock in that like poppy visualization of like what a book gives. Like, honestly Eleanor and Park would make a great movie, but not going there. But then, the other thing that I think like really succeeds is when you get to see like, the beautiful place, like when a story is like really localized. I think Call Me by Your Name is amazing, I think The Talented Mr. Ripley, which is an adaptation of a 50s crime novel that I actually don't think is a great book, but it is a terrific movie, takes place on the Italian coast and like, it's beautiful. So, I'm pitching Wild Game, which is a memoir by Adrienne Brodeur. Yeah, and it's set in the Cape. So I'm currently quarantining on Cape Cod. And so I think that that's what was like really bringing me here, but just like the sweeping beach scenes would be incredible. But the memoir itself is about, Adrienne is a young girl, she's like 13 or 14, she's lying in her bedroom in Cape Cod and her mom comes and wakes her up in the middle of the night and says, "Your father's best friend just kissed me." And then over the next decade, she like pulls Adrienne along with her as she carries on this affair, so I would like to see this adapted into a movie. I would like Greta Gerwig to direct it because I think she does mother-daughter relationships perfectly. Lady Bird is one of my favorite movies of all time. And, I think it would just be like, you know, absolutely beautiful and like, kind of one of those cool films where it could even jump in time. Like between our narrator as a young woman and our narrator as like the girl she is when her mom first starts this. And the other thing is like I have gotten really into cooking in quarantine, and I love a cooking story. And Adrienne's mom is a food writer. So throughout this memoir, there's like an incredible amount of food referenced in it and in the wild game that she is preparing for them for dinner and I think the scenes of the brutality of like chopping and and preparing meat but then also the like beauty of the dish when it's finished. Like I think that that could translate incredibly well on the screen. I have like a very defined image of like exactly the house that they're in exactly the dunes that you see this take place on. Maybe that has to do with Normal People and that there's like so much like beach work done that that's also you know, kind of like seeping into my brain. But, I don't know I just could see it totally working and I could see it being a true tear jerker. And there's a moment at the end of the memoir that literally made me stop and gasp. I was reading it while walking down the street. And I think that could play just as well on screen.
I'm just like, writing it down, because I love memoirs. And I love food.
It's a totally perfect book and it it just like pulls you in and you will not come out until you have finished it. But I think it could really, really work.
I think that would be amazing. I read that with a buddy read on Instagram and we just had the best conversation about that book. And it's a tough book to wrap your mind around because of that situation, but yeah, and when you were talking about the food, I don't know if any of you watched the Hannibal series with Mads Mikkelsen, but I mean, he's cooking people because he's a cannibal. But he is this amazing cook and it's almost like art, the way they film the scenes in the kitchen. And so I was having this very bizarre connection between her mom and Hannibal, which is problematic, but I do think it could be very much like art pieces in itself, those scenes in the kitchen.
I agree. You know, like, there's something like the way the music would play into, like, how the shots were edited together. I think it could be like...
It would be amazing.
Very cool. It would be very complicated. You know, I think that like the story itself is very complicated, and it comes into that question of like, your family can be so complex and so wrong in so many ways, but you still love them and you still stay with them. The movie would have to deal with that. And I'd be really interested to see how it did.
Yeah, that sounds great.
Yeah, that does sound great. That sounds like an adaptation I would want to see. And also, I want to read the book right now.
I have it, if you would like to borrow it when we can see each other again.
There's also a very visual prop in the book. It's not a prop, obviously, it exists in real life. And I've seen a picture of it in real life, and I don't want to give away what it is. But the costume designer would have an insanely good time making this piece. Jen's nodding because she knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Yeah, same. Jen, what is your adaptation you would like to talk about?
So this is a book that actually came out today, the day we're recording. It's Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society. And that's another, Morgan, everything you were saying about place. I think that really resonates with me and this book would be perfect for that. So, this book takes place after World War Two, in a tiny village in England called Chawton, and it is a place where Jane Austen lived. And this is a town who has lost a great deal to the war. And there are people who are recovering from the war. There are people who have lost people and things in other ways. And so there's a lot of grief in the story. And you see a lot of recovery. And one of the things as a book lover I loved most about it is the fact that Jane Austen is important because she lived there. But also her books play a really important part in a lot of these people's lives. And you see the way that her books can provide an escape for these people, but also help them to understand their own situations and their own identities more clearly. It's just a really beautiful tribute to literature. And so I think it could be great because you'd have that strong sense of time and place, but also there is a character in the book who is a Hollywood movie star. And she loves Jane Austen so much. And so she wants to make movies of her books. So, I think it would be really fun to have this very quiet town and you see all of these characters and it has a...it would be a big cast, which I think could also be great. But then you see this person who is totally outside the realm of that village drop into it. And so I think that would be really fun to see on screen. When I wrote this review, Sara was proofreading it for me and she said she thought the book sounded like a big hug for Jane Austen fans. And it really is. So, I think people who love Austen's work, could love the story and love the film, but also people who haven't read her. I think there's plenty there for people to grab on to because it is about so many different characters who are dealing with so many things. So, that felt very long winded, but yeah, so that's Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society. I think it would be great. I think it could be a series but I think it would work really well just as a movie. I think you could compress that into a good two-hour film and get the sense of everything that you needed and it would be beautiful on the big screen.
That sounds great.
Have y'all read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Yeah. It sounds like the movie adaptation of that, which is also like one big hug. It deals with the world war two aspects, for sure. But then it's also like a beautiful little British town and I cry every time I watch it, which is frequently.
That's good. I haven't watched the movie. I loved the book. And it was one someone gave to me. And I just wasn't in the mood for it. But it was one of those. I was like, Okay, I'll read it because she loaned it to me and then I could not put it down. I loved it so much. I've been nervous about the movie though.
It's cute. I mean, it's like, I love Lily James. The guy who plays Dawsey is really cute. Like the whole thing is just kind of exactly like, the whimsical nature of the book pops onto the screen.
Oh, that's great.
What about you Sara? What are you thinking?
So, I feel like pick or even all the of my picks that I wrote down in preparation for this is very reflective of the time we are in because all of them are pretty, you know, entertaining, fun books that I've read over the years that I just think would be great adaptations. So a lot of them are just either funny, romantic comedies, fantasy, and I think that is indicative of how I'm feeling and what I want to watch right now. So, I am just going to stay with Rainbow Rowell since I did that from since I'm reading Eleanor and Park, but I'm going to choose Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. The reason I think that this will be great is first, I think fantasy books are always are ones that are very interesting to adapt because you have this great world building and then to see that come alive on screen...Like the first time I watched a Harry Potter movie even though the first one wasn't nearly my favorite, I was just in awe of the way that they were able to bring to life Hogwarts. And I just loved that. So, I think Carry On would be the same way. And I think seeing the...I love the relationship between Simon and Baz. And I think that it would be really interesting to see their whole relationship come to fruition between the antagonistic and the romantic and I just think all of that would be really exciting to see on screen. And I just think, again, the world building and seeing the vampires and seeing the Humdrum and all of that stuff. I think would just really translate well to an adaptation. And I think it could be a limited series, or it could be a series of movies like other YA adaptations have been. So, actually I have got to say, now that I'm talking through this, I'm surprised it hasn't been adapted yet. Because it's been pretty popular.
Yeah, and just like you said, I mean, I think that there is a good, like foundation for that film. And definitely it's clear the market is out there. But I think that she speaks to some aspects that are not as well represented. And so I think it would be really nice to see it build on some of what's already out there as far as great fantasy, YA adaptations.
And I think especially this one starts off when they're older than like the Harry Potter series. So I think it would appeal to an older audience. And I think also like the friend group -- I just love the friend group in Carry On and the way that they interact with each other. And I just think it's really interesting. So I think that would be a good adaptation.
I think that would be amazing. Yeah. The Magicians is another sort of, you know, magic school kind of thing. And that series -- it just recently ended -- it was amazing. And I do think just looking at that premise, but for different audiences, like you said... Yeah, I think it would be... I can't believe none of her books have been adapted.
I know. That's shocking to me.
It is shocking to me too, because they're so readable, but also they're so visual. I think she's a great visual storyteller, and so, yeah. And a lot of it is the dynamics between people. And so you know, you think the conversations and banter and stuff is often what works really well on screen.
Yeah. And also, there's a proven track record, and I think people are thirsty for a Harry Potter... like an adaptation like Harry Potter, or even Twilight, I mean, even though those are not near (in my opinion)... not near the Harry Potter... the level of execution of the Harry Harry Potter movies, but still, I mean to think about how successful they were, I think the market is ripe for some fantasy adaptations.
Well, that was great. I'm sure... I feel like I could talk about this all day long because there's nothing I like better than books and TV and movies to talk about, so...
I was like... I feel like bookish fave coming that will be our long list of all these adaptations we'd love to see because, yeah, once you start thinking about it, there are so many that would be great.
Give Me One - Game Night
Yes. So before we end the episode, we are going to end the same way we always end with a Give Me One, and tonight, when we were looking at Morgan's Instagram feed, we know she likes to play a game and have game night, so we thought we would do a Give Me One game night, and Morgan, would you like to start us off?
So my game that I recommend for adults to play for their game night is my favorite game that I've come across in the past year, and I have to thank my boyfriend because we played it on like our third date, which was a game night with my roommates and his roommates at his apartment (which is why our relationship works). It's a card game called Anomia. Have you guys played it before?
Okay, so you buy these decks of cards, and you can buy, you know, just like one pack or like the party package, which we have, which has a bunch of different decks. And on each card, it has a symbol, and then a category. So it will say like kitchen utensils, and then it'll have like a yellow circle on it. And you go around in a circle, and you flip these cards over in front of you. And as soon as you reveal a symbol that matches someone else's symbol in the circle, you have to shout out something in the category before they shout something in your category. So it's like one of those extensible games reference that kind of on their toes, I try to think of all the things that are in other people's categories, and then it gets like really fun. And it will also do things where like it'll cascade, so if you win someone else's card, it might reveal another symbol for someone else. So you have to be like on your toes in that way of like, what were the last cards, but it's really fun and it can get... like you can make it as complicated as you want. Like we'll get to the point where we'll be like, okay, no repeats. So like if someone's already yelled something for another category or like as an example for that category, you can't repeat that. Or you can combine the different decks.
I had the best gift that I received like maybe ever was someone made me a personal Anomia last year that had categories of like, shows I worked on in college, or favorite memories of my cat, or like books I've recommended... stuff like that. But it's really fun. And it's also fun because it can be kind of contentious where someone will say something and you'll be like, that's not a utensil. That's an appliance. So, I highly, highly recommend that game.
That sounds really fun. Ashley, how about you?
So I think I really go with one that our... when my partner's family is all together we play pretty often, and it's Exploding Kittens. So this, this came along... My husband really loves the... He really loves the comic, the artist who created the cards, and so that was kind of how we first came across it is that he is an artist and made this deck, but I think what's really interesting about it is that it's a pretty accessible card game for people; it's not super complicated, which I'm definitely down for. I do not do well... Morgan, you might not know this, but the three of us talked about this before with games. I'm really not here for anything that requires a lot of like pre-work. I usually tune out and by the end of it, I'm like, tell me one more time what I need to do.
I'm not great at games that have a lot of strategy typically. At least like, yeah, I don't know... I don't play them very often. I often watch and you know, drink my wine. So, anyway, this one... I think what's really great is it is accessible. A lot of people can play it ,and there's not a lot of rules, but it has a lot of strategy and sabotage is a part of it. So I don't have any of you have played this before.
I have. It's so fun.
It's really fun. And I think it's fun because you can purposefully throw other people out of the game and you, you know, there's just a lot of choices that people make that create conflict, but it is also kind of fun. So yeah, I think I'm going go with Exploding Kittens.
Actually, I feel you because I'm not afraid of a like complicated game, but I'm a really bad listener when someone's trying to explain directions. So like, I have to read the instruction booklet which clicks with like who I am as a person, but like, I will like hate a new game at first, which I don't actually hate it. I'm putting air quotes around hate -- I just don't understand it yet until I have like the time to like see it visually.
Jen, what's your game?
So my game is Beyond Balderdash. And this is one it's interesting because all of us have mentioned thus far our partners, and so I grew up in a household where we played a lot of board games. My dad was a vicious competitor. There was no mercy given; it didn't matter how old you were, he was going to take you out in Monopoly if he could anyway. So when I married my husband, his family also loves to play games. And I never played Beyond Balderdash before, but this is one of their favorites. And it's a game you sit at a table, and everybody has a sheet of paper, and you draw a card. And there's someone who's the dasher. That person draws the card and reads the category. And so, you get a word, and you have to write the definition, a date, and you have to write what happened on that date, an acronym, and you have to write what it stands for, a movie title and you have to write the synopsis of the movie. And so you do all of that blindly. So the dasher writes down the real answer, and the words are crazy words or the movie titles are things you've never heard of. Everybody else makes one up. And then the dasher reads all of them out and everybody votes for the one that they think is the right answer. And so the first couple of times, you're trying to get into this sort of conventions like how are the movie synopses written and things like that. It is really hilarious. And so, because we know each other well, we have to be careful. Like, I tend to use bigger words, maybe than the rest of my husband's family. So I'm like, Okay, I have to have a synonym for this word and write down this other word. It's really fun. They are also quite vicious competitors. And so it can get... not contentious, but people really like to win in my husband's family. And so they are really competitive.
And my niece who is now 16... she was making that transition into wanting to play adult games. And the first couple of times, I was like, Can you can you help her out a little bit? They're like, No, she has to learn. Now she's gotten better, and so she can play with the adults, but it was like this rite of passage that you have to learn how to play Beyond Balderdash. Anyway, it's really fun. It's really creative. I will say it's a tough one if you are tired. Like we've tried to play right before midnight on New Year's Eve before, which I know sounds very exciting for some people out there who like to party on New Year's Eve -- we play board games. But it can be tough if you're really tired, but it's a lot of fun.
That sounds really fun.
Yeah. Sara, what's your game?
So I relate to a lot of what all of you have said. Number one, I enjoy playing games once I know how to play them, but I hate the process of learning a new game, so a lot of times I just won't do it. My husband has a lot of patience with the kids with that. And I just... I don't like figuring out the instructions. If someone can tell me what to do, and then I can play, that's fine. But I don't like to learn new games. However, once I know a new game, and I'm playing a new game... I am very mild mannered in most aspects of my life, but I become a crazy competitive person when I play any type of sport or game. I want to win. And so, it kind of brings out the worst of my personality when I play a game, but...
I just want to say really quickly, that one time in class, with students, Sara turns to me because we were on a team together and she's like, sit down, Ashley! I think it was the only time in my whole life that she was like "focus!" And I was like "Yes, ma'am." And for the record, we did win.
It's not a good look for me. I know.
I loved it, friend.
So I'm going to go with a classic, which is Apples to Apples. We used to play this in college all the time. And also, when we first my husband and I first got married, we would often have game night. But then once the kids came around, we couldn't do it as much, but... So some of my picks... I was looking at everyone else's I'm like, oh, mine are like collector's items now, but I'm Apples to Apples is super fun. It is a game where there's a judge, and he or she draws a card and puts it out and it has a word on it, and then everybody else throws a card in their hand that they think that judge will pick to pair with the card. And it can get really funny. And I have not played yet, but my sister was here and she played Cards Against Humanity with her friends, which sounded similar to this, and I'm really interested to play that but I also know it is very adult themed compared to Apples to Apples.
I love that one because I feel like it's like apples to apples but spicier, which is...
So I'm excited to try that one when we can be with each other again. But the reason I like Apples to Apples... it is very clear; the instructions are minimal. And someone could tell me how to play, and I can understand it, and we can play and within five minutes, which I like that.
We got a new one that we play with my cousins who are in high school called What do you Meme? And you lay out like first card would be the caption of a meme. And then everyone has like some images in their hands of like notable memes and you have to put down like the image you would want for the caption. Or maybe it was the other way around where the photo goes down and you put down the caption... but it's very fun.
That sounds really fun. That sounds like something my son would like.
It'll have my whole family in stitches like no matter what age or who we are. To the point where like, everyone's looking over at us being like what are they laughing so much about?
I love games like that you have to know, like, figure out people's personalities -- like the thing that you pick that will match what you think they will pick. My boys have been... we've been playing Apples to Apples, and they're still trying to figure it out. And so sometimes they're like, but that's not what it... I have one son who is very literal... But that's not what that word means, Mom, and I'm like, I know! It's very cute.
That's awesome. I think we've given everybody a lots of choices for game night.
I was going to say I'm filling up my cart as we speak!
Well, we want to thank Morgan so much for being here today. This was an awesome conversation. I really enjoyed talking to you, and it was just really fun. We want to remind everybody again to check out our Patreon page; you can click on it right on our website or it'll be in the show notes. And thanks everyone for listening.
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