Ten opening lines and not a "dark and stormy night" among them? Sheesh, they don't write them like they used to. Thank goodness. The first pages of the books that made up The Christian Science Monitor's 10 Best Fiction Books of 2011 grab readers and propel them forward. They're set in a room, a taxi, a memory; they dip into childhood, nature and death; they are grabbers. Do you recognize the following opening lines?
Hooray for childhoods! Without them, we'd have so much less to complain about as adults. And by adults, I'm referring to the only important folks in our world today: You, me, and celebrities. As you and I work on our multi-volume memoirs – you are writing one, yes? – perhaps we can learn a thing from the early lives of the stars. Luckily, several Hollywood types looked back upon their awkward younger days in books published in 2011. Can you match these memories and memoirs?
It’s common practice, as the year draws to a close, to reflect on the past twelve months – to think back on what you did, how you spent your time, and who you spent it with. My years, more than anything, are shaped by books so when I look back I’m thinking about what I read. The same goes for thinking about the year to come: When I make my New Year’s resolutions, it’s pretty much just a long list of books that I want to get my hands on. And so, in looking forward to 2012, here are some things that I’ve already gotten my hands on; it would be wise of you to do the same. If what I’m reading (and loving) is any indication, 2012 is going to be a strange and wonderful year.
If you're going over the river and through the woods for a holiday trip to relatives, long drives (or plane trips) can make kids a little squirmy once the novelty of that new toy has worn off. Here are five books that are sure to keep them turning pages until you get there. (Just make sure to check out the age ranges listed so you're getting a book that's age-appropriate.)
A loose young woman in Nazi-era Berlin. A titanic failure of courage on the Titanic. A Supreme Court justice with a thing for hot blondes. An American president's scandalous love child. Book authors answered questions about these earthy topics and many more – from sandwiches to Shakespeare – during Monitor interviews with me this year. Here's a baker's dozen of the memorable things that these authors had to say. Click on the links to read the full interviews.
Call this a wish list to publishers. Of course it's true that’s there hardly any major sports star who hasn’t already achieved hardcover immortality a time or two or more. So why check back in with some already familiar sports luminaries? With the passage of time comes fresh perspectives on playing days, teammates, and rivals. And maybe even a little more honesty. So here goes, in no particular order: the Monitor’s Top 10 sports figures we’d put in the publishing on-deck circle.
How do you compress a complicated novel into a two-hour, cinema-friendly format? The answer, most often, is: you can't. A better solution for many authors is to have their books turned into HBO series. The end result is often an in-depth adaptation – with story and characters intact – that would have been impossible get at the multiplex. Here are some of the best-known books that have been turned into successful HBO series – with many more to come.
George Whitman, longtime owner of the beloved Shakespeare and Company, died in Paris last week.
'Daughter of Smoke and Bone,' one of 2011's most popular young adult novels, could be adapted into a film by Universal Pictures
Better World Books' 2011 bestseller list: everything from 'The Shack' to 'To Kill A Mockingbird'