Looking Forward: Big Titles

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There has been some cool book news recently, so I thought I would link it up in case you hadn’t heard of these yet. It’s certainly going to be an exciting year for readers, and it’s only just beginning! Here are some big titles I’m really anticipating.

On May 4th, Beren and Lúthien will be found at a bookstore near you. When I first heard about this, I assumed that it would be a complete narrative with new material from Tolkien’s notes. Understandably, I was pretty thrilled. While that isn’t quite what this book will contain, it’s close enough that I’ll pick up a copy anyway.

From the publisher:

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In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

I’m currently reading The Silmarillion, so I may try a complete read of Middle-Earth titles before I tackle this new book.

Next!

If you haven’t heard about The Book of Dust – well, I’m about to fix that.

Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials was an absolute dream of a trilogy. Kid me read my copies until they were ragged, and as an adult I gained even more insight when I went back for a re-read. If you haven’t yet explored worlds with Lyra and Pantalaimon, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of The Golden Compass and dive in. (But disregard the terrible film of the same title. Please.)

For those of you who read and enjoyed HDM – rejoice! On October 19th of this year, the first of The Book of Dust trilogy will be released.

From Pullman’s website:

So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is… an equel. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

I will definitely be doing a His Dark Materials re-read later in the year to prepare for this release! It will be really cool to see an older Lyra, and learn more about Dust as well.

Are you looking forward to these new releases? Will you be pre-ordering, or biding your time for a library copy? What other 2017 releases are you waiting for? Let me know in the comments below!

T5W: Books I Want To See As TV Shows

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Starting this week, I’ll be participating in fun Top 5 Wednesday topics. This was created by Gingerreadslainey on youtube and the group can be found here. Every Wednesday a new topic asks people to choose their ‘top 5’ books in a specific category. With fall TV season around the corner, this week is focusing on books that I would want to see as TV shows!

First, a disclaimer. I would only want to see these as *good* TV shows (I’m looking at you, Golden Compass movie). In an ideal world, these would be well-adapted, cast properly with great actors, with budgets for good VFX, accurate sets, and elaborate or well-worn costumes depending on the situation. Seeing these badly butchered would be worse than having no adaptation at all!

That being said, let’s begin!

#1 – The Samaria Books, by Sharon Shinn

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I adore these books. A perfect blend of theology, science, romance, and adventure, I would pay good money to see them on a screen. Just imagining the diverse cast of characters playing out their stories is thrilling to me. It would work best if the books were adapted in chronological order rather than published order, though I’m sure an argument could be made for that as well.

Seeing angels come to life would almost be as great as the bomb soundtrack that I’m sure would accompany large gatherings, and play gently in the background at all other times. With rather serious topics spread throughout the series, it wouldn’t always be light watching – but it would sure as hell be satisfying.

#2 – Beka Cooper Books, by Tamora Pierce

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I’m a fan of all of Tamora Pierce’s books. While I think it would be cool to watch *all* of her books as shows, I realise how difficult it would be in the cases of books in which the protagonists go from children to adults in the span of a series.

Beka Cooper is a ‘puppy’. Essentially a police officer in training in the slums of a city where law enforcement is not always looked upon kindly. In a medieval (but not historical) setting, Beka discovers the pains of arresting those she grew up with and keeping order when laws aren’t always the easiest to enforce or agree with. Oh, and she can hear the spirits of the dead carried by pigeons. A masterful set of stories that would be brilliant as a TV show.

#3 – Old Kingdom Series, by Garth Nix

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While I feel that TV has had enough of zombies for a while, it certainly hasn’t had enough of necromancy! These books are set in a kingdom where electronics are useless, modern machine made products disintegrate, and necromancers raise the spirits of the dead for their own ends. With a magic system (The Charter) that works rather like a religion, and a main character who puts the dead to rest, this is a seriously creepy and compelling series. As the series moves on, different main characters are introduced – and they bring with them a really cool history and even more world-building.

With great VFX, this would be stunning on screen.

#4 – Deathless, by Catherynne Valente

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This book was beautiful and disturbing. Because life is often both. A re-imagined Russian tale, it weaves Russian history with folklore to great success. The Czar of Life, Koschei the Deathless, is wonderful and terrible and Marya Morevna falls deeply in love with him. But as the war between life and death grows, their complex relationship is threatened – as is the strange life that Marya has come to love. This book is full of fantasy sequences more than at home in a fairy tale, and interesting side characters you’ll love learning about.

With the right actors, I can see the beautiful backdrops and heartbreaking scenes come to life. It would be brilliant.

#5 – His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman

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Okay, so hear me out on this one. Everyone who read The Golden Compass and then went to see it in theatres knows what a botch-job it was. I had so much hope that it would be amazing but it just wasn’t. The religious influences were minimized so not to offend, which considering the whole thing is set in a parallel universe is ridiculous to me. Too much was compromised and it just didn’t work.

But imagine for a moment an adaptation with a script truer to the original source, and with enough time to accomplish truly telling the story. The rich settings would come to life with a colourful cast of characters just waiting to be discovered by new viewers. This show would have it all: a coming of age, drama, betrayal, witches, talking bears, and parallel universes! Best of all, it may actually be coming to a screen near you soon – though considering it’s a BBC collaboration with New Line (of the infamous Golden Compass film) I won’t hold my breath for a miracle.

So, there’s the books I’d most like to see as shows. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Are there other books that you would rather see as TV shows?