Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Weird Am I?

Am I strange? I recently realized that while I rarely read historical fiction, I love historical films and mini-series.

Horatio Hornblower? Huge fan. (What? You haven't obsessively watched the A&E series? Haven't fallen in love with the dashing and brilliant, yet painfully inexperienced Horatio? Aren't an expert on naval battles yet? Can't stop worrying that he's married the wrong person? Rent it or buy it, already!)

Jane Austen? Oh, my word! That two-part Sense and Sensibility on PBS's Masterpiece Theater had me weeping last night when I finally watched the finale I'd taped. (And yes, I've seen Emma Thompson's perfect adaptation too, and loved it equally.)

The life of Elizabeth I? I've watched both the two-part Cate Blanchett version and the two-part Helen Mirren tour-de-force.

So why don't I read more historical fiction?

The strangeness continues...

Weird literary films? I'll watch them. Weird adult literary fiction? NO. NO. NO.

Blood and high gothic horror a la Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd? I was practically swooning. Put a throat slashing in a novel, and I'm out of there.

On the other hand...

Children's movies? Not so interested outside of classic cartoons. (Loved Toy Story and the 1995 adaptation of The Little Princess. I've never forgiven Disney for their butchering of The Black Cauldron.) Children's fiction? Oh, you know what the answer is! All the time, everywhere, everything!!

Speculative fiction? I'd rather read it than watch it. (Too much blowing things up and running about in most SF movies, and not enough clever twisting of societal mores. But I usually fork over the money, and watch SF anyway, in the hopes of discovering something as creepy as Gattaca or as perfectly zany as Back to the Future.)

As for areas of agreement...

I'll watch films with subtitles, and I'll read poetry translations with glee.

Shakespeare is fabulous, on the page, on the stage, and at the movies. He's even good on T-shirts, or slapped on packs of gum, or as a doll. Or in prison. Really. You can't debase him.

And I like The Funny in movies and books. (Although I'm a hard, hard sell with movie comedy. Sometimes, I think I'd pay double for a film that could make me make laugh so hard my stomach hurts.)

So how weird am I? Do you like to watch genres that you won't read? Will you read books that you would turn away from on the screen?


  1. How weird am I that I wrote a semi-historical novel and don't read them?

    I am always shrieking about books adapted to film that are done badly. I will tolerate it when the author was at least involved somewhat with the production, but if at all possible, I prefer to read a book first and then watch a movie with the book on my lap.

    YES: I am a HUGE NERD. It's even worse with productions of classic literature. If I've read it, I want them to utter every word and do it CORRECTLY. (I'm pretty sure in a former life I was some kind of despot.) For this reason I don't see that many movies...

    I don't like comic books -- but I love comic book adaptations to film, for some reason. Except the ones that I don't, like that whole Peter Parker thing. Yuck. X-men, yes. Spiderman, no. Batman, no too. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, yes, despite the fact that it was weirdly plotless. I was even mildly amused by the hideous Fantastic Four. As you can see, my taste makes NO sense whatsoever.

    So, no, you're not at all weird in my book. You're verging on normal.

  2. No, you're not weird. I don't read much historical fiction either, because it often seems like too much work. But, like you, I love period movies, esp. Merchant Ivory stuff, and of course, mostly anything produced by the BBC is top drawer.

    As for kids stuff -- I'm kind of like you; movie adaptations of books I love are usually disappointing. For some reason, I don't generally like animated movies, though I liked Monsters, Inc.

    You're spot on with Shakespeare. Bring on the mugs and t-shirts!

  3. I looooved Sweeney Todd! But you're right, reading about it? I probably wouldn't have liked that so much.

  4. You're SOOOO not weird, Sara!

    I also don't read historical fiction, but will read anything that was written, say, 400 years ago.

    I don't really love movies at all. And those I love are never based on books.

  5. Oh, good. I'm not alone in my weirdness. I'm even "verging on normal." (Thanks Tadmack!!) Not that I was going to change, but...

  6. I love reading everything and I love watching it all on the big or little screen. I guess I don't offer a very interesting case study.

    BTW: Check out my latest post. My seven year old has written some cute stuff!

  7. I don't think you're SO weird, Sara. I have quite divergent movie vs. book tastes in some areas. I can read much darker stuff (like murder mysteries) than I can watch on TV (though the older I get, the less I like the dark stuff even in books). And I'll happily watch the equivalent of teen chick lit (Gossip Girl, the O.C., etc., etc.,), but I hardly ever read books like that. I've often thought it odd that book vs. movie tastes can vary so much. It's nice to know that this happens to other people, too.

  8. Have you ever seen Shakespeare in ASL? Now, that's a challenge, but perhaps a new way you've not seen 'ol Bill done before.

  9. (Meaning, I bet you'd really like it!).....

  10. I may be forever banished for I love Harry Potter books but won't even consider watching the movie. Love Star Wars movies of all kind, but you couldn't pay me to read the book. I love historical fiction in all forms (my favorite being a book on tape, have you tried it? You can get lost in the language and your imagination all at once) Now I've got to go begin my sonnet.

  11. Let me just say...BBC's Pride & Prejudice...Colin Firth...sigh...


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