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Cat in the Stax: Books to the Big Screen

By Jenna Newman

With the weather getting cooler and damper, that means more time inside and more time reading books and watching movies. A constraint refrain heard from book lovers when a film adaptation is announced is, “The book is always better.” That being said, there are a handful of incredible books that have been made into just as incredible films or TV series. Below is a list of four books that have since hit the screen and had success there, too! 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The novel was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Last year, 150 years after the second volume was published, Greta Gerwig directed the most recent adaptation of Alcott’s classic story. Although this is not the first film adaptation, I would argue that it is the best. Gerwig perfectly captures Jo’s determination, Meg’s responsible and kind nature, Amy’s artistic talent and practicality, and Beth’s quiet and loving personality. Alcott made the March sister’s stories come to life and 150 years later, Gerwig brings them to the big screen with her own 21st century twist.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This novel was published in 2017 and explores themes of race and motherhood, taking place in author Celeste Ng’s childhood town, Shaker, Ohio. Ng opens with the main tragedy and conflict and then backtracks as the reader slowly tries to figure out who set little fires everywhere. This past March, right as the world began shutting down, Hulu released their TV series based on the novel starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Despite the show showing an entirely different ending than the novel, it was done with Ng’s blessing. Although there are no definitive plans for season two, there are many people asking for it, so who knows what will happen!

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

If you’ve been reading my Cat in the Staxs for a while now, you may have realized that I love a good non-fiction, based-on-a-true-story novel, and this is no different. The story brings to light the under-told story of three Black pioneers, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who served as NASA’s “human computers,” sending many space heroes safely to space. Following the film’s release it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Movie at the BET Awards, Outstanding Motion Pictures at the NAACP Image Awards, Best Action or Adventure Film at the Saturn Awards, along with many other accolades.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This installment is the first and most widely known novel in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. Despite being for children, the book has a depth engages the reader in at any age. In the same way, while I would argue that other film adaptations for books in the series did not fully live up to C.S. Lewis’s novels, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe did. Although director Adam Adamson changed the storyline slightly, the magic of Narnia is brought to the big screen. From the cold ways of the White Witch to the kind, sacrificial ways of Aslan, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the perfect story to read through in a weekend or watch huddled under blankets with hot chocolate. 

I will always be someone that claims books are better than films, but that’s not to say books can’t also be turned into great films and TV series. What’s your go-to on a cool, damp day? A book or a movie? Let us know in the comments below!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Watching Greta Gerwig’s Little Women for the one millionth time.

 

 

 

 


 


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Flick or Flip: Little Women

By Allie Reczek

Flick or Flip banner

Welcome to Falvey’s Flick or Flip? My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore undergrad at Villanova. For this blog, I will pick a book that has been turned into a movie, and argue which I thought was better.

In this week’s edition of Flick or Flip, I am discussing Little Women. The book, written by Louisa May Alcott, was originally published in 1868 and 1869 in two separate parts. It follows the lives of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy as they navigate adolescence and growing up in Reconstruction Era America. The first part takes place in the girls’ youth, and then the second part begins several years after the first concludes, opening with Meg’s wedding day. 

This timeline was possibly the greatest difference between the film and the book. Instead of being told over one continuous stretch of time, the movie jumps between the childhood and young-adult scenes to show parallels and how the girls’ life has changed over time.

Because this book is typically intended for younger audiences, I didn’t find the childhood section of the novel compelling, due to the repetitive lessons that the girls learn and then quickly forget. These moral lessons were mostly eliminated from the film adaptation (which I appreciated), leaving only the important plot points and a much more captivating story for adults (who presumably no longer need to learn lessons about greed and jealousy). 

In part two of the novel, Amy travels to Europe, Jo spends time in New York, Meg raises her twins, and Beth catches a fatal illness. While all of these major events occur in the movie, their order is scattered around and many details are left out. Of course, not everything from the book could be kept in the adaptation. However, it felt like there were different motivations for the girls’ actions because of the changes in the movie adaptation.

Overall, I loved both versions of Little Women. Yet, I found the movie to be more relatable to people my age and more engaging. Director Greta Gerwig did an Oscar-worthy job of making this beloved story into a piece that shows the struggles and joys of life in the late 1800s through the eyes of bright female minds. She brought themes of feminism into the twenty-first century and created something that I believe women of any age can find very relevant and approachable. Of course, I highly recommend both reading and viewing Little Women, but being able to see these classic characters develop and become successful individuals in their own ways makes the movie stand out. 

So, Flick or Flip?

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Hi! My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore Psychology Major. I work as a Marketing and Communication Assistant in Falvey. Hope you enjoy this blog! Have any flips or flicks I should debate in the future? Message @villanovalibrary on Instagram or tweet us @FalveyLibrary!


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New Year’s “Readsolutions”

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

My favorite part of a new year is asking people about their resolutions. You can learn a lot about a person through their goals: what their passions are, what they’re afraid of, or the kind of person they want to become over the next 365 days.

This year, I made some resolutions I’ve never made before. Since I love to cook and try new things, I promised myself to try one new food every week. My mom and I are happiest when we travel together, and this year I hope to travel to four new states with her. Finally, in an attempt to be a “mature adult,” I will start investing my money this year.

However, each year, I always make a “readsolution:” a resolutionfor books! In 2020, I am committed to reading 50 books. While I do not make a strict list of what those 50 books will be, I always like to begin the new year by researching the best books of the last year as well as the most anticipated books in the year to come, and you’ll find some of those books below.

Do you have any “readsolutions?” Tell us! Message us at @villanovalibrary on Instagram or @falveylibrary on Twitter for a chance to be featured!

 

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is not only one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019, the novel also made the list of “Top 10 Books of 2019” on the list published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Lerner writes a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: “a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right” (Amazon.com).

little women book cover

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott isn’t a new book, but there’s been a buzz surrounding the classic book because of the brand new and (already critically acclaimed) movie starring Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. If you haven’t read this book since middle school (like me), maybe the book deserves a fresh read.

 

 

 

Literary genius Zora Neale Hurston passed away in 1960, but Genevieve West edited and compiled 21 found short stories of Hurston’s to create the new Hitting A Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. The book is “an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture that enriches our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions” (Google Books). To read an excerpt from the book, check out the New York Times article here.

 

 

Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems is the debut collection of poetry by Robin Coste Lewis. The Collection won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2015, the first debut collection to win the award since 1974. Coste Lewis will be visiting campus on April 21 as part of Villanova University’s 22nd annual Literary Festival. She will speak at 7 p.m. in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner, and the event will be followed by a reception and book signing. To learn more about the other authors coming to Lit Fest, click here.

(Images sourced from Amazon.com.)

 


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey, read 47 books in 2019. Some of her favorite 2019 reads were Educated by Tara Westover, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.

 


 


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Last Modified: January 15, 2020