March 15, 2007



"Today, she'd be sued and fired."

You forgot "criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, found guilty and sentenced by a jury of her 'peers' to a state penal facility for a period of time not to exceed 36 months".

I have to admit that as for the main topic, I fit more or less to type -- although I did read a lot of screenplay novelizations of movies I loved, but just the originals; I never cared for any of the serial fiction that grew out of movies like "Star Wars", etc. At any rate, for me it started with The Hardy Boys when I was about six, and I read all of them -- the back covers of the 1970s pint-sized hardbound editions had lists of all the other books; and I kept one of them handy, ticking off with a pen mark each volume as I read it -- up until they hired perhaps the third FWD and started turning out plots contemporary for the time. I'm not sure if I aged out of them or I just didn't care much for Frank and Joe in a post-1962 world.

Sean Ferrell

Does the new Mrs. TEV realize that there was a yearning for... shall we say, "education"... in your heart before you met her?


Ian Fleming provided my first (of many) disappointment from book -> movie adaptations. After reading (and loving) the book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I was VERY angry after seeing the movie. Speaking of books/movies/bond. I saw that the "new" Bond Craig whathisname will be cast in the Blindness adaptation with Julianne Moore, in case you're scoring at home.

Martha Southgate

Mark, Not only do I remember those Partridge Family novelizations fondly but I had the one that is pictured on the blog you link to. I loved Laurie--still have a soft spot for Susan Dey. So I guess the key is making the leap, literature-wise. Hope folks keep on doing it.


These days I love Salman Rushdie, Michael Chabon, and Zadie Smith. 10 years ago in high school I was reading Indiana Jones books, including the novelizations. Go figure.

denise hamilton

This is such an important topic. As the mother of 8 and 10-year-old boys, one who is a natural reader and one who's a reluctant one, I wrestle with this every day. The James Bond books for today's boys, (other than the 'young James Bond" series, which is OK) are the fast-paced Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. Alex Rider is 14-year-old boy spy for MI6 (his uncle and Dad died under mysterious circumstances while working for MI6 and now only Alex can complete their assignments and save the world) and the novels are full of electronic gadgets, extreme sports and excitement, travel and cliffhanger chapter endings. My kids love these books.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."