By Jake Sexton | La Mesa Reads
We are starting to head into the holiday season, which among other things means lots of big name movies heading to theaters. And since so many modern movies are based on successful books, you can pop some corn, and read these titles at home to save a few dollars.
This summer’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” one of the first major studio movies in decades with an all-Asian cast, was also a big success at the box office. The movie is a romantic comedy about a New Yorker named Rachel, who discovers that her boyfriend has been downplaying his wealth, and is actually from one of the richest families in Asia! After they get engaged, she is forced to deal with the culture shock of his “crazy rich” lifestyle and his traditional family who do not approve of the marriage. The film is based on the popular novel by Kevin Kwan, and is the first of a trilogy featuring more romance and family drama.
“Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger” is the true story of writer Lee Israel. Falling into debt after her career stumbled, Israel decided to revive her fortunes by finding and selling long-lost letters by literati legends like Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. Of course, she did not find the letters; she wrote them herself as an elaborate scheme to make money. This autobiographical telling of her clever hoax was adapted into a movie starring comedian Melissa McCarthy.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is a story of romance and struggle by the amazing James Baldwin. Set in 1970s Harlem, a young couple’s plans for the future are harshly derailed when one of them is falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned. It is a powerful tale of resilient love in the face of oppression. The film adaptation comes out this winter, directed by Barry Jenkins, who was behind the Academy Award-winning hit “Moonlight.”
Swedish thriller author Stieg Larsson had already passed away by the time that the first three of his “Millennium” series books (i.e. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series) became immensely popular. After Larsson’s death, the series was taken over by fellow Swede David Lagercrantz. A film based on book number four, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” will soon hit the silver screen. Both the movie and book tell the tale of Salander and a journalist friend as they get entangled with a murder mystery, a Russian criminal syndicate, and Salander’s attempts to learn more about her own forgotten past.
On the lighter side, Christmastime will bring us a sort of sequel to a Disney classic in the form of “Mary Poppins Returns.” “Mary Poppins” was a long-running book series by P.L. Travers, with eight titles between 1934 and 1988. Although one of these books is called “Mary Poppins Comes Back,” the film’s director says that the movie contains elements from many of the books, as well as some original storytelling. The movie will star Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda and will have all the singing, dancing, and animated penguins you remember.
Friendly library activities
Since the holidays are a time for friends and family, perhaps you’d like to add some friends to your circle? The library’s Craft & Chat program is a place for sewers, knitters, scrapbookers, etc. to get to work while gabbing and getting to know other crafty folks. They meet every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. in the Friends of the Library bookstore.
Or, if you want to meet people while doing more physical activity, you can join our SilverSneakers yoga program every Saturday morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m. It is a gentle form of yoga, usually done seated or chair-assisted, and I’ve seen many of our regulars become good friends over the years.
—Jake Sexton is librarian at the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library. Call the library at 619-469-2151, visit in person at 8074 Allison Ave., or visit online at sdcl.org.