Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak writes:

"I've decided to choose five books that have been turned into films I've also loved. All of these novels have led to films that have made me want to revisit the book, and there's nothing wrong with that!"





Wonder Boys
By Michael Chabon

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay might be considered Chabon's masterpiece, but I often find myself drawn back to Wonder Boys. It's the book of his that I tend to reread, again and again. Early on there's a great line where Grady Tripp refers to the book he's writing as 'the great careering zeppelin of which I was the mad commander…' That pretty much sums up the writer's lot, and the film does it beautifully, too. Seeing Michael Douglas write the number 251 at the top of a new page and then add a 0 is one of my favorite moments in movies. As James Leer (Tobey Maguire) says later on, in his special, deadpan way: 'That's a really big book, Professor Tripp.' "


Rumble Fish
By S. E Hinton

"Again, S. E. Hinton is more famous for a different book – The Outsiders – but for me, the novella-length Rumble Fish is her greatest. I've read it many times now, and the complexity of the characters and the hard truths they encounter always leave me reeling. It also changed my perception of my local pet shop forever…"


The World According to Garp
By John Irving

"This is one where I saw the movie first (when I was about ten), and even then I was thinking, Are you really allowed to do that?! It's such a heartfelt story. Garp is such a life force (and so, of course, is his mom). Also, any book where a kid gets bitten by a dog and bites him back is one for the ages -- especially when the dog is called Bonkers. It taught me that you can do anything in a book, as long as you believe it."


The Commitments
By Roddy Doyle

"I think I saw this movie abut 19 times before I saw the book in a city bookshop, and I pretty much devoured it on the 45-minute train ride home. There's a huge amount of swearing and a huge amount of heart as well -- which makes Jimmy Rabbitte and the world's hardest working band one of my all-time favorites, in both book and film."


Ghost World
By Daniel Clowes

"It's angry and skillful, cynical and funny -- and Ghost World is both a book and film I love. The scene where Seymour (Steve Buscemi) explodes in the car at a family crossing the road at far too leisurely a pace by screaming 'HAVE ANOTHER KID WHY DON'T YOU!' is a family favorite. More than that, those words have become our way of telling people to hurry up in our house. As it is, I'm not a prolific graphic novel reader, but I can never resist this one. I always pull it off the shelf and disappear inside it."


April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."