Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Get ready for a Super Bowl of Reading!

This weekend, some serious Super Bowl celebration will be under way as viewing parties packed with food,friends and a good sized TV will make merry all the day and night long.

As one of those folks who are not into sports, I do wish everyone else invested in the big game a lot of fun and may your favorite team(for this particular Super Bowl) win.

However, to my like minded book lovers, I propose that each of us find our own special form of entertainment during this time by setting up a Super Bowl of Reading. It's very simple; pick a pair of books to read back-to-back in whatever genre you chose and judge for yourself which one is better.

You can do this with a friend or two, if you want, and you don't have to wait for the day of the actual Super Bowl to start. Just make next Monday your deadline,with the prize being reducing your TBR pile by two(or more, if things work out that way). I'll showcase three examples of literary match-ups that should make for great competitive reading indeed, just to get you all started:

FINAL GIRLS VS. THE CHALK MAN: These two thrillers have quite a bit in common, as both are debut outings(in FG's case, the first time for that pen name) with lead characters haunted by tragic events in their past which are coming back to threaten their present.

For Riley Sanger's Final Girls, it's Quincey Carpenter, one of a trio of women who survived horror movie like massacres and is now trying to lead a quiet life.

When news of the death of her fellow Final Girl Lisa proves to be under suspicious circumstances,along with the reappearance of the other FG Samantha, she begins to wonder if a new killer is out there hunting them all down. I'm reading this one at the moment and so far as the collective word of mouth has promised, it's a fast paced and engaging read.

The quick pace of FG ought to allow me to meet up with The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor before the end of the workday week. The leading man of that terror tale is Eddie, a mild mannered school teacher in a small English town.

The odd arrival of a note with a piece of chalk at his home brings back unwanted memories of when he was twelve years old back in 1986. Eddie and his boyhood friends found the body of a dead girl, with that discovery leading to more tragic results.

Now, in 2016, Eddie fears that those past errors are truly returning as a new body count begins along side the re entrance of an old pal that he hoped never to run into again. My hunch is that both of these books will make for fine page turning chills here but we shall see which one has more of that winning killer instinct indeed:

CLASSIC ADAPTATION SHOWDOWN: To get a head start on the spring TV season, there are a couple of time honored titles set to hit the small screen that make for great reading.

My personal favorite, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, is scheduled for PBS Masterpiece in May, with the likes of Angela Landsbury and Emily Watson on board.

This tale of sisters has had many a film version/miniseries made from it,about as much as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice(more on that in a moment) but any new take on such a heartfelt book as this is worth watching, not to mention a good excuse for rereading!

Meanwhile, Starz plans to air E.M. Forster's Howards End this April. Hayley Atwell will be starring as Margaret Schlegel, who the Wilcox family suspect of tricking their recently deceased mother into leaving her the title country house.

As Margaret knows nothing of that bequest, she considers the attentions of widower Henry Wilcox(Matthew Macfadyen) to be honorable with their unexpected romance leading them both to marriage. That union stirs up several conflicts, including a secret affair as well as a relationship between Margaret's younger sister Helen and a troubled clerk named Leonard Bast.

While Howards End hasn't been adapted as much as Little Women has(the most notable version being the 1992 film with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins), both should make for great television and interesting books to compare and contrast. While the tone of each is very different, both are female centric stories that challenge society's notions of propriety in their own unique way:

BATTLE OF THE AUSTEN INSPIRED: It is a truth universally acknowledged by readers that of the six novels by Miss Jane Austen, the one that is most tempting to recreate on the page is Pride and Prejudice.

With that in mind, there are numerous P&P inspired books to choose from,almost enough to fill up an actual library with,so in the interest of simplicity, I suggest a pairing of Eligble by Curtis Settenfeld and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by the creators of the popular web series.

Both re-image the Bennet sisters in modern day America, with Settenfeld's suitors being doctors(one of whom appeared on a Bachelor type of reality show) and the Darcy of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries being the head of a tech empire.

 Each have their own brand of wit and romance, with the Eligble characters being a bit older than the LBD cast. Settenfeld's take on P&P was part of a publishing project that made over four of Austen's books yet it stands on it's own rather well, in my opinion.

You could argue that The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet has an advantage by being attached to the web series(or disadvantage, come to that). Nevertheless, both offer a fun new look at this timeless tale although if it comes to a battle of the Lydias, I'd place my bet on that plucky LBD gal:

If you do take up the challenge of the Super Bowl of Reading, do remember to have fun with it,especially if read-a-long buddies are involved. Snacks are encouraged, bookmarks will be essential and no trash talking, please(unless you really want to do that in lieu of cheers). Reading is always fun and fundamental, not to mention the ideal indoor sport, if you ask me:

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