Reading brings back a lot of good memories because during university I had a part-time job at a bookstore at the Toronto Pearson International Airport right on the departure concourse. Life seemed much more simpler than because the shifts were easy and the only biggest task to complete was to shelve the books. During my coffee breaks, I would read the books that were on the top 10 best-sellers list. Luckily, years later (and a lot of time spent reading on my part) I have many favorites, but these are my choices for the best 5 novels that turned into Hollywood movies.
1. Memoirs of a Geisha The book was written in first person perspective from a little girl taken away from her family in Kyoto, Japan who grew up training to become the best geisha in the nation. Written by American writer Arthur Golden, the story is interesting while making it a good read. Steven Spielberg directed the movie adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha in 2005 starring Zhang Ziyi and it went on to become a blockbuster hit winning three Academy Awards for: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
2. Bridget Jones’ Diary The international best-seller written by English author Helen Fielding was an entertaining read that I enjoyed during my coffee breaks. I had never actually seen anyone write down the number of cigarettes they smoked in one day, so it kind of pushed me to keep a diary of all the cigarettes I smoked, and, sadly, I didn’t feel the need to know to answer. The film adaptation starred no other than Renee Zellweger who purposely gained 20 pounds to play the role of Bridget Jones. After all the hard work trying to fat up for the movie paid off, Zellweger earned a Best Actress Nomination at the 2001 Academy Awards.
3. American Psycho Written by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho was a psychological thriller novel that I read with some bizarre reactions. It was written somewhat satirical but what made it famous was the novel’s graphic violence and sexual content. The film adaptation starring Christian Bale playing Patrick Bateman, a serial killer disguised as a high-powered business man was only a mediocre success at the box office. The movie was good, but in this case, the book was aggressively interesting.
4. The Reader A lot of controversy surrounded the German author Bernard Schlink who penned The Reader, a novel about a 15-year-old German boy who falls in love with a 36-year-old woman who once happened to be a Nazi prison guard. Although the book was written in fiction format, Schlink was asked if the book was based on a true story and he admitted that it was, indeed, semi-autobiographical. The film adaptation was released in 2008 starring Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet and young German actor David Kross. The movie became a very successful drama with a sad ending, earning Winslet the 2008 Academy Award for Best Actress in The Reader.
5. Girl, Interrupted The best-selling memoir written by American author Susanna Kaysen was a must-read for all psychology majors at my unversity. Girl, Interrupted had shocking accounts from a young woman who spent some time as a borderline personality patient in a psychiatric hospital way before Britney Spears could even drink alcohol. The movie adaptation gained international attention as Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, and the late Brittany Murphy all played patient roles whereby the question of mental illness versus conformity to insanity are questioned. A psychologist’s dream and a box office hit as Girl, Interrupted earned Angelina Jolie’s first Academy Award in 2000 as Best Supporting Actress.