Under the Dome – T.V. Series

On Monday, CBS debuted their version of Stephen King’s 1,072 page opus Under the Dome. I read the book back when it first came out in 2009 and have to admit my memory of what happened is a bit on the fuzzy side.  I recall enjoying the book but the specifics of it have since escaped me.

Given I’m a raging King fan, I was more than willing to give this series a shot and view it.  I have to say I was happy with the first episode.  It wasn’t excellent, but not too many of King’s book to T.V. shows are.  I know the writers changed quite a few things from the book.  Since I don’t recall the details I’m good with the changes.  One thing I do recall is the rather gruesome death of an animal in the book – a woodchuck, changed to a cow for the show.  I thought this was a good change since it was a better representation of the arrival of the dome.  A bigger target to show the effect of being cut off.  Another thing that changed (I’ve read in read in reviews, full disclosure since I don’t recall this fact) is that the sound doesn’t travel through the dome as in does in the book.  Again, I’m good with this change.  I think it’s a good effect of showing how the town is cut off from the outside world and is in its own realm.  Lots of characters in the book as well as in the show.  The book actually has a three page list of the main characters at the beginning.  Always a scary sign when reading a book and being given a list of who’s who before even starting :-).

King’s book to movie/T.V. have been hit or miss for me.  Some I’ve loved and some I’ve hated.  The ones that seem as if they’d be more of a successful to me are the ones where the “evil” character is more on the human side rather than on the imagination side (e.g. Annie Wilkes from Misery vs., say, Pennywise from It).  Given The Dome is an inanimate object I think this series will be a good translation.  CBS did a good job of promoting The Dome – not too in your face and featuring the dome in many of its promos.  Future episodes will tell if this series is successful or not.  This T.V. junkie is hoping its good.

How about you – what are your favorite King book to movies?  Any books you wish would be made into a movie or a T.V. series?

Apocalypse Cow – Book Review (zombie cows?)

After the beautifully sad, yet hopeful The Book ThiefI wanted to read something that was a little lighterApocalypse Cow  by Michael Logan fit that need.  The name of this book is just ridiculous and yet it was the name that drew me in.  The fact that it was about zombie cows sold it.  Animals typically aren’t portrayed as zombies, so I found this book to be a slight alternative to the regular zombie books out there.

It all starts with scientists that aren’t exactly thinking of doing science for the good of mankind.  They create an experimental bio-weapon that is only transferable between animals, but not birds.  The bio-weapon, however, doesn’t work quite as planned, instead turning animals into “zombies.”  Sadly, the hope of the nation – Scotland and eventually England – lies with three unlikely heroes:  Lesley, a sad excuse of a journalist, Geldof, a teenager whose hippie mom is blind to her son being allergic to the hemp clothing she makes him wear, and Terry, a slaughterhouse worker who is an almost recluse due to the death stench that clings to him.

These three heroes come together due to a loose “family” relationship between Terry and Geldof.  After some tragic and somewhat humorous deaths, Terry, Geldof, and Lesley must find a way to get the story out about the origins of the bio-weapon.  Which proves rather difficult given the number of animals running around Scotland doing their best to kill every human.  And, oh yea, the heroes are also being pursed by the government lab that is trying to keep the story of the bio-weapon under wraps.

There are some gruesome descriptions in the book – more dealing with the slaughterhouse than the zombie animals.  I found myself cringing a few times and really wanting to become the vegetarian I secretly want to be.  I liked the idea of animal zombies since I’ve never really seen anyone take that approach before.  I wouldn’t say I loved it – seemed like there was just something missing – but did enjoy the different storyline.  Overall, this is about the ability of humans to come together and save the world from the cow apocalypse.

“The Book Thief” will steal your heart

The Book Thief is a moving story by Markus Zusak about a young girl named Liesel Meminger, living in Germany during World War II, who is sent to live with her foster parents Hans and Rosa, and how all their lives are affected by each other.  The book is narrated by Death.  Although this story sounds depressing (and it is sad) the story is told with compassion, hope, and love.  A thanks to Blogs Of A Bookaholic for having this on her to be read pile, otherwise don’t think I would have ever come across this book.

Liesel is on the train to go live with her foster parents.  The train ride is doubly sad since not only is she being sent away by her mother, but her brother dies on the train ride there.  While her brother is buried, Liesel is compelled to steal a book from the gravesite, even though she cannot read. This theft truly starts Liesel on the journey to her new life and her new persona as a book thief.  When Liesel arrives at her new home, she quickly bonds with her foster-father, Hans.  Hans is a kind compassionate soul who stays next to Liesel as she sleeps and is there when she wakes up from her nightmares.  Hans takes the time to teach Liesel how to read and this endears him even more to Liesel, striking a strong bond between father and child.  Rosa, although rough and tough on the outside loves Liesel just as much, as vice versa.

This is, of course, Nazi Germany.  A time when the country is full of hatred and hard times.  Due to Hans’ past and a promise he made, a visitor comes to the family home.  The visitor is a Jewish man, Max, who asks for help, which Hans cannot refuse.  Even though this visitor puts the family in great danger, they welcome him into their home.  As Liesel warms up to Max they too strike a bond.  Max lives through Liesel since he cannot go outside due to fear of death.  Liesel is the bright spot in Max’s life and he also helps with her reading.  Inspired by her stories of the outside world and the bond they build up, Max gives Liesel a moving present one day.  The way Zusak portrays this present was one of the most moving moments in this book (and this book is full of moving moments).  It was one of my favorite parts – it really shows the connections people can make and how a story can mean the world to a person.

Liesel’s close friend Rudy is also a bright spot.  He’s faithful to Liesel and is there when she needs him as well as she is there for him.  There is so much to this book it’s hard to capture it all.  From the mayor and his wife to the neighbor who spits on the family door, a wealth of characters.  The story told by Death is done with compassion, emotion, and care.  Not what one would normally associate with Death.  Zusak has Death narrate in a way that the reader knows Death is a good person who is tortured by his relationship with humans.  He cares for them so much, and that is a problem for him.  He deals with it in the most caring way he can, by being there at the end and making sure the soul is taken in a compassionate way.

Although this book is solemn, bleak, sad, full of death, and hardship, it is also full of hope, cheer, and shows the best and worst sides of humanity.  I highly recommend this book to anyone.  It’s classified as a young adult book but it’s a YA book for the masses.  The Book Thief is not one anyone should pass up.