I Capture the Castle and books

October 5th, 2009

I recently read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which was on my list of books to read for about a hundred years and I was a total fool to have waited that long. The book was completely charming, so I was kind of in two minds about the film when I saw it suggested to me on amazon. Happily, the film is one of the rare adaptations that gets everything completely right. The casting is perfect (I’m kind of obsessed with Rose Byrne who plays Rose – you know how much I love red hair) and everything is filmed beautifully, as you can see from the screencaps below. I don’t want to get all ~whimsical~ about it, because it’s not really that kind of story, but it’s a very endearing film and I’d totally recommend it (but read the book first!).

So let’s talk about books. I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale (my first Margaret Atwood! I feel like I’ve lived in a cave or something, but I really love it so far) and I’ve just ordered Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest which I can’t wait to read. The first two of the Millennium trilogy were totally “unputdownable”, which is an awful word but quite accurate in this case.

What are you reading? Any great recommendations? I’ve got about 20 books on my shelf that I need to get round to reading, but I’m always buying more anyway.

Here are 3 of my favourite books that I would recommend everyone reads asap:
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann

(Screencaps by me, copyright BBC/Momentum Pictures/Samuel Goldwyn Films et al)

38 Comments

  1. missmilki says:

    Anna Karenina is my favourite book too! I haven’t read either of the others but they’re on my list to read now. At the moment I’m reading the Time Traveller’s Wife which I’m really enjoying. And I’ve just finished re-reading A Room with a View by E.M Forster. I have books like that, that I come back to every few years and always enjoy. The Great Gatsby is another, as are some of my childhood books – the Anne of Green Gables series and Heidi in particular.

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    October 5th, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

    I really liked Time Traveller’s Wife too. I still want to see the film, though I’m sure it will be a huge disappointment (though Rachel McAdams is perfect for the role).
    The Great Gatsby is one of my favourites, I also loved The Beautiful and Damned by Fitzgerald but couldn’t even finish Tender Is the Night because I was bored stiff. Go figure!
    x

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  2. katy says:

    Kris! I love that you loved I Captured The Castle. The adaptation is one of my favorites of all time, and I think it’s always ignored. It’s such a beautiful beautiful film and a fantastic story – uplifting and real, without the fairy-tale schtick that could have made it a bit ~whimsical~.

    And AH! Handmaids Tale! Love it, it scared the shit out of me the first time I read it. It’s one of my favorite dystopian novels, really fantastic but also really really terrifying. If you enjoyed it you should also check out Doris Lessings Memoirs of a Survivor, another really good dystopian novel written by a woman.

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    katy says,

    October 5th, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    also, if you liked Castle, have you read Love In A Cold Climate & The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford? More great 1930s fiction, more humorous than Castle but still charming.

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    kris atomic says,

    October 5th, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

    Yes, read them a couple of months ago! SO GOOD! I love Nancy Mitford so much.

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    kris atomic says,

    October 5th, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

    Yes, that’s exactly it! It’s just right, not over the top or schmaltzy.

    Will deffo add Memoirs of a Survivor to my list, thank you! x

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  3. Hannah says:

    I’ve always wanted to read/see I Capture The Castle…now i know i should definitely order it! A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is one of my favourites too. I just read Curtis Sittenfeld’s ‘American Wife’ which i really enjoyed, and i’ve just started ‘Schindler’s Ark’ but after that i’ll be on the lookout for new reads. There’s a new Nancy Mitford biography out next month and i want to get it ASAP.

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    kris atomic says,

    October 5th, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    Those both look really interesting, thank you!
    & I can’t wait for the Nancy autobiog either! LOVE her. x

    reply

  4. Nicola says:

    Glad I’m not the only one with 20 books to read still desperate to buy more. I absolutely adored A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I started Anna Karenina recently but am on a major non-fiction kick at the moment, so I’m currently reading Dave Eggars’ autobiography A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – which is draining but incredibly well written. The best books I’ve read this year are The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

    I’ve always been fascinated with book to film adaptations – I’ll have to check this one out!

    reply

  5. laura says:

    I loved reading ICTT so will definitely check out the film.

    I went away recently and jettisoned some books at the last minute because i was only flying with hand luggage. error. i ended up having to buy more at crazy danish prices, but the ones i bought were totally worth it. the good terrorist by doris lessing is amusing and serious in the best way, and put me on a doris lessing kick – i’m currently reading the golden notebook, which is a little heavier-going but i can tell i’m going to love it. alias grace by margaret atwood was completely engrossing – one of the books you keep thinking about when you’re not reading it, and afterwards too which to me is the mark of an excellent writer.

    the amount of books i own but have yet to read is truly sickening.

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  6. Blair says:

    Ooh I love talking about books. The best I’ve read this year are:

    – The House at Midnight by Lucy Whitehouse
    – The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
    – The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
    – Dark Echo by F.G. Cottam

    And books I think everyone should read: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, I could go on.

    I’ve just started reading the second Millennium book, which I bought because it was reduced to 50p in Borders (half the pages are falling out) – I haven’t read the first one but I am still really enjoying it. I’m also planning to read several ~classics~ before the year’s out!

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    October 6th, 2009 @ 2:20 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! I always like reading your LJ posts about books :)
    I’m trying to read more ~classics~ too, I bought Crime and Punishment but keep getting side tracked by other exciting books! Wish I had more time to read. x

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  7. Brigadeiro says:

    LOVE Anna Karenina, such a brilliant brilliant book! Must read the others on your list, and have yet to read/see ICTC, looks great! :)
    xx

    reply

  8. cristina says:

    hi!! i’m like you, i buy books and they keep on piling up. yesterday i bought wuthering heights and dance,dance,dance by haruki murakami.

    i seriously recommend anything by haruki murakami, anything by milan kundera and the house of spirits by isabel allende.

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    October 11th, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

    Oh I love Haruki Murakami! I’ll add the others to my list :) x

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    cristina says,

    October 11th, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    Yes! I recommend: A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwiegan Wood, Dance Dance Dance, Kafka on the Shore, anything really. Ryu Murakami is also very interesting to read! : )

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  9. sofia says:

    Thank you for these recommendations, I’m really into books at the moment. I.m also reading the last of the Millenium trilogy at the moment, I’m the last Swede to read them it seems .)

    Rose Byrne is lovely. If you haven’t seen Damages yet, you must! She’s very deadpan and stylish in it, I love her, it is really Glenns show though, she is amazing.

    As for books, I love Wintering by Kate Moses, it is a favourite.

    reply

  10. Theodora says:

    My all-time favourite authors are E.M. Forster and W.G. Sebald, I keep going back to them. I used to only read “classics”, but I’ve recently started reading books that have been published less than fifty years ago and was quite surprised how much I liked some of them because up till now most of the recent literature I had read was too “light” for me. Don’t ask me why… I’m possibly the only person who doesn’t like Jonathan Safran Foer… Anyway, my favourites were Ali Smith’s “Like” (I keep rereading it, it’s SO good), Alan Hollinghurst’s “The Line of Beauty” and Jamie O’Neill’s “At Swim, Two Boys”. They’re all really, really great.

    reply

  11. Helen says:

    I’m currently reading Anna Karenina! This book sounds good and the film looks so nice too – I usually moan so much about film adaptations getting things wrong, it sounds refreshing to hear of one that gets it right!

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  12. Clare says:

    The movie looks amazing, a must see for the upcoming summer when it’s too hot to go outside!
    I’m reading the Children’s Book by AS Byatt at the moment, only just started, but it’s wonderful because it describes the V&A in its early days, and I always spend at least two days there whenever I’m in London. But I think it’s going to get a bit heavy soon.
    Also on a bit of an Ian McEwan run at the moment after seeing Atonement only recently, On Chesil Beach is great, as well as Saturday. Happy reading!

    reply

  13. Paris says:

    Oh, the timing of this! I just finished “I Capture The Castle” (both the book and movie adaptation) two weeks ago, and loved them both enormously!

    I’m trying to read a lot more as well, things that I should’ve read but never have (but am currently completely sucked into Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” which is convincing me to overhaul the way I eat and purchase food entirely). I’ve never read any Atwood myself (although I have two of hers on my bookshelf waiting to be read).

    If you’ve never read Steinbeck’s “East of Eden,” I would definitely recommend it, not to mention it is my favorite movie adaptation of a book (that and “Everything Is Illuminated) ever.

    reply

  14. Gem Wilder says:

    Currently reading:
    Len Lye: A Biography by Roger Horrocks
    Sport 37 (a collection of new New Zealand writing)
    Delta of Venus by Anais Nin

    All of your recommendations are on my bookshelf of yet to be read books (yes, I have a whole shelf – I buy books faster than I can read them).

    I recommend Elizabeth Knox’s The Vintner’s Luck. It’s amazing. I’m also anxiously awaiting the film adaptation – I’m so worried it will disappoint.

    reply

    genevieve dubois says,

    November 21st, 2009 @ 9:18 am

    TVL? Seen the movie? Did you like it?

    reply

    Gem Wilder says,

    February 25th, 2010 @ 8:29 am

    Seen the movie now. It was beautiful, but they left out pretty much the entire storyline of the book. The book is definitely much, much better than the movie. I would definitely recommend the book, but not the movie.

    reply

  15. heather says:

    please, please read “written on the body” by jeanette winterson! i will be shocked if you don’t love it!

    i just started reading “her fearful symmetry” by audrey niffenegger…so far, so good :)

    another one of my favorites is “the unbearable lightness of being”, which someone mentioned above.

    love your blog!

    reply

  16. Meaghan says:

    I capture the castle is one of my favourite books … i was scared to see the movie but i can just picture the scenes that those screencaps were from and they look exactly like i picture them … maybe i’ll rent it? great choice!

    reply

  17. Anke says:

    I capture the Castle was so lovely!

    reply

  18. Javier says:

    I’ve tons of books to recommend you, specially of latin american autors (all of the in english, of course, and most of them are in amazon.com too!)
    – The infinite plan by Isabel Allende
    – Like water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel
    – House of Mist by María Luisa Bombal
    – The Dancer and the thief by Antonio Skármeta
    I really recomend you the last book, it really reflects how my country is, and the people, is really fun. But all of them are really good, hope you like them.

    reply

    kris atomic says,

    October 11th, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

    Great, I’ll look those up! thank you x

    reply

  19. pia says:

    i love this film!

    reply

  20. y3ll0wRose says:

    Kris! how do you find margaret atwood? i adore her writing, absolutely delicious, i have read most of what has come through her fingertips-
    some of her others i would really recommend

    Alias Grace
    Cats Eye
    the Blind Assassin

    all utterly beautiful and true literature

    reply

  21. Betty says:

    Oh, I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale in my english class, I absloutely loved it! So full of references and different things to interpret. Lurvs!

    reply

  22. Amélie says:

    hi
    when i read your post i imidiatly like the screencaps, i love the mood of this picture, the clothes and the actrors.
    especially bill Nighy and Romola Garai , I like the red hair too and it’s difficult to see a beautiful red hair actress and rose byrn look so beautiful and
    so i found the movies and i am wachting it , i don’t know if the book is published in french, but i want to read it
    i like the 30’s between the 2 wars!
    thank youy so much for this discovery

    come on my little recent blog !

    reply

  23. ELIN says:

    Sounds interesting, I will look this one up! If you like Atwood, check out “Oryx and Crake”. Far-sighted, witty, elegant. Scary.
    Also, I would recommend you, and anyone, to read Siri Hustvedt. She is so amazingly talented, I would especially recommend “What I Loved”. Thanks for awesome posts.

    reply

  24. anya b says:

    i absolutely love ‘i capture the castle.’ one of my favorite books; i’ve read it over and over. the movie was okay, but the book is much better. and i also just read ‘handmaid’s tale’ too! i couldn’t put it down. i’m glad that someone else likes it that has such a cool blog…

    reply

  25. nor says:

    i am surprised no one mentioned jeffrey eugenides, because i found ‘the virgin suicides’ to be enticingly creepy, like watching a Tim Burton’s.
    also, Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ is pretty good.

    reply

  26. laura says:

    Oh I capture the castle is one of my fave books, the film was okay but not a touch on the novel I found. Some good recommendations from others too, i really need to get back into reading as I mainly seem to read graphic novels!

    reply

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