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Book Corner: Take on the Winter Reading Challenge

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to up your game by reading more, the library has you covered. Central Rappahannock Regional Library is introducing its first Adult Winter Reading Challenge to entice readers to curl up and stay warm with some good books. The theme is Books on the Big Screen, and, although reading any book will set you on your path to success in the challenge, library staff have a reel full of recommendations for books and stories that have been adapted to film.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Joy O. recommends this Booker Prize-winning novel by Michael Ondaatje because “it is poetic prose, and the movie by Anthony Minghella is so beautiful, it makes your heart ache.” Set at the end of World War II in an Italian villa, the story follows the intertwined lives of four individuals—a wounded English soldier, his Canadian nurse, the nurse’s family friend who is a former spy and professional thief, and a young Sikh soldier who defuses bombs left behind by the Germans.A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Pamela S. reminds readers that the small-screen sensation is adapted from George R.R. Martin’s bestselling book series A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s a fantasy world of court intrigue with wit, treachery, murder, and winters that can span generations.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly 
Pamela also recommends Margot Lee Shetterly’s book about the African American women whose mathematical expertise was instrumental in getting man into space. She notes that though the movie only focused on one part of the book, it did a phenomenal job portraying life in America during the Space Race era. This story is so compelling that the movie was in production before the book was published.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
Chuck G. wants us to read this hilarious satire of science fiction by Douglas Adams and watch the 2005 film version with Martin Freeman and Zoey The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Deschanel. “It’s such a fun movie, but I don’t think it gets the praise it deserves.”

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Several staff list this novel by Winifred Watson as a must-read. Set in 1930s London, this lighthearted story of a governess who is sent to the wrong home by an employment agency but finds herself useful to the occupant, a glamorous nightclub singer with romantic problems, will warm you on a frosty winter’s day. Joy O. notes that the movie “captures the main theme of the book, Miss Pettigrew's eyes being opened to a new world for a day, which changes the direction of her life. The movie is a delight with Amy Adams and Frances McDormand.”

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Barbara M. invites readers to rediscover the great Agatha Christie 1934 murder mystery set on a train. The library has the 2004 film version by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert Finney, as famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and a cast that includes such luminaries as Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, and Vanessa Redgrave.Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 
This adventurous, historical romance, the first in the series by the same name, is a favorite of Kitty N. If you like escapist literature, grand storytelling, and attention to historical detail, this book by Diana Gabaldon is for you. Kitty finds the small-screen adaptation to be just as spellbinding.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Barbara W. likes our DVDs of the 1940, 1995, and 2005 productions of Jane Austen’s classic, early 19th-century English comedy of manners. “Each film brings the book alive in its own way through good acting and costuming. However, the book can’t be rivaled.” Even if you’ve read it before, this winter might be a good time to revisit this book, one of the most popular reads worldwide.

The Shining by Stephen King
Published in 1977, this was Stephen King’s first hardcover bestseller, launching him to the top of the list of popular horror writers. Mary B. comments that, although Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation isn’t completely faithful to the events in this iconic book, it stands on its own for the taut suspense and the fantastic visuals.

For more staff recommendations on books, you may enjoy, ask us in person at your nearest Central Rappahannock Regional Library branch or go to librarypoint.org/mylibrarian. Details on the Winter Reading Challenge and how you can become eligible to receive a limited-edition library mug or win a chance for movie tickets or a bag of books can also be found online at librarypoint.org/winter.

This article first appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.