Tag: Insight

Alan Bennett – A Private Function | Review

Title: A Private Function

Author: Alan Bennett

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 308

Rating: 3.5/5

This book basically brings together the screenplays for five of Bennett’s different movies: The Old Crowd, A Private Function, Prick Up Your Ears, 102 Boulevard Haussmann and The Madness of King George. As is to be expected with any compilation like this, I liked some of the screenplays more than others, and by all accounts they were better as stage plays anyway.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this one up, and while I’ve changed my mind and I doubt I’ll be watching all of the movies that were made out of this, I’ll be checking out one or two of them. I think it’s also pretty cool because Bennett is at his best when he’s writing dialogue, at least in my opinion, and dialogue automatically shines in screenplays.

I also think that some of my favourite parts of this book were the introductions to the different screenplays, but then I’ve always liked getting a little extra context on what I’m reading. Strangely, though, that only really applies when I’m reading an author talking about their own work, as otherwise I like to go in pretty blind.

All in all then, I’m a fan of Alan Bennett’s work and so I was pretty happy with it, and with five screenplays in a single collection, there’s a lot here for you to enjoy. Even if you don’t like one of them, you’ll probably like the others.

And if nothing else, it’s a fascinating insight into the way that films are made and the changes that are made along the way. For example, he wrote stage directions for pigs, but obviously there’s no way of ensuring that pigs actually follow them. So yeah, a fun, recommended read. Have some fun!

Learn more about A Private Function.

 


Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games | Review

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 458

Rating: 4/5

 

 

I watched the movie before reading the book I’m afraid, and I only did that because they were all added to Netflix and so I thought, “Why not?” It turns out that the movies are pretty good, and so I figured that I might as well check out the source material too. I don’t regret it.

Sure, there are elements to the story that I don’t like, but you get that with most things and I can’t really fault it for it. For example, it’s written in first person which is always a bugbear for me, and while I understand that it was to show readers an insight into Katniss’s mind, that doesn’t change the fact that I just don’t enjoy reading first person books.

But I got over it , and I soon found myself getting absorbed into the story despite the fact that I already knew what was going to happen. I also pictured each of the characters as the actors and actresses who played them, which worked well for some characters (Katniss and Haymitch, for example), but which didn’t work so well for others (Peeta, Gayle and the guy who hosts the games on TV). I also don’t remember seeing much of the big hitters like President Snow, but hey ho.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 12: Author Suzanne Collins arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere “The Hunger Games” at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

 

My main feeling about this book is that it’s the story line that carries it, and that any half-competent writer could have pulled off the book. The true testament of Collins’ ability isn’t the words that she wrote but the idea that she had, and her world-building is far better than the writing itself. But that really doesn’t matter because the story itself is so good and she did a great job of creating the government and the history of Panem.

Weirdly, I feel as though something like this could actually happen, and it’s arguably more realistic now than it was when it was first written. I also wonder how much films like The Purge are inspired by the success of The Hunger Games, but then I suppose that The Hunger Games is inspired by a cross between Battle Royale and 1984.

All in all then, The Hunger Games passed me by the first time and I think I was reluctant to pick it up just because it was so hyped. I shouldn’t have let it put me off though, because it was a pretty good read and indisputably one of the most influential novels in YA literature. And sure, while it might not have been perfect, it still had a lot going on and I’m glad I got to it.

 

 

Click here to buy The Hunger Games.