Tuesday, March 6, 2012

April Book Choices!

It's time to vote for the April book! This time we'll choose from the books-turned-movies category.

The Descendants by

Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters—Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a seventeen-year-old recovering drug addict—are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support. As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations.

The Descendants has a 3.80 rating on Goodreads. The movie, starring George Clooney, was released in 2011. He was nominated (but didn't win) for Best Actor for his portrayal of Matthew King. It did win an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink | Paperback, 215 pages

Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.

When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

The Reader has a 3.59 rating on Goodreads. The movie was nominated for various Oscars. Kate Winslet won Best Actress for her role as Hanna.

Dead Man Walking by Helen Prejean | Paperback, 288 pages

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier's death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him--men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing.

Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Confronting both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the needs of a crime-ridden society and the Christian imperative of love, Dead Man Walking is an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty, a book that is both enlightening and devastating.

Dead Man Walking has a 3.98 rating on Goodreads. Susan Sarandon won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean. Sean Penn was also nominated for Best Actor but lost to Nicolas Cage.

Susan is hosting the April meeting!
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