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Art of Adaptation

A Unique Book/Film Series

The series explores movie adaptations of books.  Each month, participants read a designated book.  On the second Wednesday evening of the month at 7:00 p.m., we gather at the library to watch the movie adaptation, followed by an informal discussion exploring how the adaptation stacked up, and the strengths and weaknesses of different storytelling media. 

NOTE: The series began during the COVID pandemic as a totally online experience, with the discussion occurring on Zoom.  Starting with the October 2021 selection (Girl with a Pearl Earring), we will be watching the movie together in the library Meeting Room, followed by a discussion.  If you'd like to watch the movie beforehand, please feel free.

The books and movies are available to borrow free from Gates Public Library, or to download/stream from the library’s OverDrive and Hoopla services (details below).


(Download the Full Schedule)

Starting in October 2021, all screenings will start at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month in the library Meeting Room. 

April 14: (Signup)
The Haunting,
based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (book 1959, film 1963). 
A small group of people investigate a purportedly haunted house.  Considered by many (including Stephen King) to be one of the 20th century’s best ghost stories, the book has been translated to media multiple times, including two film adaptations, a Netflix series, a radio drama, and two stage plays.  We’ll discuss the top-notch 1963 film version, starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom.

[ Check out ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

May 12: (Signup)
The Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler (book 1985, film 1988).
William Hurt plays a man mourning the death of his son, but gradually coming out of his shell thanks to the efforts of a zany young woman (Geena Davis, in an Oscar-winning performance).  Tyler’s sensitive, nuanced book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a Pulitzer-Prize finalist, and the adaptation (by Frank Galati and director Lawrence Kasdan) is faithful to her text.

[ Check out ebook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

June 9: (Signup)
based on the novella Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (book 1939, film 1972).
Talk about a winding route to the screen: Isherwood’s autobiographical portrait of “divine decadence” in 1930’s Berlin, when Hitler is on the rise, became the John van Druten straight play I Am a Camera (filmed in 1955), then the Fred Ebb-John Kander Broadway musical Cabaret, before finally landing in director/choreographer Bob Fosse’s lap for this version, winner of 8 Oscars and one of the finest films of the 1970’s.

[ Not available as ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

July 14: (Signup)
A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson (book 1997, film 2015).
Celebrate summer and the great outdoors with our July selection.  Travel writer Bill Bryson’s autobiographical story, described by CNN as the funniest travel book ever written, portrays his quixotic attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with a close friend.  Robert Redford plays Bryson in the film, with Nick Nolte his fellow hiker.  Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen, and Emma Thompson round out a fine cast.

[ Check out ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

August 11: (Signup)
A Night to Remember
by Walter Lord (book 1955, film 1958).
Walter Lord’s classic account of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic has never been out of print since its initial publication over 65 years ago, and is still considered a definitive resource about the doomed ship.  The 1958 film version -- far less bombastic than James Cameron’s 1997 mega-blockbuster Titanic – remains highly regarded by historians for its accuracy.

[ Check out ebook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

September 8: (Signup)
by Emma Donoghue (book 2010, film 2015).
A young boy and his mother are held captive in a small room for years in this bestselling novel, conceived by Donoghue after reading about the true-life Fritzl case in Austria.  The claustrophobic film version, starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as mother and son, was cited as one of the best movies of 2015 and received numerous awards and nominations, including a Best Actress Oscar win for Larson.

[ Check out ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

October 13: (Signup)
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (book 1999, film 2003).
Chevalier’s historical novel was inspired by Johannes Vermeer’s celebrated 17th- century painting of the same name, and presents a fictionalized account of the relationship between artist and model.  The screen adaptation stars Scarlett Johansson as the model, Griet, with Coin Forth as Vermeer.  Nominated for many awards, the film deservedly won several for its luminous cinematography.

[ Check out ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

November 10: (Signup)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (book 1989, film 1993).
Tan’s bestselling novel focuses on four Chinese-American families living in San Francisco, exploring the conflicting expectations of the China-born mothers and their assimilated American daughters.  Tan adapted her own novel (with Ronald Bass) for the film version, which was later selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

[ Check out ebook or e-audiobook on OverDrive | Stream Movie on Hoopla ]

December 8: (Signup)
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens (book 1843, film 1951).

Celebrate the holiday with the 1951 British adaptation of Dickens’ classic, starring the wonderful Alastair Sim as Scrooge.  There have been numerous adaptations of Christmas Carol through the years, but this is arguably the best.

[ Multiple ebook and e-audiobook copies are available on OverDrive ]


Copies of the books will be available for checkout at Gates Public Library one month prior to the discussion date.  To borrow, you’ll need a library card from Gates or another public library in Monroe County (how to get a card).  Most titles (as indicated above) are available in e-book and e-audiobook formats from OverDrive, though the number of e-copies is generally low.

The movies can be watched either by streaming them from Hoopla using the links above, or borrowing DVD and/or Blu-ray copies from Gates Public Library.  To use Hoopla, you must have a Gates Public Library card, or a card from another subscribing MCLS library (Chili, Fairport, Greece, Irondequoit, Pittsford, Rochester Public Library).