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30 Books That Were Made into Oscar-Winning Films

From book to blockbuster, these 30 memoirs and novels were turned into huge award-winning and nominated films.  Why this is by no means a comprehensive list, take a look and see if your favorite book ever got the Hollywood treatment!

30 Books That Were Made into Oscar-Winning Films

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12 Years a Slave, based on the memoir, Twelve Years a Slave

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Argo, based on the book, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

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Slumdog Millionaire, based on the novel, Q&A

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No Country for Old Men, based on the novel, No Country for Old Men

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Million Dollar Baby, based on the collection of short stories, Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner

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The English Patient, based on the novel, The English Patient

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Forrest Gump, based on the novel, Forrest Gump

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Schindler’s List, based on the novel, Schindler’s Ark (later released as Schindler’s List)

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The Silence of the Lambs, based on the novel, The Silence of the Lambs

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Dances With Wolves, based on the novel, Dances with Wolves

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Rain Man, based on the book, The Real Rain Man: Kim Peek

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Out of Africa, based on the memoir, Out of Africa

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Ordinary People, based on the novel, Ordinary People

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Kramer vs. Kramer, based on the novel, Kramer vs. Kramer

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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The Sting, based on the novel, The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man

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Oliver! based on the novel, Oliver Twist

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The Sound of Music, based on the memoir, The Story of the Trapp Singers

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Gone with the Wind, based on the novel, Gone with the Wind

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The Godfather, based on the novel, The Godfather

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The Blind Side, based on the memoir, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

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Mary Poppins, based on the book, Mary Poppins

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Misery, based on the novel, Misery

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Room, based on the novel, ROOM

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The Revenant, based on the novel, The Revenant

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Still Alice, based on the book, Still Alice

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Rebecca, based on the book, Rebecca

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Brokeback Mountain, based on the short story, Brokeback Mountain

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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The Help, based on the book, The Help

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Big Little Lies Book Review

It’s a song we’ve all heard before…the rich and privileged are never what they appear to be.  Though they may look happy and beautiful on the outside, behind closed doors they’re just as troubled and tortured as the rest of us.  Clearly, money can’t buy happiness…but it certainly can buy a whole butt-load of drama.

In Big Little Lies, three privileged women, each very different from the other, are thrown together in a series of crazy events that leads to someone getting killed.  A guilty-pleasure chick lit book involving husbands, ex-husbands, mothers and daughters, school drama and suburban scandal, Big Little Lies is a fun treat that shocks and surprises you with little twists and turns that lead to one heck of an ending.

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Our three protagonists are Madeline, Celeste, and Jane.  Madeline is a force to be reckoned with.  She’s funny, biting, and passionate…a driving force in her social circle.  Her friend, Celeste, is suburban royalty.  Beautiful beyond compare, Celeste strives to be the queen of the school parent body.  Jane, a new-to-town single mom, is sad and conflicted and has secret doubts about her past life.  All three women have children in the local school, which is the glue that begins to join these women together.  However, when Madeline and Celeste decide to take sad little Jane under their wing and help get her accustomed to the ‘politics’ of their social circle, it becomes clear that Jane and her son bring along more baggage than they thought…and things quickly begin to spin out of control…

In their own ways, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are all easy to love and easy to hate.  They all have their quarks, but it’s clear that their hearts are in the right place…and they’re all just trying to do what’s best for their families, in whatever way they can.  They each experience trouble at home and each deal with it in their own way.  Some fight back, some cower down, and some just ignore it completely.  But for as different as these three women are, they share one commonality:  they are all hiding something from each other.

Big Little Lies is a book that will have you guessing all the way until the end.  A classic who-dun-it murder mystery (with a touch of sparkly drama!), Big Little Lies is about the lies we tell our friends, the lies we tell our families, and – perhaps most hurtful of all – the lies we tell ourselves.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Circle Book Review

The digital age is both amazing and terrifying.  In today’s world, we can locate long-lost friends, instantly transfer money to different accounts, talk to people on the other side of the planet, buy and sell goods, and store precious media in the mysterious Cloud.  However, the digital age also sees countless occasions of identity theft, stalking, trolling, hacking, and viruses that can completely destroy everything on your hard drive.

The freedom we have to do whatever we want online, to see whatever we want and search for whatever we want, has people asking what privacy even is anymore.  What’s really ‘public domain’ in this age of digital media?  Is anything ever really deleted?  Is our privacy really protected?  How much information are we really giving away by shopping, banking, and playing online?  Are the measures we have in place safe enough to protect our most precious assets?  And, most importantly, what new developments are in store for a world that constantly begs for “the next best thing”?

In the fictional (but scarily true) novel, The Circle, it becomes clear that our digital profiles, no matter how secure we may think they are, offer an abundance of information to those running the Internet’s most powerful sites…and there’s little to nothing that can be done to stop it.

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When Mae Holland is hired to work for The Circle, the world’s most powerful Internet company, she cannot wait to jump in and get started.  Loosely and sort of obviously based on a Google-type company, The Circle is a powerhouse California start-up, featuring a sprawling campus, glass dining facilitates, cozy dorms, amazing after-work parties, and an abundance of clubs for practically every passion.

In a nutshell, The Circle aims to link users’ personal emails, social media, banking, purchasing history, and basically all online activity with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity that boasts about a “new age of civility and transparency”.  Want to buy new shoes?  Facebook message a friend?  Connect with a colleague’s professional network?  Pay a bill?  Schedule a party?  All that and more can be done within The Circle interface…and everyone who’s anyone has already joined.

Filled with young and impressionable minds, The Circle’s staff is made up of the best of the best from Silicon Valley…and Mae knows she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime to work there.  As she tours the campus, she becomes engrossed in the company’s activity and dedication to employee morale.  Famous musicians play on the lawn, an aquarium of rare fish offer a place of solitude, and employees seem almost happy and willing to go the extra mile for the good of the company.

Mae quickly learns the ropes of her job and impresses leadership with her skills and attention to detail.  As she starts to gain recognition at The Circle and her interface begins to grow, Mae learns how amazing this technology is…and how much it’s doing to improve the world at large…

Or is it?  Even as life outside of work grows distant…even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken…even as her role at The Circle becomes increasingly public…Mae still can’t believe her great fortune to be a part of this ground-breaking company.  But is this truly the opportunity of a lifetime…or is this the power of the digital age on young and influential minds?

What begins as a captivating story of one woman’s ambition to succeed soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense and terror, raising ethical and moral questions about privacy, democracy, and basic human rights.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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13 Books to Read Before They Become Movies – 2017 Edition

It seems like books of all genres are getting the Hollywood treatment. Just last year we’ve seen several books come to live on the big screen, and 2017 will be no exception. The Circle, Captain Underpants, The Dark Tower series, and The Bell Jar are just SOME of the books that will be turned into screenplays in 2017…and honestly, I’m really looking forward to a few of these!

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But, like any true student of literature, I just must read the book first…so I’m powering through a few of these books before they are released as movies later this year (I’m on The Circle now – this one is gonna be intense).

So if you’re looking to kill some time between now and when Beauty and the Beast comes out – because let’s be serious, that’s happening – here are 13 books that are getting the movie treatment sometime in 2017!

13 Books to Read Before They Become Movies – 2017 Edition

The Zookeeper’s Wife
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This true story follows the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, who help save hundreds of people from the Nazis during World War II by smuggling them into empty zoo cages.
Movie Release:  March 2017

Wonder
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Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a boy who is born with a facial deformity, and his struggle to fit into his new school.
Movie Release:  April 2017

The Lost City of Z
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This national best-seller tells the story of how a British explorer got lost searching for an ancient, fabled civilization in the Amazon in 1925.
Movie Release:  April 2017

The Circle
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A young woman named Mae Holland gets a job at a tech-savvy company (most likely modeled after Google), and learns things both amazing and scary about her new job and the company she works for.
Movie Release:  April 2017

Before I Fall
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After Sam dies on February 12th, she’s forced to relive that day over and over again, eventually unraveling the mystery of her death.
Movie Release:  March 2017

The Dark Tower
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Stephen King’s magnum opus is a series that follows a gunslinger through a magical society, looking for the mysterious Dark Tower.
Movie Release:  July 2017

The Mountain Between Us
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Two strangers must rely on each other to survive after a plane crashes in the wilderness and leaves them stranded.
Movie Release:  October 2017*
*Just a PSA that this movie is set to star Idris Elba and Kate Winslet…so, you know, despite the content, it will be just beautiful to watch!

Murder on the Orient Express
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This classic mystery follows a detective as he pursues a murder on a famous train.
Movie Release:  November 2017

The Nightingale
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Two sisters in France end up in different positions during World War II; one fights with the resistance, the other becomes a prisoner.
Movie Release:  TBD

Thank You For Your Service
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A non-fiction account following the lives of soldiers who have come back from overseas, most still suffering from PTSD.
Movie Release:  TBD

The Glass Castle
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A memoir of Jeannette Walls, chronicling her bizarre upbringing and her strained relationship with her parents.
Movie Release:  TBD

The Bell Jar
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The story of author Sylvia Plath’s battle with mental illness.
Movie Release:  TBD

Big Little Lies
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Things take a turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel.
Movie Release:  TBD*
*This is actually slotted to be a mini-series on HBO.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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A Monster Calls Book Review

We all have monsters that haunt us.  They can come to us in our dreams or they can take a physical form, traveling into our bodies and filling us with darkness.  Some live in the dark, damp places in our bedroom, while others sit greedily in our guts, only so eager to awake during times of intimate weakness.

Over time we come to expect our monsters to visit us.  The night before an interview, the moment the phone rings at an unexpected hour, the second we finally drift off to sleep…there they sit – waiting to pounce.  But sometimes we get a monster that is unexpected, one that is there to help us see things clearly, understand a difficult situation, or even accept what we can’t change.  When Conor is visited by one such unexpected monster in the small novel, A Monster Calls, he begins a journey that will change his life forever.

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Conor was getting used to the scary monster that plagued his nightmares.  The darkness, the screaming, the wind…this monster brought with it everything Conor was afraid of and everything he was scared to admit to himself.  It haunted him and tortured him with truths he didn’t want to acknowledge and ultimatums he didn’t want to face.  But this monster only came at night…only visited him in his dreams.  He knew he could wake up and the monster would be gone.

But when Conor is visited by different monster, one that’s ancient and wild, one that comes and goes on free will and one that visits Conor during all hours of the day and night, well that one has one goal in mind.  He’s not there to scare Conor, rather to take something from him…perhaps the most dangerous thing of all…for the monster is seeking the truth.

The truth of what, you ask?  Well, you’re just going to have to read the book and find out!  A small yet significant novella, A Monster Calls is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about love, loss, and acceptance.  With amazing illustrations and elegant prose that will pull at your heartstrings, this book is a powerful and sobering look into the things that scare humankind most of all.

I’m gonna be honest for a second…It’s gonna make you cry…probably a lot.  For some it may be cathartic.  For others, it may make you call family and friends you haven’t talked to in a while, just to tell them you love them.  It might even open your eyes a little and help you better understand something you couldn’t understand before.  It’s a short read, easily finished in a day or so, and one that will haunt you, like a monster, for the rest of your life.

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Creativity Inc. Book Review

In my 30 or so years of existence, I’ve spent a good 15 to 20 years in the work force.  I’ve had good bosses and bad bosses.  I’ve had co-workers I’ve loved and who I consider family…and I’ve had co-workers I probably will never see again.  I’ve worked as a minion, a trainer, a key holder, and a manager.  I’ve had jobs that have changed me as a person and jobs that are completely weird and unique.  But in every job, no matter what it is, I need to be inspired.  I need to feel like I can make a difference and challenge myself to do better.  This is a feeling that has forced me in and out of companies and has helped influence several decisions I’m both proud of and ashamed of…

During a particular difficult time in my professional career, I was given the book, Creativity Inc. by my dad.  It was a pre-run copy that he got from the library where he worked and he allowed me to read it in the hopes it would inspire me to get out of my funk.  What resulted after reading Creativity Inc. was a life-changing moment…a defining moment…in my career.  It completely changed the way I view management, work life, and the humanity (or lack thereof) of corporate America.

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Written by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, Creativity Inc. sets out to explore how we can bring fun and creativity back into the workday.  Meant for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, this manual of sorts aims to train individuals to inspire originality and positivity in the workforce.  By using examples of how he manages at Pixar, as well as how day-to-day operations are led at the studio, Catmull teaches readers how to build a creative culture, no matter what your company aims to do or sell.

It’s no secret that Pixar is a behemoth in the animation industry.  With 30 or so Academy Awards and movies that almost guarantee a box-office hit, Pixar knows what they’re doing.  So what’s the secret?  Why is Pixar so widely admired…and so profitable?  The answer is simple…the employees.

People at Pixar are encouraged to brainstorm.  They are encouraged to take risks.  They are encouraged to fail and encouraged to dream.  THEY LIKE WORKING THERE.  They’re committed to doing their best and pushing themselves because their success is everyone’s success.  There are no scary labels there.  No “rules” about who you can and can’t talk to.  Do yourself a favor and Google “Pixar Offices”…you’ll see that nearly everyone surrounds themselves with things they love, people they love, objects they love.  It’s a company that knows it’s only as good as the people that work there…and the people that work there love and respect that.

That’s not to say the path has been easy.  Pixar wasn’t always the amazing company it is today, and it took a long time, and a lot of training, to get leadership to where it is today…but when a company has leaders that believe in the message and that work WITH the team instead of ABOVE the team, well, then you are on the way to greatness.

At its core, Creativity Inc. begs to answer the following question:  What does it mean to manage well?  Everyone has their own idea of what a GOOD manager is, but what qualities in a leader make a team successful?  How does one learn those qualities and use them in a way that will encourage the team to motivate each other and encourage each other to succeed?  Filled with all kinds of helpful quips and tips, this book attempts to offer some suggestions on how to manage, how to lead, how to inspire, and how to motivate.  If a leader doesn’t lead or isn’t trusted, the results can be detrimental.

After I read Creativity Inc., I quit my job.  I came to realize that I was not happy and was not being encouraged and motivated in the ways I knew I needed to be.  After checking Pixar’s employment page (because I mean, I’d wash floors just to work there!), I embarked on a job search to find something I could stand behind, a company I believed in and a job I could be proud of…and I found it.  And everything changed.  My stress levels plummeted.  My interest in work and success improved.  Hell, my desire to just do my daily job was fueled by the fact that I was HAPPY.  This is the secret, folks.  Whatever it is that makes you happy, that will help fuel your success no matter what it is you do.  Pixar knows it.  Google knows it.  More and more companies are FINALLY coming to realize that when their employees are happy, the company benefits…and if companies big and small make this a priority in how to improve their business, well, I think corporate America can make a huge change for the better…and as individuals, we can make changes that will help us for the better, too…both personally and professionally.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Bottomless Belly Button Review

bottomless_belly_buttonI know I’ve said this before, but I’ve had a recent obsession with graphic novels.  I love how easily they transport me into another world and tell such heartbreaking, emotional stories in a somewhat comedic way.

When I was browsing the graphic novel section of my local library, I found a book called Bottomless Belly Button, which had the tagline, “A Comic Book – NOT FOR CHILDREN”…then it showed a bunch of children with X’s on their faces:

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A quick flip-through and I was sold.  I checked it out and headed home.

I started reading that night and in about an hour or so, was a good third of the way done.  I just couldn’t stop reading it!  It wasn’t scary or mysterious or engaging in a way that something like The Walking Dead might be, but it was so honest and truthful and sad.  It was relatable in a very personal way…and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book touched some folks in a way no other story could…

Maybe best defined as a comedy-drama, Bottomless Belly Button follows the dysfunctional adventures of the Loony family as they embark on a life-changing decision.

Maggie and David Loony decide to gather their family together to announce that, after 40 years of marriage, they are planning to get divorced.  When their three children arrive at the family beach house with their families all in toe, Maggie and David break the news to very mixed results.  Some handle it better than others, and the reunion at the beach house is meant to celebrate the last time the whole family will be together as one.  When the children ask why, the response is eerily simple, “we’re not in love anymore.”

The oldest child, Dennis, struggles with his parent’s decision, which is highlighted even further with rising struggles in his own marriage.  Believing that his parents are not being truthful about their decision to separate, he spends a good portion of the novel on a quest to discover the truth…searching through old parts of the house, old journals and photos, and secret passageways to try to uncover some information as to why his parents are making this decision.

Claire, Dennis’s younger sister, is a single mother (also recently divorced) with a 16-year-old daughter in the awkward stage of her life.  Claire is apathetic to the divorce, as she understands that marriage is difficult.  Her handling of the news is much different than Dennis’s…and seems to react much like her young daughter would upon hearing the same news.

Finally, the youngest child, Peter, suffers from insane insecurities and establishes an unorthodox romance with a mysterious day care counselor at the beach.

In a six-day period filled with heartbreaking realizations, honest reactions, and sweet and tender moments between family members, these characters blindly stumble around each other, each reacting to life in their own ways and handling the news brought upon them in whatever way they know how.

From a visual standpoint, the illustrations in Bottomless Belly Button are so simple, yet capture life so perfectly.  Small gestures we all recognize, feelings we all know but have never put into words…this book is extremely personal and open and is not only the story of a separation, but the story of several lives and how they all interconnect.

No matter what your marital status, Bottomless Belly Button will hit you…it will hit you hard.  Its brutally honest portrayal of love and happiness and just life in general will surely stick with you long after the book is over.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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