Posts Tagged Books

Book to Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey

Some things are embarrassing to admit.


Reading Fifty Shades of Grey was, for me. I bought it at one point because everyone else was reading it. A while after I got it, a friend of mine began raving about the whole trilogy and ‘how awesome’ it was. She couldn’t stop talking. She wasn’t the most literary person I know, but I have to admit it did pique my interest. I picked it up in secret and began reading it. I also wanted to read it before it became a movie. However, the fact that it was a spinoff of Twilight fan fiction didn’t help matters. I’m not 12, and Bella and Edward don’t fascinate it me as much.

It was quite a quick read. It was summer, and the baby used to sleep a lot more during those days (sigh). There’s a picture of me with a glass of frappe in hand, lying on the couch in our garden in my nightdress, reading the book. I enjoyed it that much.

I thought it was a great fairy tale. A modern Beauty and the Beast, maybe. Poor, not especially beautiful college graduate meets a multimillionaire. Even though she doesn’t do anything fascinating, he falls for her. All she does it be herself. She isn’t impressed with his many riches and perks, but just his pretty face, his major hotness and his very mysterious air. However, there’s a catch. He’s into kinky stuff. Very kinky stuff. He’s not looking for a girlfriend. Oh no. He’s looking for someone who will succumb to his every desire and sign a weird contract. He only wants a sex partner (shock).

There are tons of little things you can say about each and every thing Grey does. Lots of criticisms about the believability of this plot line. But that’s not what this reads like. It’s actually quite sweet at times. I especially love all the bits leading up to their first kiss. The photo shoot. The coffee shop. The elevator scene. I know everyone will remember the elevator scene. It might be the best bit in the book. I loved that he kept dazzling her parents and they just couldn’t see he was actually pretty messed up inside.

I have a confession to make. I actually cried once while reading this book. It was the bit after she goes home after they do kinky stuff and feels guilty about enjoying herself. I felt so sorry for her. What are the chances of a girl like that finding a sadist (was the the technically correct word? I don’t even know. I don’t really care)? I actually had tears in my eyes. I also felt really bad about the ending, but knew it wouldn’t be the end of them. I was right. Duh.

Of course, there are things that bugged me, and I’m sure it bugged a lot of people. The mention of how rich Grey is on every freaking page. Okay, we get it. He’s so rich he has a helicopter. He’s so rich he earns, what, 100.000 dollars a minute (I think?). He’s so rich he has this huge apartment. He’s so rich he’ll buy the company you work for just so your boss will have to answer to him. He’s so rich he’ll dazzle you with beautiful clothes that cost your yearly wage (and he’s so smart he’ll know your size just by looking at you). Also, not only he’s so rich but he’s also very handsome. The waitresses actually stammer when they see him. He’s so handsome he actually did it with an old lady when he was a teenager (yuck).

While we’re on that subject, the Mrs. Robinson bit also didn’t sit well with me. It actually made a lot of sense, he explains it, says that she helped him through a rough time. He says she saved him from himself. She hurt him during sex (or whatever they do when they are together) so he wouldn’t hurt himself. But Anastasia just doesn’t get it. She talks about it consistently through the book, and also the second book.  She’s quite thick at times.

The overuse of ‘Laters, babe’? I know I’m not alone in this. The first one was funny alright, but not the subsequent fifty times (funny, I just said fifty). Also the way he keeps ‘You have to eat, Ana.’ Gawd. I cringed every time I read it. He force-feeds her through the whole book. Just let her be, man. Not everyone can read so much and maintain a gorgeous body like you can.

Oh, the sex scenes. People kept saying it was trash because they had unconventional sex. I wasn’t a major fan, but I didn’t think it was worthy of skipping. They were tastefully done for what it is. I don’t even remember them anymore. However, I agree that they are way too much. Way too often. Every 10 pages there’s explicit content. It gets tiring after a while. If you took out the sex scenes, the book would be 150 pages. I can say the same thing about the flirting. They flirt all the time. The energy kids have nowadays.

I gave the book 4 stars. Because I think it deserved it for what it was- a Twilight fan fiction twist off. I wouldn’t read it again, and I wouldn’t buy it and gift it to friends and family, but it was quite enjoyable. So I was ecstatic when the trailer came out. The trailer looked good. Anastasia looked perfect for the role, and Grey looked alright. I do think I’d prefer Ryan Gosling. I read somewhere that Charlie Hunnam was cast and actually started filming, but had to quit due to scheduling conflicts. That’s quite a bummer. I’ve really liked him in Nicholas Nickleby (I just Googled him, and he has to lose the beard, like, today). But Jamie Dornan looked alright. He was in some TV series I wanted a couple of episodes of, Once Upon a Time, and I kind of remember him.


I couldn’t go see it right away. My 16-year-old cousin did. There were tales of groups of middle-aged women going to see it in the afternoons. The whole theater sighing at key moments. Actual clapping when we see Grey for the first time. At the same time, there was all this talk about it being a horrible movie. It actually got 4.1 stars from IMDB, 1.2 stars lower than Are You Here, the worst movie I’ve seen in 2015 (or this millennium). So I saw it with quite low expectations.

I can see why people dislike it. The main reason, in my opinion, is that the trailer is amazing. You go into it thinking they have done an amazing job transferring the greatness (really, that’s the best word I can come up with?) of the book to the movie. But it doesn’t really work. All the things that bugged me about the book, like the way Grey is rich or the girl is way too naive etc, are multiplied in the movie. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, and all the scenes I remember are from the trailer. And that’s saying something with all the sex scenes that are supposed to be ‘shocking’. However, I don’t think it’s as bad as people crack it up to be. I believe the reason people really dislike it is because the perfect Grey and Anastasia they have pictured in their heads are not the ones they see on the screen. That might be said about a lot of book to movie adaptations, like Harry Potter. But in a story that has so much to do with chemistry, the casting becomes very important. I read somewhere that Clark Gable didn’t want to star as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind because he said people loved Rhett Butler and he might not meet expectations. In that case, Clark Gable was amazing as Rhett Butler (I’m cheating, I haven’t read the book, but the movie was great). I think Jamie Dornan can say that same thing. Grey was such an unbelievable character that you just don’t buy it when you see him in the flesh.

I don’t really rate movies, but I guess I’d give it something like 5 stars.

I have a footnote to make here. I have read the second book a while later, Fifty Shades Darker. I know second books in trilogies are supposed to be weak, but this was weaker than weak. Also, I heard it’s being made into a movie. I guess the producers got what they wanted, even if it wasn’t many stars in IMDB.


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Best Books of 2015

As I have mentioned in my previous post about reading in 2015, it wasn’t the best reading year. The best moments I had, related to reading of course, (the best moment ever was having my daughter, which wasn’t in the least comparable to reading) was rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I have talked more about this previously.

Still, it wasn’t  a year of reading bad books. I have read quite a few good ones. Today, I’ll talk about my top books. They didn’t make it to my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, unfortunately, but they were the best of the lot I read in 2015. They all got 5 stars on Goodreads from me. I’ll say a few words about each, and might talk about them more later, in another post.


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I have read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins the year before. I enjoyed it, as far as young adults books go. I tend to dislike young adult books more often than not (though I keep reading them), but that one was really good. I didn’t rush to read the other books she wrote, though.

I started reading this on a long car ride to Istanbul. I was hooked. It’s about a girl named Lola, who loves wearing costumes. She has two gay fathers, and a rocker boyfriend. One day, the family who used to live next door moves back in. She’s devastated because Cricket (the name though) has done something before he moved out the last time and she’s not really over that yet.

This is a really entertaining read, with vibrant characters. I enjoyed it more than Anna and the French Kiss, even though popular opinion is to the contrary. I also think this would make a good gift, since it’s really easy to love.


How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

This is the only short story collection I read in 2015. It was highly recommended by Mercedes, from Mercy’s Bookish Musings in YouTube. I decided to give it a read as well.

This collection includes 9 stories that all star young girls of varying ages. They are all very different, and it deals with a wide variety of serious issues including drug use, obesity, cancer, bullying and death. I think it is a very powerful and beautifully written book. It’s not for everyone, but I think most people would think it’s pretty good.


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I am by no means alone when I say this is a wonderful book. It is about a girl Cassandra who lives in an old castle with her eccentric family on the brink of poverty. One day their new landlords drop by to change their lives forever.

This is a beloved book of many, so I think it suffices to say that I think it’s worth the hype. Lovable and quirky characters, beautiful writing, quite decent plot. Really enjoyable to read. I think this would also make a safe gift.


A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

The latest book by Orhan Pamuk, also considered one of his most approachable, is about a boza seller called Mevlut who witnesses the changes in the city of Istanbul through four decades. It seems like a simple story about the life and loves of a street vendor, but it’s actually the story of Istanbul as it changes through the years.

This is the only book I have read by Orhan Pamuk. I have included the picture of the Turkish version, which is the one I read. It is translated to English now. I don’t know how good the translation is, but since he’s a Nobel Prize winner, I’d think it would be well done. I happen to think it’s excellent, though a lot of people beg to differ. It’s quite an easy read, unlike the other works by the same author.

I’ll probably do separate reviews for these books at some point. They all warrant their own blog posts with in-depth discussion. But for now, here are the other books I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Here they are:

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Franky, I was embarrassed to include this in my top books. But I found it fascinating, young adult at its best. It’s about a girl called Lara Jean who writes love letters to her crushes as closure, and one day they get sent out. It’s very well written, and Lara Jean is such a sweet character, though you can’t help getting annoyed with her at some points. You’ll love the love interest. It’s quite surprising, which is something quite rare in young adult books. I can’t wait to read the sequel, and I hate that it left on a cliffhanger.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: I do love a good road trip book. This is such. Amy has recently lost her father and she’s also moving across the country. Her mother arranges for a family friend’s son, Roger, to drive with her. It’s really entertaining, like most road trip books are. I don’t think it’s as good as Saving June by Hannah Harrington but I quite enjoyed it.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: I really like books that are set in the South. It is told by Evelyn, who’s in a nursing home. She talks about the people who run the Whistle Stop Cafe, and people who are somehow tied there. The plot is thick, and there are secrets abound. It’s very good. I’ve seen the movie years ago, and I remember liking that as well.
  • City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3) by Cassandra Clare: I loved how things got solved. This was written as the conclusion, however things somehow continued on to three more books. It reads like a final book of a trilogy, and a very well written one. I like this world by Cassandra Clare, the Shadowhunters and their Voldemort-like bad guy, Valentine. I think the TV series is coming this month, so I really have to hurry up and finish the whole series.

This is it for my 2015 favorite reads. An honorable mention goes to Cross Stitch (Outlander 1) by Diana Gabaldon. I really enjoyed it, but I had to give it 4 stars because it was so thick.


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Revamping the Blog

I have always thought of myself as a decent writer. Not of books or something substantial like that, but I can put words together to make sentences or even paragraphs. But it turns out I’m a horrible blog writer. Since it seems like I write a blog post a year. And it turns out I skipped last year, so the last entry dates back 2 years. Wow. I was fairly busy for the last year, being pregnant and having a baby and all, but still, I could take half an hour a year to write my annual blog entry. But oh well. No use of crying over that now.

This year, when I was making my resolutions (to be kept, for sure) I wanted to include the blog as well. I thought to myself: ‘What do I like?’ or more like, ‘What can I talk about?’. I like watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts about 1) Books 2) Cooking 3) Makeup. I guess I can try talking about these subjects. I’m not a very imaginative cook, I like following recipes exactly, so this blog is not fated to be the food blog of the year. But we’ll see how it goes. I will try writing more about any subject that interests me.


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2013 in Books and New Year’s Resolutions

The year 2013 has been a good year reading-wise, even though not writing-wise since I just realized that the only entry I have in this blog for the year 2013 dates back to 4th of January. This post is a lot like that one, except that I’ll do a general overview of my year with less detail and talk about my resolutions for 2014.

In 2013, I have read a total of 51 books. That means I have exceeded my goal of 50 books, which was about a book per week. Only two of them are novellas that were purchased on Kindle, but other than that, they are full sized books. Here are the other statistics:

– 7 of them were Turkish books.

– 5 of them were self-help.

– 1 of them was an autobiography.

– 1 of them was travel writing.

– 22 of them were young adult books. 11 of those were part of a series. 2 of those were novellas.

– The rest of the books were a mixture of other genres, all fiction. I’m not really good at identifying the genres. There were some classics, fantasy and romance.

I have to say that I’m a little bit embarrassed about these statistics. There are changes to be made for 2014. But before I get to my reading resolutions, here comes my top 8 favorite books of the year, in no particular order. I know 8 is a weird number, but I just couldn’t bring myself to choose more and say that I enjoyed it a lot. So here it goes.

1. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

2. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

7. Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson

8. The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’m kind of relieved to realize that only 3 young adult books made it to my Top 8. But I’m also kind of ashamed that I have The Book Thief and Gone Girl there, since they are insanely popular and I always hate myself when I love ultra popular books. I know it’s insane to think this way, since they are popular for a reason.

I also wanted to compile a list of my least favorite books, but I realized that I drop a book I don’t like as soon as possible. I don’t torture myself by trying to read books I don’t enjoy. Here is a list of the books I dropped:

Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane: I wouldn’t go near this. There are really bad jokes, and just the sheer idiocy of the main character made me want to break my Kindle. It’s like a really bad rip off of Sophie Kinsella books.

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan: I dug this book out from my college stash, after reading amazing things about it. I don’t want to say too many bad things since I barely got through 50 pages, but it was not for me.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams: This book represents a turning point in my life: no more buying inexpensive Kindle books based on Goodreads recommendations. I’m way too old for this nonsense of a book, it’s juvenile in a really, really bad way.

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley: What I said about the previous book goes for this one as well. Although I thought this one was a lot worse. It’s the story of an idiot girl who’s put into overly sexual situations. It’s so bad I don’t even want to think about it.

And now for my 2013 Reading Resolutions:

– My goal for this year is 45 books. I kept the number lower than 2013 because I want to concentrate on reading thicker and better books instead of breezing through numerous young adult ones.

– I will read more adult books.

– I will read more non-fiction books.

– I will read more Turkish books.

– I will try to reread some of my favorite books, and also possibly start reading Harry Potter series.

I guess this is it! Happy 2014 everybody!

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2012 in Books

Another year is behind us. The year 2012 was a good year in reading for me since I had a whole summer of nothing to do but read. According to my Goodreads page, I have read 41 books, compared to the 11 read in 2011. Here’s a list of the English titles and a one sentence review:

When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom: Sometimes hard to get through but really good.

The Help by  Kathryn Stockett: Thought provoking and a breeze to get through. 

Blade of Fortriu (The Bridei Chronicles, #2) by Juliet Marillier: The worst thing I read by Juliet Marillier.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: I don’t think a person can actually unlike it. 

Solo by Rana Dasgupta: Different, but good different.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore: I wished it would be funnier, like it was supposed to.

The White Queen (The Cousins’ War, #1) by Philippa Gregory: I called it “the book that just does not finish”.

Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie: Mediocre in the beginning but it does pick up towards the end.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler: Classic Anne Tyler.

Havana Salsa: Stories and Recipes by Viviana Carballo: I learned about Cuba in the 1940s, but that’s about it.

Graceling (Graceling, #1) by Kristin Cashore: Amazing in the beginning but just okay towards the end.

Enchanted (Woodcutter Series, #1) by Alethea Kontis: Just a classic fairy tale, nothing more and nothing less.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R. R. Martin: Just the beginning of a very long but very enjoyable journey.

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) by George R. R. Martin: Another gem and not even a little bit less good.

Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1) by Simene Elkeles: Young adult romance at its most typical.

Paper Towns by John Green: I can’t decide if I love it or just like it; somewhere in between.

Fallen (Fallen, #1) by Lauren Kate: Who would’ve thought such a good plot and angels could be boring?

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons: It’s so sad sometimes but also very well written.

Marked (House of Night, #1) by P.C. Cast: It would’ve been a great read if I was, like, 15.

The Magus by John Fowles: Sometimes physically painful to get through but surprises never keep coming.

Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley: I love small town chick lit but it’s not that well written.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare: Good beginning to a supposedly great series.

The Consequences of Love by Sulaiman Addonia: Not the best written piece of literature out there, but the story is a must read.

Seducing Cinderella (Fighting for Love, #1) by Gina L. Maxwell: I don’t read much of this genre, so I don’t really know what to say other than it’s blah.

Improbable by Adam Fawar: I don’t read a lot of this genre either, but it’s really fast paced and fun.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1) by Katie McGarry: Another story of two problematic teens falling in love, but a better version.

Silver Girl by Erin Hilderbrand: I love the story, the characters and Nantucket.

Between by Jessica Warman: Surprising to see a different story line in a young adult book, and it really works.

Groundswell by Katie Lee: Just takes a fairy tale romance and shatters it and your hopes and dreams with it.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie: I like what this book is about, but it’s not that awesome.

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I adore Marquez and I don’t think I can unlike anything he has written.

I think the best book amongst these was A Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games Trilogy. I hate sounding so predictable, but there is a reason these books are tremendously popular. They are really, really good. 

The worst book was Groundwell because it’s just plain bad. By no means was it the most boring though. The most boring is a tie between The White Queen and Blade of Fortriu

Can’t wait to read even more in 2013!


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One for the Money

one for the moneyI woke up in the middle of the night yesterday, and my mother and I couldn’t sleep for hours. Then she fell asleep and I continued reading Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich. Since I didn’t finish it yet, it would be wrong to talk about it. 

For those who haven’t heard of it, this series is about a bounty hunter named Stephanie Plum, who starts the job in the first book, One for the Money, because she’s broke, jobless and divorced. She lives in this New Jersey neighborhood, where I imagine is only a tad better than wherever Earl (from My Name is Earl) lives in. She’s actually quite funny, and I remember laughing out loud a couple of times. It’s a through and through crime book, with almost no romance. But it’s quite good, though I’d prefer  a bit more romance, but the comedy covers up for it. It’s also quite smart. 

It also has a huge fan base and is going to be a movie (or was going to be one years ago). It would be quite cool to watch it, though there’s no way it can be as funny. Give it a try.

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