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Friday, September 21, 2012

Books to the Big Screen

     Books are not just for reading! Since the beginnings of film production, books have been a wellspring of story ideas. Their adaptations have provided us with countless classic films. Here are some of these books-made-into-movies that we have in our collection.

     Awakenings, a memoir written by Oliver Sacks, a neurologist who, during the late 1960s, worked with institutionalized patients suffering from encephalitic Parkinsonism (sleeping sickness) caused by an epidemic just after World War I; he describes how treatment with a new drug, L-DOPA, brought them out of their trancelike states into normalcy. Unfortunately, the drug only works temporarily and the patients eventually return to their catatonic states.

     Memoirs of a Geisha, written by Arthur Golden, is a novel set in the years between World Wars I and II, and beyond. It tells of Nitta Sayuri, a poor girl sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house, her training as a geisha, and life in Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto. Eventually, the geisha houses are forced to close during World War II and Sayuri must reinvent herself in order to survive.

     The Pianist: the Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945, is the memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a concert pianist and composer who, although his entire family were transported to concentration camps and died, was able to survive in hiding. Eventually, Szpilman was rescued by a German officer, Captain Wilm Hosenfeld, who heard him play the piano.

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