Oscar nominees 2015

This year’s Academy Award nominee list includes a generous proportion of films based on books – hooray! We’ve collected them  here for you – how many have you read? Check out the full list of film nominees in all categories on the official Oscar website.

Syndetics book coverTravelling to infinity : my life with Stephen / Jane Hawking.
“Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous and remarkable scientists of our age and author of the scientific bestseller A Brief History of Time, which sold more than 25 million. In this compelling memoir, his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease. Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family reveals the inner-strength of the author, while the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale presented with unflinching honesty.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed.
“At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State–and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStill Alice / by Lisa Genova.
“Fifty-year-old Alice Howland, a Harvard professor of cognitive psychology, is at the top of her game. Her children are grown, her marriage secure, her career on fire when suddenly, after mere months of forgetfulness, she finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. With no cure or treatment, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away, leaving her unable to work, read, take care of herself, recognize her loved ones — even understand that she is unwell. Without memory or hope, she is forced to live in the moment, which is in turns beautiful, terrifying, and surprisingly uplifting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGone girl / Gillian Flynn.
‘What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’
Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…” (Syndetics summary)

Gone Girl is also available to borrow on audio CD.

Syndetics book coverAlan Turing : the enigma / Andrew Hodges.
“Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverAmerican sniper : the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history / Chris Kyle ; with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice.
“From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyles kills (the previous American record was 109). Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.” (Syndetics summary)

American Sniper is also available to download from our Overdrive collection – there are two different records to download the ebook from (here and here) and we also have the downloadable audio version.

Oscar’s Books

The movie industry has a long history of turning to the publishing world for creative inspiration and storylines (for example, see this post here for some great book to movie translations, and this from last year’s film festival). This year’s Oscar nominations are no exception*. These are just from the Best Film category!

The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich (The Social Network) “The high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook.” (Book jacket)

True Grit, Charles Portis (True Grit) – First published in 1968 in serial form. Fourteen year old Mattie sets out to find her father’s murderer, with the help of U S Marshal Rooster Cogburn (is there a better Western name than Rooster Cogburn?).

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston (127 Hours) – more copies of the Film-tie in version are being ordered (you can reserve this version here, or you can take out a bestseller copy). The autobiography of mountaineer and public speaker Aron Ralston, which includes the hiking accident which became the subject of the film 127 Hours.

Winter’s Bone, Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone) – note: this is the large print version of the book. “Amid the harsh landscape of the Ozark Hills, sixteen-year-old Ree is taking care of her mother and two brothers. Her father has put their house up as bail and if he doesn’t show up at court it’ll be sold from under them. To save her family she needs to track him down but in a community riven with long-running feuds getting answers isn’t easy.” (Summary from fishpond.co.nz)

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, Mark Logue and Peter Conradi (The King’s Speech) – “The King’s Speech is the previously untold story of the extraordinary relationship between Logue and the haunted young man who became King George VI, drawn from Logue’s unpublished personal diaries.” (Taken from the fishpond.co.nz summary)

For a full list of films and people nominated for Academy Awards this year (and to trawl around the Award database) visit the official site here.

As an aside and basically, obscurely, related for fans of Sigur Rós, you can view (in HD) the How To Train Your Dragon version of the video for ‘Sticks and Stones’ by Jónsi here. How to Train Your Dragon is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature** and is based on the children’s novel by Cressida Cowell.

* We humbly acknowledge Tara_Librarian of Denver Public Library for her inspiration (and background digging) in an extensive post here (note the links point to the Denver catalogue).

** Plus the Boneknapper Dragon short on the DVD is ace.