Friday, February 19, 2016


Whether you read the book and see the movie or do the opposite, the Monrovia Public Library will keep you up-to-date with the books on which Academy Award nominated movies are based. Look to the  January 12, 2016 blog post for the first list of books. 

Is truth more complicated than fiction? Take the life of Dalton Trumbo, the prolific writer whose movie scripts include the classic on DVD Roman Holiday and the novel Johnny Got His Gun. In 1947 he was blacklisted, meaning he could not get a job, when he refused to testify in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee that was looking for Hollywood communists. Trumbo kept screenwriting, but in secret with phony names, and it was not until 1960 when his real name appeared on the Academy Award winning film Spartacus. His biography Trumbo by Bruce Cook is the story of the writer’s life.

Stories about the Catholic Church and abuse of children continue in the headlines. The movie Spotlight, about the particularly painful events that were covered up by the Boston diocese, is based on the book Betrayal by The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe. This thrilling book is about the persistent work of a group of reporters who followed the clues to break a huge newspaper story and expose secret crimes.

Michael Punke’s The Revenant is the Western novel on which the movie of the same name is based. This dark story of revenge is about a fur trapper who is mauled by a bear and then abandoned by those who were to help him. The curious title comes from the word for a person who comes back from the dead.

The conversation over diversity and the Academy Awards comes into play with the movie based on the book Concussion by Jeanne Laskas, about the doctor who discovered that multiple head injuries to football players can cause lasting brain damage and death. The film did not receive one nomination, but the book about Dr. Bennet Omalu is riveting.

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