With a few tweaks to design and format, many classics have found themselves again at the top of recent bestseller lists and looking glamorous in the bookstore window displays. Here are a few of my favorite classic updates that would excellent viewing for recent graduates:
Wuthering Heights is all the rage right now due a certain saga of Vampire novels giving numerous nods in Emily Brontë’s direction. And if that wasn’t enough make this classic fly off the shelves, Penguin Deluxe Classics just reissued a new edition of the book featuring a FANTASTIC cover design by fashion illustrator, Ruben Toledo, where Heathcliff is looking particularly handsome and Edward-ish.
Nothing gets more classic than a Superhero story of Good vs. Evil. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a 3-part musical starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion was produced by cult hero Joss Whedon and originally released online. Can a classic story get any more updated than that?! It has since been released on DVD with tons of extras and is a MUST SEE for anyone who will be living in a college dorm where spontaneous, amateur performances of the show are not uncommon.
It has been awhile since I read the first book, so I cannot make a judgment call on how faithful the graphic novel is to the original text, but there was one big change that surprised me: I actually liked Bella! Although a big fan of the books, I have always found Bella’s attitude towards other females a bit annoying and unsympathetic (although appreciated as part of her character). However, whether due to less internal monologue or just lovely illustrations, the graphic novel Bella feels like a friend who happens to have really gorgeous hair. Unfortunately, I find Edward less likable when in graphic form; he kind of just looks like a jerk who thinks too highly of himself…but no worries! The chemistry between Graphic Bella and Graphic Edward still made my heart race!
Overall, Kim’s work is fantastic: the variation in line texture, the soft photo-realist backdrops, and the subtle, poignant color changes give the graphic novel incredible feeling. Swoon, can you hear my heart beating?! I can’t wait for Volume 2!
Twilight isn’t the only book to go graphic. Check out these other popular titles that have had an illustrator’s touch:
We have a display for you! At both Main Street and Fairmount Street libraries, we have mysteries and DVDs of Sherlock Holmes spinoffs.
The Beekeeper’s Apprenticeby Laurie King is the first in a series featuring a feminist Mary Russell. A teenager at the time, she meets the great Holmes while she is wandering the Sussex countryside. Holmes mentors Mary as they investigate the kidnapping of an American senator’s daughter. The World WarI era , an Oxford setting – where Mary is a student, and the evolving relationship in which Holmes mentors his young protegee are all strong points of the novel.
The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr is a humorous paranormal twist on the Holmes canon. The setting is a ghostly Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh,Scotland. Watson and Holmes are called in by Sherlock’s brother to investigate murders that Mycroft fears may threaten Queen Victoria. The author of The Alienist “reflects a deep knowledge and understanding of Holmesiana.” Publisher’s Weekly
But I had no idea she was a highly trained zombie-killing Ninja!!!
It appears that Jane Austen may have left a few things out when she was showering her irony, wit and passive social consciousness all over the story of the five Bennet sisters and their adventures in society…for example: ZOMBIES! According to author Seth Grahame-Smith, the militia stationed at Meryton had a very specific reason to be there–to protect the village from a coming Zombie Attack. However, the officers really aren’t necessary because the Bennet sisters, particularly the two eldest, are known all over the countryside for their skills in kicking zombie butts. Other than that, the story strays little from the original Pride and Prejudice plot. Well… except for Mr. Darcy’s knack to crack inappropriate jokes. Yes, the author seems to have loosened up Mr. Darcy quite a bit, although in return Miss Lizzy is a very violent-hearted ice queen.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more of a parody than a retelling, so those looking to be swept up in Regency romance and wit will not find it. I found myself reading it more to see how Grahame-Smith incorporated zombies into the plot then for the actual story. Expect a little gore and a lot of Jasper Fforde-esque humor.