5. Skipping Christmas (Christmas with the Kranks)
Source Skipping Christmas is a comedy novel written by John Grisham. It was published by Doubleday on November 6, 2001 and reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list on December 9. The story is about a couple that decides to skip Christmas until their daught comes home. In 2004 a movie was released with the name, Chritmas with the Kranks. The movie was directed by Joe Roth. It was a complete failure and was universally panned by critics. It was rated as 4.7 on 10 on IMDB based on 93 critic’sreviews and 177 user reviews. It received a “rotten” rating of 5% on rottentomatoes.com, based on 131 reviews. The film had an average score of 22 out of 100, on metacritics, based on 33 reviews.
4. The Lovely Bones
Source The Lovely Bones is a wonderful novel by Alice Sebold. It is a very sensitive novel published in 2002. It tells the story of a teenage girl who was raped and murdered. After her death she watches from heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives. The novel received much critical praise and admiration. It was a bestseller. 20,000 copies were anticipated to be sold but over a million were sold and it remained on the New York Times hardback bestseller list for over an year. Katherine Bouton in The New York Times Book Review wrote:
“This is a high-wire act for a first novelist, and Alice Sebold maintains almost perfect balance”.
In 2009 a film was released based on this novel. The film was directed by Peter Jackson. The film was not appreciated by critics and on average received mixed to negative reviews. It had a rating of 6.6/10 on IMDB based on 258 reviews from critics and 425 user reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 5/10 based on 221 reviews from critics.
3. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Source This is a story about three wealthy children whose parents were killed in a fire. They were sent to a distant relative, who plot to kill them to seize their fortune. It is a series of children novels written by the novalist Lemony Snicket. The first part was released in September 1999 and since then the books are among the favourites of children. The series has been a commercial success worldwide, spawning film, video game and merchandise. There are 13 books in the series and more than 60 million copies have been sold till date. The series has translations in 41 languages. The first part in the series, The Bad Beginning won multiple awards, including the Colorado Children’s Book Award, the Nevada Young Readers Award and the Nene Award. The sequels like the first part also received multiple awards and nominations. Among these are three IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Awards, a best book prize at the Nickeldeon Kid’s Choice Awards and a 2006 Quill Book Award. The film adaptation of the novel, directed by Brad Silberling was released on December 17, 2004. It stars Jim Carrey. The film was not received well on the box office. It has a rating of 6.9/10 on IMDB based on 168 reviews from crtics and 558 user reviews.
2. The Da Vinci Code
Source The novel captivates the readers by narrating the mystery of a murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings. The curiosity leads to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years. This detective mystery novel is written by Dan Brown. It was published in 2003. The book is a worldwide bestseller. Around 80 million copies were sold as of 2009. It has been translated in 44 languages. It is the best selling English novel of the 21st century and the second best novel worlwide. The New York Times, The New Yorker and Salon.com gave it positive reviews. It won Best Book Sense’s Book of the Year Award in 2004 in the Adult Fiction category. Sony’s Columbia Pictures adapted the novel into a film which was released in 2006. The novel had made millions of fans in 3 years and the movie disappointed the fans. The Da Vinci Code received poor reviews from critics. The famous site Rottentomatoes gave it an average rating of 4.8/10 based on 218 reviews. The critics’ consensus as gathered by Rotten Tomatoes is:
“What makes Dan Brown’s novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.”
The film was poorly received at the Cannes Film Festival, where it debuted. On IMDb the movie is rated as 6.4 on 10 based on 319 reviews from critics and 1911 user reviews. The critic Michael Medved gave the film one star (out of four). According to him:
“…all the considerable acting talent in the film is wasted…” and “the plot twists and sudden reverses … seem silly, arbitrary, and entirely contrived – never growing organically out of the story-line or the thinly sketched characters.”
1. New Moon
New Moon Source New Moon is a fantasy novel by author Stephenie Meye from her Twilight series. The book was released in 2006. It hit at #1 on both the USA Today’s and New York Times Best Seller Lists. In 2008 over 5.3 million copies were sold. The series is extremely famous among children and youngsters. New Moon won the Senior Young Reader’s Choice Award in 2009. It has it’s translations in numerous languages including Czech, Thai, Russian, Arabic and Norwegian. Advance reading copies were being sold on ebay for $380. Hillias J. Martin of School Library Journal admired the book, saying,
“Less streamlined than Twilight yet just as exciting, New Moon will more than feed the bloodthirsty hankerings of fans of the first volume and leave them breathless for the third”.
Norah Piehl of Teenreads.com said,
“In the middle, the story sometimes drags, and readers may long for the vampires’ return. The events of New Moon, though, will leave Meyer’s many fans breathless for the sequel, as Bella finally understands everything that will be at stake if she makes the ultimate choice to give up her humanity and live, like the vampires, forever.”
Chris Weitz directed the film based on the novel. The film was released on November 20, 2009. The novel’s fame gave the movie the biggest opening in th box office but the reviews were mostly negative. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 28% of 203 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 10. New Moon has a rating of 4.5/10 on IMDB based on 248 critic’s reviews and 874 user reviews. Time Out New York rated the film as 3 stars out of 5, declaring it “acceptable escapism for those old enough to see it yet still young enough to shriek at undead dreamboats”.