Thursday, April 26, 2012
Mini Reviews: Pairing Books with Movies (or TV) 5
The Monster of Florence
by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi
Yay for excellent nonfiction! When an American author moves to Italy with his family, he has no idea what he’s in for. He quickly discovers the story of the Monster of Florence, a serial killer who murdered 14 people over the course of two decades and was never caught. He and the Italian journalist Mario Spezi research the case and find themselves caught up in the midst of it.
The first half of the book gives the history of the murders and brings the reader up-to-date with the ongoing police case. The second half gives Preston and Spezi’s personal experience with the police and the complicated Italian judicial system. It’s real life, so some people might not be satisfied with the ending. Unfortunate, things are always resolved like we would like them to be.
I’ve heard it compared to The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I don’t know what it is about that style of book that I enjoy so much, but I love them. I’m not a fan of true crime books, but these fall in a different category, they are creative nonfiction, written like a novel almost, but using only the facts. I would say this one is closer to Devil than Midnight, but all three are wonderfully written and read like fiction.
Pair with a viewing of Hannibal. The movie is partially filmed in Florence and the author of Hannibal is said to have partially based the character on the Monster of Florence. While writing that novel Thomas Harris attended some of the Monster trials. Fair warning, it's really creepy.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
And Other Concerns
by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling is pretty hilarious. Though my love of The Office has waned in recent years, I still love that style of humor and this book provides more of the same. Kaling talks about everything from her childhood friends to her favorite moments in comedy. She mentions a brief stink as a writer on SNL, her fluctuating weight, her parents, etc. She manages to make all of these things both funny and relatable.
I love that she starts out by referencing Tiny Fey’s book. Since everyone else will obviously be comparing them, she preemptively notes that Fey’s book is awesome and you should read it.
I’m not a big fan of Kaling’s character, Kelly, on The Office, but I also realize that isn’t really her, as Kaling herself points out many times. There are a few similarities, but Kaling is much smarter and funnier than her television counterpart. So if you think you might like this one, read it for a quick laugh and because you’ve already read Bossypants.
Pair with a viewing of a few Office episodes written or co-written by Kaling: The Dundies (Season 2), Niagara (Season 6), and The Sting (Season 7)
Image of Mindy from here.