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Water for Elephants post-chat: the unanswered questions

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions and took part in yesterday’s online Water for Elephants discussion! Since it was our first-ever online chat, we were glad to see some of our readers make it a truly interactive experience — taking part in quick polls, checking out the movie stills, and not being afraid to agree or disagree with us and each other. (Yes, even you, whoever suggested the movie could have used a few more shirtless scenes with Robert Pattinson.)

The hour just flew by, and we wanted the opportunity to address some of the questions that were left unanswered. So here’s a bonus for you: some post-chat responses from Bookclub-in-a-Box’s Marilyn Herbert, yesterday’s gracious host. Plus, to wrap up this mad Elephants frenzy, click here for a downloadable PDF preview of our discussion guide, still 25% off for the rest of the weekend.


The best and worst of book-to-film adaptations

Last week, Water for Elephants, based on Sara Gruen’s best-selling novel, hit theatres in all its 1930s-era circus/forbidden-love spectacle, to mixed reviews. Did Robert Pattinson escape the Twilight zone and prove himself a respectable leading man as runaway veterinary student Jacob Jankowski? How was the chemistry between him and on-screen love interest Reese Witherspoon (despite the fact that he played her son in an ultimately deleted scene in 2004’s Vanity Fair)? We’ll discuss all that — plus how we feel when movies depart from the novel’s source material — in our online chat today at 2 p.m. EDT, where we’ll answer your questions about Water for Elephants. Register with the widget on the left side of our homepage (<— just over there!), or visit this page at 2 p.m.

But this got us thinking about some of the great and not-so-great adaptations we’ve seen in the past. Tim Burton’s made some interesting choices with beloved children’s classics, right? Well, to each his own. In this video posted by Knopf Doubleday, Ian McEwan (Solar, Atonement) shares his pick for best adaptation: Director John Huston’s 1987 take on The Dead, a short story by James Joyce. “Deep, deep, deeply moving; a work of genius,” McEwan says. “And I think there’s been no translation of a literary text into a movie that comes anywhere near The Dead.”


Our biggest contest yet: win a prize pack including tickets to the Canadian premiere of Water for Elephants

(This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to our grand prize winner, Steph, and secondary winners Jennie and Valerie! Winners have been contacted.)

Here’s something to brighten your Monday. Have you ever dreamed of running away to the circus and living an unpredictable life filled with elaborate costumes, exotic animals, and perhaps a forbidden romance? The film version of Sara Gruen’s historical romance Water for Elephants, starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz hits theatres on April 22, and we’re giving three lucky winners passes to attend ROMthe Canadian movie premiere at the Royal Ontario Museum on April 21, at 8 p.m.

One of those three winners will be given a grand prize, which includes a double movie pass for the Canadian premiere, a copy of Sara Gruen’s novel, and the Water for Elephants movie soundtrack.