Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak writes:

“I’ve decided to choose five books that have been turned into films I’ve also loved. All of these novels have led to films that have made me want to revisit the book, and there’s nothing wrong with that!”

Wonder Boys
By Michael Chabon

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay might be considered Chabon’s masterpiece, but I often find myself drawn back to Wonder Boys. It’s the book of his that I tend to reread, again and again. Early on there’s a great line where Grady Tripp refers to the book he’s writing as ‘the great careering zeppelin of which I was the mad commander…’ That pretty much sums up the writer’s lot, and the film does it beautifully, too. Seeing Michael Douglas write the number 251 at the top of a new page and then add a 0 is one of my favorite moments in movies. As James Leer (Tobey Maguire) says later on, in his special, deadpan way: ‘That’s a really big book, Professor Tripp.’ “

Rumble Fish
By S. E Hinton

“Again, S. E. Hinton is more famous for a different book – The Outsiders – but for me, the novella-length Rumble Fish is her greatest. I’ve read it many times now, and the complexity of the characters and the hard truths they encounter always leave me reeling. It also changed my perception of my local pet shop forever…”

The World According to Garp
By John Irving

“This is one where I saw the movie first (when I was about ten), and even then I was thinking, Are you really allowed to do that?! It’s such a heartfelt story. Garp is such a life force (and so, of course, is his mom). Also, any book where a kid gets bitten by a dog and bites him back is one for the ages — especially when the dog is called Bonkers. It taught me that you can do anything in a book, as long as you believe it.”

The Commitments
By Roddy Doyle

“I think I saw this movie abut 19 times before I saw the book in a city bookshop, and I pretty much devoured it on the 45-minute train ride home. There’s a huge amount of swearing and a huge amount of heart as well — which makes Jimmy Rabbitte and the world’s hardest working band one of my all-time favorites, in both book and film.”

Ghost World
By Daniel Clowes

“It’s angry and skillful, cynical and funny — and Ghost World is both a book and film I love. The scene where Seymour (Steve Buscemi) explodes in the car at a family crossing the road at far too leisurely a pace by screaming ‘HAVE ANOTHER KID WHY DON’T YOU!’ is a family favorite. More than that, those words have become our way of telling people to hurry up in our house. As it is, I’m not a prolific graphic novel reader, but I can never resist this one. I always pull it off the shelf and disappear inside it.”