Five books that ought to be films

Via Pop Candy, I recently came across a list of “21 good books that need to be great films.” I like some of the choices (Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides would make a fascinating film), but because my reading habits tend to veer toward the queer, I’m not familiar with many of the titles. So I thought I’d offer some suggestions of my own to would-be adapters for the silver screen.

5. The Great Man by Kate Christensen (2007)

I enjoyed this sweeping tale of a painter’s life and loves, but at times I felt like the author was getting in her own way (maybe because I know how easy it is to be a little too fond of your own words!). I think a film adaptation could trim the verbal fat and bring the fascinating characters to life. I picture Blythe Danner in the role of Teddy, the painter’s mistress. Maxine, the painter’s cranky lesbian sister (and an artist in her own right) would be a great part for Kathy Bates.

4. Music for Torching by A.M. Homes

Homes (who has written for The L Word) is almost always called “dark,” and it’s hard to argue with that. In Music for Torching, as in all of Homes’ novels, the characters are deeply flawed — even disturbed — and their actions are shocking, if also somehow inherently logical. Even though The Safety of Objects (directed by Rose Troche) didn’t quite work on film, I think the right director could give Homes’ characters the humanity and humor that makes them both dark and downright fascinating.

3. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

I love this novel. I don’t know why it doesn’t get much attention in the Cather canon. The central character is Thea, a blossoming opera singer and independent-minded woman who says things like, “I only want the impossible; the others don’t interest me!” It would have been a great role for a young Barbra Streisand or Julie Andrews, and I’m not sure they make starlets like that anymore. It could certainly be a breakout role for someone — the next Jennifer Hudson, maybe?

2. The Intersection of Law and Desire by J.M. Redmann

Forget Murder at the Nightwood Bar; I think Redmann’s book is a better candidate to be the first great lesbian detective movie. Micky Knight is tough and sexy and sometimes even heroic. I think I’d like to see Michelle Rodriguez in this role — after she’s done her time, of course. Or maybe even Angelina Jolie.

1. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This book could be a delicious movie. Think South of Nowhere, only more romantic and without all the drama. Hmm. Maybe it’s nothing like SoN. I have no idea who should play Liza and Annie, but I know the museum scene would be gorgeous on the big screen. Oh — in the teacher roles, how about Allison Janney and Elizabeth Mitchell? Swoon!

Hmm, I’m out of ideas; I think I might need to take a trip to the bookstore. Or the theater. Probably both.