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Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 3:26 am
by ThyneAlone
Do you know, we've got such a comprehensive Bones forum and yet hardly anyone has ever mentioned the originator of all this, the writer? Hello there Kathy Reichs.You have created something huge and extraordinary.

This occurred to me when ever-devoted hubbie, wanting to cheer me on a bad day, came home with a fantasy book that might appeal. Anyone ever heard of Jasper Fforde? I couldn't believe how long he has been writing and putting together an entire bizarre world without me noticing. The series I'm thinking of consists of his five books on the adventures of one Thursday Next, who lives in an interesting alternative universe where you can jump into books and stories. She's part of an organisation that kind of polices the book world and makes sure books stay the way they are, so you don't get rogue characters straying into other books with nefarious intent (you know - James Bond in Jane Austen, that kind of thing, only far more complex) or getting out into the 'Outland', or normal world. Fforde is possessed of an astonishing imagination, genuine writing talent and a profound knowledge of all kinds of literature. And in the book I was reading, guess who turns up while Thursday is having an entirely believable afternoon tea with Mrs Tiggywinkle (no - can't explain how it works - it's the Stewie thing again)? Temperance Brennan. I couldn't believe it! Only a brief conversation, but duly acknowledged with a grateful nod to Kathy Reichs.

And it got me thinking.

The Kathy Reichs creation is so different. I possess 'Bones To Ashes', 'Cross Bones' and 'Break No Bones', but I can't say I read them very much. I'm one of those who can't quite come to terms with the older Tempe and her much more messy emotional life, built round kids and relationships. I could do if I enjoyed the read, I suspect, but I don't like Ms. Reichs' style. I was only into my third chapter of the first one I read when my spirit rose up in exasperation and protest at all those three-word sentences which are intended to engender tension and drama, but in reality are a very tired and over-used narrative device. So, if you like, I haven't warmed to the character or the writing, and I would love to hear from those who have.

Why is Mary Poppins in the thread title? Well, Mary Poppins for me is the same experience in reverse. In the film/musical, which I delighted in as a child, she is cloyingly sweet and bright, smiley and understanding. When, book-ravenous as I was in my youth, I turned to the novels (I love series, where characters can be developed, if you hadn't guessed), I was initially shocked at this acerbic disciplinarian, vain and arrogant, who ruled the kids with a rod of iron, snapping at them in irritation whenever they stepped out of line. And yet - and yet - she was so magical, with her unearthly background, and enthralling adventures with bizarre and equally magical friends and relatives. And she loved those kids. She adored them and, though she hid it, was devastated at the farewell; hell, she was devastated when the youngest child, as a baby, grew out of being able to hear the animals and birds and speak of her mysterious universal origins. So much better than the film version.

This is true in general of my experience. I read original fairy tales and despise Disney's mawkishness and manipulation of children's primal fear of losing a parent; I read Harry Potter and am surprised when Hogwarts looks even a mote as I visualised it; the one exception was Lord Of The Rings, where the film helped me to get the myriad members of the huge cast straight in my head (it's controversial, but LOTR to me is a very male-oriented book; it gives me no-one to truly relate to. That's a whole other discussion which I may take over to Random).

Basically, in a roundabout way, I'm saying who shares my preference for the show Temperance, and who likes the books better?

Ponder, friends.

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 10:05 am
by Sinkwriter72
Fascinating questions, Steph! *ponders and ponders*

I confess, first of all, that I've never read the Kathy Reichs books. I've often thought about it, just haven't sought them out at the bookstore yet. (I am troubled by your description of her style, however; I fear I will also find them lacking. But I can't say that for sure until I've at least given one book a chance. *GRIN*)

Interesting points about the differences between the book and film versions of Mary Poppins. You make me want to check out the original book(s). It's funny you mention that because just a month or two ago there was an article in the Chicago Trib about that very topic -- they were discussing the evolution of the writing of the stage show and how it's not quite the same as the Disney movie and that people might take issue with that because it's not the sweet Mary Poppins they know (especially if they're bringing their kids, who might not be old enough to understand the intricacies of a more nuanced character). Also, the article discussed how the author of the books was initially very unhappy with the Disney film interpretation, which I found interesting. I've never read the book (or is it books?) but that article made me very curious to see what they were all about. It certainly sounded like it was a much more in-depth characterization. (Though I do have a childhood love of that Disney movie, all those songs, and of course Julie Andrews. "I love to laugh..." Heeeheee.)

About the Harry Potter books versus the films... it's interesting to me because years ago a friend of mine was stunned that I had not seen the films and insisted that I borrow her DVDs of the first two films (those were the only two films out in theatres or on DVD; they had not yet made the rest of the films and only had the first five novels in print at that time). So my first foray into that world was to see the first two films, not read the books. I loved the films, especially the first one. It just seemed so magical and I thought the kids were funny and I liked Harry's story and really felt for him as a character, and I loved all the fun touches and the gorgeous Hogwarts castle and all of it just pulled me into that world. I felt like a kid again.

After watching those two films, I was excited to read the books (which I'd heard of but always thought of as kids' books; at the time I had no idea how big they were becoming), and ended up borrowing the first five novels from my sister-in-law. I read the first book almost entirely in one day, while stuck at an airport for eight hours (ugh), waiting for a delayed flight. The first book felt to me just like the movie; I expected there would be things they couldn't get to, but I thought they covered enough of the important elements and really captured Harry's story as well as the magic of Hogwarts and why/how it becomes more of a home to him than his actual home with the Dursleys. The extra details in that book simply felt like an additional treat. In contrast, I found I liked the second book better than I liked the second film, because there was so much more detail and parts I found I wished they had included in the film that they didn't. What was most interesting to me, though, was that I read the next three books before I saw the next three films, and I found I liked the books better than the films. I've always wondered if I would have enjoyed the third, fourth, and fifth films better if I had not read the books first. With the first two films, I had no prior knowledge and no expectations, so I was simply there to watch the movies and get sucked into the world, which I thought both films managed to do for me wonderfully well. But with the next three films, I had by then read the books first, so there were certain parts of the books that I felt were important and that I really wanted to see portrayed in the films; therefore, when they didn't always capture my vision of the books I found myself disappointed because things got skipped. Interesting difference, isn't it?

Another interesting thing: I LOVED the fourth novel, but did not like the pacing or interpretation of that film (there were several key elements that I was extraordinarily disappointed that they skipped in the film). In contrast, though I understood why Harry felt the way he did, I found myself frustrated by his constant teenagery subbornness in the fifth book, which made it less of an enjoyable read, which in turn made me wary of the upcoming film... until I actually saw it, and found that I really enjoyed watching it. So my book vs. film view got flip-flopped! I thought for sure I'd love the fourth film because I sooo loved that book, and thought for sure I'd find the fifth film annoying because I found the fifth book more than a bit frustrating (not to mention in need of some more editing, whoo, was that one ever long!), but in actuality I was wrong about both of those films. I found that very curious. :D

To enjoy the final books as films, I think I may not re-read those novels first, so the details will be fuzzy in my mind and I will therefore simply attend the movies with no gigantic expectations that could end up dashed. I'm just going to enjoy the films as films, and appreciate the books on their own as well. Otherwise, I know I'll get disappointed (I'm still bummed about that fourth book; I really loved that one and felt the script missed the boat -- but, at least I can always enjoy the book on its own merits).

Okay, I've gone on enough about this. Someone else talk, please! :mrgreen:

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 10:20 am
by ThyneAlone
Eek stop! :shock:
Fantastic post but completely :text-offtopic:
and it's all my fault for going off at a tangent and naming the thread provocatively in the first place! Sherry, I'm going to reply to this (maybe later, as evening meal is imminent) down in the Random thread if that's ok, and to others who want to take part in this fascinating discussion: keep your Kathy comments in this thread and take Mary Poppins, HP and other screen v novel posts down to Random in the Welcome forum. Many thanks, and apologies! :?

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 10:56 am
by Jude40
Hi all

I have to admit I'm not a big reader, I think I've actually said before that I don't have the patience and my curiousity gets the better of me so I end up reading a few pages then skipping to the end! The only thing I've read remotely recently are the Patricia Cornwell, Kay Scarpetta stories. Its weird really 'cos I used to love books when I was a kid, I remember my favourite being one which I think was called 'The Folk of the Faraway Tree'.

I used to write a lot too, I remember my mum used to dread what my teachers must think about what went on at home sometimes. I vividly remember writing a story about my dad coming home drunk and another about some children witnsessing a man dismembering their grandmother after kiling her (I was about 12 at the time)!

Anyway I digress, that was a bit off topic, sorry! I was going to say that I haven't read the Kathy Reichs books but from what I've heard I think I'd prefer the TV Tempe and I'm a massive fan of the way Emily portrays her so I'm sure that would be the case. The TV Tempe is based loosely around Kathy Reichs isn't she? And of course she writes about a character called Kathy. Its a pretty smart idea actually.

Catch you later

Jude x

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 11:10 am
by Sinkwriter72
*head desk* Sorry, Steph... I wasn't thinking this was one of those topic-threads; I was thinking it was more random because you referenced several things, but I should have realized and kept my comments strictly to Kathy Reichs. Seriously, apologies! I'm terrible when I go off on tangents. :oops:

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 11:51 am
by ThyneAlone
It was mea culpa, Sherry, honest. I was doing a Kathy Reichs thread, but in a stream of consciousness way; and other things leapt to mind, which I should have transferred instantly!

I am really interested in what you wrote though. Thinking my way round a reply. Thanks for your email, btw, sweetie. Will get back to you soon.

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sun May 24, 2009 10:04 am
by TJ4ever
I have to admit that I never read her books either. But maybe I will - someday!

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:51 pm
by SmackyKennedy
I've about midway through one of Kathy Reichs' books, "Break No Bones." I like it so far, but find the show Temperance far more interesting. Maybe I need to start with the 1st book to get to know her better?

I'm having a little trouble following it in places. It's not hard reading and I understand medical terminology, but I think it helps to have the visual. Of course, I average about 4 hours a sleep a day so I could just be too tired to think while reading!

Let you know how it turns out. Usually it takes me a bit to get into story, but once I do I have to finish them in one sitting!

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:29 pm
by SmackyKennedy
Finished Break No Bones. It turned out to be really good. I think it was hard to get into it at first because of her style. Thynealone mentioned in her original post she has a lot of "3 word sentences" They really jumped out for me just seemed to be a distraction. She's not my favorite author, but I'm sure I'll read another one of her books, probably start with the 1st one. I'd recommend it if you haven't read any of her stuff yet. Give it a shot. :)

As for the characters, the TV Tempe is much more interesting, keeps you wanting to learn more. Tempe in the books seems to be more well-adjusted to humans in general, has been married, has a daughter, parents alive (I think-at least it's a "normal" family).

Sorry I can't give a more meaningful, in-depth critique, it just like to read and enjoy!

*Oh and Mary Poppins, favorite kids movie ever. One of the songs I use to get my kids to sleep is the "Stay Awake" song. :sleeping-yellow: I had no idea about the books, I will have to check those out.

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:58 am
by JennyLea
Just a quick Note.

I have one of Kathy Riechs books, "The Devil Bones". I've had it for awhile but I just can't seem to get past the second chapter. I don't know what it is about it but I lost interest almost before I even got started reading it. So far the case sounds like it would be fascinating but I just can't read it.

For me this is weird. I can get into just about anything as long as it is not Hemmingway. I hated the book "A Farewell to Arms", but before I go too far off topic, I'll bring it back to Kathy. It must be her style of writing, or I just can't relate with her Temperance that makes it nearly impossible for me to get through this book.

I am an avid reader and own over 1000 books. I used to own way more but I donated an entire Pickup load full to the local charity thrift store.

I felt guilty not being able to read Kathy's books. Now I feel better knowing that I am not the only one who is having difficulties.


Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:43 am
by ThyneAlone
That is exactly what happened to me, Jenny. You're certainly not the only one; and I'm a pretty avid reader when I have leisure! :)

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:43 am
by SmackyKennedy
Just found out that Kathy Reichs is going to be giving a lecture "Crime Lab to Crime Fiction on April 14th (my only night w/o kids) at MTSU (30 minutes away). And it's FREE and open to the public.

I might just have to check it out! :think:

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:33 pm
by skftex
Resurrecting this old topic because I finally read a Kathy Reichs book! I read "206 Bones" and I didn't find it hard to read at all. I was expecting to for several reasons, the characters being different, no Hodgins (HEE just kidding, I knew he wasn't in the books before I started) and reading that people had a hard time with her style. What was interesting to me is that I didn't even think about that Temperance Brennan being the same character as the one in the show because they are NOTHING alike. I find it interesting that Kathy Reichs says she thinks of her character being an older one of the TV show but there is absolutely no way that TV show Tempe could ever be the book Tempe, even disregarding the grown daughter and ex-husband. The book Tempe is much more "normal", less abrasive (though I know that the book Tempe is as well, she's not even close to the way the TV Tempe is not even softer season 5 Tempe), and more emotional. And I just think that despite the changes in TV Tempe, she'll never be THAT normal.

This book had several "cases", one being old murders to solve, like a Bones TV show case in a LOT of ways, even the resolution to that one was very much like season 5 resolutions. The other one being that at the beginning of the book something has happened to Brennan. My problem with the book was that about two chapters in you already know who did that to Brennan (don't want to mention what in case someone is planning on reading it and I hope I haven't said too much already! if so, I am sorry!). Then knowing the who, you really can figure out the why by halfway through. So at that point it wasn't like I just had to finish the book. In fact it took me over a week to finish because it wasn't that important. And I usually read a paperback the size of "206 Bones" in less than a day.

So, I didn't hate the book, and it is possible I may pick up another sometime if I can't find anything else that looks interesting. But I'm not going to rush to get them all. :)

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:21 pm
by boo
Really found these comments interesting. Thanks to all of you for posting. I haven't read any of Kathy's books. In fact, I was one of those who came late to Bones and didn't even realize the series was connected to a book series.

For some reason, I've never had any desire to read her books, though mystery is my favorite genre and I'm a serious Bones fan. In part I may have been swayed by comments I've seen on line that Kathy is "just like" Tempe in that she is emotionless and clueless and egotistical. I shouldn't let that deter me, as it's only one persons opinion, but if you saw my stack of "to read" books you'd understand that I don't need any more on my pile at the moment. :lol: Perhaps someday I'll read one, just out of curiosity and respectful nod to my love of the show. If it's boring though, I might be like others of you who just couldn't be bothered to finish.

But then, what do I know. I thought Harry Potter was boring! And Twilight was just plain torture, lol. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Kathy Reichs and Mary Poppins

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:57 pm
by Dr.Valentine
Hmm..I don't know whether or not reading her books would be a worthwhile decision... :?

Is the Book Tempe more of a "smart mom" type rather than a "genius woman"? And is the booth character any good?

P.S. Harry Potter was fantastic, you're crazy!!! Ahhh! hahaha, ok, not crazy, just totally brave for puttin' that out there in a HP & Twilight crazed society :lol: ahhh, pre-teens haha, they get me every time xP