Holiday Gift Guide: Classic novels, television and cinematic adaptations

American Gods: Season One (Starz) The Handmaid's Tale Soundtrack (Lakeshore Records) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Out of Print Clothing) Book and background illustrations by Dave McKean from Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” (Photo: The Folio Society)

(KUTV) While researching to prepare for this year's series of gift guides I stumbled across a gorgeous hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" featuring artwork from long-time collaborator Dave McKean. It piqued my interest and I, as one often does, promptly dove down the rabbit hole that is the internet and made my way to The Folio Society's website.

While I enjoy the modern convenience of being able to access my music, books and movies digitally, for the art that I love I like to also have a physical copy. When it comes to books, I prefer the weight and quality of a hardcover. I've dreamed of someday owning a first-edition copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night" (for now, this will do nicely), I'm drawn towards collector's editions like the recent Harry Potter illustrated editions. You might dream of owning a yacht, I dream of having a library with a rolling ladder. It's just how I'm wired.

While perusing The Folio Society's site I discovered a treasure trove of classic and contemporary novels dressed in beautiful cloth covers adorned with attractive illustrations. I knew I had to find a way to shine a light on this 70-year-old company that I was just now discovering.

Then it struck me.

A couple years ago I discovered this fantastic company called Out of Print Clothing that make t-shirts and accessories based on book covers. I've purchased my share of shirts from them including Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Luis Carrol's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

It just so happened that many of their t-shirts were for books that were in The Folio Society's catalog and many of those titles were also recently adapted into television series or movies.

Note: The Folio Society Editions are only available directly from the publisher. Order need to be placed by December 8 for Standard Delivery and December 14 for Express Delivery.

Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"

Published in 2001, Neil Gaiman's "American Gods," a fantasy novel that delves into modern mythology and gods born America's contemporary obsessions with media and celebrity. The novel won Hugo and Nebula awards in 2002, was re-released for its 10th anniversary with additional material in an" author's preferred text" version. The Folio Society Edition was released earlier this year and features additional corrections to the "preferred" text. As mentioned before, Dave Mckean provides the illustrations. McKean has worked with Gaiman, most notably on the covers for Gaiman's influential The Sandman series for Vertigo Comics.

Out of Print's t-shirt features Houston Trueblood's illustration from the 10th anniversary edition.

This year also saw a television series based on the novel premier to critical acclaim on the Starz featuring the talents of Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover and Ian McShane. The first season of the adaptation was released last month and a second season coming sometime in the future. Selections from composer Brian Reitzell's score was released in June. Reitzell is best know for his work for the television series "Hannibal" and his frequent collaborations with Sofia Coppola on her films.

Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was the inspiration behind the cinema cult classic "Blade Runner." This year not only saw the breathtaking release of "Blade Runner 2049," a sequel to the 1982 film, but also a new 4K UHD release of the original film that is simply astounding. Though there were various composers attached to the film at various stages in the movie's production, the score, which is heavily influenced by the work Vangelis did for the first film, was written by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch and was released in October.

The Folio Society Edition also includes Dick's "A Scanner Darkly" and is illustrated by Chris Skinner and Andrew Archer.

Out of Print's t-shirt features the art from the 1972 Panther Science Fiction edition.

Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"

Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" has been updated (strange how much the world has and hasn't changed since 1985) for Hulu's television series, but the core ideas have been retained. The series won eight Primetime Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series, a first for a streaming platform release. Selections from Adam Taylor's score were released earlier this year. For the curious, Shout! Factory released the 1990 film adaptation of the book. With a screenplay credited to Harold Pinter (there's a tale to be told there) and starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Aidan Quinn and Elizabeth McGovern. The film isn't nearly as good as the sum of its parts, particularly when you factor in director Volker Schlöndorff ("The Tin Drum"), but it is interesting to compare the differences between the book, movie and television series.

The Folio Society Edition is illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso.

Out of Print's t-shirt is based on the 1986 first US edition cover.

Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express"

With the modest success of director/actor Kenneth Branagh's and creenwriter Michael Green's adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express"we might see more of Christie's novels revived for modern audiences. There was a time when Christie's works were taught in school, perhaps now that cinema has made her fasionable, they will be again. Patrick Doyle's soundtrack is readily available. As is the 2010 adaptation of the novel that was aired on PBS starring the legendary David Suchet as as Hercule Poirot with Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Toby Jones ("Detectorists") and Hugh Bonneville ("Downton Abbey") featured among the cast.

Two Christie collections, "The Best of Agatha Christie Volume 1" and "Best of Agatha Christie: Volume 2," are also newly available. "The Best of Agatha Christie: Volume One" features television adaptations of "And Then There Were None" with Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill and Charles Dance; "Five Little Pigs" with Suchet and Aidan Gillen and "Death on the Nile" with Suchet and Emily Blunt. "The Best of Agatha Christie: Volume Two" features television adaptations of "The Witness for the Prosecution" with Kim Cattrall, Toby Jones and Andrea Riseborough; "Three Act Tragedy" with Suchet, and Martin Shaw and "Hallowe'en Party" with Zoe Wanamaker and Suchet.

The Folio Edition is illustrated by Andrew Davidson.

Out of Print's t-shirt is based on the 2007 edition.

Additional Gift Guides

Holiday Gift Guide: Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD
Holiday Gift Guide: Despicable Me
Holiday Gift Guide: Classic novels, television and cinematic adaptations
Holiday Gift Guide: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Holiday Gift Guide: DC Comics
Holiday Gift Guide: Disney & Pixar

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