Next June, the Page & Popcorn Book & Movie Club will turn ten years old. That makes it 8.5 years old right now, which is not quite as big a milestone, but I (Andrew, BE ’02) am in the mood to reminisce (and analyze data).
P&P was born when NYMAAC Brothers and Beta Epsilon (Syracuse University) alumni Lindsay (’04) and I both read Christopher Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking and then watched the movie together. Lindsay thought, this is awesome, and we decided to start a book club where we choose only books that have been made into movies, and then gather to watch the movie and discuss both. For our second selection, we chose Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors, and opened membership up to members of NYMAAC and their friends and partners.
Over the past 8.5 years, P&P has read and discussed 31 books and watched 33 movies (two adaptations each of The Manchurian Candidate and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Surprisingly, we have never repeated an author. Although we’ve read a rich variety of genres, we most often return to the realms of fantasy (8), science fiction (6), and historical fiction (4). Half of the books we’ve read were published in the last 20 years, but we do go as far back as 1865 (Alice). As for movies, we significantly favor those produced after 1990 (26), some exceptions being Breakfast at Tiffany’s and To Kill a Mockingbird.
The nature of our book & movie club allows us to choose dinner and a movie out, or a night in with the DVD and usually board games at someone’s apartment. Although it’s exciting to choose movies out in theaters with current celebrities and all that present cinematography and effects have to offer, we more often opt for the latter where we can gather and stretch out and relax in the comfort of a Brother’s home (13 out vs. 20 in). These numbers would actually be closer if not for the complicated reality of scheduling a trip to the movie theater. On two occasions (Blindness and The Perks of Being a Wallflower), a movie night out turned into a movie night in (plus a delay of a few months) when the movie left theaters before our scheduled event.
Our most frequent host was the erstwhile home of Lindsay and myself (and for a few months Kate), affectionately known as Puddhaven. From 2007 to 2013, 11 P&P gatherings were held there. Our other gracious hosts have included Sue (BE ’00), Kate (GPhi at OU ’07), Jon & Jeremy (BPi at UConn ’00 & BE ’04), and Stella (DChi at Lehigh ’04). All but one of our movie nights out have taken place in theaters (usually Union Square or Lincoln Square), the exception being the Movies Under the Stars series on the Riverside Park piers (The Princess Bride).
Although P&P discussions can be described as scholarship events, like everything we do, they are primarily social. Folks are always welcome to come whether or not they’ve read the book, because what we’re really after is a good time. Besides, reading a book is a big commitment, and if you’re like me, your to-read list is already as long as your life will be. Plus, sometimes the movie actually is better than the book (almost never, actually).
For more information on what we’ve read, check out the PSP wiki and the Goodreads group. And if you want to join us for the next discussion/viewing, pick up a copy of P.D. James’ The Children of Men, and stay tuned for the date announcement in the NYMAAC Facebook group.