3- The Princess Bride (originally by William Goldman)
Let’s start by saying this: it’s an amazing book. Of course it is. It’s physically impossible to take The Princess Bride and make it anything but fantastic. The author himself wrote the screenplay, and it holds the same tone and meter as the book.
When I speak of better (at least in this case), I mean in terms of popularity: honestly, how many of you knew that Princess Bride was once a book? Show of hands? Anyone?
This is the only book on the list I expect I won’t get flack for because we all know it’s true. Stardust, for the few who actually watched it, became a cult classic akin to the Princess Bride mentioned above except with less sense. Wonderful plot, timing, characters…. the book, however… no.
Neil Gaiman isn’t necessarily a bad writer, but with Stardust he mashed a good idea with not-so-good pacing. What the movie describes in four minutes, he spends twenty pages on. And it agonizes the reader. He forces himself to write it in the scheme of a fairy-tale, but it fails. The author isn’t a cutesy writer, and Stardust hadn’t the mettle to be classified as cutesy anyhow.
If the poor book hadn’t been rescued from its great plot but poor writing, few would have enjoyed the plot– there’s simply too much tripe to put up with to reach its standing points.
It’s a tougher question than it looks, isn’t it?
Anneka Winder is a writer, among other things. When she is not getting carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive writing, she is usually reading. You can track her strange and sometimes incoherent ramblings here: http://renegadebard.webs.com/