S.G. Browne

J is for Joy, Jaws, and Jurassic

I think this is the first post where all three books were all made into films. And, unless my brain is more full of cobwebs than I realize, I believe I saw all three of these in the theater before I read the novels.

However, I will be honest and say that none of these three would make my Top 50 books of all time. Maybe not even the Top 100. I really should make that list. But since I’m doing this alphabetically, every letter gets to participate.

So with that enthusiastic build-up, here are my favorite novels that start with the letter J:

Number 1:
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
Whether you consider it a straight science fiction novel or a cautionary tale on biological tinkering, the novel is a lot of fun, especially to imagine that it could be possible. One of the aspects I enjoyed most about the book as opposed to the film was that the Velociraptors, not the T-Rex, were the star dinosaurs. The whole storyline about them breeding and getting off the island by boat was left out of the movie.

Number 2:
Jaws, Peter Benchley
I saw the film when I was nine years old and that was pretty much it for me ever taking up surfing. While it’s tough to beat Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, I still enjoyed the book, which I read just a few years after seeing the movie. But I can’t help but think the film had some impact on the book ending up on this list.

Number 3:
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
Again, a book I’d read after the film, the book was written in vignettes from the different POVs of four immigrant Chinese mothers and their daughters who live in San Francisco. I don’t really have anything else to say, other than the fact that I liked it. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Favorite Short Story Collection:
Just After Sunset, Stephen King
Not my favorite of all time, but I didn’t have another J book to slot into the wild card spot. So I went with this one. Not King’s best collection (that nod goes to Skeleton Crew), but enough to renew my appreciation in his short stories. Plus he’s got a way with words that I can’t help but appreciate. He’s just a good storyteller.

Filed under: Movies and Books — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 5:54 pm


  1. Ooh, makes me all nostalgic! I have fond memories of reading both Jurassic Park and Jaws (I devoured Jaws like a shark going at chum)! I’ll chalk it up to being younger and more impressionable, but books just don’t seem to pack the same punch as these two did when I originally read them. They thrilled and chilled (as did the many volumes of Stephen King’s work that I read voraciously — just not the one you mention here). I do like the film adaptation of Jaws, but so much had to be left out — especially the relationships — to focus on making it a good horror thriller; almost rivals Hitchcock’s The Birds (almost)! But Jurassic Park, the movie — while fun to watch — IMO lost much of the intrigue and message of the book. Anyway, great picks (I like Joy Luck too, but it doesn’t float my boat the way JP and Jaws do!), and keep up the great alpha review work! (What a neat idea.) <3

    Comment by Zuzana — June 19, 2010 @ 7:59 am

  2. Thanks for the comments, Zuzana. Glad you’re enjoying the blog posts.

    Comment by admin — June 20, 2010 @ 10:00 am

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