When it comes to escapism, you’re an expert. To help you discover your next out-of-this-world read, we rounded up books based off the biggest movie and television adaptations featured at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, the annual comics-turned-everything convention where fans collide with artists, actors, authors, and more.
From the stories to read before they hit the screen to the backstories of your favorite heroes and villains, these are the books to keep you entertained and in the know.
That’s Not How It Happened in the Book…
Impress (or irritate) your friends and family with details about what Hollywood changed from each of these beloved stories.
Between a Castle Rock and a Hard Place
Unleash the horrors of Castle Rock, a fictional town where Stephen King set many of his most chilling tales, before the adaptation premieres on Hulu.
Over My Walking Dead Body
Too far gone? Return to better days of the apocalypse with the original comics and the prequel novels about notorious villain The Governor.
Just What the Doctor Who Ordered
Before the 13th Doctor steps into her T.A.R.D.I.S., travel all of space and time with these Time Lord novels, including one from iconic sci-fi legend Douglas Adams.
As book lovers, we’ve all likely experienced that excruciating moment of discovery after reading a novel you absolutely loved: The writer penned only that singular work. To be fair, it is a rare situation, but a bittersweet one nonetheless, made more so when it’s a particularly brilliant piece of fiction. Harper Lee, at one time, was perhaps the most notorious one-off author of the twentieth century with To Kill a Mockingbird (J.D. Salinger slid in at a close second, although we’ll concede that he did pepper us with a few fantastic short stories). Of course, and in spite of some controversy, Go Set a Watchman pushed Lee from this roundup. There are still several classic novels that have proved themselves beloved one-offs. Here are a few of our favorites.
Emily Bronte died just a year after her first and only novel was published. The novel she left us with is an unquestionable classic — a tortured and deeply emotional tale of torment, obsession, and the dangers of unfettered passion.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published after Mary Ann Shaffer’s death in 2008. An epistolary novel set in 1946, it follows the travails of an extraordinary and eccentric cast of characters on a small British island occupied by the Germans during WWII.
First published in 1957, Boris Pasternak’s only novel earned him an Nobel Prize in Literature. It is an extraordinary example of 20th century Russian literature and chronicles the turmoil of the Russian Revolution through the lens of a poet/physician struggling to survive against the chaotic tumult of the period.
The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
This now-classic tale, one synonymous with teenage angst and alienation, was J.D. Salinger’s only novel. The story centers on Holden Caulfield, a student at a prestigious prep school in the early 1950’s. Holden’s disdain for his peers and the apparent “phoniness” of those around him proved to be a touchstone for generations of seemingly disaffected teenagers.
Gone with the Wind
This Pulitzer Prize winner was Margaret Mitchell’s only novel. It quickly became a cultural touchstone and the basis for the revered 1939 adaptation. It’s said that Mitchell was unsettled and uncomfortable by the attention garnered by the sprawling Civil War-era epic and decided not to pen a second novel or a follow-up.
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath committed suicide less than a month after the publication of of her semi-autobiographical classic. Given Plath’s tragic end, her powerful and devastating chronicle of the mental breakdown of a brilliant young woman gained an entirely new and crushing dimension.
While Carl Sandburg is best known for his poetry, he wrote a single novel. This massive, sprawling tale is Sandburg’s prose chronicle of the American experience. Spanning 300 years of history and myriad characters, it is the definition of epic.
While best known as a screenwriter and essayist, Nora Ephron did turn her extraordinary wit and insight to the world of fiction with this semi-autobiographical novel. It is an emotional and oft-hilarious examination of a crumbling marriage – based in part on Ephron’s second marriage – as only Nora Ephron could write.
Those of you familiar with the layout of the adult collection on the second floor of the library will know that our Fiction (FIC) section is only part of our fiction collection.
Genre fiction is a part of fiction, of course, but fans of certain genres like to be able to browse books it their particular area of interest. As we can’t stand the idea of not being as helpful as possible, certain genres have been separated out from the rest so that readers can do just that.
Graphic Novels, Mystery, Romance, Speculative Fiction (an umbrella term that covers Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror) and Westerns all have there own area.
It can get a little confusing sometimes when a book could fit into more than one category – genre crossovers and mash-ups were always a part of certain genres (hence grouping sci-fi, fantasy and horror together under Speculative Fiction) but they are only becoming more common – so, if you are not sure what section to look in just ask.
Michelle Obama’s debut memoir, Becoming, quickly became the Bestselling Book of 2018 despite being released mid-November. But honestly, did we expect anything less? A lady of endless class and courage, Becoming is 400 pages of fridge magnet-worthy quotes. But that’s been the case since she entered the public realm a decade ago. Here is a collection of the best Michelle Obama quotes over the years. Also check out this list of recommended reads if you enjoyed Becoming!
MICHELLE OBAMA QUOTES FROM BECOMING
“Now that I’m an adult, I realize that kids know at a very young age when they’re being devalued, when adults aren’t invested enough to help them learn. Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t ‘bad kids.’ They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances.”
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
“I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people…Some (though not enough) of them are women. Some (though not enough) are black or of color. Some were born poor or have lived lives that to many of us would appear to have been unfairly heaped with adversity…What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout ‘I told you so’ at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it.”
“This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice. I tried my best to speak the truth and shed light on the stories of people who are often brushed aside.”
“Am I good enough? Yes I am.”
MICHELLE OBAMA QUOTES FROM VARIOUS SPEECHES
“Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” —G20 Summit, 2009
“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.” —Campaign trail in Phoenix, 2008
“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values—and follow my own moral compass—then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” —Tuskegee University commencement, 2015
“Walk away from friendships that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you.”
“Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.” —Oregon State University commencement address, 2012
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” —City College of New York commencement, 2016
“Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.” —King College Prep Commencement Address, 2015
“You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” —Young African Women Leaders Forum, 2011
“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” —Democratic National Convention, 2012
“The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.” —International Girls Day, 2016
“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar.” —Howard University speech, 2016
“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail.” —Speech at Apollo Theater, 2015
“Just do what works for you because there will always be someone who thinks differently.”
“Choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better.” —ABC News interview, 2011
“Reach for partners that make you better. Do not bring people into your life who weigh you down. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt.” —Address to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson students
“Let’s just be clear, you don’t want to be with a boy who’s too stupid to know and appreciate a smart young lady.” —Speech at Apollo Theater, 2015
“Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education…then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.” —Final speech as First Lady, 2017
“Here in America we don’t let our differences tear us apart. Here in America we don’t give in to our fears. We don’t build walls to keep people out.” —City of College of New York commencement, 2016
“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” —Young African Women Leaders Forum, 2011
“Every day, you have the power to choose our better history—by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right.” —Topeka School District Senior Recognition Day, 2014
“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” —State Department Women of Courage Awards, 2009
“You don’t have to be somebody different to be important. You are important in your own right.” —Let Girls Learn trip, 2016
“Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserve the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.” —Let Girls Learn trip to London, 2015
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” —Mandela Washington Fellowship address, 2014
“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” —via Vogue magazine
“When it comes to mental health conditions, we often treat them differently from other diseases like cancer, diabetes or asthma. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.” —Change Direction campaign speech, 2015
“It’s time to tell everyone who’s dealing with a mental health issue that they’re not alone, and that getting support and treatment isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.” —Change Direction campaign speech, 2015
And, lastly, my personal fave:
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” —Democratic National Convention, 2016
Also, just for fun, let’s throw some (unintentional) shade:
“Being President doesn’t change who you are—it reveals who you are.” —Democratic National Convention, 2012
New Year’s resolutions are still in flux. Now is the time to start thinking about who you want to be in 2019 and beyond. Whether you’re looking to eat healthier, break a habit, see the world differently, or just want an amazing read, take a look at these books that will change your life.
HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER BY JULIE ORRINGER
Orringer is bound to wrap you up in the lives of her characters. This award-winning collection of short stories follows young women dealing with love, family, self-esteem, awkwardness, and everything in between. These nine mesmerizing stories are full of the hopes and failures and all the complexities that comes with youth.
EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER
Chances are you already heard about this current New York Times bestseller, but there was no way I could leave it out of this list. If you’re looking for a book about perseverance, Educated is it. Westover was raised in the mountains of Idaho by parents who were stockpiling canned goods in preparation for the end of the world.
Lacking in a proper education, Westover educated herself and first step foot in a classroom at 17. This memoir is a tale of education and self-motivation and guaranteed to inspire.
REAL AMERICAN BY JULIE LYTHCOTT-HAIMS
In her memoir, Lythcott-Harris writes about the personal battle people of color know all too well. As a biracial black women in America, Lythcott-Harris deals with racism, microaggressions, and self-esteem issues because of it. Real American is a journey of self-acceptance, and the power of the black community.
YOU ARE A BADASS BY JEN SINCERO
Sincero is a brash, funny, and extremely honest in You Are a Badass. In this book, she tells readers exactly what it takes to start living your awesome life.
CAN’T HURT ME BY DAVID GROGGINS
As a survivor of abuse, prejudice, and poverty, David Groggins is all too familiar with dark days. Still, he pushed through all the obstacles in his life and became a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Can’t Hurt Me is about Groggins’s journey out of the darkness and how readers can tap into their inner power to persevere.
IF YOU LEAVE ME BY CRYSTAL HANNA KIM
I cannot say enough good things about Crystal Hanna Kim’s debut novel. If You Leave Me is set through the perspective of multiple characters dealing with the effects of the Korean War. Sixteen-year-old refugee Haemi-Lee is met with a choice that affects her widowed mother, ill brother, and the love of her life that spans over decades. This novel is so tragically beautiful. You’ll want to grab your issues for this one.
UNFU*K YOURSELF: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE BY GARY JOHN BISHOP
According to Gary Bishop, the largest barrier we face when it comes to a greater life is ourselves.This manifesto is filled with information on how to unleash the greatness that already lies within you.
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: ADVICE ON LOVE AND LIFE FROM DEAR SUGAR BY CHERYL STRAYED
What started as an anonymous online column on The Rumpus transformed into Tiny Beautiful Things. In Tiny Beautiful Things, the Wild author offers advice on everything from love and sex and everything else life throws at you.
JUST MERCY: A STORY OF JUSTICE AND REDEMPTION BY BRYAN STEVENSON
As a young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative a practice designed to defend those who need it the most: the poor, women, and those who are wrongfully accused. The first case Stevenson covers is the case of Walter McMillian, a man who was sentenced to death for a murder he swears he did not commit. Just Mercy is a coming-of-age story as much as it is a story of the pursuit of justice.
YEAR OF YES BY SHONDA RHIMES
For years, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away with Murder creator Shonda Rhimes had a hard time saying yes. With three hit TV shows and three kids, saying “no” was way easier. However, something her younger sister says makes her rethink her life and she starts saying “yes.” Shonda Rhimes’s hilarious and heartfelt account talks about how her life changed when she started to say yes and how you can too.
THE ANATOMY OF HOPE: HOW PEOPLE PREVAIL IN THE FACE OF ILLNESS BY JEROME GROOPMAN
Since Ancient Greece, hope has been an essential part of human life. Harvard medical professor Jerome Groopman explains how hope can change the course of an illness. This book offers a new way of thinking about hope and how it is critical to life.
THE ART OF ASKING: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LET PEOPLE HELP BY AMANDA PALMER
Asking for help is, for many, easier said than done. This part-manifesto, part-revelation talks about how musician Amanda Palmer starting asking the people around her for help. This book will inspire readers to challenge their ideas about asking and how it can help them.
THIS IS GOING TO HURT: SECRET DIARIES OF A JUNIOR DOCTOR BY ADAM KAY
From 2004 to 2010, Adam Kay kept a journal documenting his experience as a junior doctor. As a result, This is Going to Hurt tells Kay’s story about his firsthand experience and all the joy and pain that came with it.
BORED AND BRILLIANT: HOW SPACING OUT CAN UNLOCK YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE AND CREATIVE SELF BY MANOUSH ZOMORODI
Ever wonder how you could turn your daydreams into new projects? Bored and Brilliant connects boredom with original and creative ideas. The book is written in a series of challenges for readers that helps them rethink the way people see their devices and the the digital world.
BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR BY ELIZABETH GILBERT
This Eat, Pray, Love author digs deep into her creative process and offers a unique perspective about inspiration. Gilbert offers advice on empathy, fear, and everything else that generates inspiration.
THE POWER OF NOW: A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT BY ECKHART TOLLE
In today’s fast-paced world, a lot of people have trouble staying in the present. The Power of Now helps readers focus on who they are right now and what it means to be in the present.
MASTERY BY ROBERT GREENE
Becoming a “master” isn’t done over night. Greene analyzes the traits of Charles Darwin, Henry Ford, Mozart, and more, and discusses what made them successful and how you can be successful too.
YOU CAN’T TOUCH MY HAIR BY PHOEBE ROBINSON
People have called Phoebe Robinson’s taste in music “white,” she’s been followed by security officers in grocery stores, and, of course, people have asked to touch her hair. In You Can’t Touch My Hair, Robinson explains her experience with everyday micro-aggressions.
THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY BY RYAN HOLIDAY
Holiday compiles a list of true stories about the how successful people have overcome obstacles. From Amelia Earhart to LL Cool J, Holiday talks about how these national names have made it past the seemingly impossible.
BROKEN OPEN: HOW DIFFICULT TIMES CAN HELP US GROW BY ELIZABETH LESSER
Sometimes we find ourselves at rock bottom and have trouble climbing back up. Broken Open discusses how we can manage grief and turn it into happiness.
BETTER THAN BEFORE BY GRETCHEN RUBIN
Want to quit sugar? Want to start eating healthier? Quit procrastinating? Better Than Before is here to help. This book is designed to help readers through their everyday challenges.
ATOMIC HABIT BY JAMES CLEAR
Are you struggling with a habit you just can’t seem to break? Habit formation expert James Clear offers practical strategies on how to break your bad habits and create good ones.
BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD BY TREVOR NOAH
Comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah was literally born out of a crime. Noah comes from a white Swiss father and a Black Xhosa mother during a time when such a union was illegal. As a result, Noah spent the majority of his early years indoors with his mother hiding him from the government. Born a Crime is perfect for people who are searching for their place in the world.
A SUCKY LOVE STORY: OVERCOMING UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER BY BRITTANI LOUISE TAYLOR
Internet star Brittani Louise Taylor tried every online dating site before she finally met Milos. For Milos, it was love at first site, but something inside Taylor was telling her to run.
“This isn’t a love story,” Taylor writes. “It’s my story about survival.”
THE WITCH’S BOOK OF SELF-CARE BY ARIN MURPHY-HISCOCK
Take care of yourself the witchy way. The Witch’s Book of Self-Careoffers spells, medications, and mantras on ways to release stress, sadness, and strength.
Nothing goes together quite as nicely as music and crime. Any bloody scene begs for a soundtrack. And while all books line up perfectly with some playlist, there are some a little more tailor-made than others. So if you prefer your literary murders with operatic accompaniment, here are 7 indie horror, mystery, and crime novels for the music lovers among us.
WE SOLD OUR SOULS
This Grady Hendrix horror novel from Quirk Books is the story of Kris Pulaski. Although a current manager of a Best Western, she served as former guitarist for the ’90s band Dürt Würk. Kris discovers that lead singer Terry didn’t just break up the promising band for a solo career. He sold all of their souls. Literally. What follows is a heavy metal power ballad of a road novel with equal parts horror and rock. Hendrix is an indie horror legend, and We Sold Our Soulsis one of his best.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW: 17 HORROR STORIES – ONE LEGENDARY VENUE
Although The Shantyman, the stories’ unifying San Francisco music venue, is fictional, the horror is real enough. On the book’s back cover, Crystal Lake Publishing warns us: “We all know the old cliché: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable.” Detailing the strange and wonderful history of The Shantyman, Welcome to the Show’s musical references range from jazz club to rock club, with plenty in between. You’ll especially want to check out offerings from Kelli Owen (“Open Mic Night”), Matt Serafini (“Beat On the Past”), and the closer from Mary SanGiovanni (“We Sang in Darkness”).
GETHSEMANE BROWN MYSTERY SERIES
From Henery Press, Alexia Gordon’s mystery series, beginning with Murder in G Major, centers around African American classical musician Gethsemane Brown. Gethsemane, in addition to being an expert violinist, is Sherlock smart and funny as hell. The cozy mysteries satisfy lovers of BBC-style whodunits as well as classical music lovers. My personal favorite has been Killing in C Sharp, where Gethsemane has to fight off a vengeful ghost. Did I mention there are supernatural elements? Yeah. These books have a lot to offer.
THE VINYL DETECTIVE MYSTERIES
Beginning with Written in Dead Wax, Andrew Cartmel’s series from Titan books follows a record collector with knack for tracking down rare vinyl. Luckily for the readers, he also has a way of stumbling into some fast-paced murder mysteries. Cartmel brings his experience writing for Midsomer Murders to the page, and it shows. The music is spilling off the page along with the blood and the coffee. There are cats. So many reasons to pick up this series. My favorite: The Run-Out Groove.
THE PLOT AGAINST HIP HOP
From Akashic Books, hip hop expert Nelson George presents his parallel history of hip hop within a gritty AF Noir York City. Along the way he name drops Kanye and Jay-Z and Russell Simmons and others. The story is one of D Hunter’s search for the person who stabbed a well-respected music critic. Like good hip hop, there is social commentary and a blurring of the lines between great storytelling and all-to-real happenings. The Plot Against Hip Hop reads almost like Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, but in the world of rap music. Brilliant prose, vast conspiracy, (at times) borderline trippy narrative. If you love crime fiction and you love hip hop, this book is a must read.
DIRTY BOULEVARD: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE SONGS OF LOU REED
Edited by David James Keaton, this Down & Out Books anthology lives at the intersection of rock music and crime fiction. It features some of the heaviest hitters in the game: Reed Farrel Coleman, Gabino Iglesias, Cate Holahan, Alison Gaylin, and J. David Osborne. On the dirty, drunken streets of this book, there is all the gender-bending, rule-breaking, hard-rocking poetic pain that was Lou Reed. For me, Cate Holahan’s “Pale Blue Eyes” takes what I can only assume would be, in this case, a grimy booze-soaked blue ribbon dotted with blood.
TRAGEDY QUEENS: STORIES INSPIRED BY LANA DEL REY & SYLVIA PLATH
Leza Cantoral, expert anthology editor (who also did the fantastic Walk Hand In Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired By True Detective), curated this collection from Clash Books. Although these stories are not all exclusively crime fiction, there is more than enough to be found. Although there are some male writers involved (Gabino Iglesias shows up again), this anthology is all about female empowerment. Laura Diaz de Arce, Ashley Inguanta, Tiffany Scandal, and Monique Quintana all bring A game to this haunting volume of raw emotion.