45 GREAT BOOK ADAPTATIONS YOU CAN WATCH ON NETFLIX RIGHT NOW

Netflix and chill with these certified fresh (according to Rotten Tomatoes) book-to-film adaptations.

45 Great Book Adaptations You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now

MOVIES

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY (2018)

Five years after the end of World War II, a young London-based writer travels to the Island of Guernsey to interview residents for a book she plans to write about their experiences during the war. Once there, she learns about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the harrowing trials its members went through during the war.

Based On: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Starring: Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay, Michael Huisman, Glen Powell, Katherine Parkinson, Penelope Wilton


SECRETARIAT (2010)

Penny Chenery Tweedy and her associates guide her long-shot stallion to set the still-unbeaten world record for winning the Triple Crown in 1973.

Based On: Secretariat by William Nack

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Margo Martindale, Nelson Ellis


ROOM (2015)

A woman who has been held captive in a tiny garden shed for seven years raises her five-year-old son, Jack, who was born in captivity.

Based On: Room by Emma Donoghue

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Temblay


THE READER (2008)

In 1958 Germany, a teenage boy named Michael Berg has an affair with an older woman named Hanna Schmitz, who then mysteriously disappears. Decades later, Michael, now a lawyer, encounters Hanna in court. She is on trial for war crimes committed when she was a guard at a Nazi concentration camp.

Based On: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Carol Brown Janeway

Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross


REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)

April and Frank Wheeler’s troubled marriage crumbles under the social constraints of their mid-1950s suburban existence.

Based On: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour


INTO THE WILD (2007)

After graduating from Emory University in the early 1990s, ace student and athlete Christopher McCandless gives everything he owns to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

Based On: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis


TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)

Father, widower, and small-town lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1932 Alabama. Meanwhile, his two children, Jem and Scout, become intrigued by their mysterious shut-in neighbor, Boo Radley.

Based On: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Ruth White, Paul Fix, Brock Peters, Frank Overton, Robert Duvall


SUITE FRANÇAISE (2014)

During the Nazi occupation of France, romance blossoms between a Lucile Angellier, a French woman, and Bruno von Falk, the German officer billeting in her home.

Based On: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky, translated by Sandra Smith

Starring: Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Riley, Margot Robbie, Ruth Wilson


THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

British mathematical genius Alan Turing and a team of gifted mathematicians try to crack the German Enigma code to turn the tide of World War II. But when Alan is outed as a gay man, he is faced with imprisonment or chemical castration.

Based On: Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Rory Kinnear


THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING (2016)

A retired writer named Ben takes a six-week course to become a caregiver, then takes a job caring for Trevor, an eighteen-year-old with muscular dystrophy. Ben takes Trevor on a road trip to see the world’s deepest pit. Along the way, Trevor meets Dot, a kind girl he develops a crush on.

Based On: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Starring: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Alex Huff, Donna Biscoe, Julia Denton, Jennifer Ehle


QUEEN OF KATWE (2016)

Phiona Mutesi, a ten-year-old Ugandan girl growing up in the slums of Katwe, learns to play chess and soon becomes a top player, competing in international competitions.

Based On: The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o


ATONEMENT (2007)

Thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis irrevocably changes the trajectory of multiple lives when she falsely accuses her sister’s lover of raping a fifteen-year-old girl.

Based On: Atonement by Ian McEwan

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple


THE DUCHESS (2008)

Trapped in a loveless marriage to a cold, cruel man, Georgiana throws herself into hosting extravagant parties and has a torrid affair with Parliament member Charles Grey.

Based On: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman

Starring: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper


MUDBOUND (2017)

Two families—one white, one black—battle racism and struggle to adjust to farm life in rural Mississippi after World War II.

Based On: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Garret Hedlund, Mary J. Blige


RUST AND BONE (2012)

An amateur fighter and former whale trainer who lost both her legs in an on-the-job accident form a deep bond and begin to fall in love.

Based On: Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts


OUR SOULS AT NIGHT (2017)

Longtime neighbors Addie Moore and Louis Waters have hardly spoken to each other the whole time they’ve lived side-by-side. But that changes when Addie reaches out and tries to make a connection, sparking a beautiful late-life romance.

Based On: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Starring: Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Matthias Schoenaerts


CAROL (2015)

A shopgirl and older woman whose marriage is falling apart have a forbidden affair that leaves both of them changed forever.

Based On: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler


LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (1992)

When tradition thwarts her plans to marry the man she loves, a young woman discovers that she has hidden culinary talents.

Based On: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Starring: Marco Leonardi, Lumi Cavazos, Regina Torné, Mario Iván Martínez


COLD MOUNTAIN (2003)

During the final days of the Civil War, Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, embarks on a dangerous journey back to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his love, Ada. Meanwhile, Ada struggles to survive after her father dies, leaving her destitute.

Based On: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Charlie Hunnam, Eileen Atkins, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Donald Sutherland


OUT OF SIGHT (1998)

Career bank robber Jack Foley and U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco share a steamy moment of mutual attraction while stowed away in a trunk during Foley’s escape from a Florida prison. After the getaway, Sisco chases Foley and his pals to Detroit where they plan to steal a cache of uncut diamonds.

Based On: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Ving Rhames


AN EDUCATION (2009)

An uncommonly bright sixteen-year-old girl is seduced by a charming con man and receives an education in life, love, and sex.

Based On: An Education by Lynn Barber

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson


GERALD’S GAME (2017)

Jessie Burlingame faces her demons and fights to survive when her husband dies suddenly during a sex game gone wrong, leaving her securely handcuffed to the bed in their remote lake house.

Based On: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken


TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)

A high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse ensues when espionage master George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole operating within MI6.

Based On: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds


DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989)

English teacher John Keating flouts the conventions of the conservative upper-crust Vermont boarding school where he teaches to inspire his students to read poetry with fresh eyes and hearts.

Based On: Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen


RED DRAGON (2002)

Will Graham, a retired FBI agent with a gift for understanding disturbed minds, tracks down a brutal serial killer known as “The Tooth Fairy” with the help of imprisoned forensic psychiatrist—and world’s greatest human flesh cook—Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Based On: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman


SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)

Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman and card-carrying member of the Nazi Party, risks everything to save the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

Based On: Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Embeth Davidtz


JURASSIC PARK (1993)

Billionaire philanthropist John Hammond and a team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park full of cloned dinosaurs. When a power failure knocks out the park’s security system, a small group of visitors there to preview the exhibits before opening day are faced with a hoard of toothy reptiles and one very pissed-off t-rex.

Based On: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Richards, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson


THE GODFATHER (1972)

The aging Don of a New York crime family transfers power to his reluctant son with disastrous results.

Based On: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton


THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)

A hodgepodge fellowship comprised of four hobbits, two humans, a dwarf, an elf, and a wizard embark on an epic quest to destroy the Ring of Power in the fires of Mount Doom in order to stop the Dark Lord Sauron from taking over Middle-earth with his force of evil orcs.

Based On: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Sala Baker


THE LITTLE PRINCE (2015)

A little girl whose mother has a strict plan for her life that includes no time for leisure befriends her elderly retired aviator neighbor who tells her the story of a little prince he once met from a faraway planet.

Based On: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Paul Giamatti


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017)

A shallow and self-centered prince is cursed by a witch to transform into a beast for the rest of his life unless he can make a woman love him before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. Belle, a bookish girl ahead of her time, saves her father from the clutches of the beast by offering to remain a prisoner in his stead.

Based On: The Story of Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Hattie Morahan


PADDINGTON (2014)

A young anthropomorphic bear with an unusual affinity for marmalade migrates from the wild Peruvian jungle to modern-day London. Lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the Brown family, who kindly offer to let him stay with them.

Based On: Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by R. W. Alley

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman


TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (2018)

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey keeps love letters she’s written to all the boys she’s ever loved in a hatbox gifted to her by her late mother. One day, Lara finds her hatbox missing and it quickly becomes apparent that someone has mailed the letters to their not-so-intended recipients.

Based On: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Starring: Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, John Corbett


SPOTLIGHT (2015)

A group of investigative reporters for The Boston Globe uncover a massive decades-long scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

Based On: Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church by The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci


TV SHOWS & MINISERIES

FATHER BROWN (2013- )

A deceptively clever village priest solves crimes that baffle the local police in rural mid-century Britain. (I’m binge-watching this series right now and it’s absolutely fabulous.)

Based On: The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton

Starring: Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Nancy Carroll, Alex Price


ALIAS GRACE (2017)

Grace Marks is a convicted murderess, having participated in the gruesome slaying of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Fifteen years into serving a life sentence in Kingston Penitentiary, an alienist named Simon Jordan takes an interest in Grace’s case and begins a series of interviews intended to suss out the motivation behind her crime. But Dr. Jordan’s interest soon grows beyond the detached professional persona he tries so desperately to maintain and it becomes clear that the facts of the case may not align with what truly happened.

Based On: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Starring: Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Anna Paquin, Paul Gross


ANNE WITH AN “E” (2017- )

Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan girl, is adopted by brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and goes to live with them on picturesque Prince Edward Island. There she meets an eclectic cast of characters, including the rambunctious Gilbert Blythe, busybody neighbor Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and kindred spirit Diana Barry. Facing prejudice because of her parentless status, Anne struggles to be accepted and chases her dreams.

Based On: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Starring: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R. H. Thomson, Dalila Bela, Lucas Jade Zumann


MINDHUNTER (2017- )

In 1977, two FBI agents and a psychologist pioneer the science of criminal psychology and found the agency’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Based On: Mindhunter by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv


A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (2017- )

Three orphaned siblings use their considerable talents to outsmart the evil Count Olaf, who wants to steal the fortune their parents left behind.

Based On: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, K. Todd Freeman


ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (2013- )

Middle-class WASP Piper Kerman is sentenced to eighteen months in Litchfield Penitentiary after being convicted of smuggling drugs for her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause. There she copes with the daily hardships and injustices of prison life and meets an eclectic cast of fellow inmates. Things take an interesting turn when Alex is also sent to Litchfield.

Based On: Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore, Jackie Cruz, Laura Prepon, Natasha Lyonne, Jessica Pimentel, Laverne Cox


LONGMIRE (2012-2017)

Sheriff Walt Longmire, Deputy Vic Moretti, and the rest of the team at the Absaroka County Sheriff’s Department fight crime and solve mysteries across the wild Wyoming landscape.

Based On: The Longmire Mystery Series by Craig Johnson

Starring: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Cassidy Freeman, Adam Barley, Louanne Stephens, Bailey Chase, A Martinez, Zahn McClarnon


BATES MOTEL (2013-2017)

Norma Bates and her teenage son, Norman, buy a motel after Norman’s father dies. Shortly thereafter, the former owner of the motel breaks in and sexually assaults Norma. Norman knocks him unconscious and Norma stabs him to death. From this point, the series traces Norman’s complicated relationship with his mother and the unraveling of his fragile psyche.

Based On: Psycho by Robert Bloch

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell


CALL THE MIDWIFE (2012- )

A group of midwives serves the poor and outcast in the poverty-stricken Poplar district of London’s East End in the 1950s.

Based On: The Complete Call the Midwife Stories by Jennifer Worth

Starring: Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Venessa Redgrave, Stephen McGann, Judy Parfitt, Helen George, Cliff Parisi


NORTH & SOUTH (2004)

A young middle-class southerner named Margaret Hale comes face-to-face with the brutality of poverty and the industrial revolution when her family moves to the Northern cotton mill town of Milton in the mid-18th century. There she meets John Thornton, a brusque mill owner whose manners and seeming indifference to his worker’s suffering offends her finer sensibilities.

Based On: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Starring: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Coyle

By , September 
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Page to Screen – September Edition

Cyrano de Bergerac by Ermond Rostand

15638Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.pngMovie: Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
When it comes out: September 7
What the book is about: This is Edmond Rostand’s immortal play in which chivalry and wit, bravery and love are forever captured in the timeless spirit of romance. Set in Louis XIII’s reign, it is the moving and exciting drama of one of the finest swordsmen in France, gallant soldier, brilliant wit, tragic poet-lover with the face of a clown. Rostand’s extraordinary lyric powers gave birth to a universal hero–Cyrano de Bergerac–and ensured his own reputation as author of one of the best-loved plays in the literature of the stage.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

29938376A Simple Favor.pngMovie: A Simple Favor
When it comes out: September 14
What the book is about: It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time. But then Emily doesn’t come back.

 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

8664353Unbroken path to redemption.jpgMovie: Unbroken: Path to Redemption
When it comes out: September 14
What the book is about: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

 

The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson

18170126The Land of Steady Habits.jpgMovie: The Land of Steady Habits
When it comes out: September 14
What the book is about: Anders Hill, entering his early sixties and seemingly ensconced in the “land of steady habits” — a nickname for the affluent, morally strict hamlets of Connecticut that dot his commuter rail line — abandons his career and family for a new condo and a new life. Stripped of the comforts of his previous identity, Anders turns up at a holiday party full of his ex-wife’s friends and is surprised to find that the very world he rejected may be the one he needs.

 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

21965107The Children Act.jpgMovie: The Children Act
When it comes out: 
September 14
What the book is about: 
Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child’s welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts. But Fiona’s professional success belies domestic strife. Throwing herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses, her attempts to resolve the issues of her personal and professional life may strain her to the breaking point.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

5826Bel Canto poster.jpegMovie: Bel Canto
When it comes out: September 14
What the book is about: In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

 

The House with a Clock in the Walls by John Bellairs

295801The House with a Clock in Its Walls (film).pngMovie: The House with a Clock in the Walls
When it comes out: September 21
What the book is about: Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan’s house. Can the three of them save the world from certain destruction?

 

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

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When it comes out: September 21
What the book is about: Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living – and whom he does it for.

 

Nappily Ever After by Trisha R. Thomas

495348Nappily Ever After.pngMovie: Nappily Ever After
When it comes out: September 21
What the book is about: Venus Johnston has a great job, a beautiful home, and a loving live-in boyfriend named Clint, who happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous doctor. She also has a weekly beauty-parlor date with Tina, who keeps Venus’s long, processed hair slick and straight. But when Clint–who’s been reluctant to commit over the past four years–brings home a puppy instead of an engagement ring, Venus decides to give it all up. She trades in her long hair for a dramatically short, natural cut and sends Clint packing.

 

Colette by … Okay, it’s not actually a book but a biographical drama about a French novelist

SidonieGabrielleColette.jpgColette (2018 movie poster).pngMovie: Colette
When it comes out: September 21
What the book it is about: Colette was a French novelist whose writing career spanned from the end of WWI through the mid-1950s. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Her best known work, the novella Gigi (1944), was the basis for the film and Lerner and Loewe stage production of the same name. She was also a mime, an actress, and a journalist.

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

1934Little Women 2018 poster.jpgMovie: Little Women
When it comes out: September 28
What the book is about: Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

9 Best Fiction Books About Films

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Evoking one artistic discipline while using an entirely different one is no easy task. Yet for as long as moving pictures have captivated audiences, they’ve also captivated a certain group of writers, who’ve viewed the existence of cinema as an implicit challenge. Namely, how does one capture the essence of a film using only words on a page?

Some writers have opted to make the process of filmmaking their subject. Others have borrowed aspects of cinematic language and conveyed them onto the page, while others have incorporated the parallel structure of screenplays within their prose. When done well, this evocation creates a work that tells a compelling story and creates a kind of phantom film along the way. Here is a look at several books that blend fiction and film in unexpected ways.

The cover of the book A Short Film About DisappointmentA Short Film About Disappointment
Joshua Mattson
Joshua Mattson’s novel A Short Film About Disappointment is absolutely saturated with the cinematic. It’s told through a series of movie reviews, but it also chronicles its narrator’s attempt to make a film himself. Throw in some glimpses of a harsh near-future society and a title that alludes to the works of Krzysztof Kieślowski, and the result is a singular blend of the literary and the filmic.

 

The cover of the book After DarkAfter Dark
Haruki Murakami
In Haruki Murakami’s fiction, nearly anything can happen: characters vanish, the borders between worlds dissolve, realism abruptly becomes anything but. In telling the surreal narrative in his short novel After Dark, Murakami utilizes an abundance of cinematic language, heightening the sense of voyeurism and mysterious presences that abounds in the book.

 

 

The cover of the book House of LeavesHouse of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski
Among the many things that Mark Z. Danielewski’s cult novel House of Leaves can be said to be about is the act of storytelling – and much of the book focuses on a nonexistent documentary about a house whose properties defy all known laws of physics. It’s from that contrast between the knowable and the deeply unknown that narrative tension arises – along with a growing sense of horror that’s sustained throughout the book.

 

The cover of the book Lost EmpressLost Empress
Sergio de la Pava
Sergio de la Pava’s sprawling novel Lost Empress occasionally shifts into a format that echoes the style of a screenplay. It’s a knowing nod to another medium in a book whose plot combines two tried-and-true cinematic storylines – a heist narrative and an underdog sports story – en route to reaching deeper conclusions about the criminal justice system, incarceration, and class in America.

 

The cover of the book Experimental FilmExperimental Film
Gemma Files
At the heart of Gemma Files’s novel Experimental Film is, well, an experimental film with roots in the early days of the medium. But for all that this novel abounds with lived-in details of the indie film world, that’s only one facet of its greater focus on storytelling – and the nightmarish effects that certain stories can have on those who hear them.

 

 

The cover of the book The Making of Zombie WarsThe Making of Zombie Wars
Aleksandar Hemon
The way that a film can evolve from its inception to its final cut is frequently fascinating – and in his novel The Making of Zombie Wars, Aleksandar Hemon turns the creative process into a running theme. The frustrated screenwriter hero of the novel is constantly coming up with ideas and revising them; the way that this dovetails with his life in Chicago makes for a host of uneasy parallels throughout the book.

 

The cover of the book Madness Is Better Than DefeatMadness Is Better Than Defeat
Ned Beauman
Ned Beauman’s Madness is Better Than Defeat is a novel about journeys into the mysterious, unlikely adventurers, and long-lost secrets coming to light. It’s the stuff of pulp adventure, which helps explain why part of the novel is centered around an ill-fated filmmaking expedition lost in the jungle for years. Structurally, Beauman uses film as a kind of meta-narrative device, leading towards a resonant conclusion.

 

The cover of the book RadianceRadiance
Catherynne M. Valente
In telling the story of an alternate history wherein the solar system was colonized a century ago and the development of certain filmmaking techniques occured on a very different scale, Catherynne M. Valente evokes a golden age of cinema that never was. Valente also uses the presence of filmmaking to create numerous layers to her narrative, making for a boldly plotted work of fiction.

 

The cover of the book The Dead Fish MuseumThe Dead Fish Museum
Charles d’Ambrosio
The stories in Charles D’Ambrosio’s fantastic collection The Dead Fish Museum abound with allusions to the cinematic, from the frustrations of a screenwriter to the most mundane of tasks on an adult film set. In telling these stories, D’Ambrosio rarely goes to the places one would expect when blending film and prose; the results are often revelatory.

What to Read Next if You Loved ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling in A Wrinkle in Time © Walt Disney Pictures (2018)

A Wrinkle in Time is an enduring classic of children/young adult literature. Its fantastical elements and playful language make it a delight for younger readers while its more complex ruminations on religion and philosophical quandaries leave adults with plenty to ponder. Following its initial publication in 1962, A Wrinkle in Time took home a slew of awards including the Newberry Medal and positioned Madeleine L’Engle as one of the most significant and thought-provoking children’s authors of her time. The novel, and its sequels, remain an oft-challenged and beloved classroom fixture. With Disney’s recent blockbuster, Oprah-backed adaptation – helmed by Ava Duvernay – our thoughts have once turned to Madeline L’Engle’s miraculous world.  Whether you’re looking for something to whet your appetite before catching the film or something to sate your thirst for more after the end credits roll, the books below should do the job.

The cover of the book A Wrinkle in Time QuintetA Wrinkle in Time Quintet

Madeleine L’Engle

Whether you’re picking it up for the first time or revisiting the well-read classic, there’s nothing quite exploring Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet as an adult. It should come as no surprise that the series, like all great literature, ages incredibly well. The adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace Murray, their friend Calvin O’Keefe, and eventually the Murray and O’Keefe families are as enchanting and thought-provoking today as on their initial publication.

 

The cover of the book The Magicians TrilogyThe Magicians Trilogy

Lev Grossman

This bestselling trilogy and basis for the hit Syfy show is a must-read. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, The Magicians Trilogy centers around Quentin Coldwater – a brilliant but misanthropic high school student fascinated by a series of children’s fantasy novels set in the magical land of Fillory. Imagine Quentin’s surprise when he’s accepted to an elite, secret college of magic and discovers that Fillory may actually exist. It is an adventure that is equal parts fantastical and deeply human.

 

The cover of the book Swamplandia!Swamplandia!

Karen Russell

While not technically set in a magical or alternate realm, the Florida Everglades of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! feel no less fantastical. The novel follows Ava Bigtree, a precocious young girl who has spent her entire life in her family’s gator wrestling theme park, Swamplandia. When a series of mishaps and misfortunes sends her family spiraling into chaos, Ava sets out into the everglades to make things right in this brilliantly imagined debut from Karen Russell.

 

The cover of the book The TroupeThe Troupe

Robert Jackson Bennett

What do you get when you mix in a traveling vaudeville troupe, a young man searching out his father, a bit of Lovecraftian Cosmicism, and a dose of weird fiction? The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett. While Bennett is best known for the Divine Cities trilogy, his earlier stuff is just as good, and this one might just be my favorite. Like A Wrinkle in Time, it centers around a child’s search for their parent, and The Troupe is home to a mesmerizing and bizarre cast of characters set against a turn-of-the-century vaudevillian backdrop teeming with magic and suspense.

 

The cover of the book The TalismanThe Talisman

Stephen King and Peter Straub

The Talisman and its sequel Black House, a collaboration between two of the most influential horror writers of their generation, span the life of Jack Sawyer. As a boy in The Talisman, Jack traveled to a parallel universe called “the territories” to save his mother from an agonizing death. Twenty years later, during the events of Black House, Jack is a retired homicide detective with no memory of his time in the territories until a series of gruesome murders pulls him inexplicably toward the past he’d long ago forgotten.

 

The cover of the book All the Birds in the SkyAll the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders

This 2017 Nebula Award winner and Hugo finalist is a bizarre, humorous, and ultimately poignant tale of the clash of magic and science with the world’s end looming. It’s built around the conflict between an ancient order of witches and a hipster tech startup – each battling to prevent the world from tearing itself apart. At its center is the love story of Patricia, a brilliant witch, and Laurence, a engineering genius. It’s all told against the backdrop of San Francisco and a world well on its way to a crisis. It’s precisely as quirky and strange as it sounds, and Charlie Jane Anders holds it all together.

 

The cover of the book The HikeThe Hike

Drew Magary

Like The Troupe, this one may not seem like an obvious choice. It’s a truly bizarre adventure that pulls from classic folk tales and video games to create decidedly weird, and oft-hilarious, concoction. It centers on a suburban family man who takes a hike in rural Pennsylvania and soon stumbles into an unsettling and dangerous world. It’s weird fiction. It’s an otherworldly adventure with an engaging cast of characters. It’s a deconstruction of the fairy tale form. It’s also utterly entertaining.

 

The cover of the book Birthright, Vol. 1: HomecomingBirthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming

Joshua Williamson

A child being whisked away to become the savior of a fantasy world is a common trope, but what happens to the family the child leaves behind? More importantly, what happens when the story ends? These questions are the bedrock of Joshua Williamson’s Birthright series. The Rhodes family is shattered when their young son mysteriously goes missing. A year later, a full grown sword-wielding man appears, claiming to be the young son they lost. Could that possibly be the case?

 

The cover of the book When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead

This Newberry Medal winner wears its inspiration firmly on its sleeve. Rebecca Stead has made no secret that A Wrinkle in Time was her inspiration for When You Reach Me; in fact, it is the protagonist’s favorite book. The story follows sixth grader Miranda, who begins receiving mysterious notes that seem to be able to predict the future. With each one, she is pulled into a deeper and seemingly more dangerous mystery. Much like A Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me is an intricately woven and thought-provoking tale that will to readers of all ages and linger long after the final page.

Books to Film: Summer ’18 Edition

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot by John Callahan

609364DontWorryOfficialPoster.jpegMovie: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
When it comes out: July 13
What the book is about: In 1972, at the age of 21, John Callahan was involved in a car crash that severed his spine and made him a quadriplegic. A heavy drinker since the age of 12 (alcohol had played a role in his crash), the accident could have been the beginning of a downward spiral. Instead, it sparked a personal transformation. After extensive physical therapy, he was eventually able to grasp a pen in his right hand and make rudimentary drawings. By 1978, Callahan had sworn off drinking for good, and begun to draw cartoons. Over the next three decades, until his death in 2010, Callahan would become one of the nation’s most beloved—and at times polarizing—cartoonists.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

394255The Wife (2017 film).pngMovie: The Wife
When it comes out: August 3
What the book is about: “The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage.” So opens Meg Wolitzer’s compelling and provocative novel The Wife, as Joan Castleman sits beside her husband on their flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband, Joseph Castleman, is “one of those men who own the world…who has no idea how to take care of himself or anyone else, and who derives much of his style from the Dylan Thomas Handbook of Personal Hygiene and Etiquette.” He is also one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award to honor his accomplishments, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.

 

Meg by Steve Alten

105744The Meg teaser poster.jpgMovie: The Meg
When it comes out: August 10
What the book is about: On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined.

 

Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

37901607A black man wearing a white hood, holding up a hair pick with his right hand and raising his left fist.Movie: BlacKkKlansman
When it comes out: August 10
What the book is about: In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke’s bodyguard, and was eventually asked to be the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter. The irony of this investigation was that Stallworth is… A Black man. In the process he battled internal departmental politics to successfully pull off this “sting.” Black Klansman explains how he overcame these obstacles and accomplished this almost unbelievable unique achievement.

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

18373213Crazy Rich Asians poster.pngMovie: Crazy Rich Asians
When it comes out: 
August 15
What the book is about: 
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry.

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellström

9292518Image result for three seconds movie posterMovie: Three Seconds
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

 

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

184355Image result for little mermaid 2018 movie posterMovie: The Little Mermaid
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: There was once a little mermaid that fell in love with a human… This beloved story has been told and retold (and reworked) time and again, but the original is the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain the love of a prince and a human soul. A deal with a sea witch makes pursuing these dreams possible, but not without enduring a great deal of pain and, ultimately, heartache.

 

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

6224826Juliet, Naked PosterMovie: Juliet, Naked
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Annie loves Duncan — or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life.

 

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

538757Down A Dark Hall Poster.jpgMovie: Down a Dark Hall
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Why does the exclusive boarding school Blackwood have only four students? Kit walks the dark halls and feels a penetrating chill. What terror waits around the next corner?

 

Papillon by Henri Charrière

6882Papillon 2018 poster.pngMovie: Papillon
When it comes out: August 24
What the book is about: Henri Charrière, called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil’s Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

 

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

319388Film poster for La librería, 2017.jpgMovie: The Bookshop
When it comes out: August 24
What the book is about: In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop – the only bookshop – in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town’s less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors’ lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence’s warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn’t always a town that wants one.

 

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger (film).pngMovie: The Little Stranger
When it comes out: August 31
What the book is about: One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 ‘Great American Read’ Picks That Have Been Made Into Classic Movies

“The Great American Read” is an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books they’ve selected. Hosted by Meredith Vieira, the series features 100 books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. The goal is for viewers to read the books and vote from the list of 100, advocating for their favorite read.

“The Great American Read” premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 8/7c on PBS stations. Voting will be open through the summer and into the fall, when seven new episodes of the series will air as the quest to find America’s most beloved book moves into high gear.

We at Signature scavenged through the nominated books to find that many of them have been adapted into classic movies that you’ve probably seen. If you know us, you know we are big fans of reading the book first. Check out the list we’ve curated below, culled from the list of 100, note the movies you’ve seen and the books you’ve read, and be sure to tune in to “The Great American Read” on PBS.

 

The cover of the book A Prayer for Owen MeanyA Prayer for Owen Meany

John Irving

This classic John Irving novel explores what happens when unthinkable tragedy strikes two eleven-year-old boys in 1963, when the best friends are playing a little league game, and one of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. Owen Meany, the boy who hit the ball, happens to not believe in accidents, and so he thinks his action was God’s will. The Mark Steven Johnson-directed 1998 film “Simon Birch” was loosely based on Owen Meany, so much so that they don’t share the same name.

 

The cover of the book Charlotte's WebCharlotte’s Web

E.B. White

You are likely to have seen “Charlotte’s Web,” whether the 1973 animated version, or the 2006 live-action starring Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, and Oprah Winfrey. And it’s likely you’ve read the book as well, but a beloved children’s classic like this one always warrants a re-read. The story of Wilbur, Fern, and Charlotte’s friendship has withstood the test of time as a tale of bravery, sacrifice, and the power of love.

 

The cover of the book The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas’s classic story of Edmond Dantes’ wrongful imprisonment and subsequent escape to the Isle of Monte Cristo in search of buried treasure was inspired by a true case of wrongful imprisonment, and remains relevant to this day. It was most recently adapted in 2002 into a fairly well-liked film starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce, but we recommend returning to the source material.

 

The cover of the book Don QuixoteDon Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Now, this is one we should all see: Terry Gilliams’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” (when it comes out in late 2018, that is). Until then, we can sate ourselves with the 2000 TNT television adaptation starring John Lithgow, Bob Hoskins, and Isabella Rossellini. Oh, and we can read the book. Don Quixote tells the tale of the exploits of Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, after Quixote takes it upon himself to become chivalry embodied.

 

The cover of the book FrankensteinFrankenstein

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, about Victor Frankenstein and the monster he creates, has inspired countless adaptations. Our personal favorite is the 1935 film “Bride of Frankenstein” starring Elsa Lanchester, but to each their own. And we can’t wait for the upcoming historical biopic “Mary Shelley” starring Elle Fanning as Shelley, either. But again, in the meantime, let’s take to the books and read (or reread) the source material.

 

The cover of the book The GodfatherThe Godfather

Mario Puzo

Our guess is, you’ve seen “The Godfather,” but you haven’t read The Godfather. And we don’t blame you—that’s completely understandable. Clocking in at 448 pages, Mario Puzo’s classic saga of American crime family the Corleone’s is a daunting book to add to your TBR, and the 1972 adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan is just so good. But go ahead, take a walk on the wild side and pick up this doorstopper from your local library (or maybe just download it on your e-reader). We promise you won’t regret it.

 

The cover of the book Gone with the WindGone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 classic may have been assigned to you in high school English, but if you read the Sparknotes or watched the Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh-starring 1939 film adaptation, we won’t judge you. That adaptation is pure gold—it’s actually even got a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes—but please, we beseech you, give the book a try. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time, there’s a reason why Mitchell’s novel has stood the test of time.

 

The cover of the book The Grapes of WrathThe Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

The 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic starring Henry Fonda is a masterpiece in its own right, to be sure. But Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s through the lens of the Joad family paints a compelling portrait of the struggle between those who have power and those who do not in America that persists to this day, and is worth a read of its own.

 

The cover of the book Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations

Charles Dickens

There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to adaptations of Charles Dickens’s 1861 classic, from the 1998 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Estella and Ethan Hawke as Pip to the more recent 2012 adaptation, memorably starring Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. But we at Signature are big fans of reading Dickens, and Great Expectations is a particular favorite of ours. Dickens’s sprawling tale of the life of a boy (and then man) transformed by a mysterious and enormous inheritance is a must-read.

 

The cover of the book The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Okay, you’ve probably read this one. And if not, please change that immediately. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of a man consumed by love (ahem, obsession) may be overplayed, but with good reason. Those of you divided between love for the Leo DiCaprio-starring 2013 adaptation and the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow-starring 1974 adaptation will find common ground in Fitzgerald’s expertly-weaved original text.

 

The cover of the book Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness tells the thrilling tale of Marlow, a seaman who travels into the heart of Africa in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz, who has gained an unexplainable amount of power over the local people. We want to disclose something: the 1979 film we are recommending, “Apocalypse Now,” was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but deviates extensively from the book. Don’t freak out without giving it a watch. Today, it’s considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

 

The cover of the book The Hunt for Red OctoberThe Hunt for Red October

Tom Clancy

If you haven’t taken the time to dive into Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan thrillers, this is the perfect time to start. The Hunt for Red October introduced the world to Clancy’s unforgettable hero, Jack Ryan, and follows him as he races to find a highly advanced nuclear submarine before the Russians get their hands on it. The 1984 film was the first of several films based on the novels, and stars Alec Baldwin as CIA analyst Ryan and Sean Connery as Soviet submarine commander Marko Ramius.

 

The cover of the book Little WomenLittle Women

Louisa May Alcott

Little Women famously follows the lives of the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy — who couldn’t be more different from one another. But when their father is sent to fight in the war, their mother works to support the family, and the girls must learn to rely on one another. Though the 1933 film is the third screen adaptation of the book, it’s the first one with sound. That’s why we advise starting your “Little Women” journey with the 1933 film, and then moving on to the 1949 version, with June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Lawford, and finally the 1994 adaptation, starring the talented Winona Ryder.

 

The cover of the book Moby-DickMoby-Dick (or, The Whale)

Herman Melville

“Call me Ishmael” — this famous line begins one of the most renowned journeys in literature. Moby Dick centers on a whaling ship named the Pequod and its Captain, Ahab, as he sails for revenge against Moby Dick, a sperm whale that destroyed Ahab’s former vessel and left him crippled. John Huston’s 1956 film adaptation remains faithful to the book, unlike previous versions that included romantic subplots and happy endings. So if you want to watch the story unfold on the screen, be sure to check out John Huston’s adaptation.

 

The cover of the book The Outsiders 50th Anniversary EditionThe Outsiders

S.E. Hinton

First published in 1967, S. E. Hinton’s novel was an immediate phenomenon, and continues to resonate with readers more than fifty years later. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows Ponyboy’s experiences in a world divided into two groups: the Socs (rich kids who can get away with anything), and the greasers, who aren’t so lucky. Basically, if you haven’t read it yet, get yourself a copy and do so immediately. Then, be sure to watch the 1983 film, which is noted for its cast of up-and-coming stars, including C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, and Diane Lane.

 

The cover of the book The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic read, and though it was published in 1890, it still resonates with readers today. The story centers around Dorian, who is an extremely wealthy and good-looking young man living in London. Dorian has a portrait of himself done by the great artist Basil and becomes obsessed with his own handsome, youthful appearance – so much so that he sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. The book was originally attacked for exposing the dark side of Victorian society, and for evoking ideas of homosexuality. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film, shot mostly in black and white, was directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton, and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

 

The cover of the book Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well-known novels in the United States and around the world. With the most compelling of stories and the most memorable of characters, it has remained unparalleled for two hundred years. Readers will find themselves immersed in the Bennet family, comprising a quiet father, a dutiful mother, and five beautiful daughters. Grand country estates, beautiful young men and women, and unwavering courtship all comprise this endearing story of heartache and romance. The film was released on July 26, 1940, and was critically well-received. It’s definitely a story that’s worth reading and watching, if you haven’t already done so.

 

The cover of the book To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a compelling coming-of-age tale set in the south. It’s told from the point of view of a young girl who watches as her father, a local lawyer, risks everything to defend an innocent black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime. We insist that you watch the highly-ranked 1962 film — directed by Robert Mulligan, it was a box-office success and won three Academy Awards.

 

The cover of the book War and PeaceWar and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace takes place during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. We recommend the 1956 film directed by King Vidor which stars big names like Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, and Anita Ekberg, in one of her first breakthrough roles. It had several Academy Awards nominations, and should definitely be on your list of must-watch classic movies.

What should the Avengers read?

by Cassie Hall, et al., April 24, 2018, first appearing on Novelist Blog

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War opened in the U.S. last weekend, and its sprawling cast of heroes and villains offers an irresistible readers’ advisory opportunity. Below, NoveList staff share book recommendations for their favorite MCU characters.

T’Challa (Black Panther)

Oh, T’Challa, we love you, and want to pick the perfect books for you. Bear with me, I have a lot of thoughts here. First, I choose the graphic novel Malika: Warrior Queen, by Roye Okupe. Malika, like T’Challa, is a warrior and ruler in Africa, with strong ties to her countrymen (and, hello, graphic novel?). To embrace his love of Wakanda, a nation that thrives on its technological advancements, T’Challa would likely enjoy Everfair, by Nisi Shawl, a steampunk story set in Africa. T’Challa obviously has the utmost respect for the strong women in his life — Shuri, Nakia, Okoye — so chances are he would enjoy books featuring strong female protagonists. How about the Akata Witch fantasy series by Nnedi Okorafor? And, since he’s so totally awesome, he would share his books with his fellow Wakandans (or donate them to the public library when he finished them). –Suzanne Temple

Shuri

I’m assuming that Shuri, the smartest person in the MCU (fight me), has already read allllll the STEM books, and so I think she might want to try something different. Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper Cypher series features several elements that will feel familiar to Shuri — ancestral magic, people with unusual abilities, and a powerful heroine — but it’s set in contemporary Brooklyn, the kind of place that Shuri can explore now that Wakanda has emerged from isolation. Also, while she clearly doesn’t need fashion advice, Shuri might enjoy browsing Amber Keyser’s Sneaker Century. –Rebecca Honeycutt

Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier)

Much like his BFF (truly…these guys are old) Steve Rogers, Bucky will eventually need to catch up on pop culture. What better way to get him up to speed than by exploring concepts close to his heart? Chuck Klosterman’s witty and thought-provoking essay collection I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) explores pop culture villains like Bernhard Goetz and Darth Vader, and asks such philosophical questions as: Where do we draw the line between hero and villain? What does it mean to be a villain? Speaking of pop culture, Bucky is probably still confused about Tony Stark calling him “Manchurian Candidate” in Captain America: Civil War, so he should read Richard Condon’s nail-biter thriller as well – after all, he can empathize with Raymond Shaw, the Korean War veteran who returns home brainwashed to serve nefarious purposes. –Kaitlin Conner

Now that he’s free from the grips of Hydra’s brainwashing and has a sweet new (vibranium???) arm courtesy of Shuri, Bucky really just needs a hug. Call me Katniss because I VOLUNTEER. But seriously, someone get this guy a cozy blanket, a stack of Shel Silverstein books, and throw on some Bob Ross in the background. –Cassi Hall

Steve Rogers (Captain America)

History repeats itself, and Steve Rogers understands this more than most. He’d appreciate Timothy’s Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, which offers examples of how to protect democracy from authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, drawing parallels between current events and 20th century threats like the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe. Timely, reflective, and most importantly, concise — at 128 pages, it can be finished in one sitting — On Tyranny is the perfect read for Steve, a man ready to save the world but without a lot of time to spare. –Kaitlin Conner

Thor

Our very own Norse god! The obvious choice for Thor would be Norse Gods, by Neil Gaiman, but let’s face it — he would spend his time picking it apart. He may enjoy another Neil Gaiman book inspired by mythology: American Gods. Obviously, Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series would be a fun read, but you know he’d be getting into arguments with every Riordan fan he encountered, because he’s a god and thinks he knows everything. If this happens, steer clear of Thor, kids! –Suzanne Temple

Loki

Poor Loki. It’s hard when everyone sees your brother as the stronger, virtuous one, and you are the black sheep. He may feel that his path is set, and there’s no turning back. Did anyone ever tell him he’s loved? I believe the words and aphorisms of Mister Rogers can crack even the hardest heart. Loki should read The World According to Mister Rogers to learn his value and worth in the cosmos. Maybe it will inspire him to see the upcoming documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, too. –Lindsey Dunn

Pepper Potts

Pepper is a successful, high-powered businesswoman who’s likely spent years enduring the casual and not-so-casual sexism of corporate America, so I think she’d get a kick out of Penelope Bagieu’s Brazen, a collection of short comics profiling both famous and lesser-known women who forged various paths in directions they weren’t expected to go.  –Kendal Spires

James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine)

In between striking up a formative friendship with Tony Stark at MIT and stepping into the War Machine suit in Iron Man 2, James Rhodes pursued a successful career in the U.S. Air Force. Given that background, Rhodey would likely enjoy the insight of Redeployment, fellow vet Phil Klay’s National Book Award-winning collection of short stories told in and around the Iraq War. –Kendal Spires

Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)

Resident superspy (and former KGB agent) Natasha Romanoff would likely find upcoming thriller Star of the North compelling. Featuring a CIA agent infiltrating North Korea to track down her twin sister (who was abducted by North Korean operatives 20 years ago), this suspenseful and realistic exploration of an elusive government will appeal to Natasha, a woman all-too-used to a life in the shadows — and to going to great lengths to protect those she loves. –Kaitlin Conner

Natasha’s been in the spy game for a long time, and would find something to relate to in the exploits of Tara Chace, another espionage veteran and the protagonist of Greg Rucka’s classic Queen and Country comics. The series depicts both tense missions in the field and bureaucratic maneuvering in the office, and Natasha might even find it refreshing to read some straight-up spy tales that don’t involve superheroic dramatics. –Kendal Spires

Peter Quill (Star Lord)

At this point, it’s an understatement to say that Peter Quill has daddy issues; I wouldn’t blame him if he decides to keep up the charade that his real father is David Hasselhoff. If Peter’s still looking for solace, he might find it in the Hoff’s upbeat autobiography. Don’t Hassel the Hoff is at turns self-deprecating and self-congratulatory (sound familiar?) and, per Kirkus Reviews, “covers [Hasselhoff’s] life in standard greatest-hits format” — a narrative structure music lover Peter would dig.  Reviews aren’t the greatest, but since when does Peter care about reviews? At the very least, he can catch up on the life of the father he wishes he had. –Kaitlin Conner

No one knows better than Peter Quill the maxim that “everything old is new again” (see: his treasured mixtapes, his love of sitcom tropes). No book explores pop culture’s cyclical nature quite like Ernest Cline’s nostalgic, action-packed Ready Player One (and its recent film adaptation), in which teenager Wade Watts escapes his dystopian world in 2044 for a virtual one that embodies 1980s pop culture. Self-made superhero Peter — call him “Star-Lord,” thank you very much — would see a kindred spirit in Wade, whose alliterative name is meant to recall superheroes of yore and whose passion for 1980s pop culture is unparalleled.  –Kaitlin Conner

While I agree that Peter/Star Lord has daddy issues and loves all things nostalgic, if he’s at all representative of a male brain, what is really on his mind right now is a more practical, pressing matter. Now that Gamora seems ready to open her heart, how can he form and maintain a good relationship with her? It would be my duty as a librarian to guide him to the relationship book section. Mating Intelligence Unleased by Glenn Geher should do the trick. He has a lot of intelligence to gain in this ignored area of his life.  –Lindsey Dunn

Clint Barton (Hawkeye)

Clint is possibly the only hero not present on the massively overpopulated Infinity War poster (having apparently been sick on Avengers class picture day or something), an amusing omission that puts me in mind of his more hapless counterpart and his canine sidekick Lucky in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye comics. Assuming MCU Clint holds a similar affection for dogs, I’d hand him John Grogan’s Marley and Me, because who doesn’t love crying their eyes out over someone else’s dog? –Kendal Spires

Peter Parker (Spider-Man)

Poor Peter Parker. He was just a sweet, nerdy kid, minding his own business, until — BAM! — he’s bitten by a spider and life is forever changed. I know for a fact (yes, a fact!) that Peter loves a good, goofy comic. Since he already lives the superhero life, I would recommend the Rick and Morty comics for a healthy dose of offbeat humor. –Suzanne Temple

Special mention (and possible spoiler): Miles Morales is incredibly serious, so would surely enjoy Game, by Walter Dean Myers. Miles and Drew both have strong families, live in New York, and are likeable characters who are just trying to keep their noses clean. –Suzanne Temple

Bruce Banner (Hulk)

This dude has some problems, and no one understands him. They think he’s just a big, green lunkhead inside a guy who can’t control his anger. Some obvious classics come to mind (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, The Island of Dr. Moreau), but as Dr. Banner is a very learned scientist, chances are he has already read these titles. To help him not feel so alone, Hulk would enjoy The Only Child, by Andrew Pyper, a take on multiple classic characters within one monster. Being the genius he is, Bruce Banner would want to hear about the scientific aspect of good and evil, so he would like The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, by Philip G. Zimbardo. (Honestly, though, how much of a genius could Bruce Banner be if he can’t take the proper precautions when doing his experiments?) –Suzanne Temple

For all the Avengers:

Ok, I’ll be honest. I really just wanted to make this recommendation and the more I thought about it, the more I believe that all of the finally-assembled Avengers would take something away from it. Worm is a completed web serial by the author known as Wildbow and clocks in at roughly 1,750,000 words. It’s a dark, complex, wildly imaginative superhero story that surprises (and often, shocks) at every turn. I will offer a warning that the word count isn’t the only reason Worm is not for the faint of heart — some of the more villainous parahumans (powered people) take on names like Jack Slash, Bonesaw, Hatchet Face, Acidbath, Lung, Murder Rat…and yes, they’re all even worse than they sound. Seriously, if you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to superheroes, superpowers, and especially supervillains, I promise that you haven’t.

Nat and Bucky would appreciate the moral complexity of Worm’s multitude of characters (fair warning: there are a lot of them), and Ant-Man would definitely relate to the protagonist’s powers. Many of the antagonists would have our big purple baddie Thanos wishing he could recruit them to the Black Order — and honestly, no shade to Marvel but the Slaughterhouse Nine make the Black Order look like a 90’s boy band. Worm is the single most ambitious work I have ever read, so it’s a fitting recommendation for the culmination of this ambitious franchise.  –Cassi Hall

 

Editors Note:

Cassi Hall is the Communications Specialist at NoveList, and unashamed by her love of supervillains.

Kaitlin Conner is a Readers’ Advisory Librarian at NoveList.

Lindsey Dunn is a Readers’ Advisory Librarian at NoveList.

Rebecca Honeycutt is a Readers’ Advisory Librarian at NoveList.

Kendal Spires is a Collection Development Analyst for Core Collections.

Suzanne Temple is a Metadata Librarian II at NoveList.