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Books to read this year before their screen adaptations are released!
While the year is young, what better time to scope out upcoming book-to-screen adaptations, so you can read the book before the film or TV series is released? Let this guide help you plan your reading, to ensure you get through the book first because, of course, one must *always* read the book before seeing the movie!
Joking aside, hopefully these suggestions will provide you with some reading inspiration and also let you know about some interesting film and TV releases of 2019 to look forward to.
1. Good Omens - Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
First on this list is the superb fantasy novel, Good Omens, coauthored by both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in the 1990s. Set just before the Rapture, an angel and a demon join together to try and save the world. The TV series adaptation features both Michael Sheen and David Tennant, respectively, as the two leading characters. Release is roughly estimated as early 2019.
"It wasn't a dark and stormy night even though it should have been, but that's the weather for you. There is the hint of Armageddon in the air. According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (as recorded in 1655), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the Armies of Good and Evil are massing, the four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their might hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witchfinders are getting ready to Fight the Good Fight. Atlantis is rising. Frogs are falling. Tempers are flaring, and everything appears to be going to Divine Plan. All that's required now is the Anti-Christ. There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him..." (Description from Catalogue)
2. The Expatriates - Janice Y. K. Lee
Nicole Kidman is the executive producer for the adaptation of The Expatriates to a TV series. The story follows three American women who end up moving to Hong Kong and the changes that entails in their lives and lifestyles. A moving and compelling narrative of interwoven themes of agency, independence, motherhood, career and loss. Release is currently at some point during 2019.
"Set in present-day Hong Kong, The Expatriates follows the lives of three women. An unspeakable tragedy leaves twenty-something Mercy with a crippling personal inertia, and Margaret, a mother of three, numb and unable to heal. In the same small expatriate community, Hilary tries to distract herself from a marriage gone stale by providing piano lessons for a local orphan, only to find her actions openly criticized on an anonymous online forum. The individual, sometimes overlapping perspectives of Mercy, Margaret and Hilary are woven together, exposing theinsularity and complex privilege of the expatriate world, whilst also revealing the fragility of a woman's position in the world. When the women are struck by tragedy, each of them realizes how shockingly dependent they were upon conforming to theunspoken rules of their milieu. In Hong Kong, without speaking Cantonese or having a job (it is almost always the husband who precipitates the move), these women find themselves, almost unexpectedly, stripped of their former identities and living in a land of country clubs and housemaids. Without their familiar ties to family, friends, and jobs, they find themselves in a world where the old rules no longer apply. The Expatriates is a novel about overpowering grief, the transformative power of forgiveness and how finding oneself in a strange land can be the best way to find one's true self." (Description from Catalogue)
3. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
Now's the time to finally pick this book up, if you haven't already. Or give it a reread, in preparation of the upcoming TV series, directed and produced by George Clooney, and starring Hugh Laurie. Set during World War II, it follows Captain John Yossarian as he navigates the war, attempting to fulfil the required military service, and also retain his sanity. Release of this miniseries is estimated to be mid-2019.
"Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him." (Description from Catalogue)
4. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
This book took the world by storm in 2014 and if you've been meaning to pick it up, finishing it before the film comes out is a great motivation. With the director of Brooklyn, and a cast including Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort and Luke Wilson, this film promises to be a gripping adaptation of the novel. Slated for release towards the end of 2019.
"A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art." (Description from Catalogue)
5. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
This TV series adaptation is only roughly intended for 2019 release at this stage, but given that it will include the entire book series, it's a great time to start to ensure you'll get through them all before it comes to our screens. Many remember this series (The Northern Lights/The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) thanks to the movie The Golden Compass (2007) but this promises to go further than that onscreen adaptation that got cut short. The series starts out in an alternate world, following Lyra, a girl living at Oxford with the academics until she gets swept away on an adventure, seeking to find her friend, solve the mystery of the missing children and uncover the truth about the essence of their world and their animal soul-companions. She's fierce, intelligent and loyal. If you've already read these, or devour them and want a taste more, don't forget to take a look at La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust) which is a prequel series to His Dark Materials.
"The trilogy follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes against a backdrop of epic events. The story involves fantasy elements such as witches and armoured polar bears, but alludes to a broad range of ideas from fields such as physics, philosophy, and theology." (Description from Catalogue)
6. Elizabeth Is Missing - Emma Healey
This author's debut novel made big waves with its elderly unreliable narrator and her attempts to make sense of the world around her. She leaves herself notes like "No more peach slices" and "Elizabeth is missing". The story switches between her earlier life, during the post-war period, and her current day struggle to find out what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth. This BBC1 adaptation will release in 2019.
"In this darkly riveting debut novel--a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging--an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory--and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger. But no one will listen to Maud--not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend. This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II. As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?" (Description from Catalogue)
7. Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple
This adaptation stars Cate Blanchett as 'Bernadette', a troublesome figure with a reputation amongst the other mothers at her daughters school, and society at large. When she goes missing, her daughter decides to find out what has happened to her, by compiling correspondence, emails and official documents, bringing all the clues together. You can expect this film to release in April this year.
"Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world." (Description from Catalogue)
8. Pet Sematary - Stephen King
Another classic from the popular horror author, Stephen King. One of his truly chilling stories, focusing on a family that moves in next to a pet cemetary and the strange and terrible things that follow. Expect this dark adaptation in April, 2019.
"When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son--and now an idyllic home. As a family, they<U+2019>ve got it all ... right down to the friendly car. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth--more terrifying than death itself--and hideously more powerful." (Description from Catalogue)
9. The Woman In the Window - AJ Flynn
Another brilliant novel with an unreliable narrator, this book has been well-received as the author's debut novel. Amy Adams and Gary Oldman will be starring in this thrilling adaptation of the popular suspense novel. Reading this book knowing as little as possible going into it is recommended. Release is set for October, 2019.
"It isn't paranoia if it's really happening ... Anna Fox lives alone -- a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies ... and spying on her neighbours. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble -- and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this gripping Hitchcockian thriller, no one and nothing are what they seem." (Description from Catalogue)
10. All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
Elle Fanning will star in this film adaptation of the popular young adult book. The story alternates between Violet and Theodore as they meet and connect, under unfortunate circumstances, and follows their story as they attempt to move forward and help each other along the way. This novel definitely has darker tones and reading the book before viewing the movie might help mitigate any shock that might occur in response to events in the story.
"Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief and guilt in the wake of her sister's recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself -- a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another" (Description from Catalogue)
11. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
Set in a world where all the women are gone and all the men in the town can hear each other's thoughts, Todd runs away from his town and all the secrets its people are keeping. He by chance encounters a girl, who happens to be a source of silence, a rare occurrence for Todd, and finds himself on a journey to uncover the truth of his world. Tom Holland and Daisy Riddle play the leading roles in this YA adaptation. Set to be released in March, 2019.
"Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown, a town where everyone can hear your thoughts. One month before he is due to become a man Todd discovers that the town has been keeping secrets from him, and he is going to have to run. Todd is soon going to learn about the dangerous choices of growing up." (Description from Catalogue)
12. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
12 year old Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, one in a long line of masterminds. He gets caught up in the world of fairies when he captures one in an attempt to restore his family's fortune. This movie adaptation is scheduled to come out in August, 2019.
"Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a brilliant criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they're dangerous. Artemis thinks he's got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules..." (Description from Catalogue)