Thursday, January 30, 2014

16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theatres This Year

A couple of weeks back I saw this link on Facebook, 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres This Year, and I got really excited. I'm a big fan of the movies but I don't keep track of what movies are based on what books – it usually all hits me later and by that time it's too late to read the book in advance. I don't know about you, but I like to read the book first because usually the book is better.

Take one of my all-time favourite novels, The Shipping News, for example. The book is magnificent. If I could only recommend one book to you, it would be that. The movie, on the other hand, was a profound disappointment. Physically, Kevin Spacey wasn't even close to resembling the bumbling, bear-like largesse of Quoyle, the main character. The story wasn't adequately described. The book's play on newspaper headlines was ignored and one of Quoyle's daughters disappeared completely. Gordon Pinsent and Judi Dench were right on the money, absolutely perfect, and Newfoundland's austerely gorgeous scenery was magnificent, but the rest of the movie was as close to suckage as suckage gets.

Anyway, I do appreciate Arielle Calderon at Buzzfeed for organizing all the books-to-movies being released this year in one tidy list. I appreciated it so much that I immediately took Dave's credit card shopping at Amazon (sorry honey, I meant to mention this earlier) and purchased a bunch of books on that list. (By the way, I'd like to point out that MY book is two-thirds cheaper than all the books on this list... just saying...)

I don't have a hope in hell of getting all these books read in time but I am giving it my best college try and, if you want to join me in this ridiculous quest, I'd love to have you along. It would be fun to hear what other people think of the books I'm ploughing through.

The first book I read was Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. LOVED IT. It's a quick read – those faster readers than me will breeze through it in a couple of evenings. It's about a divorced mother and her adolescent son who run into an escaped criminal. He winds up spending the Labor day weekend with them and changing their lives. It's simple, it's well-told and it stole my heart. I think Josh Brolin, who I fell in love with when he starred in No Country For Old Men, and Miss Awesomesauce herself Kate Winslet will more than do the characters justice and I can't wait to see the movie. By the way, I hadn't really heard of author Joyce Maynard before (d'oh) but now I realize she wrote To Die For, the book that spawned the movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman. I think I'm becoming a fan of Mizz Maynard, which is a good thing, since she's got a long list of titles to explore.

Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star in Labor Day. Release date: Jan. 31.

I'm about a quarter of the way through Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. It's considerably longer and not what I'd call an easy read. Still, it is a glorious book bursting with imagination and romance – not just romance as in love, but the romance of stars in a brilliant night sky, industrial-age New York City in swirling snowstorms, bigger than life characters and bigger than life adventure. The prose is stunning – so much so that I find myself reading particularly beautiful passages out loud to Dave as we snuggle into our own bed on cold winter's nights. It makes me sigh, just thinking about it. The book, not me and Dave in bed ...

As I say, I'm only a quarter of the way through SO DON'T TELL ME HOW IT ENDS, but I wanted to let you know I've taken on this foolish plan of reading all these books and then seeing all the movies, just in case you want to join me.

To be fair, I'm probably not going to read ALL the books on the list, or some I'll leave till the end, just because they don't interest me that much. These are the books I've purchased so far:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Serena by Ron Rash

Gone Girl, also by Gillian Flynn, is also on the list but I've already read it (loved it) and can't wait to see Ben Affleck in one of the starring roles. I'm a big fan of Ben since Argo. AND I can't wait for Serena, which will star my favourite actress on the planet, Jennifer Lawrence. I'd pay to see that woman in an Alpo commercial, I swear!

So, have you read any of these? What did you think? Looking forward to the movies? How was your weekend? How is your husband/wife/dog/cat/kid/kids/job/meat loaf? What are you making for supper tonight? Anything good? Can I come?


  1. Fab idea but alas, I have so many books (easily 3 dozen real live books on my shelf that require attention!!!) to read before I can start loading onto my Kindle, it will two years before I can do a list like this. Retirement is so far away..'sigh'

    1. I know the feeling (not the retirement feeling, hehe)... so many books, so little time!

  2. Winter's Tale has one heck of a cast. Very impressive.

    1. Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell... both yummy.

  3. Well I never get to the movies so I'm sure I'll miss the boat on this as well. lol Gee tell us how you REALLY feel about the Shipping News movie! lmao I saw the movie when it aired on CBC and Gordon Pinsent hosted it. Loved it so much I then read the book and that was when I saw the differences. Still loved the movie though. Did you know the girl that played Bunny in the movie was actually triplets sharing the role?

    1. No I did not know about triplet-Bunny! (You are wise beyond your years.)

      The thing about The Shipping News, if I hadn't read the book first, and fallen so in love with it, I probably would have loved the movie. I just thought it could have been better.

  4. I really want to read and see Labor Day.

  5. I read a long way down YEARS ago (I think it was my "courtroom" book for all those ridiculous hearings with the ex, and he's been gone two years now) and remember thinking "This would be a great movie"

    Hopefully I will be right. :) I am intrigued by Winter's tale, but since I'll likely see it on the day it comes out, I most likely won't read it. Labor day though, might be just what I need on the way back from Vegas. Yours of course, is the way TO Vegas. :)

  6. I have not yet read Monuments Men, but I'm quite familiar with the history about that part of the Second World War- there's a documentary out there called The Rape Of Europa- so I'm looking forward to seeing that one.

  7. I usually read several books a week, but I haven't read any of the ones on that list. Lately, I've been reading a lot of books written by other bloggers, as well as the books I've been winning from Goodreads giveaways. (I'm on a roll: four of them already this month!) I see you have your book up for a giveaway now. I gave five away last month, and four of them packed their bags and went to the other side of the world. (Kenya, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and the Philippines... lucky book!) I did NOT expect that. Good luck with your giveaway. I hope it goes well for you.

  8. How is my meatloaf? Quite possibly the best in Adelaide, but don't bring your fork just yet, I only make it in the winter.

    I haven't read any of those books and probably never will, I have so much stacked up already. I enjoyed Friday Girls, that was a quick and easy read, haven't yet found Green Eggs and Weezie, is it available for kindle?

  9. I'm with you on reading the book before the movie and not after, but most of these movies are ones I don't mind seeing not having read the book.

    I would definitely read The Fault in Our Stars before the movie. The movie looks good, though, but OH SO SAD!

    And I had no idea they were making Dark Places a movie! I read that ages ago, also Sharp Objects - been a Flynn fan for a long time. And did you know Flynn changed the ending to the movie version of Gone Girl? I'm trying to decide if I want to re-read the book before the movie….

  10. I am on board Cathy. Got them on order from the library!

  11. What a fantastic list! Thanks so much for sharing this link. I've not read a SINGLE one of these books so I better get busy.

  12. Now, we know that Bear is not the brightest creature in there bush, but I do recall a movie called The Shipping News from about 2001 or thereabouts. So, unless you're talking about a re-make, I'm a bit lost.

    Other than that, I have not read any of the books on the list. but then, I don't read much fiction.I tend to get my fiction from the occasional trip to the movie theatre.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  13. Ha! You know, having only read the title, when everyone buzzed for "Winter's Tale" I never expected it to be an adaptation of a novel rather than old Shakespeare.

  14. Loved The Fault in Our Stars! I hadn't realised Labour Day was a novel, I'm going to add that one to my wishlist.
    Hmm, Gone Girl, eh... I had some issues with that book... We dissected it over on the writers' forum:

  15. I'm really apprehensive about seeing Divergent. I am usually so disappointed with any adaptations. One of my all-time favorite adaptations was The Painted Veil. I loved the movie just as much if not more than the book, which is quite rare. Edward Norton killed it. He made that role come alive. Watch it if you ever get the chance. But load up on the tissues...


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