11 Books to Read Before They Hit the Silver Screen This Summer

May 29 2018
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There’s no question that words can come to life on the page, but for me, there’s nothing as exciting as movies made from books. All those scenes you imagined, those characters’ voices you thought you could hear, they’re suddenly unfolding on-screen in front of you. 2018 has already delivered some great adaptations, but there’s even more to come—from classic Anton Chekhov to CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Here’s a list of must-see movies, so you don’t miss a flick.

Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan

Probably one of the most anticipated adaptations of the year, the first book in Kevin Kwan's trilogy is the first English-language film in 25 years to feature a primarily Asian cast. It centers around New Yorker Rachel Chu, who agrees to meet her boyfriend Nick's family for the first time—but when she arrives in Singapore, she discovers that they're one of the most successful families in the country, and Nick is its most eligible bachelor. There's glitz, glamour, and plenty of drama, which makes it a massively entertaining story, both on- and offscreen.

In theaters: August 17, 2018.

Read the full review of CRAZY RICH ASIANS.

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Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan

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The Wife
by Meg Wolitzer

Before Faith Frank and THE FEMALE PERSUASION, Meg Wolitzer created Joan Castleman and THE WIFE—a short but powerful novel about marriage, ambition, and success. The novel begins with Joan, sitting on a plane next to her novelist husband, deciding that the time has come to leave him. What follows is a gripping and sweeping story of their relationship, choices, sacrifices, and breaking point. With powerhouse Glenn Close in the leading role of Joan, this movie is sure to be intense and a conversation starter.

In theaters: August 3, 2018.

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The Wife
Meg Wolitzer

Imbued with the characteristic wit and intelligence that Meg Wolitzer brought to The Interestings, The Wife raises big questions about voice, marriage, power, and gender in literature. Slim but smart, this provocative story can be read in a day, but it will remain on your mind for much longer. A film adaptation starring Glenn Close and Frances McDormand is in the works and we would watch those two titans of acting in just about anything.

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The Seagull
by Anton Chekhov

One of the most famous plays of the modern era, The Seagull dramatizes the romantic and artistic conflicts of four main characters: writer Boris (Corey Stoll), young Nina (Saoirse Ronan), actress Irina (Annette Bening), and her son Konstantin (Billy Howle). Set over the course of a summer weekend, alliances and attractions shift with no shortage of romance and drama.

Now in theaters.

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The Seagull
Anton Chekhov

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On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan

Billy Howle and Saoirse Ronan must be on a summer adaptation kick, because this is the second film of the season in which they're teaming up. One of Ian McEwan's most intense novels, ON CHESIL BEACH is set in 1962, as a young couple, Florence and Edward, celebrate their wedding. The expectation of their marital duty weighs heavily on them, and, as the book unfolds, the decisions they make will affect their lives forever.

Now in theaters.

Read the full review of ON CHESIL BEACH.

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On Chesil Beach
Ian McEwan

It’s short, barely 200 pages, but every word in this lovingly rendered portrait is as meticulously placed as paint on a porcelain miniature. The story follows Edward and Florence, a young English couple on their wedding night during the pre–Sexual Revolution 1960s. While a plot about the events leading up to the consummation of a marriage might sound limited in scope or even ludicrous, in McEwan’s masterful hands, it’s riveting.

Read Lynn Cullen’s review here.

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Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Perhaps one of the most beloved novels of all time, FAHRENHEIT 451 follows Guy Montag, a fireman living in a dystopian future. His job is not to stop fires but start them, destroying books and the houses where they're kept. He never questions his role, until an eccentric young neighbor exposes him to the possibility and power of a life with literature. This HBO original stars Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, and is sure to be a fire starter.

Now streaming on HBO.

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Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.

Read the full review here.

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Fifty Shades of Grey
by E.L. James

Book Club isn't a movie adaptation of E. L. James's trilogy turned phenomenon (those have already been made), but its first book plays a huge role in this rom-com about four friends of a certain age—Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Jane Fonda—who get caught up in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY mania when they read it for their book club and apply it to their own relationships. If the full movie is anything like the trailer, we can expect lots of scandal, sex, and laughs when it hits theaters in May.

Now in theaters.

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Fifty Shades of Grey
E.L. James

"My best friend gave me this book and told me I HAD to read it. Plus it was pretty much the hottest book around at the time. So I tried. Maybe I’m a big prude, but I read a few chapters and just couldn’t handle it…I felt so awkward I had to stop." — Sarah Jane

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Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley is another loose adaptation, focused around the passionate, tumultuous relationship between Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley, and the infamous monster tale it inspired. Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth star in this classic retelling.

In theaters: May 25, 2018.

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Frankenstein
Mary Shelley

One of my favorite things about the Jurassic Park franchise is that it raises such provocative questions about the ethics of science and creation, a la Dr. Ian Malcolm’s observation that “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could [create dinosaurs] that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Mary Shelley’s masterpiece of scientific horror also explores this moral quandary.

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Far From the Tree
by Andrew Solomon

Sometimes, the best film adaptations come from nonfiction books, and this upcoming documentary, based on Andrew Solomon's award-winning study of parents and children, is sure to be just as fascinating as the source material. His argument is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition. As he explores all the meanings of that word—positive, negative, and in between—readers (and now viewers) are given incredible insight into what makes us love, accept, and learn from one another.

In theaters: July 20, 2018.

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Far From the Tree
Andrew Solomon

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The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh
by A.A. Milne

While not directly tied to A. A. Milne's original classic, Christopher Robin film continues the story with an adult Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor), working in London and missing out on time with his family, reuniting with the little bear that changed his life. The teaser alone made me cry (happy tears!), so bring the tissues for this one.

In theaters: August 3, 2018.

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The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh
A.A. Milne

A perfect gift for any parent, child, or nostalgic adult, this anniversary edition is a beautiful collection of beloved tales. Since their publication some seventy years ago, A.A. Milne’s enchanting tales and playful verses have been treasured and adored by generations of children, and Winnie-the-Pooh is as popular today as when he first appeared in 1926. This special volume brings together all of the Pooh stories and all of the poems in one full-color, large-format book. The texts are complete and unabridged, and each of Ernest H. Shephard’s whimsical illustrations have been brilliantly recolored from his original sketches of Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, and his toys.

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The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters

One summer day, an English country physician is called to help a patient at Hundreds Hall, a once-stately manor house that has now dissolved into ruin. Its owners—a mother and two children—are struggling to keep it afloat, resisting the changing world around them. But are they haunted by something more than just their past? This novel is classic, creepy Sarah Waters, one that guarantees, as Stephen King said, "several sleepless nights."

In theaters: August 31, 2018.

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The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters

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.

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My Own Words
by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has played a crucial role in determining life-changing legislation for countless Americans. This collection of writing, briefs, arguments, and context for her personal beliefs, organized and introduced by the Notorious RBG and her biographers, is the best example of her enduring legacy and influence on law, society, and American history, and is both insightful and inspiring.

Now in theaters.

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My Own Words
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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