This is a guest post.
5 Excellent Books To Read If You Love Film Adaptations
It seems as if more and more books are being turned into films these days. While there are still plenty of wholly original screenplays making it to the big screen, it seems that in many cases studios find it easier to work with existing material and pay a writer to adapt a book into screen form. Often, particularly lately, this leads to excellent films. However, as the old adage goes, “the book is better” – most of the time at least! Because of this, and because if you’re reading here you’re presumably a book lover, I’m doing a list of five excellent books to read if you’re interested in those that get turned into films. This list concerns primarily recent material, either having led to recent cinematic releases or being adapted even now.
1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Putting it simply, Crazy Rich Asians became something of a sensation this past summer. Billed as a rare Hollywood film that would have a primarily Asian cast without stereotypical roles, it wound up being a resounding success – in fact, the top grossing romantic comedy in 10 years! There’s already talk of a sequel, and various cast members involved appear to be on their way to far more glamorous careers than they might have imagined before 2018. With all of this success, the novel figures to be irresistible to some who never came across it before. It was published in 2013, and was a bestseller, with author Kevin Kwan having expressed a stated goal of introducing a new, contemporary Asia to a primarily American audience. Mission accomplished; the book is as terrific as the film.
2. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
Love May Fail is a book that was published in 2015. It essentially concerns a group of characters one wouldn’t ordinarily place together, who wind up helping one another to rediscover the joys of life. That alone may sound like just another hit-or-miss story until you recall that Matthew Quick is the clever and sensitive author who produced Silver Linings Playbook. Love May Fail offers a similarly heartfelt blend of real-life issues, unlikely but plausible circumstances, and an inexplicable touch of wonder. Whether or not the film adaptation lives up to the extraordinary Silver Linings Playbook one remains to be seen, though with Emma Stone cast in the lead as Portia Kane, it’s off to a good start!
3. Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
This is a different sort of book in that it’s essentially a memoir. But it’s one I find more fascinating with each passing year. These days, we mostly think of casino culture as being purely digital. Poker tournaments are held online, casino games are now mobile arcades, and the betting side of it all has morphed into matched deposits and free games appealing to bettors around the world. Molly’s Game paints a different and decidedly more human picture: an underground poker world, full of wealth, secrecy, and back rooms, and all completely real! Bloom herself was busted by the government for running high-stakes games featuring prominent celebrities, and this book is her own stunning account of the story – a story that was brilliantly adapted by Aaron Sorkin. If you want to believe in the more mythical side of casino culture, it’s one to read and watch.
4. The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson
If you’re familiar at all with the work of Erik Larson, you know he brings history to life with novel-like quality about as well as anyone. In this case, he does so with two dueling narratives concerning the architects and engineers in charge of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the infamous serial killer H. H. Holmes who stalked the Chicago area at the same time. It’s an absolutely riveting read from beginning to end, and an educational one at that, painting a picture of what was in some ways a smaller world focused on international competition and collective achievement. As with Love May Fail, the adaptation is not out yet, but Leonardo DiCaprio has the rights, and Martin Scorsese is on hand to direct. DiCaprio is likely to play the role of Holmes in what ought to be a terrific film.
5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
It’s difficult to describe what makes The Goldfinch such a great book, because there’s a temptation to say something vague, such as “it’s just kind of magical.” That’s the case, however; there’s a mysterious quality to this book that makes it easy to immerse yourself in and hard to put down. More directly, the book concerns a boy who loses his mother in an apparent terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and who – in something of a dazed panic – takes a small painting (“The Goldfinch”) in the aftermath. His entire life from that point forward unfolds as a series of consequences for these early actions, and it’s quite a journey to read through. The film is not out yet but fans of the book have been eagerly awaiting it, and now that there’s a cast, it feels fairly imminent, with a possible release late in 2019.